Sex Question of the Day

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TODAY'S SEX QUESTION:

How do aphrodisiacs work?–June 29, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: To answer a question with a question, do supposed aphrodisiacs actually even work? An aphrodisiac is something that supposedly will increase your libido (sex drive), and legend has it that oysters are just the seafood to do the job, to the point where a man can’t order a dozen oysters in a restaurant without the waiter giving him a sideways look.  As with other alleged aphrodisiacs like ginseng, chocolate (including green M & Ms!), and Spanish fly, there is usually a tiny grain of possible truth to the notion, although never enough to make a legitimate claim. Oysters are rich in zinc, a mineral assumed to be a sexual response enhancer, but that’s a far cry from being a substance that has been documented to increase libido.  Many experts reckon that the only way aphrodisiacs work is the placebo effect – the idea that if you believe something improves sex for you, it’s really your imagination, not any magical properties of say, Rhino horn!  This way of looking at things is pretty harmless … if you believe that a Snickers bar will get you going, so be it, that’s no big deal. Bottom line here – there’s no evidence to support the idea that any specific product exists that will increase libido …. although the joke that probably has a much larger grain of truth attached, is that the only true aphrodisiac is variety.  Think about it!

Dr. Robin Sawyer is a professor of health and human sexuality at the University of Maryland. He's the author of Sexpertise: Real Answers to Real Questions About Sex and producer of four films on human sexuality. Every semester Dr. Robin Sawyer’s human sexuality class fills up faster than you can say “foreskin.” Thankfully, College Magazine is able to snag a few minutes of his time to answer your burning sex questions.

Got a sex question? Want answers. We’ll keep it confidential. Send your sex questions to [email protected]

 

MORE SEX QUESTIONS:

Is too much masturbation unhealthy? Can it damage my sex drive?–June 25, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: But what is too much masturbation?  Although they wouldn’t admit it, many young men, from puberty through college, masturbate on a daily basis. Some masturbate as a substitute for a non-existent partner, others simply because they can. Women also masturbate, although usually, not at the stupendous rate of men. If the masturbation reaches obsessive levels, where similar to sex addiction, problems begin to arise, then obviously this ceases to be a positive activity, and then it’s too much.  

I once worked with a male who masturbated 5-8 times daily, and because he’d begun to experience less sensation (no shit!) he’d taken to pouring rubbing alcohol on his penis which then had the look of a pound of ground beef … not good. Masturbation won’t affect your sex drive, and for you men, the news is even better. A recent Australian study found that males who ejaculated more between the ages of 18-34 were much less likely to develop prostate cancer. So now men, you’re under doctor’s orders, you have to do it … strictly for medicinal purposes, right?   

 

Is it true that eating grape fruit makes girls “taste” better (pineapples for guys?) –June 15, 2011

Dr. Sawyer:There’s little or no scientific data on this topic, but popular opinion has it that certain foods might affect the taste of a man’s semen or a woman’s vaginal fluids.  For example:  Sweeter – drink lots of pineapple juice or eat bananas, papayas and cinnamon. To avoid acidic tastes, don’t eat too much red meat, and to avoid a bitter taste, stay away from alcohol, coffee, garlic, or onions.  However, given the lack of any scientific data this whole issue could be bogus, so maybe eat what the heck you like?!

 

Can you get an STI from oral sex?  What are some safer oral sex practices?–June 10, 2011

Dr. Sawyer:OK … this isn’t exactly going to sound like Shakespeare, but here’s my truism on this issue: “You can get something wherever you put something.”  Most of the infections that are sexually transmissible can be passed on through various activities – through the vagina, the penis, orall or anally.  The bugs that cause the infection don’t care what part of the body they invade, they just want somewhere to live for a while, so yes, you can very definitely get an STI from having oral sex.  With oral sex, the “giver” is at higher risk than the “receiver” for reasons that should be pretty obvious, and so precautions taken by the “giver” that might help are: using a condom when performing fellatio (mouth on penis), a dental dam or even Saran wrap for cunnilingus (mouth on vagina), and the same for you really adventurous folks who like to orally explore the anus.

