Sunday, December 5, 2010

Q. Whenever my boyfriend and I are out in a big group, he hardly pays me any attention. He says it's because he likes catching up with our friends and that no one likes really coupley couples, but I feel ignored. Am I being unreasonable?

A. There's a fine line when couples are in a large group of friends. If they are all over each other, then everyone else is excluded. But your boyfriend seems to have gone to the other extreme. Have another chat with him, tell him how you feel and see what compromise you can reach. However, you also need to make more effort to enjoy catching up with friends, too. Does your social life have to revolve around him? Get more involved with the group and focus on developing your own social skills and confidence, and being a person in your own right. Having something fresh to talk about when you come back to each other can only enrich your relationship. Also, when he sees you enjoying yourself, and chatting with other people, namely men, he will probably want to stick a little closer to you.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Q. My ex cheated on me two years ago. He broke my heart so I left him and moved on. We still talk and I love him like a friend, but my mates keep telling me to cut him out of my life. I am over him, but will this ruin my chances of future happiness?

A. It is possible to be friends with exes but it takes about six months to make the transition from lover to friend. You seem to have gone through this process and if you're being honest with yourself, and you're truly over him, then what's the issue? Just because your friends hold onto their past hurts doesn't mean they have the right to judge you. Follow your heart and if it feels right, then carry on doing as you are.

Q. My bloke loves going down on me and even though I like it I don't have the patience to let him bring me to orgasm. As soon as I'm turned on I want sex. How long should it take and how can I relax and enjoy it?

A. There's no set time limit. Some women enjoy oral sex but if it's not your favourite thing, there's no reason why you have to do it for longer than you wish. Tell your boyfriend what you've told me - that you like him going down on you but once you're turned on you want penetration. Telling him will relieve the pressure you're feeling and you'll probably find you're able to relax and enjoy both oral and penetration more. Some women feel uncomfortable getting pleasure or find sex a bit embarrassing so they want to get on with penetration to avoid other activities that make them shy. Be sure this isn't the reason why you want to jump ahead. Spending time exploring oral can be good, but if it continues not to work for you then don't keep doing it.

Q. I had a one-night stand with a bloke I met in a club, which is totally out of character for me and we haven't spoken since. Now I've met someone I really like, but have just seen that he is Facebook friends with my one-night stand. Should I say something, or just hope they're not that close?

A. I wouldn't worry about it. It's none of your new man's business who you've had a one-night stand with, and the other bloke you slept with has clearly accepted it was just a casual thing. Although it's difficult, I'd avoid reading too much into what's posted on Facebook, as you might end up making yourself unnecessarily anxious. Just concentrate on the relationship with your new man and focus on enjoying being together.

Q. My bloke cheated then I found out I was pregnant with his child. I took him back but I'm worried I might start to resent him. How can we deal with this mess before the baby arrives?

A. You should get professional help now. Your GP may be able to refer you to a counsellor or try Relate ( or the British Association for Sex and Relationship Therapy ( Recovering from cheating takes time and can only work if you are both equally willing to address this. If he seems unable to help reassure you, consider this is good for you and the baby long term. Speak to your GP and midwife as they can help.

Q. My boyfriend and I have been together for two years but I still feel second best to his mates. He's just told me they've booked a lads' holiday over Christmas and New Year. Is it completely unreasonable to expect him to run these things by me first?

A. A long-term relationship is supposed to be a partnership and yes, you and your boyfriend are supposed to talk about things like holidays and special events. After two years it seems as though your boyfriend still likes the single life and spending all his time with his mates, and he expects you to fall in with his decisions. So start asking yourself if this is what you really want. Is this relationship good enough or are you just making do? Who is really holding this relationship together? You or him? If you started behaving as he did, would it last? This may be the wake up call you need to decide what you really want and not settle for second best.

Q. I'm in a happy relationship, but there's a man at work I've got a crush on. I'd never act on it, but I find myself fantasising about him. It's almost like I'm imagining an affair so I can get it out of my system. Is this normal or disloyal?

A. Fantasy is part of our sexuality and it's not always logical, predictable or welcome. However, in most cases it's harmless and just part of being human. Even in the most dedicated relationships people can see a stranger and fancy them before realising it. It could be that this man represents excitement and distraction at work. So think about whether your job's really using your abilities and if it isn't, see if you can apply for a promotion or think about a new job. Also, consider what this crush has taught you about your own relationship. Are you in a rut? Perhaps you need to spice things up with a weekend away or a bit of role play? Try to use this experience as a positive one to get more from your life.

Q. I've been seeing a man for six weeks but although we've kissed, he hasn't made any move towards sex. Should I give it time, or admit he just doesn't fancy me and cut my losses?

A. Let's have a think about what you can do in six weeks - grow your hair a quarter of an inch, do half a term at college, get a table at one of the more popular London restaurants... its not a very inspiring list, is it? Because, let's face it, six weeks really isn't very long. And yet somehow we expect it to be plenty long enough to make one of the most important of all personal decisions - whether or not to start a sexual relationship with a new partner.

I'm old-fashioned. So shoot me. In these days of the MTV generation, where everything has to be accomplished within the same time scale of a promotional video, we're so used to making snap decisions that anyone who tries to take their time is either gay, weird, or plain not interested. Yet believe it or not, there are men who think with their brains not their lunch boxes, who prefer to hesitate now rather than regret later and who feel a quaint need to at least get to know and like a woman before swapping bodily fluids with her.

Yes, there is a possibility that he just doesn't fancy you (although any body language expert will tell you that regular snogs are a fairly reliable indication of attraction). If you're celebrating your first anniversary with a quick peck on the cheek before the last Tube home, you should probably start worrying. But six weeks? Relax and wait a while.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Q. My husband and I are in a rut and I feel like I'm the one doing all the work to try to get us out of it. I'm constantly trying to talk to him but he just shuts me out. What can I do to get him to listen?

