In & Out
Q: I'm a healthy male with a strong libido and, because I also am sensible, I practice safe sex. Unfortunately, "safe" for me also means unfulfilling and unsatisfying. I've tried just about every kind of condom, but I am simply unable to have an orgasm when I wear one. I'm sure there are many other men who have the same problems, and all of us will be grateful if you recommend an effective solution. There has to be more to life than masturbation.
A: There's no need to knock masturbation; you can certainly have the best of both worlds. Here are some tips that have helped other men and will hopefully help you, too. Most condoms are made of latex, which is great because it's a strong and stretchy material, but polyurethane condoms have the advantage of being better conductors of body heat. As a result, some men claim that polyurethane condoms make sex feel more naturally warm—and conducive to orgasm—while reducing the risk of pregnancy and the sexually transmissible infections (STI) that latex condoms also help guard against. The Inspiral brand reportedly offers enhanced sensation thanks to the baggier condom head, which allows for less constriction of the nerve endings in the head of the penis. An advantage to the TheyFit brand is that the condoms are sized to fit the length and width of a man's penis, which may be a relief for those that feel that standard condoms are tight and uncomfortable. All of these condoms (polyurethane, Inspiral and TheyFit) are sold at www.condomania.com.
Now let's talk about lube. Even seasoned lube veterans often apply it only to the outside of the condom to reduce friction between the condom-clad penis and the vagina or anus it's going in and out of. Yet, some men find that adding a tiny bit of water- or silicone-based lube inside the tip of the condom enhances pleasure. Make sure to use just a tiny dab, though, because you don't want the condom to slip off. And even though there is indeed more to life than masturbation, if you're not sure how much is too much lube inside the condom, then play around with it during masturbation so you can practice getting it right. Finally, think outside the box and try having orgasms in a variety of ways with your partner; oral sex, your partner's hands and toys are possibilities, but let your imagination run wild if you have an adventurous, sex-positive partner. If you try all of these and are still without orgasm, let me know—I always have a few more tricks up my sleeve.
Q: My boyfriend and I have been deliberating going where no man has gone before: my ass. Where can first-timers like us learn more so we get it right the first time?
A: Your timing is perfect since—according to the woman-owned sex toy company Good Vibrations (GV)—this August apparently marks the 78th anniversary of Anal Sex Month. Who knew? Thankfully, the GV staff members tend to stay on top of holidays like this one and because they are so education-focused, they bring us books like Anal Pleasure & Health: A Guide for Men and Women (Down There Press, $18. You'll read about anal taboos, the anatomy of the rectum (very important for anyone considering putting things up there), STI/HIV prevention, lubricants, comfortable positions for first-timers and more. Even with all of this amazing information, you may not experience penetration on the first try, and that's okay. It can take time, patience and much comfort with each other. Keep in mind, too, that there are other nonpenetrative ways of sexual play involving the anus. You can find the book and tips online at www.goodvibes.com. And whatever you do, please don't put anything up there that could get lost in transit; I've seen enough X-rays and heard enough stories about bottles, broomstick handles and baby carrots to last a lifetime, so venture off with care, caution and knowledge.
Q: My husband's erections are slower than in the past. He used to spring to attention whenever I took off my clothes, but now it's more gradual. He swears he's still attracted to me, and when I ask if he's gay, he says he isn't. So what's wrong with this picture?
A: For starters, what's wrong with this picture are the assumptions that his slower erections mean that he's either gay or not attracted to you. I have no idea why your husband's erections are no longer in Olympic form—age, medications, fatigue, stress and feeling pressured to perform may all be contributing factors. I frequently hear from women who think that when a man's penis doesn't behave as expected, the guy might be gay. There seems to be this belief that erections and ejaculation are good indicators of a man's feelings of love, lust, attraction or interest for his partner, when the reality is far more complex. It probably doesn't help that many men find it difficult to express their feelings with words, leaving many women searching for something to go by, and consequently settling on the penis. But men, too, are regularly frustrated that they can't make their penis do whatever they want to do and when they want to do it (go up, go down, last longer, have an orgasm). So forget everything you've learned from women's magazines about the 101 red-hot ways you can make his penis stand at attention, and check out The New Male Sexuality: The Truth About Men, Sex and Pleasure (Bantam, $16) for a broader perspective.
Send letters to Debby Herbenick, MPH c/o Time Out Chicago, 247 South State Street, 17th floor, Chicago, IL 60604, or send e-mail to email@example.com.