Q: I get cold sores/fever blisters once in a blue moon. I understand it to be herpes type 2. I'm a virgin and have never engaged in any sexual activity. (My mom often got cold sores, so I think it came from her, just being motherly.)
But when the time comes to have sex, I don't want to transfer oral herpes. Could I give a girlfriend herpes through oral sex no matter what, or is it only an issue when I have a cold sore/fever blister?
A: Great question, and the problem is that the answer is both.
Obviously, if you have an open sore, there are viruses that you could pass on. But there also might be viruses before a sore has become visible, so you may not have any signs of viruses that may be there. There are medications that can reduce the risk of transmission, and it probably would be helpful if both you and your partner were taking one.
But to get the right answer for you, you have to ask your doctor.
I'm glad you are a responsible person and decided to ask this question rather than just assume you couldn't pass herpes to a partner.
Q: I have been told for years by friends and family members that my very small (7 inches) penis is not large enough to satisfy a woman, because it takes a minimum of 10 inches in length to fully enter a woman. I never dated because of this; I figured there was no point. Now that I am older (51) I figured I could date someone who wouldn't care about sex.
I've met a wonderful lady, and we have had sex. She tells me that I am big enough to satisfy her and that she enjoys our sex. Is she just being nice?
A: By your age, I would have thought you'd know better, but you see, one shouldn't assume that older people are all that knowledgeable about sex. I don't know which friends and family members have been saying this nonsense to you, but the size of the average erect penis is 6 inches, so actually your penis is on the large side, not small. But since most women can't have an orgasm through intercourse alone, it really doesn't matter how large your penis is. When we experts say size doesn't matter, we're not just repeating some platitude.
For most women, size really doesn't matter. Now, there are women who can have an orgasm from intercourse, and for some of them, size does matter, but it's usually only a problem when the penis is really small, like 3 inches when erect.
I'm sorry that it's taken you so long to find out that your friends and family have been leading you astray, and I hope that this woman helps you make up for lost time.
Q: My husband and I used to have sex a couple of times per week. Then, about four years ago, I started to lose interest. We both figured it was due to stress. Unfortunately, I've gone from being uninterested to despising the idea. For over a year, whenever my husband wanted to have sex, I'd go along, because I'd read that you'll get in the mood. But that didn't happen. It got to the point where I'd get so sad and frustrated that I'd start crying quietly.
I want to enjoy sex again, but I don't know how, since just thinking about it makes me sad. We now have sex only about once every six to eight weeks, and when we do, I feel disgusted by the act.
I'm 37 and have never been sexually or mentally abused or had children, and my husband has been incredibly patient with my lack of desire. I haven't had the heart to tell him that I'm actually disgusted by sex, because he already thinks this has something to do with him. I feel completely abnormal.
I would get counseling, but I've been unemployed for quite a while, and we don't have the financial resources for it.
A: It sounds to me like your relationship with your husband is a good one, and since you mention being unemployed, it could be that you are depressed about your lack of work, and that is having a negative effect on your libido. Since I can't help you get a job, it's hard for me to really help you.
The one thing I might suggest is for you to think about sex more during the day. You might not be able to reignite your feelings of arousal solely during the times when you have sex; you might need to start slowly and learn to keep any little flame you can ignite at least warm, if not hot.
"Sex for Dummies" (IDG Books) is among Dr. Ruth Westheimer's most popular books. Have a question for Dr. Ruth? Write to her in care of this newspaper. You can also find her at http://www.drruth.com.
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