A. When something isn't working, we try to fix it. If that doesn't work, we try again - but often use exactly the same method. And we keep on trying, doing more of the same but thinking, "This time it will work - I just need to try harder." Women nearly always attempt to solve problems by talking. And talking some more. Often, however, talk doesn't work for men. Instead, think about how he would solve the problem if the situation was reversed. He'd probably do something - take action - rather than talk. So, follow his lead. Start doing new things rather than just suggesting them and you might get somewhere!

Q. I quite like giving blow jobs and usually swallow. Is it bad for you health-wise to swallow semen?

A. It's not 'bad' for you: semen is mostly water and mucus, though there are traces of acids, salt, chloride, ammonia, calcium, carbon dioxide and cholesterol (sperm makes up a mere one per cent of ejaculate). But the only problem is a large one: if he carries an STI, you may get it. Take your pick from a long list of diseases that can be passed on this way. In fact, just wrapping your mouth around his penis puts you at risk of contracting herpes, syphilis or genital warts if they're present. If you want to be truly safe, make sure you use a condom during oral sex.

Q. My boyfriend bought a penis ring, which the sex shop guy said would make him harder and last longer. Are they safe?

A. Penis rings constrict blood flow by keeping blood in the shaft of the penis. They also supposedly make his orgasms more intense because it takes longer to climax and the penis has more blood in it. Slip it over the head of the penis, pushing it down until it's fitting snugly at the bottom of the shaft. It should feel quite tight but not excessively so. The ring is perfectly safe as long as you make sure you remove it if there's too much swelling - and never, ever leave it on for a long period.

Q. My boyfriend bought a penis ring, which the sex shop guy said would make him harder and last longer. Are they safe?

A. Penis rings constrict blood flow by keeping blood in the shaft of the penis. They also supposedly make his orgasms more intense because it takes longer to climax and the penis has more blood in it. Slip it over the head of the penis, pushing it down until it's fitting snugly at the bottom of the shaft. It should feel quite tight but not excessively so. The ring is perfectly safe as long as you make sure you remove it if there's too much swelling - and never, ever leave it on for a long period.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Q. My boyfriend and I are really shy, so sex is always the same - in the dark and in bed. I want to experiment but I don't know where to start.

A. Relationships, like ponds, get stagnant if left to stand still too long. All things must adapt if they are to survive. Before you install a pole and a mirror ball in your living room, change only has to be small to make a big difference. Turn the TV off one night and produce an eye-mask. Ask him to trust you, then blindfold him (this will protect you from self-consciousness and heighten his other senses). Fill the room with sexy tunes, turn the lights low and get naked while leaving him clothed (or the other way round). Go slowly to build up the tension and remember, giggling is allowed - sex is supposed to be fun, if you're lucky, it will be your turn next!

Q. I don't enjoy giving oral sex (I feel like I'm suffocating) and I'm not very good at it, but my new girlfriend's made it pretty clear she's expecting it anyway. I don't want to make a fool of myself. Can you give me some help with going down there?

A. Quick tips won't make up for hard-earnt experience, but in the name of cunnilingus I'll try to set you on the right track. Firstly, unless her clitoris is near her anus, you can't possibly suffocate. Look at what you're dealing with. If you gently push her outer lips back her clitoris will stand out a little. Some women want you to keep your tongue on the button, others want you to move around it. She might want you to move up and down, side to side, or in circles, hard or soft, fast or slow. Listen for her clues. When she's making the right noises, commit to not stopping until she comes. Oral sex is only hard work if its a chore - bringing someone to orgasm with your tongue is an honour. You could also buy a bikini trimmer for better access, and offer to shave her as part of your foreplay.

Q. My boyfriend can't be bothered to have sex. He likes getting blow jobs but says that intercourse is too much effort and that maybe if I dressed in sexy outfits, he might want it more. I don't mind dressing up but why does sex have to be such a circus for him?

A. Make it clear that regular sex is important to you and if you're willing to dress up like a performing seal to get some, you expect him to make the effort to please you without the 'dress up' sometimes. He probably doesn't have a very high libido and needs higher levels of stimulation to get revved up. On the whole, men are more visually stimulated and less imaginative than women, so they need to actually see things rather than just picture them in their minds. His suggestion might seem clumsy but at least he's trying to offer a solution - even if it is one that means you still do all the work. Your libidos may be mismatched, but the responsibility for resolving the problem is 50/50.
Q. My new girlfriend is permanently horny. It's been three months since we met and she's still not slowing down. Whenever I try talking to her, she just starts kissing me or trying to unzip my trousers. I really want to get to know her a bit better, but I'm starting to think that she just wants me for the sex.

A. That's possible, but it's more likely she's using sex to avoid developing the relationship with you. We assume that sex is intimate because we have to take our clothes off to do it (or at least for some of it) but actually talking to each other - sharing details of our lives, opening our hearts and minds to another person's scrutiny - is far more intimate, and much more risky. Assume that she's far less confident with her clothes on than she is naked and you might start getting somewhere. Why not arrange to spend more time with her in public? Take her out for a romantic dinner and chat about light-hearted things to build up her confidence. Of course, she'll probably try to talk about sex, but hey, its a start.....!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Q. My parents divorced when I was a child, and my partner's dad keeps cheating on his mum, who says it's something all women have to go through. I can't sleep for worrying. I trust my partner totally but worry he'll go through the same mid-life crisis our dads did. If I talk to him he'll think I don't trust him, won't he?

A. History doesn't repeat itself. We do. Start thinking like his mum and you're halfway to trouble - men and women tend to do what's expected of them. What his mother believes, along with her acceptance of her husband's infidelity, is their marital history. And your parents made their own unhappy history. You two are making your own unique relationship history. Talk to him - but about ambitions for your future, happy memories of your past together; about love. And keep talking. Mid-life crisis? Even the words sound out of date. Have I mentioned that history doesn't repeat itself? We do.