 

Do circumcised and uncircumcised guys feel different? –June 5, 2011

Dr. Sawyer:What’s better: a snail wearing a helmet or a snake wearing a sweater?  Research would suggest, there’s really no difference.  Uncircumcised males have reported no greater or lesser sensations during sex, and the partners of these men have also failed to demonstrate any differences.  This makes a lot of sense when you realize the following – when an uncircumcised man becomes erect, his foreskin retracts and his penis then looks and feels exactly like that of his circumcised counterpart.  I know this is a sketchy visual, but if you had two men with full erections standing in front of you, and one was circumcised and one wasn’t, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.  So ultimately, the only difference that can be found is in the eye of the beholder and the styling of the non-erect penis … do you prefer a snail wearing a helmet or a snake wearing a sweater?     

 

How do you know if you’re addicted to sex? –June 3, 2011        

Dr. Sawyer:If you’ve lost your day job, your grades are down the toilet, you’ve been placed on academic probation, been dumped by your boy/girlfriend, and you attempt or succeed in screwing everything in sight, you could be sexually addicted.  Was Tiger Woods really a sex addict, or just a regular guy with the infinite opportunity to have sex with unlimited numbers of the most beautiful women in the world?  No-one really knows.  A clinical diagnosis of sex addiction is really based, like other addictions, on the consequences of actions.  Admittedly, your average college guy is totally obsessed with sex and can certainly be defined as just a tad promiscuous, but most have not lost nearly everything valuable in their lives in the pursuit of getting laid.  If they have, then some professional help in the shape of counseling is urgently needed.

Tags:sex, addiction, guys

 

How do aphrodisiacs work? – June 2, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: To answer a question with a question, do supposed aphrodisiacs actually even work? An aphrodisiac is something that supposedly will increase your libido (sex drive), and legend has it that oysters are just the seafood to do the job, to the point where a man can’t order a dozen oysters in a restaurant without the waiter giving him a sideways look.  As with other alleged aphrodisiacs like ginseng, chocolate (including green M & Ms!), and Spanish fly, there is usually a tiny grain of possible truth to the notion, although never enough to make a legitimate claim. Oysters are rich in zinc, a mineral assumed to be a sexual response enhancer, but that’s a far cry from being a substance that has been documented to increase libido.  Many experts reckon that the only way aphrodisiacs work is the placebo effect – the idea that if you believe something improves sex for you, it’s really your imagination, not any magical properties of say, Rhino horn!  This way of looking at things is pretty harmless … if you believe that a Snickers bar will get you going, so be it, that’s no big deal. Bottom line here – there’s no evidence to support the idea that any specific product exists that will increase libido …. although the joke that probably has a much larger grain of truth attached, is that the only true aphrodisiac is variety.  Think about it!

 

How exact does the time you take the pill have to be? Can you be a couple of hours late? – June 1, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: Taking the pill at the same time every day is recommended partly because it reinforces the action of taking the pill every day, so women are less likely to forget. Taking the pill a couple of hours late is extremely unlikely to make any difference, and even missing one pill may not be a problem. Missing two pills would be a cause for concern and a back up method, like condoms, should be used. Having said that, the pill definitely works best if taken at the same time every day so women should try to get on a regular pill-taking schedule.

 

What medications decrease the effectiveness of the pill? – May 31, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: There is some evidence that various drugs/medications might reduce the effectiveness of the pill. Some antibiotics like tetracycline; anti-depressants, anti-fungal, and anti-anxiety medications might be a problem, and even herbal supplements like St. John’s Wort have been linked with this problem. The research evidence on this issue isn’t very definitive, hence a lot of “might’s” and “coulds” so this becomes pretty confusing. If a woman has any doubts about combining the pill with medication, she should absolutely consult her practitioner.

 

Is it true you can surgically “restore” your virginity? –May 30, 2011

Dr. Sawyer:In some cultures where female virginity is prized above all (while men, of course screw anything that moves while maintaining an impeccable reputation), a cottage industry of hymen reconstruction exists. The “surgeon” takes a very sheer piece of animal membrane, lightly sutures it across the opening of the vagina, and voila, she’s a virgin – again! Men think they know three things about a woman’s loss of virginity: there will be pressure because of the hymen; there will be bleeding; and inevitably, there will be pain. When the wedding night arrives the expectant man can’t wait to deflower his shy and “virginal” bride. Sex begins, and the man feels some pressure as the hymen is challenged; there will inevitably be a small amount of blood as the sutures give way, and the bride doesn’t have to be Natalie Portman to emit some convincing wails of pain. So there we have it … pressure, blood, pain, another virgin deflowered, a man’s honor satisfied. It doesn’t get any better than that!!

