Monday, April 25, 2011

Q. When my boyfriend tells me he loves me I always say 'I love you' back. But I don't know if I do. How can I tell?

A. I often get asked this question by people brought up on a diet of photo-love stories and Barbara Cartland - they tend to view love as a big hole in the road. One minute you're walking innocently along thinking about the price of potatoes and the next, wham! You've fallen straight in it. Truth is, love is less like a pothole, more like porridge. Bear with me on this. Remember the old advert where the children who ate Ready Brek had a warm glow that stayed with them all through the most freezing of days? Think of love as a warm, protective, but invisible blanket that makes crappy things seem not quite so crappy.

Now imagine your boyfriend is your blanket. Imagine taking him off. If you feel shivery and cold, it's love. If you feel liberated and free, it's not. And if you think I'm off my rocker wittering on about porridge and holes in the road when all you wanted was the answer to a simple question, remember, it's not a simple question, and there is no answer.

Q. I love my boyfriend but he's always grabbing at my bits. He says it's affection but I feel harassed. When I try to stop him, he laughs and does it more. He even does it in public. I try to stay out of his reach but then he sulks.

A. Affection is an expression of love - touching you against your will is sexual harassment. He's being a bully - either because he's an insensitive idiot who needs to grow up or a dangerous control freak who sees you as his plaything. What would happen if you went to grab his bits? Would he be angry or laugh and see your point? When a man uses his strength to overpower or intimidate a woman - even playfully - he's issuing a very clear message, 'I'm in charge'. Decide who you want to be in charge of you and act accordingly.

Q. I'm sick of having to make the first move with my girlfriend.... and the second, and the third. She wants me to do everything while she just lies there. It's all on her terms and it's her way or no way. What about me?

A. Good question! Until you ask it, nothing will change. So what about you? Why have you been so willing to let her get away with it? Don't you deserve a good seeing to as well? You can't really blame her for lapping up your attention when you keep giving it. Talk to her, be clear that the sex is too one-sided and you need her to be more active. Don't assume it's because she's lazy or doesn't care - she might feel too shy to take control. Also, it could be that you want more sex than she does, in which case you might have to wait for her to get horny enough.... then she'll get the ball rolling.

Q. Having orgasms with a boyfriend never used to be a problem. But now I hardly ever get there with my new man. I was single for two years and watched porn to meet my needs. Has it ruined me?

A. Our main sex organ is the brain. It can be trained to trigger an orgasmic response to sexual stimuli. You've been relying on one way for a while, so you need to retrain yourself. Porn focuses the brain on one thought - your orgasm. It's a quick search for the perfect image - then, wham! Sex with a person means having to consider more. We're not in charge of our orgasm; we trust someone to do it for us. Give yourself (and him) time to adjust. And stop masturbating until you find your relationship mojo.

Q. I want fiery, passionate sex but my boyfriend's all feathery kisses and lingering looks. I hate it! I have to shut my eyes to hide how angry I am. I've hinted at wanting more but he's not getting it. Why can't he act more like a man?

A. Definition 167 - Man: strong and demanding, in control and unafraid to take what's his. Simultaneously sensitive enough to pick up on subtle clues given by silently furious women. Come on! No wonder men look like rabbits in headlights when asked what women want. Why are you leaving it to him to decide what sex you have? What's stopping you taking the lead? Despite what you think about gender roles, it's not his job to guess and deliver. A relationship is created together. If you don't like it, it's half your job to change it into something you do.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Q. No matter how hard I try, I can't cum when I'm with a woman. My last girlfriend thought I didn't fancy her, and then dumped me, so I've been faking it ever since. I really want to sort it out but where do I start?

A. Honestly, you men - you're so ejaculation-focused. If there were no point to sex without orgasm, you'd have trouble finding a woman to fake it with because, for this half of the population, orgasms aren't taken for granted. Stop fixating on the problem. What thoughts make you cum when you're masturbating? Are they 'I must cum?' Didn't think so. Try concentrating on the woman you're with. Not only will it take your mind off your orgasm but she'll also feel satisfied whether you cum or not. This situation will pass when you allow it to. Stop stressing; there's nothing wrong with you.

Q. When I first became single, I thought I'd enjoy seeing different men without getting involved. But as soon as I've had sex with a man, I start thinking about him all the time - even if I'm not that interested. Why can't I have no-strings sex like men do?

A. Women aren't biologically impelled to have sex with as many different men as possible. We are, instead, psychologically hard-wired to become attached to a sexual partner - in case he impregnates us. The struggle for equal rights is about having choices, and just because a woman can sleep with anyone she likes doesn't mean she has to. If one-night stands don't suit you, don't have them. By the way, men don't get away with no-strings sex either - they're left feeling just as empty as we are. Try having flirtatious fun without having sex. It's just as delicious but doesn't leave you feeling vulnerable afterwards. Move things slowly and tell him you're doing that. Give it up when you are sure you both want the same thing. If he's not prepared to wait then he was never going to be the man for you.

Q. I've been seeing a man for a month and we're good together. We've talked about his family and his friends, yet he never got round to mentioning his girlfriend - I heard about her from a friend. Should I wait it out, confront him or back off?