Q. I am a FAT person. There are many words that sound nicer but, at the end of the day, I'm 19, size 24 and FAT. I'm desperate to look fashionable when I'm out with my friends, but I just look silly when I try. I was size 16 when I met my fiance - he can't even get his arms around me any more. I've now told him I can no longer have sex with him because I'm too embarrassed in bed. Help!

A. You're a bright, healthy, young person, with friends and a man who loves you. You also happen to be fat. So what? Who cares? You do. Of all the amazing things you are, you choose to define yourself as fat. Take a good look at yourself - the one who lives inside the body you see as a prison. What are you so scared of that it makes you use your body as an excuse to avoid facing down fears and facing real desires? Are you so afraid of failing that you've fixed it so you can't even try? Are you so scared of rejection that you've decided to reject yourself first? Are you afraid of love? Of sex? Counselling will help you lose weight but, more importantly, it will help you find yourself. Being overweight brings health risks, so your doctor is an ally, not a judge. Weight Watchers or Slimming World also offer support. You can do it. You just have to believe in yourself first, and want it.

Q. I've just started seeing a bloke and things are going well, but I know that he was with his ex for years and I'm scared I won't be up to scratch in bed. I've built it up to be a massive deal. How can I keep calm about it?

A. It's normal to worry like this, but just because he was with his ex for years doesn't guarantee that their sex life was great. And even if it was good, he's with you now! Every partner we are with allows us to learn what excites us and explore what is pleasurable, so rather than comparing yourself with his ex, focus on what feels good together. Remember, relationships are built on a lot more than just sex and he'll be looking forward to getting to know you and building a relationship with you - not thinking about his ex. Rather than worrying about the past, focus on the future and plan enjoyable activities in and outside the bedroom, so you can get on with having fun together.

Q. I've become really good friends with my best mate's boyfriend, but last month she cheated on him. She's not going to tell him, and I can't as I've been friends with her for so much longer, but I feel guilty each time I see him. What should I do?

A. It's not fair of your friend to put you in this situation, but she probably figures that your loyalties are strongest to her. No one outside a relationship can know quite what's going on between a couple, and telling her bloke what happened might cost you both of their friendships. Tell her how awkward things are and that you hope she doesn't make a habit of it. If it's a one-off, you should let it go for the sake of friendship, but if it keeps happening maybe it's time to broaden your social circle and focus on other friends. Or alternatively ask her not to tell you any part of her behaviour. What you don't know can't torment you, and being unable to brag about her conquests to you will drive her potty.

Q. When my boyfriend was really drunk, he proposed to me. We laughed it off the next day, but now he keeps doing it and then blaming it on the drink the next morning. Does he want to marry me or not?

A. Do you want to marry him? If you don't, just ignore these drunken antics, he'll soon get bored of the game. But if you do want to marry him in the future and this is leaving you feeling uncertain, I'd ask him where you stand when he's sober. Tell him his drunken proposals are confusing you and that if he does want to get married, he needs to propose when he's sober. You don't say how long you've been together, but finding out where you stand doesn't mean you have to get engaged or married immediately. However, it will give you a sense of where you're headed as a couple. If he continues to give mixed messages, you may need to decide how long you can live with uncertainty in your relationship.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Q. Recently my boyfriend of two years said that although he's always loved me, he's never fancied me. I feel so hurt and my confidence is shattered. Should I just accept this, or is it wrong to stay in a relationship that feels one-sided?

A. We're used to the idea that relationships are the complete package, so it must have been a shock to hear this confession. People are together for all different sorts of reasons and there's more than one type of love. What you have to decide is whether this has permanently changed your view of the relationship and if what you have is good enough. Then have a serious chat about where you see the relationship going. Resist the temptation to try and change your looks for him though. Ultimately you have to be true to yourself.

Q. I've never had a boyfriend and all of my friends are in long-term relationships. I don't want to sound childish, but I can't help think, 'What's wrong with me?' I usually get to three dates with a man, then he stops calling. What am I doing that's putting them off?

A. If you don't tick all the boxes for someone it doesn't mean there's something wrong with you - it just means that you've both got different checklists. I know it sounds cliched, but try and get out as much as you can and focus on what makes you happy and relaxed. That way, when you meet someone you'll be at your best, and the real you can shine through. Three dates is pretty good, so you're obviously doing something right to get a second and third date. It could be that you're raising the stakes for a third date and expecting too much. On each date, focus on the present moment and don't think about the next one. It shouldn't be long before you break the three-date barrier.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Q. I've been with my boyfriend for a few months. We have the most fantastic sex life and he regularly makes me orgasm. The problem is he wants it all the time and I can't handle it! How do I go about telling him this without sounding ungrateful?

A. I'd tell him pretty much what you've told me. That he really turns you on and how much you enjoy sex with him. Then explain it feels so intense it's good to have time to recover, and that you enjoy your orgasms more if you have space to cool down in between. You might want to try sharing things with him too, so if you've had an orgasm, then you may want to masturbate him or give him a blow job and then return to what excites you. He sounds aware of your desires so will hopefully appreciate the feedback.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Q. My girlfriend has lost all interest in sex since receiving treatment for cervical cancer. I don't know if it's because of her appearance - she's lost her hair, eyelashes and eyebrows and put on weight - or if it's something else? She's only 25. What can I do to help her?

A. Treatment for cancer changes people emotionally and physically. Talk to her about how she feels, how you feel and the changes she's experiencing, and discuss what non-sexual things you enjoy as a couple. She may be avoiding intimacy because it's uncomfortable or because she fears it will lead to sex, which isn't what she wants right now. Make it clear you can still kiss and cuddle if that's what she wants, but if she doesn't want this either, be patient. Reassure her that you're there for her and love her. When she's ready for sex again she'll let you know, but in the meantime confidence issues may affect her, or she may be worried about sex being painful. Cancer charity Macmillan ( has resources on sex after cancer and can offer you both advice on how to manage your relationship at this time.

