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I think I have a fetish, does that mean there is something wrong with me?

               A fetish is when a person is sexually aroused by objects, body parts, or situations that are not considered sexual in themselves. Some people are aroused by certain foods in sexual interactions, some by feet, some by wearing specific clothing items such as leather or diapers…the list is extensive. 

              There are many people with many different types of fetishes and only certain circumstances in which their fetishes are a problem. Most fetishes are just slight idiosyncrasies a person has, and may even make sexual interactions more novel and exciting for his or her sexual partner. As long as your fetish does not hurt anyone, and you and your partner are comfortable incorporating it into your sex life, it can just be accepted as a part of who you are or what you like. Fetishes become a problem mainly when they involve coercive behavior. This may mean anything from forcing your partner to engage in activities he or she is not comfortable with, to involving children in your sexual life. Children are not able to consent to sex, both under the law and based on their level of maturity that accompanies their biological development; therefore, engaging in any sexual activity with minors is coercive behavior. Of the people who have fetishes, this is not a common fetish.

Another incident in which fetishes become a problem is when sexual activities are only enjoyable when the fetish is involved. It is up to you and your partner to decide if this is a problem, and to what extent, because every person will have different feelings about this matter.

I often fantasize about rounded, large buttocks. However, my partner has a very flat buttocks. How can I achieve my fantasy?

 

First, we want to tell you that you should never be ashamed of your fantasies. Fantasies are your body’s way of expressing its desires. In truth, there are only a few occasions in which one should worry about fantasies. The first is if this fantasy causes you to act in any way that is disruptive to your daily life. Likewise, if this fantasy leads to any law breaking, it is important to seek help. Fantasies are often impossible, unrealistic desires. That is why they are fantasies. It is only when these fantasies become realities that involve harming or taking advantage of people (including yourself) that there begins to be cause for concern and possible legal consequences. In short, it is okay to have fantasies, but acting on them without expressed consent from a partner could have legal repercussions.

It is also important to distinguish reality from fantasy. Media’s depictions of life (in movies, television, pornography, magazines, etc.) consist of fantasy and ideals. They are scripted, edited, and not made to reflect reality. Most of the people you see on screens or magazine covers have had their appearances airbrushed and digitally altered. For this reason, we recommend that you try not to compare your partner to celebrities and porn stars. We recommend that you try to find other parts of her body and personality that arouse you and appreciate those.

Above all else, we recommend that you communicate with your partner. Your sex life directly involves the two of you. There may be a fantasy or character you can both agree on that would provide excitement for both you and your partner. Similarly, you both could work out together to achieve healthier, more toned bodies. We recommend that you speak with your partner and try to come up with a solution that pleases both of you. That being said, we suggest you approach this conversation carefully, and make suggestions as “we” statements instead of “you” statements so that your partner does not feel that they are inadequate or being attacked. If you both work together towards a mutual goal then you will have much more success and feel much closer.

 

After watching a film about BDSM, I've been wanting to try some of these things with my significant other. What is the best way to tell your partner you want to try new kinkier things?

“BDSM” is an abbreviation that stands for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism. BDSM includes a variety of erotic practices and can range from simple blindfolding to multi-day dominance-submission role-playing sessions. If you want to incorporate some of these practices into your sex life, it is important to be open and honest about exactly what you are interested in with your partner. At a time when you are both relaxed and focused on each other—perhaps after dinner or while taking a walk—tell your partner that you are interested in trying some kinkier things, and ask them for their opinion. Suggest beginning with something small such as blindfolding one another with a bandana or tying each other up with a scarf. The removal of one sense (e.g., sight, touch) can heighten the other senses and puts one partner in a position of control, which can be exciting and arousing for both partners.

The most important aspect of BDSM is that everyone involved consents and feels safe and comfortable. Most couples that engage in BDSM practices discuss it extensively beforehand in order to establish boundaries and agree on a "safe word." This safe word is used when one partner wants the other to slow down or decrease a behavior or to cease the action altogether. When the safe word is uttered, all activity should stop immediately so that you and your partner can discuss why he or she said the word.