A. You expect me to say 'back off' but I'm not going to. Apparently this man is interested in making you like him and not just making you another notch on his bedpost. Chances are, a man who needs to share his thoughts and history is genuinely unhappy at home. His pleasure in talking to you suggests something may have gone cold between him and his girlfriend; he's not quite on the rebound but he'd like to be. Tell him face-to-face that you've discovered he has a girlfriend. Listen calmly, watch him closely and use your head, not just your heart. Then proceed slowly.

Q. I love going down on my girlfriend and she says she enjoys it too but after a few minutes she always stops me. I really want to be able to make her cum with my tongue because it really turns me on - why won't she let me?

A. It could be that your technique is OK but not quite what she needs to orgasm. She might be lying to you about enjoying it, or she might not believe that you really want to be 'down there'. I get mail from women who don't enjoy oral sex because they feel they have to cum quickly before their men get bored - or get cramp. You have to convince her that you love it. Take the pressure off by trying the 69 position - she'll be too busy to let her thinking get in the way of her enjoyment, and yours.

Q. My ex used to smoke a lot of weed and his moods are very unpredictable. I'm in a new relationship now but he's got in touch saying he's off the drugs and wants me back. I still love him, what do I do?

A. Drugs, alcohol and food are all things people use to 'self-medicate' and deal with issues. The problem is that none of these deal with the underlying problems, so getting off the drugs is only the tip of the iceberg. Has he actually done anything to deal with his issues? It is understandable that you still have feelings and a lot of this is because emotionally-charged relationships can seem more exciting. But now you've made the effort to move on, invest in your new relationship instead of going back to your old one. Usually a relationship break up is called that because it was broken.

Q. My boyfriend's way too fast in bed and sometimes I feel like he's only interested in his own pleasure. How can I get him to slow down and experiment with different rhythms instead of him thrusting in and out of me like a Duracell bunny?

A. He may think he's doing what you like so you need to tell him it's a turn-on to try new stuff. You should take control and show him what feels good for you, with you on top for example. Tell him the speed you want him to go at and say how great it feels. You can also slow things down by focusing on exploring oral sex, masturbation, massage and finding out what else feels good. If he's cumming too quickly, then slowing things down should help, or try using condoms like Durex Performa, which are designed to prolong sex.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Q. My mates would laugh at me for saying this but I'm sick of being used for sex. I want a relationship but once I've slept with a girl, she disappears. I'm a nice guy and not bad looking, so either I stink in bed or women just want one-night stands - which is it?

A. In the olden days, before the Pill, Cosmo and hotpants, women didn't have random sex with random men because society deemed it unacceptable. Now women have sex when and with whom they please. Men everywhere are nervously waking up to the fact that women, free from the constraints of sexual oppression, can be every bit as insensitive, selfish and arrogant as men have always had the choice to be. It could be where you are meeting them, and if you set out your requirements before you bed them then maybe you could find a girl who wants the same. If she's prepared to sleep with you almost immediately then chances are she's not a keeper! Take heart, the good ones are still out there, so don't give up. Oh, and welcome to our world!

Q. My new man is 10 years younger than me and the sex is great. He loves trying new things and I love teaching him. The problem is, I'd like him to take control and be more intimate and tender. It's not something you can teach, is it?

A. You can't teach it but you can give it a chance to develop. Intimacy means being honest with someone about who you are, and my guess is that it's not him who's blocking the path to tender, shared loving - it's you. You've been playing the Mrs Robinson game; you experienced seductress, him wide-eyed virgin. That's a very powerful role and unlikely to make him feel like an equal. If you want him to take charge, you have to let go of the reins. Stop seeing him as an over-excited puppy. Treat him like a man you respect and you might be surprised to find that, for once, more than just his erection grows between you.

Q. I'm 22 and have been with my husband, who's 27, for five years. He's wonderful but I feel trapped in our marriage. I want to experience what my single friends do - living with flatmates, meeting new men.... In comparison, my relationship feels stale. When I try to tell him how I feel he says it's because I was so young when we met and it will pass. But I'm afraid our marriage is over.

A. What do you do when a room feels stale? Do you burn down the house or open a window? Yes, you committed yourself to one man at a young age and there's a price to pay for that; no flatmates to play with and no new men. And true, being young and the feelings that go with it, do pass - but the passing can leave bitterness and regrets. Before you start thinking about ending your marriage, view this relationship with a man you love as a challenge, not as a failure. Change your routine.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Q. I'm openly gay and have been seeing another girl who has a boyfriend and isn't ready to come out yet. I know I can't make her do it before she's ready but it's so frustrating. Should I move on or what?

A. There are two issues here. The fact she's in a relationship and the fact she isn't open about her sexuality. It's fine for you to say that you want to be exclusive with her - meaning she has to end it with her boyfriend. If she can do that it may be you can wait for her to come out. If she can't end it with him, it may be better to end things and find someone you can be with openly. If she has some space to think, she might realise how important you are to her.