Q. My boyfriend never gets jealous. I was out recently and another bloke asked for my number, but my boyfriend just laughed when I told him. Does he not care?

A. Jealousy is not a normal part of relationships and can be incredibly destructive, so why go looking for it? It's not a sign that someone cares, rather that they have unresolved self-esteem issues. Your man seems relaxed, secure and comfortable in his own skin. However, you seem to think there's something missing. Is he giving you what you need or do you have to play games by trying to make him jealous? Have a chat and tell him what attention and reassurance you need, and focus on increasing the good stuff.

Q. I've started seeing a man and when I'm with him he's really attentive. But he works away a lot and does shifts, so sometimes days go by and I don't hear from him at all. Is he just not that bothered about me or are his reasons for not getting in touch genuine?

A. Does he work in the secret service? Is he running the country? Are his thumbs broken every time he leaves your side? If not - and your relationship is serious or getting that way - you have every right to ask him for more regular contact. If you're smelling a rat over his behaviour, and think he could be seeing someone else then bide your time as it will show itself in some way fairly soon. But if this is purely about more contact, remember that men aren't as big on communication as women are, they speak to make arrangements or find out the facts on something, they don't tend to spend hours on the phone like women do. However that is no excuse for the unforgivable behaviour, with all the methods of communication, he could easily send a text or email. Simply not good enough. Rather than turning it into a confrontation, let him know how much you miss him while he's away, and how you'd love to chat to him every day if possible. Also consider suggesting some sexy chats, that's sure to keep him calling. Don't tell him off but do be firm if he starts making dodgy excuses. If he wants you enough he'll start making more effort, if he doesn't - you have your answer.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Q. The bloke I've been seeing for a few months refuses to officially be my boyfriend, saying he doesn't want a serious relationship right now. We get on great, have been on holiday together and he's even said he loves me. Will he ever commit to me or should I finish things now, before I get hurt?

A. It sounds like he wants to keep his options open. As much as he loves to spend time with you, he still loves the single life, too. Ultimately, you have to decide whether what you have is enough for you right now, rather than waiting around for this bloke to recognise what a good thing he's got. But make sure you consider whether you're too eager to rush things without taking time to enjoy the moment. There's a fine line between being too patient and too pushy. Go with your gut feeling and decide where that reasonable middle ground is for you.

Q. Recently my bloke has started to get pain in his penis while we're having sex and has to pull out early. What could be causing it?

A. Firstly, and I always stress this, I am not a doctor, not medically trained at all. Secondly, it is really important that sexual pain in men is always checked out by a doctor. Some men suffer from a condition called phimosis where the foreskin becomes tight. The action of sex will tug at the foreskin and this can cause pain, particularly if the head of the penis is inflamed. It could also be an infection. Inflammation of the foreskin can be caused by thrush, but STIs such as herpes, gonorrhoea and chlamydia can cause pain too. If your boyfriend ignores the pain it will only get worse.

Q. I've just gone on the Pill and I've completely gone off sex. Are the two related?

A. They could be. Some brands of pill (particularly the progestogen-only Pill) can cause women's sex drive to decrease. The problem is often that when we go on the Pill we are likely to already be in an established relationship, which could also explain the dip in desire. It's always worth ensuring there aren't any other life factors that might explain how you feel. If you feel sure the decline in desire is due to the Pill, speak to your GP and ask them if there may be other methods that suit you better. Don't stop taking the Pill before you've sorted out alternative contraception though.

Q. I've been single for ages and it doesn't usually bother me, but recently all of my friends have got into serious relationships and I feel really left out. How can I make them stop inviting their boyfriends everywhere we go without sounding like a bitter singleton?

A. It's a sad fact of life that your friends will probably be seeing themselves as half of one whole rather than as an independent until right now. This is a phase of being 'in love' and, even if you can get them out alone, you might find that all they want to do is talk about their blokes or be busy texting them. A more strategic way to get them to yourself would be to invite the blokes along every time, until they get fed up with your company and start to turn the invites down themselves. A couple of evenings discussing Corrie or Gavin's man-tan on Strictly should do it. Or, plan a girls' night out once a week so you can all catch up properly without the men in tow.

Q. I had a date with a guy I've fancied for ages last week, and it was going well until I got drunk, cried for no reason then begged him to stay over. He did, but I haven't heard from him since. I really like him and think he liked me too before that - how can I convince him to give me another chance?

A. You can never get a second chance to make a first impression, but you can send him one text apologising for your behaviour and explaining that the booze got the better of you. Keep it brief, and if you don't hear from him then don't bother following it up. On this occasion you may just have to face up to the fact that booze cost you the bloke. If you need to get drunk to have a good time and always end up getting over-emotional, maybe it's time to take a closer look at what's going on with your life at the moment and try to tackle that.

Q. Last month my boyfriend of two years broke up with me, saying his feelings had changed. A week later he said it was a mistake and he wants to try again - at first I was ecstatic but now I feel like I'm waiting for him to dump me again. I was so secure before - how can I be again?

A. It'll take time to get that feeling back, but tell him how you feel and ask him to reassure you. He has the right to change his mind and has been honest with you, but he also needs to understand that this will make you feel anxious and unsettled. Make it clear you want the relationship to work but also remind him that if he repeats the behaviour then you won't give him another chance. You need to believe that he wants to be with you unless he indicates otherwise.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Q. Why can't my boyfriend remember the way I like to be touched in bed? It's like Groundhog Day. When I tell him, he does it right, but the next time he's forgotten!

A. Bravo to you for taking the time to give him the low-down on the what, where and how of your body. Clear, open and honest communication is definitely the key to fantastic sex, but there's more to it than offering a few mechanical pointers. If it were that simple, we'd all be handing our new lovers a 'Guide to Giving Me the Perfect Orgasm Every Time' (sounds lovely doesn't it?). Instead of acting like a frustrated teacher with an unwilling pupil, try talking to him like a grown-up. Tell him how it makes you feel when he constantly forgets what you like and has to be told what to do again and again. Be clear that these are things you want every time. He might be assuming that the reason you're always giving him blow-by-blow instructions on what to do next is because you're getting off on giving commands.