It is crucial that all people involved in BDSM practices and all forms of kinky sex are enjoying the interaction and are not forced to engage in behaviors that they do not feel comfortable with. While pushing one's boundaries is often a freeing and positive experience, it can also be traumatic if proper precautions are not taken. Keep in mind that while you are allowed to ask your partner to try new things, you must be respectful of their wishes if they are not comfortable with what you suggest. Remember, all forms of sex, kinky or not, should be an expression of love and connection, and consent is key!

 

Will antibiotics make birth control less effective? 

It is a common misconception that antibiotics reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. The only antibiotic known to make the oral contraceptive pill, the patch, and the vaginal ring less effective is Rifampin (commonly known under the brand names Rifadin and Rimactane). This antibiotic is used to treat tuberculosis. Aside from that certain HIV protease inhibitors, anti-seizure medications, St. John’s Wort herbal supplement, and the anti-fungal medication Griseofulvin (used for life-threatening fungal infections) can also diminish the pill’s effectiveness. However, there have not been any recorded cases of alternate antibiotics, such as those for ear infections, reducing the efficiency of hormonal contraception.

Though taking birth control pills is still an effective method of contraception while using antibiotics (aside from Rifampin), pills do not provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Here at SexInfo, we strongly support the use of barrier methods, such as a male or female condom, to provide STI protection.

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Can the removal of a copper IUD affect your period?

Many users experience heavier or longer periods for the first three to six months following copper IUD insertion. Just as your body needs to adjust to the presence of the copper IUD, your body must also adjust to the removal of it. The slight trauma to your uterus or cervix from removing the device may cause a change or delay in your menstrual cycle. In this case, you have nothing to worry about, and your body should adjust back to normal soon. However, if your period is absent for more than three months, then you should talk to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will likely administer a physical exam; ask you questions about your periods, your lifestyle, and your symptoms; and perform a blood test to see if your hormones are at regular levels.

When an IUD is in place, ovulation still occurs. Due to this, if your IUD was removed near your time of ovulation, you could be at risk for pregnancy. Sperm can survive inside the vagina for up to five days, so it is important that you either abstained from sex or used another form of contraception (like a male condom) for one week before the IUD was removed. If you engaged in unprotected sex during the week before your IUD removal, then it would be wise to take a pregnancy test to ensure that you are not pregnant.

 
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Do I need my parents’ permission to get birth control? If not, how would I go about obtaining it?

Parental permission is not always needed for prescription methods of birth control like the contraceptive pill; however, there may be certain locations where a health care provider will require parental permission. You can check with your current doctor about his or her policy.

If you live in the United States, Planned Parenthood is another option that is open to you. Planned Parenthood offers a number of resources for male and female reproductive health and will provide you with reliable information about your choices regarding contraception. Planned Parenthood’s policy is to protect client confidentiality, so you would not need to worry about your parents finding out about your birth control prescription. In fact, if they ever need to contact you, your Planned Parenthood doctor can call your mobile or home phone and assume the identity of a friend! Planned Parenthood has great healthcare providers that can administer any tests that you may need and they can provide you with birth control pills for free or at a relatively inexpensive price.

Remember that although birth control pills can be 99.7% effective at preventing pregnancy, they do not protect against the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We highly recommend using latex condoms in conjunction with a hormonal form of contraception to strengthen your protection against sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy. Please also know that the age to purchase emergency contraception (Plan B or the “morning-after pill”) has been lowered to fifteen years, so you also have access to emergency contraception with a valid form of identification.

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I recently had unprotected sex with my partner. I took the morning after pill the next day. What is my chance of becoming pregnant?

Because you took the morning-after pill, also known as the emergency contraceptive pill (ECP), within one day of your unprotected sexual encounter, there is very little chance that you could be pregnant. ECPs should be taken within 3-5 days of unprotected sex, and the earlier you take an ECP, the more effective it is at preventing an unwanted pregnancy. You minimized your risk of pregnancy by taking the morning-after pill so quickly after your sexual encounter; there was very little time for sperm to fertilize an egg. You may experience some menstrual irregularity because of the emergency contraceptive, but your period should resume its regular cycle soon. If your period continues to be absent or you are concerned that you may be pregnant, we recommend taking a home pregnancy test. You can schedule a clinical exam with your doctor if you are confused by or wish to confirm the test results.

It is important to remember that although the morning-after pill is intended to prevent pregnancy, it does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

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Should I get an abortion?