Q. My new bloke doesn't like blowjobs, but all my exes were obsessed by them, so it feels really odd. Do you think he's just being polite because I'm doing it wrong, or are some men just not fussed about oral sex? I feel awkward when he goes down on me, because I can't return the favour. Is there anything I can do?

A. Some men aren't obsessed by blowjobs and get pleasure by making their partner feel good instead. If he doesn't mind not receiving oral, then why should you do it? Look at it as a bit of a break from having your head pushed down there and struggling for air. Also, be glad you've found a bloke who doesn't just go down on you out of duty, or because you'll return the favour. Things might change and he might want one as your closeness deepens. This could be his way of relaxing into the relationship. Who knows? Human sexuality can be very unpredictable and differs from person to person. So for the moment, just show your appreciation by letting yourself go and thoroughly enjoying what's on offer. You'll both have a good time and get turned on. Make the most of it, find out what other things he likes and focus on those instead.

Q. My boyfriend has a high sex drive and I struggle to keep up. We don't talk about it but I want him to know I do want him, just not as much as he wants me. What do I do?

A. A mismatch in sex drives is a common problem in relationships. Everyone has the right to say no, but it hardly helps you find a solution. Explaining how you feel is crucial to prevent resentment creeping in. Wanting lots of sex can just be the sign of raging hormones. However, it can also be a way of avoiding communication. It's clear that this relationship needs a little more talk and a little less action in order for it to move forward.

Oral special

Q. My man's rough when I give him a blowjob. He holds my head and thrusts into me and I find it uncomfortable. I know he's just caught up in the moment, but I hate it.

A. If you don't like it, don't put up with it. He might think this is what you like, or this is what men should do. Tell him what you do enjoy, how you like to go down on him, and that when he's rough it spoils the moment for you. He should get the message, but, if not, stop each time he holds your head or thrusts. This should be something that turns you both on.

Q. I'm massively worried about my new man going down on me. I'm self-conscious about how wet I am when aroused. Will he be put off? And what is normal?

A. Getting wet during sex is normal and a sign you're enjoying it. Some women get more moist than others, and you can get wetter at different times of the month, or depending on how turned on you are. He won't mind, in fact, part of the turn-on for him will be the chance to taste you. Men have erections so we know they are turned on. Women don't - so wetness is his indicator that he's doing something right. He'll love it.

Q. My bloke doesn't like going down on me and it's making me paranoid about the way I look and smell. How can I find out if it's me or him, or should I just give up?

A. Be brave - say you've heard some men don't like oral, while others might like to try but are scared they'll do it wrong. This gives him the opportunity to tell you if he's not into it, or if he'd like to experiment. Explain how it's affecting your confidence so he can reassure you. All genitals have an odour and this turns on some people, but washing before oral will help make you feel confident.

Q. My new bloke's well endowed and I find it hard to give him a good blowjob. How can I work on my gag reflex and 'handling' him?

A. Unless you get turned on by deep-throating, I'd be worried about you having to work on your gag reflex. Instead, there are other techniques you can use, including licking his penis, using your hands and mouth, and not taking him too deep. A good blowjob is something you discover together, so get him to tell you what he likes to see if you're comfortable with it. To give him the sensation of much deeper penetration, follow my tips on using your hand together with your lips.

Q. My man loves going down on me, but my mind always wanders. I don't see what all the fuss is about. How can I stay in the zone and get the most out of it?

A. If your mind wanders because he's changed what you were enjoying, tell him. Fantasising or talking dirty while he goes down on you can enhance how you feel. Not all women enjoy long oral sex sessions, so if you want him to switch to something else, then say. Some women orgasm through oral sex, but not all do. It doesn't mean you can't enjoy it, but only for as long as it's turning you on.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Q. I'm bored with sex - full stop. No matter who I sleep with, I always end up in the same old routine. I'm good at sex; I know how to please a guy and how to please myself. So once you've found what works, where is there to go after that?

A. Confucius say, the chick who knows everything knows nothing and the girl who thinks she knows nothing has the world at her feet. 'Good at sex' probably means you're skillful - ie. you give great blow jobs and bounce like a porn star on Ecstasy - right? Technically, good sex is like the outline of a picture yet to be coloured in. The full experience requires you to forget everything you think you know and start again, exploring the mind and body of the person you're with and letting them do the same for you. Sex should be instinctive and trusting. Drop your routine and take the risk of really engaging in the experience. If not, they say knitting can be a very rewarding hobby.

Q. I'm squeamish about sex mess. Sperm and juices make me feel so sick that I can't bring myself to go down on my man. As long as I don't think about all the squelching, I actually love sex. My boyfriend thinks it's hilarious but I feel like a freak.

A. Some people like messy sex but I bet there are more who feel a bit icky about bodily excretions. OK, so you're a little squeamish, but you're also someone who loves sex, and you have a man who's accepting of you and your current issues. You're a lucky girl. Don't waste time feeling bad; get creative. Give him a blow job over a condom, smeared in something you do like the taste of. Or give his penis a massage using rubber-safe lube, then slip on a condom when you're ready to make him climax, so you don't have to face the mess. Just because you're not into juices doesn't mean either of you should miss out.