Q. My boyfriend can't ejaculate during sex. It's always the same - we have sex for ages, he doesn't climax, and then has to pleasure himself to orgasm, leaving me feeling sore and useless. Is there something wrong?

A. It can take time to learn how to orgasm with another person. Masturbation comes naturally to most but a sexual relationship can take years of experience to perfect and hone. Everyone has insecurities but sometimes they end up forming very unsexy habitual thoughts which act as 'orgasm blockers'. I'm taking too long. She's bored. Should I fake it? Is his jaw aching? Is she getting sore? The only sure way to get past them is to check the truth out with your partner, but until you're brave enough, stick to things that work to build your (and his) confidence. Allowing yourself to be used like a poor second to his own right hand isn't helping either of you. For now, you can be part of his orgasm by gently massaging (or licking) his testicles while he works on himself.

Q. My boyfriend prefers porn to me. He looks at it every day (I check his computer) but when it comes to having sex with me, he's 'too tired'. The porn actresses are thinner and prettier than me. How am I supposed to compete?

A. Porn actors are like cartoon characters - they're not seen as real. He's as likely to compare them to you as he is you to Jessica Rabbit. The images are purely functional - they tickle the bits of our brain that fuel sexual desire. Porn isn't sex, it's masturbation. And, to put it bluntly, if you think he prefers his own right hand to your womanly flesh, what are you doing there? Sneaking around his private data won't help you feel more secure. Ask him if everything's OK because you noticed a dip in his libido. Try having sex early evenings or mornings when he's not tired. And stop snooping. How would you feel if he found a way to read your mind and your fantasies? If you can't talk to him or trust him, what's your relationship made of?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Q. My boyfriend's been working in the middle east for the past two months. We talk on the phone and write, but it doesn't feel the same. I met someone a week ago - we're now sleeping together and I'm developing feelings for him. This wouldn't have happened if my boyfriend had stayed in the UK - I felt lonely without him.

A. Of course you felt lonely - but what you were missing was someone to touch you and make you feel gorgeous. Phone conversations cannot warm the empty space when lovers are apart - only faith and love make distance bearable. Please stop blaming your boyfriend for leaving. Next, stop using your new man as a smoke-screen to hide disappointment. A long separation is a test of love's strength and your love failed to go the distance, so tell your faraway boyfriend that he is free - and then so are you. Why even mention the new guy? Before making any more choices, you need to reassess what you want in life.

Q. I've been with my boyfriend for nearly two years, but I have trust issues. I asked to see his mobile one day and he refused 'on principle'. The reason I asked was a text I saw on it, from a girl. I know it was wrong but I checked his phone the next day and he'd deleted all his texts. Is he hiding something? My friends think yes!

A. Trust in love has always been an edgy issue. And there are so many ways for trust to be tested in a world where men and women work and socialise together every day. Technology provides us with ways to communicate that are impulsive and hard to hide from snoops. And snoops don't just read other people's messages, they read into them. So, is he hiding something? Maybe. Or maybe not. But continue to suspect he is hiding something and he soon will be. Lack of trust is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you're not going to be trusted, why bother being trustworthy? And please don't talk to your friends - talk to him. And I mean talk. Not cry, interrogate or rage. Give him chance to put your mind at rest.

Q. I've been single for three years. A year ago, I started having cyber-sex with people in chat rooms. I love it because, in real life, I'm shy in bed and can't ask for what I want - online I feel like a goddess. How can I be that person in the real world too?

A. Your online personality isn't necessarily different from your real-life personality - if you're a goddess online, you're a goddess in real-life too. Think of your year in chat rooms as time spent studying your sexuality - you've learnt how to describe your needs in detail and now you have an honours degree in sexual confidence. The next step is to take your new found skills and put them into practice - with a real lover. You're now three years older and more experienced than the last time you were in a relationship - so don't judge the woman you have become by the girl that you were. Get out there, take it slow and let the goddess emerge.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Q. My new boyfriend can't stay hard. He lost his erection with the first girl he slept with and she told everyone - his nickname's been 'Softie' ever since. He says it's psychological and it usually gets better over time, but how can I be sure?

A. You have to take his word for it. The betrayal must have been very humiliating for him and he's probably embarrassed when he has to relive it with a new lover. He's being honest with you about an old mental scar he's still struggling with and he's given you no reason to doubt him. He trusts you, so trust him in return and be patient. In the meantime, you can build intimacy by taking intercourse off the agenda altogether, so you don't have sex until you really know one another. I don't mean to sound like everyone's mum, but it really is the best way.

Q. I can't believe that I'm complaining about this - my girlfriend treats me like a sex toy. She's obsessed with my penis, which would be great if I felt like she was interested in the rest of me. She never looks at me during sex and won't let me go down on her. I like her so much - I want to understand.

A. It's either that you turn her on, but she doesn't fancy you, so she's using you until someone better comes along, or she really likes you - and wants to please you - but is shy and finds it easier to focus on your penis than meet your eye under such intimate circumstances. If it's the first one, she probably never refers to you as 'her boyfriend' or makes plans with you further than next Friday; you haven't met her friends or family; and she prefers shagging to talking and rarely touches you out of the bedroom. But if its the second, she'll have found lots of ways to show you she cares and may just need a bit more time to build her confidence in the bedroom. Deep down you know which one it is.

Q. I can only have sex doggy-style or I lose my erection. I want to be able to do it in different positions but I get really self-conscious when I know they're looking at me - even if my eyes are closed. I don't get it, as I'm not usually shy.

A. This isn't about shyness - its about intimacy and its a common problem. When men imagine women in sexual terms, they tend to separate her being from her body. Younger men's sexual fantasies rarely include a girls personality! When you meet a woman's eyes in bed, you're confronted by her 'being' and it confuses you, as meeting her gaze forces you to remember that she's a person as well as a great piece of ass! This will change when you have sex with someone you care about. Forming a relationship with a woman's mind as well as her body will open up sexual possibilities that, right now, you can't even imagine.

