Sex on a first date carries risks, whatever your age

Q: The Internet has a million and one websites that give dating advice. Each has a different approach to dating in this 21st century. With 50 percent or more of marriages ending every year, there are people of all ages dating again.

I'm in my mid-40s. I would love to be in a long-term relationship again someday after being divorced for five years after a 16-year marriage. What is a simple and effective rule of thumb for dating and sex? If there is an attraction and you intuitively know there is a connection, is it OK to have sex and be intimate on the first date? Or does this ruin any respect from a potential long-term partner?

I have heard that long-term relationships have evolved from first-date sex, but also that this lessens the respect and potential. Any opinion?

A: If the question could be limited to whether first-date sex would or would not lead to a relationship, my opinion might be different. But having sex has many consequences, including the transmission of disease, so I cannot endorse first-date sex.

I do think it's better to get to know each other, but also, first-date sex is far riskier because the other person might be someone with very few ethics who wouldn't care whether he (or she) were passing on a sexually transmitted disease.

My advice is to let the relationship build before having sex. There are no guarantees that because you do, it will lead to a long-term relationship, but I do think the odds are higher and that you'll be safer.

Q: I am 46, and my boyfriend is 47. Our sex life started off fantastic but recently has become sort of stressful. We became intimate for the first time about six months ago, and the past month has been the worst.

The problem is that I am not the best communicator; we are still learning each other's bodies, and I sometimes do not reach orgasm — although every time I get really close, he feels like he is not doing things right, which causes him stress. So he tries harder and I try to climax so he will feel better.

I know that all we need is to relax, enjoy each other and not worry so much, but I would love to hear some suggestions for how to accomplish this. He is having a slight problem with erectile dysfunction as well. Again, it does not upset me, but it seems to greatly upset him. Please help!

A: Maybe what would help the two of you would be to read a book about sex together. It seems you know what's wrong, but if you're not communicating properly, that may be causing him these problems. If he sees what some experts have to say, maybe he'll get the message and will calm down, and then together you can get in sync.

Q: I have this issue where it is super hard to reach orgasm if I touch my clitoris directly. The feelings are too intense. Because of this, my fiance has a hard time giving me an orgasm. Is this normal, and how do I fix this?

A: You are not alone in having a clitoris that is very sensitive. There are many women who have a sensitive clitoris. The trick is to not touch it directly. Whether you are masturbating or your fiance is touching you, the idea is to touch around the clitoris but not directly on it. This should allow you to get enough stimulation to achieve an orgasm without experiencing any discomfort that would distract you. Don't worry about whether this is normal, but just learn to adapt to it.

Q: The other day, my boyfriend and I got into a stupid fight that ended with us talking it out and hugging. That night, I tried to get him in the mood for sex by gently caressing him, and he told me that he still wasn't over the argument we had and that he doesn't do make-up sex.

I saw this as a challenge, so I proceeded to try to turn him on, but he told me to stop attacking him. I then went to bed hurt and angrier than before.

I feel like make-up sex would be a significant way for me to get over an argument, yet he is morally against it. Should I just keep trying, at the risk of repeatedly getting hurt?

A: I'm on your boyfriend's side. I don't think sex should be used for other purposes, and that includes making up after a fight. I know some people do that, and some people actually start fights so that they then can have make-up sex, but what kind of relationship is that? I'm not saying that one never should have sex after a fight, just not with the intention of using sex as a tool for making up.

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