 

How late after sex can you take the morning after pill? –May 29, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: The most frequently used morning-after-pill (emergency contraceptive or EC) is Plan-B, which is approved to be effective up to three days after sex. A more recent addition to the market is Ella, which has been approved for up to five days after sex, so you can see the “morning-after” name on these products isn’t too accurate. However, there’s little doubt that the sooner a woman takes EC after sex, the more likely that she won’t become pregnant. So if that condom broke or you were too hammered to even think about contraception, don’t bask in the glow of that five-day window of opportunity, get EC as soon as possible.

 

How late after sex can you take the morning after pill? –May 29, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: The most frequently used morning-after-pill (emergency contraceptive or EC) is Plan-B, which is approved to be effective up to three days after sex. A more recent addition to the market is Ella, which has been approved for up to five days after sex, so you can see the “morning-after” name on these products isn’t too accurate. However, there’s little doubt that the sooner a woman takes EC after sex, the more likely that she won’t become pregnant. So if that condom broke or you were too hammered to even think about contraception, don’t bask in the glow of that five-day window of opportunity, get EC as soon as possible.

 

Is swallowing semen really good for your hair and teeth? –May 28, 2011

Dr. Sawyer:Absolutely, and it also raises your IQ by 50 points, makes you fluent in seven languages, automatically protects you against all cancers for the rest of your life, and guarantees you’ll win a gold medal in GULLABILITY.  Are you kidding me?! The initial purveyor (and his fellow distributors) of this “seminal” information had to be a man.  He gets props for the sheer balls of using an outrageous line like that, and who knows, maybe it even worked once.  Why not?  Come on, he’s doing you a favor by providing his semen (free of charge) that can only be extracted from his body through fellatio, he’s actually protecting you from cancer, what a guy!  The short answer to this question is a resounding No!

 

Why is it so much harder for a girl to have an orgasm than a guy? –May 27, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: Think of sex in culinary terms – a man is a microwave oven while a woman is a crock pot.  A woman’s sexual response model looks like the complicated motherboard of a computer, while a man’s is a simple on/off switch.   Add to these mechanical differences the fact that most young men masturbate daily and can accomplishing a climax in seconds if necessary, also placing the importance of an orgasm right up there with any bodily function like a sneeze.  A generalization, I know, but most women have a sexual response pattern that might be influenced by extraneous factors like, does she actually like the guy, does she really want to have sex, is she in the mood, did the guy piss her off earlier in the day, you get the idea … it’s not just about the sex.  By the way, it’s perfectly normal that most women will not orgasm every single time they have sex, unlike men who would find that hard to live with!

 

What are the best lubricants and how are they effective at stimulating libido? –May 26, 2011
Dr. Sawyer: There are a bunch of lubricants on the market today, but NONE of them will increase your libido (sex drive).   They do what their name suggests – they provide lubrication.  The first developed lubes were just that, and were merely intended to make up for a deficit in natural lubrication, but today’s array of lubricants are way more exotic and appeal to the idea of spicing up the action, just look at some of the names: Sensual Silk, Intense Arousal, Pre-Seed Intimate, Tingling Jelly, My Boy Butter, (and the You’ll Never Know it isn’t Boy Butter relative), Fire and Ice if you really want to heat up or freeze your genitals, and of course if the mood takes you, Anal Lube. Simply stated, there are three main types of lubricants and each has its pros and cons. Water-based lubes are easy to clean up and are less likely to cause yeast infections, but don’t last as long. Oil-based lubes tend to have more slipperiness and last longest, but can lead to yeast infections and tend to break down latex condoms.  Silicone-based lubes are longer lasting than water-based lubes, but require longer clean up times, can stain sheets and clothing.  It’s all a matter of taste.

 

What happens if you have sex while you have a yeast infection? Does it affect the guy? –May 25, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: If the woman has a yeast infection at the time of sex, there’s a great chance the man will become infected. Yeast in a man is commonly called “jock itch,” and is a fungal infection that results in an itchy red rash in the scrotal sac and in between the legs. The infection in the male can easily be treated with an over-the-counter medication, like Lotrisone. If you’re a woman who keeps getting infected with yeast, have your boyfriend checked…he could be re-infecting you. Oh, by the way, you can get yeast infection of the throat, so watch out for oral sex!

 

What can you do to get a guy to last longer in bed?–May 24, 2011

A: Most young men get an erection in two to five seconds (yes, they’re pathetically easy) and could probably ejaculate within a minute or so. The key to preventing this is communication. The guy needs to be able to tell the girl what’s going on, how close he is and to maybe slow down. Men, don’t buy into an urban legend like thinking about baseball or your grandmother! That’s the worst thing you can do. Be bold and talk to your partner, you might be surprised how effective this can be.

