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Your most embarrassing sex questions

Not everyone finds it easy to talk about their sex lives. Here are some problems that many people share.

Q: I love my husband and have sex with him, but I don’t often have an orgasm? Is there something wrong with me? What can I do?

A: Be reassured – you’re not alone. This is probably the most common sexual problem in women. Some women have never had an orgasm. Others have great difficulty reaching an orgasm or climax. Don’t worry, just because you have trouble climaxing doesn’t mean you’re frigid, but it’s a good idea to start tackling this or may find yourself loosing interest in sex altogether.

Sometimes women find it difficult to reach a climax because they’re unsure about their commitment to their partner, but if you’re happy with your relationship that’s not the problem. The trouble is that the more anxious you get the harder it will be for you to reach orgasm. If you can, talk to your partner about your worries. He must have noticed and his cooperation and understanding will really help.

Many women find it easier to reach orgasm by themselves than with their partner so this is where you can start. Find a time when you can be alone and you won’t be disturbed and stimulate your clitoris by masturbation. Don’t feel bad about this – just relax and enjoy yourself. Keep on with these masturbation sessions until you can reach orgasm fairly easily. When you make love with your partner, don’t try to achieve orgasm while he is inside you at first. Once he has ejaculated, ask him to stimulate your clitoris so that you reach orgasm too. Concentrate on your own sexual sensations and don’t worry about anything else.

The next stage is to reach a climax with his penis in your vagina. Enjoy some foreplay until you’re highly aroused. At this point your partner can insert his penis into your vagina and start thrusting slowly. Then he withdraws and after a few minutes he penetrates your vagina again. Continue until you reach orgasm, masturbating in the intervals if you like. If you can’t reach orgasm by this method, ask your partner to stimulate your clitoris with his finger, between one insertion and the next. Again he should wait until you’re strongly aroused before penetrating again.

You may find it helps to be astride and on top of your partner during sexual intercourse. This makes it easier to press your clitoris down on to his pelvis and make thrusting movements to help you to orgasm.

With the loving cooperation of both partners these measures usually work and bring about a great improvement in the relationship as a whole. If they don’t, you might consider seeing your doctor and asking about therapists who can give you more guidance and advice.

Q My partner loves porn and finds it very arousing. I don’t and I don’t see why he needs to look at porn films and magazines. I say women just aren’t into porn, he doesn’t agree. Am I abnormal?

A: You’re certainly not abnormal. According to surveys, more than 95 per cent of sex addicts are men. Women are bound to have a different approach to porn from men because the response to porn isn’t so much about male and female tastes as about people with power, versus people with no power.

The only women you can imagine enjoying porn are really confident, assertive women because, for them, it’s only a game.

However, there aren’t many women who conform to this model and for the women who don’t, conventional porn is not of much interest as most women resent being betrayed as powerless. Another thing is that women can find anything pornographic if they want to. Women just have to think about it often enough and long enough.

Lots of women would get more turned on by watching a film which is mainly titillation – no overt sex at all – than by watching a conventional porn movie where jaded men play-act at getting it on with big-breasted women dressed in a schoolgirl’s or nurse’s uniform.

Modern pornography could be just too graphic for women – there’s too much visual information. What’s happened to mystery? That, after all, is what contributes to the excitement we meet in a real-life situation. Having said that, some more experimental women have a taste for gay male porn. They get turned on because it’s interesting to find out what boys are allowed to get up to.

Porn isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anyway. Even with porn most people’s sex lives are as conventional as they ever were.

Q: I’m happy to suck my partner’s penis but I don’t like the idea of him coming in my mouth. He thinks I’m silly – am I?

A: Fellatio – sucking a penis with your mouth – is a powerful way of arousing a man. All men find oral sex intensely exciting, but lots of women feel anxious about it. You’ll feel less worried if you agree beforehand what’s going to happen so you’re not taken by surprise. If you don’t want him to ejaculate in your mouth, ask him to withdraw in time and bring him to orgasm with your hand, or switch to intercourse. If you do want to try full fellatio, don’t worry about choking. You control how much of the penis is in your mouth and you can encircle the penis with your hand to help back his thrusting.

If you’re worried about hygiene, suggest your bathe together first or wash him yourself, making this into part of your foreplay.

There’s no doubt that oral sex is intensely intimate and demands a level of trust rarely found elsewhere in lovemaking. For one thing the acts can be extremely painful if care isn’t taken. But this intimacy can make the sex even more satisfying as it implies total acceptance of each other.

Q: My husband and I split up same months ago. I’m OK but I miss regular sex. A friend suggested I get a vibrator but could this damage me or put me off sex with a partner?

