Disorder is affecting her ability to enjoy sex

Q: Please help me. I'm a 39-year-old female, and earlier this year I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome. While still recovering, I have no sensation from the waist down and can't enjoy sex with my husband. Please give me some advice so I can feel like a normal woman again. We have tried intercourse; however, I don't feel anything when we do, just the pressure of him inside of me.

A: I am not a medical doctor, so I can't help you from that point of view, though I certainly would tell you to ask your doctor whether this is a part of the disease and whether there is any remedy. But from my perspective as a sex therapist, I would tell you to try to regularly please your husband, whether it be via intercourse or some other way. As loving and loyal as he may be, not having sexual release might open up a divide between the two of you. Hopefully you can overcome this and all the symptoms of this disease, but in the meantime, try to keep your husband from feeling the effects too strongly.

Q: I have been seeing a wonderful boyfriend for four months. We are in a long-distance relationship, and want to have sex. The problem is that after foreplay, when it's time for him to enter, I get nervous and scared, and this ends up spoiling the moment. I am a 25-year-old virgin. Can you give me suggestions to help me, so the next time we meet it will be good?

A: Many young women have problems in the beginning, and the fact that you don't see your boyfriend regularly makes it more difficult, that's for sure. You want it to be good because you don't see him every night, but that desire to be good just adds to the pressure.

While I wouldn't tell you not to try when you are together, I would tell you not to expect things to improve all that much until you get to spend some time together. If the two of you could go away for a week, or even a long weekend, that might really help you. You'd get a boost in confidence knowing that even if you had some problems with intercourse the first time you tried, there would be a lot more opportunities coming up. So try making some plans to spend three or four days together, and then let me know what happens. And until that time comes, try not to worry about this too much, because, as I said, those worries only will make it more difficult for the two of you.

Q: I'm a very healthy female with a very high sex drive. I never need any foreplay to have sex, and I orgasm easily and every time ... at least twice a day. Am I just naturally blessed, or is this normal? Also, what is the average amount of lovemaking a week for a couple?

A: I don't know if you're simply looking for a pat on the back or whether you have some issues with your partner about how often you have sex. What other people do should have nothing to do with your sex life. We are all individuals and all a little different, so there is no "normal."

Since sex is done with a partner, what you should be seeking is some balance so that you both are as satisfied with your sex life as possible. In some couples, one person accuses the other of not being normal, but that's absurd. People can't change, though they can make a serious effort to accommodate their partner. And if the two can't agree, then they should split up.

I know it's not that simple, but all I can say is to stop looking over your shoulder at what other people are doing, and instead do what is best for you.

Q: I'm a 42-year-old male. I was dating and sleeping with a 47-year-old female. We were getting along great. Then she told me she has someone else and tried the old "wants me to break up with her" trick.

I know that if I call her, we will start up again. I really think she likes me more than she admits. My gut reaction is to forget her and move on to the next piece, but I think she could have been the one. Sign me completely confused.

A: Life is too short, and if she is playing games, my advice is to forget about her. Of course, maybe she's not playing games and she really means it that she's got another guy and is breaking up, and if that's the case, the decision was already made for you. But it's probably better not to find out and just forget it, because otherwise, even if she does get back together with you, she's likely to pull a stunt like this again.

Of course, it would help if you did not call her a "piece." If you want a partner, then your attitude has to be more open about women, even if the last one hurt you. But if you think of women as something to be had, then you deserve what you get.

"Sex for Dummies" (IDG Books) is among Dr. Ruth Westheimer's most popular books. Have a question for Dr. Ruth? Write to her at drruth.com.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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