 

Is female ejaculation a myth?–May 23, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: Back in the 1950’s, doctors identified a place on the anterior wall of the vagina that they suggested would provide the woman multiple orgasms if directly stimulated. A small subset of women who seem to have this G-spot, when stimulated, do in fact expel fluid from their urethra (not vagina), but it’s not urine.

 

Do guys really think about sex all day?–May 22, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: I’m not sure that guys think about sex all day (they sometimes think about food or football), but I’d suggest they do think about sex every day! The most recent, comprehensive survey on adult American sexual mores published in the mid ‘90s reported that 54 percent of men and 19 percent of women think about sex daily. I think that college men and women would definitely increase that percentage.

 

Does size actually matter?–May 21, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: In male/female sex—a woman’s physical sexual response is primarily derived from clitoral stimulation. Additionally, the vagina has no nerve endings on its inner two-thirds. So given those two facts, a man providing stimulation and whose penis is at least 2.5 inches long when erect should be able to get the job done!

 

What is the most common sex mistake that men make?–May 20, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: Most men believe that women should achieve orgasm every time they have sex. The new millennium man is a sensitive guy who, after watching Entourage and reading his girlfriend’s Cosmo realizes that women have orgasmic needs, and damn it, he’s going to keep hammering away until she reaches Nirvana. Men need to realize, that unlike their sexual response pattern that permits an erection in under five seconds, even women who do orgasm regularly are not necessarily going to achieve climax every time. Guys need to get off the ego train and understand it’s not their technique that’s at fault, it’s just one of those days…or nights. That’s why so many women fake orgasm. In my class one of my male students asked women why they fake orgasm—the response, “To make it stop!”

 

Is it true that men think about sex all the time?  How do women compare?–May 19, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: Sex is kind of like oxygen to most men, if they’re not doing it, they’re thinking about doing it, so the short answer to that question is pretty much yes. Women tend to be more complex than men, so although they undoubtedly think about sex, they’re able to go about their daily lives without constantly wondering when they might get some action.  A more objective response – from “Sex in America,” the most complete survey since Kinsey’s work, data suggest that 54% of men and 19% of women think about sex daily.  I’m thinking the other 46% of men are in a coma.

 

Dental Dams: does anyone actually use them?  –May 18, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: Dental dams are rectangular sheets of latex pioneered in the late 80’s to assist dentists when drilling teeth.  They were co-opted by the safer sex crowd to cover the opening to the vagina during bouts of cunnilingus (that’s oral sex on a female to the uninitiated).  The idea was to prevent direct contact and thereby reduce transmission of infections  … nice idea until the dental dam got wet and relocated to the nether regions of the vagina.  Some folks liked using them, but they probably weren’t much better than Saran Wrap and their use today seems pretty limited. 

 

Is a condom necessary if you have sex while on your period? –May 17, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: While getting pregnant is highly unlikely if you have sex during your period, it’s not totally impossible, so you might want to use a condom anyway.  Additionally, sex during menstruation might increase the risk of transmitting a sexually transmitted infection, so why not use a condom and take care of two potential problems at the same time?

 

Does birth control affect sex drive? –May 16, 2011
Dr. Sawyer: Although this is by no means an extremely common occurrence, some oral contraceptives (the pill) have been known to reduce libido in their users, which is a total bummer given the very reason you’re taking the pill is to be able to have sex.  Maybe that’s how the pill works … you take it, lose your sex drive, never have sex and therefore you don’t get pregnant? … No, not really.   If you do take the pill and feel like your libido is disappearing, see your medical practitioner and ask if there is another type of pill you could try.  Finding the right pill for you given all the products on the market today is possibly more art than science.

 

My boyfriend can’t get it up sometimes when he’s drunk, is it something I’m doing? –May 15, 2011

Dr. Sawyer: Unless you’re feeding your boyfriend intravenous alcohol, no, it’s nothing you’re doing.  He’s suffering from erectile dysfunction, better known as brewer’s droop, or whiskey dick.  Alcohol is a nervous system depressant and men can quickly go from feeling like a God who can go all night, to the owner of a limp, useless and totally uncooperative penis within seconds.   Want to avoid this?  Get the guy to cut down on the booze.

College Magazine Staff

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