A: A vibrator is a different kind of sexual experience. It can’t compare with the overall feeling of being held and loved by a another human but it can give a great deal of pleasure. In a way, a vibrator is better than most penises. In any given moment it can trigger at least a million more sensors than the most educated penis, meaning orgasm is virtually inevitable. Most women love that inevitability. This doesn’t mean that a vibrator is necessary or that the penis is redundant. It’s simply a different kind of sexual experience.

And don’t worry about hurting yourself. The vibrator is best used for stimulating the clitoris so most women don’t insert their vibrator inside the vagina. I personally believe this is sensible because it’s possible for vibrators to injure vaginal or rectal tissues if they’re used for penetration.

Q: Sex is a pain for me. It hurts and I don’t know how to talk to my partner about this. All he does his complain that I don’t respond to him and I’m boring. What can I do?

A: If sex is painful for you it’s no wonder you’re not responsive. If you’re body isn’t ready for sex your vagina will be dry and the friction of penetrative sex will be very uncomfortable.

Men are always ready for sex, provided they have an erection, but it’s more complicated for women. A woman needs more physical stimulation, which is why foreplay is so important. Without that, the vagina isn’t lubricated enough and penetration will be painful. The answer is to have more foreplay to increase your arousal and natural lubrication. You could help things along by using some lubricating gel.

However, what’s going on in your head is just as important. If you’re feeling tense and anxious about your relationship, you’ll find arousal very difficult. In other words, your body won’t get ready for sex if, mentally, you don’t want it to happen. If that’s true for you, the problem is in your relationship. If that isn’t right, then everything you do in the bedroom is likely to be wrong too.

If you feel that your relationship is OK but sex just isn’t working, try to talk to your partner and get him to understand that criticising and blaming you isn’t the answer. With loving, gentle encouragement and more consideration he could help you explore your sensuality and improve your sex life. He needs to think about what you need, not just about what he wants.

Many men think the deeper they penetrate the more exciting it is for their partner but this can cause a lot of discomfort. You can avoid deep penetration by trying the following positions: Woman on top, controlling the depth of penetration. Woman on her back, with her legs flat, or one leg flat and one pulled back. Woman on her back with her legs together.

It could be, though, that your problem is physical so do check with your doctor. You could have a vaginal infection, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, irritation of the vulva or haemorrhoids.

Q: I love my wife and we’ve always had what I thought was a good sex life. But recently she’s started to say I don’t pay her enough attention in bed and sex is over too quickly. What am I doing wrong?

A: For a woman, foreplay – kissing and cuddling, caressing breasts, nipples and clitoris – is not only very exciting and pleasurable, it’s necessary for her arousal and sexual satisfaction. Without it, a woman isn’t sexually aroused, isn’t an uninhibited participant, isn’t anywhere near ready for sex in terms of lubrication.

But worse, after intercourse she remains unsatisfied, resentful and wide awake while her partner turns over and goes to sleep.

So what do you do?
Some of the things women say about men show what they would like to see changed.

I want him to touch me all over a lot more – more foreplay, more heavy petting, more kissing everywhere and more oral sex." I love my breasts and nipples being fondled and caressed, and I always wondered if I could have a climax just by simply being played with, but my partner is always too impatient." My partner thinks kissing’s soft but I love it.

Maybe your wife is thinking these things too, but hasn’t found the way to tell you. Men need to be sensual as well as sexual, but many find it hard to spend time on purely pleasurable activities that don’t lead quickly to penetration. To overcome this, when caressing your wife think of the pleasure you’re giving. Most women find foreplay hugely enjoyable and see hugs and kisses as the true signs of affection.

Try to discover your partner’s most sensitive areas and the kind of stimulation she prefers – gentle or slightly rougher.

Don’t be afraid to relax and let your partner take the initiative. Let her know, in words or gestures, what feels particularly good and, if necessary, guide her hand with yours. Try to concentrate on what you feel and the closeness of her body as she touches you. Respond to your feelings by moving with sounds or expressing pleasure verbally.

Most women find a responsive man very exciting. Don’t always feel that you have to be successful at every sexual encounter – you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Most women are sympathetic to occasional failure, and even view it as an opportunity to show their love.

Q: I’m a happily married man but I still enjoy masturbating as well as having sex with my wife. Am I wrong to do this?

A: Masturbation is an option, a way of mutually enhancing a couple’s sexual enjoyment. It is generally helpful to sexuality in all areas of your life so don’t worry.

In fact, there is some evidence that people who masturbate without guilt can be freer in expressing their sexuality, more aware of the nature of their own individual sexual response, and enjoy sex more than those who are guilt-ridden. That doesn’t mean to say if you don’t masturbate you’re abnormal – you’re not inadequate or deficient.

Moreover, it is a worthwhile alternative to intercourse when your partner is very pregnant or just had a baby, or if she is recovering from gynaecological surgery.

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