Q. My partner has asked me to marry him, but I feel so guilty. Three years ago I had an affair I never told him about. Is it unfair to keep this from him? Should I own up before we get married or pretend it never happened?

A. This is one of those situations with no straight forward answer - you could lose out whatever you decide to do. The thing is that secrets are unhealthy in relationships, and no matter how tempting it may be not to tell, be careful that the secret you keep doesn't create distance between you. If you decide to confess, be prepared for things to be difficult - your partner will feel angry, betrayed and disillusioned. You'll have to work hard to earn his trust again. Relationships can survive adultery and even grow stronger because of it. By deciding when to tell him, you're at least likely to feel more in control. Plan what you're going to say and make sure your apology is sincere. Try to explain why you cheated and why you'll never do it again. Ask him what he needs you to do to begin making things right. Then try to work together to heal your relationship. But remember - it may be something he can't forgive, no matter how long ago it happened.

Q. My girlfriend's put on weight and become so paranoid. If I don't want sex, she interrogates me about whether I still fancy her. It's not her weight that puts me off, it's her insecurity. If she feels bad why doesn't she just lose weight?

A. Because she feels bad!! It's hard to take control of your life when your self-esteem's on the floor. She's stopped liking herself and expects you to stop liking her too. She keeps asking because she can't believe you still fancy her - as she feels so unfanciable. Many women can't feel sexy when they're fat. Tell her you know the weight is making her unhappy, although it doesn't worry you, and ask her how you can support her getting back to a size she'd be happy with. Although it's not your 'job' to keep her spirits up when she's low, you should do it out of love and hope that she's there for you when you need her.

Q. My boyfriend can't penetrate me. He's really patient but no amount of lube or foreplay makes a difference. Last time he tried, my vagina tore at the entrance, and I bled. Sex never ends with orgasm or enjoyment, just pain and tears. I'm scared I'll be a virgin for the rest of my life.

A. First of all, you need to stop trying until you find out what's wrong. There is a condition called vaginismus where the muscles of the vagina (pelvic floor) clamp down and lock shut. It's typically found in women with little or no sexual experience (although it can also be a response to trauma too). Muscle tension is a response to fear - it's a vicious, worsening cycle; you tense up because you expect it to hurt and, when it does, the pain reinforces your fears and increases the tension. There is treatment and help available - but you must see your GP. Don't self diagnose or take my word for it. Google it for more information.

Q. My girlfriend used to want sex all the time but now she won't even let me cuddle her. When I try asking her what's going on, she says I'm pestering her. I've tried everything from candles to massage. It's making me really insecure. Is it sex she's gone off - or me?

A. Your insecurity is drawing you into a very unattractive behaviour pattern that is almost certainly making a bad situation worse. Your 'trying everything' doesn't seem to have included giving her any space to work this thing out for herself - it might be about you and then it might not, but either way, putting pressure on her to sort it out isn't going to charge her libido up anytime soon. There's nothing less sexy than a whiny puppy begging for attention. Make a decision to let her come to you when she's ready and get on with your life so she can see you as the independent, confident, outgoing bloke she fell for in the first place. If she doesn't come back, you can reassess your options like an adult who has choices.

Q. My new boyfriend told me he used to have simultaneous orgasms with his previous girlfriend. I enjoy sex but I don't have enough feeling in my vagina to make me climax that way. How can I improve my sensitivity?

A. Every inch of the labia, vulva and clitoris is filled with a gazillion tingly nerve endings - enough to achieve bone-shaking orgasms. A sensitivity that does need improving is your man's! Any guy who thinks he's having regular simultaneous orgasms through intercourse alone is more likely to be the victim of a faker. Just like his penis, your sex tool (your clitoris) requires stimulation, care and attention. If he wants simultaneous orgasms, he'll have to brush up on his other skills, and he needs to shut up about her!!

Q. I've always liked this man but he got married three years ago and I was happy to just be friends. Then out of the blue he texted to say he wasn't happy, so we met up and he told me he'd strayed a few times. I told him he should make his marriage work for his children's sake but later I received another text saying it was me he really wanted to be with. I really like him too, but I doubt I could live with splitting him and his wife up. Can we still be friends?

A. He needs someone to share the trauma of his rocky marriage with and he's picked you. Your instincts are right - you're not made to be the other woman; you want to be the only woman. So, can you still be friends? No. He's too needy right now for the sharing and balance of a good friendship. He alone must first solve his problem with the only other people concerned: his wife and kids. So back away and be there only if or when he takes it upon himself to become a free agent. But a small word of caution. He may tell you he's free to get what he wants and needs, be sure he is definitely free before you believe him and go any further.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Q. I love sex but I can't orgasm with a man. I get all fired up but start to think he's bored or tired. Sometimes I go into the bathroom after sex and masturbate without him knowing because I'm just desperate to cum. That's not normal is it?

A. I'd never receive a question like this from a man because men feel entitled to their orgasms, whereas we feel we have to be grateful for ours! Stop making their issues your problem. If the man you're with is bored, stop sleeping with him. If he's tired, let him swap arms or alternate his tongue and fingers. Repeat after me, 'I have a right to an orgasm, no matter how long it takes'. Tip: always cum first - chemicals released in a man's brain after he cums makes him sleepy. Also remember there's nothing sexier for him than watching you cum; otherwise he wouldn't bother.

Q. My husband's so boring in bed. If I try talking dirty, he tells me to be quiet. If I put on lingerie, he takes it off straight away. He sulked for weeks when I suggested bringing a vibrator to bed. Seriously - I love him but what's his problem?

