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September 9, 1999
I'm a 35-year-old woman who is not satisfied with my sexual relationship with my husband of five years. Masturbation, even prior to marriage, was always a thrill to me: My terms, my desire. My question is this: Is there truth in the theory that women's orgasms change over the years? Of late, I have noticed an incredible change, and my orgasms feel much deeper and longer-lasting. And I can make myself come more than 50 times. The deeper muscular contractions are a true novelty for me. Comments?
"Yes, you bet our sexual responses and orgasms can change over the years," says Anne. "For one thing, hormonal influences ebb and flow over the course of our lives. For another, as you get comfortable exploring your body, you become aware of its myriad possibilities and are more willing to experiment with new sensations. I'd say you're a poster girl for the empowering sexual self-awareness that masturbation provides. Now don't you think it's time to bring that same level of awareness to your relationship with your husband? It sounds as though you have some difficulties around communicating your desires, but until you've raised the subject, you'll never know how happy your newfound sexual prowess could make him. And if he's not receptive to making changes in your sex life, some couples therapy might be in order."
Or, if couples therapy doesn't appeal to you, you could divorce your husband's tired ol' ass, get the house, and rent rooms to college boys. When they fall behind on the rent -- and they always do -- you can take it out in trade. Just a thought.
I am a single, sexually active woman in my early 40s. Recently I've noticed that I'm falling apart! To be more specific, my vagina has started feeling stretched out (or just not as tight as it used to be), and the vaginal lips seem to have gotten stretched out (possibly due to piercings and other sex toy use in my past). I still enjoy sex, but I'm starting to feel very self-conscious about how I appear to my sex partners. Also, intercourse is less stimulating now that I'm getting less, um, traction. I've tried some of those exercises (Kegels?), but haven't felt any results. Maybe I gave up too soon? Is this just something I have to live with, or can I (or a doctor) do anything about it?
"I'm skeptical that sex toy use or piercings -- unless you're wearing some heavy jewelry -- could alter the shape of your labia," says Cathy, "so maybe your recent anxiety about your vagina is affecting your perceptions? It doesn't sound like your partners have any issues with how you look and feel, but if vaginal intercourse isn't floating your own boat these days, you should keep up the Kegels. As with any muscle building, it can take weeks of practice to get the muscle tone that leads to increased vaginal sensitivity. You could experiment with using less lubricant or trying positions (such as rear entry) that would increase traction, or you could use this time to explore other kinds of sex (anal intercourse, oral sex, manual stimulation, playing with sex toys). Whatever you do, please don't resort to surgery, which has the potential to interfere with the precious nerve endings of your genitals."
A gynecologistonce told a friend that cunnilingus could give her a yeast infection. He made it sound like this was one of the main ways women got such infections, even if her partner had no signs of any infection in his/her own mouth. He told her that since she had a history of such infections, everyone who performs oral sex on her should rinse his/her mouth with mouthwash for several minutes. Unromantic as this sounds, this advice actually stopped my friend's yeast infections. I have never heard about this anywhere else, and I'm wondering whether this information was wrong.
"Well, I'm no doctor," says Cathy, "but your friend's miraculous healing sounds a bit like a placebo effect to me. Sure, bacteria can travel from one person's vagina to another's mouth, and vice versa, but why would healthy individuals have candida thriving in their mouths? Maybe oral sex exacerbates yeast infections in some women because it's irritating or abrasive or affects the pH balance of their vaginas, but I'm speculating wildly. I think this doctor was going out on a limb. And it's worth noting that there are far more dramatic STDs that can be transmitted via unprotected oral sex, and that mouthwash is an ineffective safe sex tool."
I'm a 20-year-oldwoman who in the past six months has been masturbating frequently, sometimes three or more times a day. I even own a vibrator. Lately when I have sex with my boyfriend, I can't climax. The sexual sensation is really good, but I can't come. I really love sex, but why can't I get off? Playing with myself doesn't get in the way of my regular activities -- I go to school and work full time -- but it seems to be getting in the way of my sex life. Should I stop masturbating so much?
"Being the pro-masturbation, pro-vibrator gals that we are," says Anne, "we think you are neither a nympho nor a self-love junkie, but a woman who knows what she likes. We'd only worry that someone was masturbating too much if it was preventing them from going about their daily activities, which you claim is not the case. So no worries there. Your masturbation routine might be interfering with your ability to climax during partner sex for a couple of reasons. You might have become accustomed to a certain type of stimulation during masturbation that you're not getting in partner sex. If you're in the habit of using, say, a vibrator for solo sex, you can either incorporate it into sex with your boyfriend (let him hold it, show him what you like to do with it), or you can alter your masturbation routine to include other types of stimulation. You might also be climaxing so often through masturbation that when it comes to partner sex your body doesn't really care if it goes for the gold. If you'd prefer to come with your boyfriend, try cutting back on your masturbation and see if it makes a difference."
Well, that about wraps up Pussypalooza '99. A very special thanks to our guest experts, Anne Semans and Cathy Winks, authors of The New Good Vibrations Guide to Sex (the best goddam sex manual on the goddam planet) and The Woman's Guide to Sex on the Web. Anne and Cathy are working on a new book, The Mother's Guide to Sex, and would like to invite moms and their partners to visit their web site (www.anneandcathy.com) and fill out a confidential sex survey.
Next week in Savage Love, a little cock. A very little cock....