A. Banter, knickers and toys..... what's next? Naked hiking? Riding crop and stiff britches? Sex play can be deeper intimacy between lovers, but it can also be a way to avoid the simple closeness of being one on one. Maybe he's satisfied with just you and is hurt that you don't feel the same? Is it just the sex you're bored with or is there more to it? Talk to him - away from the bedroom. Go for a walk (men find it easier to talk side by side) and find out if he's really happy as things are. Be honest about your needs, but be gentle - calling him boring in bed is more likely to make him crawl under the duvet than inspire him to be the lover of your dreams.

Q. I've just ended a painful relationship and want to have some easy-going, no-strings-attached sex. I've always thought guys were up for one-night stands but when I suggest it, I don't see them for dust. What's going on?

A. If you want to know why men are unwilling to take you up on your offer, put yourself in their shoes. Imagine a guy saying to you 'Hi, fancy a shag? No - don't bother with your name, I'm only interested in sex'. Wouldn't you turn on your heels too? Men may seem like aliens at times but they're only human - almost just like us!

You're confusing your fantasy with reality. It's insulting to be wanted only for sex, whatever the gender. I don't mean to be a party-pooper but I suspect this has more to do with your painful ex-relationship than a search for fun. Do yourself a favour and take some time out to heal from the last fall before you get back on the horse.

Q. My good friend is in a great relationship but whenever she has a few drinks, she flirts with every guy in sight - including my boyfriend and my other friends' men - and we're all getting sick of it. It's not that we don't trust our boyfriends; it just gets on our nerves. I don't like confrontation, so how can I tell her I'm annoyed without her thinking that I'm worried my man fancies her?

A. For a start, don't regard a talk with her about this problem as confrontation. It will be far easier to persuade her if you first persuade yourself that you're actually doing her a favour. Tell her that by coming onto every guy she meets, she's in danger of making herself a laughing stock - or picking a guy who will take her come-on too seriously. If you stay calm and speak like the affectionate friend you are, the next time she drinks too much and hits on a man inappropriately, all you'll have to do is raise your eyebrows or whisper 'He's not your type.....' Should she get defensive and say you're jealous, just smile, sigh and shake your head, so that she can see you knew she'd say that. And you did, didn't you?

Q. How do I give him a hand job that's 10 times better than the one he could give himself?

A. I'm going to let you in on a little secret: the difference between a good hand job and the best ever has nothing to do with your hand technique. In fact, it is true that nothing you do with your hand is going to be 'better' than what your guy can do with his (in general, a steady, rhythmic pressure feels amazing, with your hand rotating down his shaft in a corkscrew motion). Instead, the key is to add sensations that he can't experience on his own.

As you're touching him, let your breasts teasingly brush against his lower abs or balls, stroke his inner thighs with your other hand. You can also treat him to dirty talk, like telling him what you love about his cock, or detailing what you want him to do to you once you're done. If you're ambidextrous, try pleasing yourself while you're stimulating him. More than likely, he's fantasised about watching that erotic display during his solo action, so having you bring it to life will be unforgettable.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Q. I've never been that turned on by breast stimulation. How can I get more pleasure?

A. First of all, every woman is different. It's possible that chest action just doesn't do it for you, and that's totally normal. But if you want to amp up the sensation, try experimenting with different temperatures. You've no doubt noticed how your nipples become erect when it's chilly (that's due to small muscle contractions around your breasts - the same kind that cause goose bumps). Playing with cold temps, like having your guy use an ice cube to trace teasing circles around your nipples and along the sides of your breasts, can heighten sensitivity and increase your pleasure as a result.

Heat is also a titillation booster, since it brings more blood to the surface of the skin, making it more tender to the touch (in a really good way). To take advantage, ask your guy to alternate between licking your nipples and blowing on them with his warm breath.

Q. I want to have sex in the toilets of a restaurant, but my guy is a big germaphobe and total clean freak. Is it really that unsanitary? And what's the best position for getting it on in such a small space?

A. Well, it's not exactly clean. You could pick up germs that would put you at risk for catching things like a cold or flu, but it's not any riskier than using the bathroom like you would normally. The key is keeping your clothes on to minimise contact with bacteria. And since this is a quickie, staying dressed only adds to the hotness.

As for what position to try, standing up doggie-style is easiest, given what little room you have to move. Face away from your partner, palms placed against the stall wall for stability, as he enters you from behind. If you want more leverage, you could try propping up one foot or knee on the toilet seat to help you thrust back onto him. And luckily for your germaphobic boyfriend, this position allows him to keep his hands on your body - and nothing else.

Q. I keep losing my erection when I'm with a girl. It starts off OK and then.... it just dies. It got so bad with my ex that I dumped her out of embarrassment. Now I've met an amazing woman and I'm terrified it's going to happen all over again.

A. The key is that you are 'terrified'. Fear has a strong impact on our minds and bodies. We enter fight or flight - the choice we have to make when faced with danger. Our breathing shallows (to encourage adrenalin release) and we want to empty our bowels, bladder and stomach (to reduce the weight we carry). The last thing you need when frightened is sex so you lose your hard-on. Take deep breaths and try to relax. If she rejects you, you'll survive to live another day, but if she's as amazing as you hope, she'll be happy to go at your pace. And if you feel brave enough, explain the situation to her. You will be surprised at how understanding she will be. And I'm pretty sure she will want to try extra hard to make sure you stay extra hard!

Q. My new boyfriend recently suggested we go sex shopping together - at the supermarket. It's not that I'm unadventurous, but apart from watching Mickey Rourke smearing cream over Kim Basinger in 9 1/2 weeks, I've no experience of mixing food and sex. Is it safe?

A. Well that depends on what you're planning! The rule is, never put anything in your vagina, you wouldn't put into your mouth. But that doesn't mean everything you put in your mouth is OK! Don't put anything inside you that could snap off (bananas = bad). If you're unsure, put a condom over it. It's best to use foods that spread on the surface of the body and can be licked off (chocolate, honey, ice cream, yogurt, etc). Avoid getting any of these inside you though, because the acid/alkaline balance of the vagina can be upset very easily and a dose of thrush is no one's idea of dessert. However, so long as the yogurt is natural and unflavoured it can always help if you already have thrush setting in.

Q. Six months ago, I agreed to a threesome and my husband hired an escort girl to come to our flat. I've regretted it ever since. My paranoia's eating me alive; he seemed to enjoy sex so much more with her that I keep thinking he's seeing her. I can't cope. What's wrong with me?

A. Nothing! Threesomes are an emotional minefield that even the most self-assured couples struggle to navigate, so stop beating yourself up. Watching your lover writhing naked with someone else is bound to hurt. The question is, how do you get past that? Something I regularly hear from couples trying to survive a threesome is that it feels like one of them has had an affair that the other can't forgive. No one meant to hurt anybody, so be gentle with each other. Talk and listen until you both feel understood. If that's too hard, see a relationship counsellor. The goal is either forgive and move on or just move on, but is it really worth throwing away your relationship over a couple of hours?

Q. I've recently started dating a new man. Our sex life is a little 'unsatisfying' to say the least. He is a heavy drinker, he needs a tumbler of Jack Daniels to help him sleep and every time I visit his home he is already drunk. When he is sober, which is rare, he is a very nice man but the drinking is now becoming an issue.

This is not my main problem though. He is a biker, he loves his bike and has a male friend he spends a lot of time with. His friend is a drinker too, and I have no issue with him having a drinking buddy, he even stays over a few nights a week, when I'm not there. Rumours have filtered back to me, via a few mutual friends, that he does more than ride bikes and share a pint with his friend.

I'm wondering if he is, in fact, bi-sexual and that is why the sex between us is not great. He has a problem maintaining his erection, and I assumed it was the drink, but there is a possibility that it is his sexuality instead. Am I wrong to worry and jump to conclusions? How can I know if he is bi or not?

A. The only way I can suggest you know for sure is by asking him outright, but chances are, if he is using you as cover for his preferences, he will deny it anyway. I dated a bi-sexual man, and I didn't know about it until I confronted him several weeks into the relationship. I noticed a few things that may help you.

He could manage an erection initially but lost it when he entered me. He would then encourage me to perform oral sex on him and his erection would return. I did notice his eyes would be closed during the blow job though. Now I knew my orals skills were good but I didn't think they were better than full sex.

I also became concerned that he was overly keen on anal sex and suggested it repeatedly. There are only so many times you can say no to something before it becomes a chore. He would struggle maintaining an erection in any position other than doggy and this was yet another reason to question his preferences.

I thoroughly enjoyed our time together, and if he had been openly bi I wouldn't have objected, and could even have encouraged him to experiment more, but his hiding made me mistrust him and once the trust was gone, everything else had gone.

Have a close look at your relationship and decide if you want to ignore this problem, but coupled with his lack of consideration for you, and his drinking problem, it seems it could end up being a relationship that makes you frown more than it makes you smile.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Q. My boyfriend is cheating on me via the internet. I checked his chat logs and can see he has cyber-sex with other girls. They show each other their private parts. He also denies to them that he has a girlfriend. The whole thing is breaking my heart. What can I do?

A. Men treat online sex as sideline sex - of no real threat to their relationship. However, his chat logs are not like the hard-copy porn-stash of olden times that partners could even share for a turn-on. Games like this involve one-on-ones with real - if unknown - women. Cyber-sex cheating is a new problem, needing new solutions. You can write your boyfriend off, escape and give your heart time to mend. Or, if you think he's worth it, confront him coolly and tell him that the games stop or you leave. Mean it, or it won't work. Or, and this is for the bold ones amongst us, you can liven up your sex life by being the woman he has cyber-sex with. If you don't live together, get yourself a web-cam, and start playing along. See if it re-ignites your passion for each other, then carry it on in the bedroom in person. If he's been doing it with strangers just for the novelty, then let that novelty be the new, improved, exciting girlfriend he loves. Eliminate the competition!

Q. I've been single now for two years, after a four-year relationship. He ended it and broke my heart. I've tried online dating, I joined a gym, I go to college and I work full-time. I've been on countless dates but can't find Mr Right. What more can I do to meet guys?

A. When looking for Mr Right, what you don't do is as important as what you do. Don't appear desperate, as this may suggest you've recently been dumped, and a new guy will wonder why. Look interested but not over-eager - that means be genuinely interested in him as an individual, not as a candidate to fill a space. Don't think about whether he's fancying you; that's his problem. Also, remember, we're never more glowing than when doing something we enjoy. So, yes, go to the gym, and college, but do them because you love doing them, not to meet Mr Right, who often turns up when least expected.

Q. I've never made a girl orgasm with my fingers. I can hit the spot with my tongue fine, but I can't find a manual technique that works. My girlfriend's too shy to show me, so I thought I'd ask you!

A. Lots of men are all thumbs when it comes to getting handy with lady parts. It's tricky when you consider no two women are built alike, but there are rules. Be gentle (unless she asks you not to be) - clumsiness will turn her off. If she's not turned on (wet) enough, lick your fingers (or use lube) until she is. Does she prefer small circles round her clitoris, or directly on it? Find out by trying, resting your hand on her pubic bone for support. Her orgasm may take longer but stay involved - if she feels you're committed to taking her all the way she'll let you.

Q. I only orgasm when I'm on top, but my new man won't believe me and keeps trying to make me cum in other positions. I don't want to fake it. What am I doing wrong?

  1. You can orgasm during intercourse (two thirds of women can't).
  2. You've communicated your needs.
  3. You've been true to yourself by not faking.
Tick! Tick! Tick! Your only wrong turn is seeing his expectation as your responsibility - it's not. Men love a challenge. When you said "I can only cum on top", he heard, "No man has made me orgasm any other way". Cue Superman to the rescue. Remind him that your orgasm is about your pleasure, not his pride, and while you'll happily go through the Kama Sutra with him, when it's time for you to sing, it'll be from on top!