Approximately six million pregnancies occur every year in the United States, and over half of those are unintended, but more than one million, or approximately 1 out of every 5, are terminated through an abortion (Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 2006). According to these statistics many women have considered or received an abortion in their lifetime, and yet this medical procedure has caused endless controversy in the public domain.  Never has their been such a spot light on a private medical procedure, but because abortion ends a woman’s pregnancy, many groups, religious or not, have spoken out against the practice.

For most women, choosing how to react to an unplanned pregnancy is an emotionally draining experience, whether she receives an abortion or not.  Worries of being an unfit mother or leaving work to take care of a new life are common issues that women must face when deciding which course to take with their pregnancy. Most often women look to their family, religion, or partner for support and advice when weighing the options she has.  Receiving input from friends and family can help a woman feel at ease with her decision, but they must understand that ultimately it is the woman's decision to terminate her pregnancy, keep the baby, or opt for adoption after the baby is born.  Always keep in mind that what may have worked for one of your friends/family members may not be your best option.

If a woman is not ready to care for another person, does not have the resources, has a health problem, or her family does not want her to have the child, then the woman may choose to have an abortion. Most abortions take place in the first trimester of a pregnancy where the procedure is faster, safer, and easier for a doctor to perform.  Usually a series of pills is taken under the guidance of a doctor and the woman returns to her normal routine within a day or two.  Surgical abortions are still considered a safe medical procedure, but may take a few days to recover from.  Late term abortions are now considered illegal under federal law, but were performed on women past their 14th week of pregnancy.

If you decide to have an abortion, the National Abortion Federation has brochures to inform you about the process. "Having an Abortion? Your Guide to Good Care," "The Truth about Abortion," and "Arriving at the Clinic" are all available through www.prochoice.org. With an abortion comes the right to safe, high quality, caring, and complete medical information and assistance. If you are having problems finding a reputable clinic, call one of the toll free numbers recommended in the Important Numbers and Links section.

Below are some of the main reasons why a woman may voluntarily terminate her pregnancy. Whether or not they are "valid" reasons to obtain an abortion is subject to individual opinions and feelings.

  • My parents will kill me if they know I am pregnant.

  • I cannot take maternity leave from my job.

  • I am too young and cannot afford to have a baby.

  • I don't want anyone to know I have had sex.

  • My partner will leave me.

  • I am not ready to be a mother.

  • My husband/boyfriend does not feel ready to be a father.

  • I was raped.

  • I don't want to be a single parent.

For important phone numbers and resources, click here.      

 

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I sometimes feel as if I am not attractive enough to have sex. What can I do to increase my sex appeal?

The best way to increase your sex appeal is by improving your own body image. When you feel good about yourself, things like sexual appeal and feeling “good enough” for a partner will follow. Here are a few tips to help you improve your body image:

 

•   Don't measure your self-worth by your physical appearance. Your self-esteem should come from more important aspects of yourself, such as your creativity, determination, values, intelligence and so on. Consider doing activities that make you feel good about yourself, like joining a fun fitness class, picking up a hobby, or volunteering.

•   Accept compliments. Do not dismiss a compliment as someone just trying to be nice. Instead, try to savor the compliment and allow yourself the satisfaction of knowing you deserve admiration. If you believe and accept the compliments people are giving you, you’ll start to feel better about yourself, and feel good enough for romantic partners.

•   Understand that magazines, popular television shows, and movies primarily show unrealistic (oftentimes completely fake) depictions of men and women. If you consciously recognize that these are idealized images, your subconscious will avoid picking up the message, 'this is what I should look like.'

•   Avoid focusing on your perceived flaws.  Make a list of all the things you love about your body and have a close friend to make a similar list about you. You may find some of the things you believed were flaws are cherished and admired by others.

•   Stop "fat talk" and self-deprecation. This is when a person says a self-destructive thought out loud in the hopes that someone will contradict them. If this is something you regularly engage in, after a while you will begin to perceive your own hurtful comments as true.

•   Start a moderate exercise routine and good diet. This will make you feel healthy and increase your self-esteem. Do not exercise or diet only for the purpose of weight loss, you may just get discouraged and quit. Also, do not exercise too much. One hour of exercise each day should provide a healthy workout. Avoid use of diet or muscle-building pills, weight loss herbs/foods and steroids. Steroids are dangerous to the body, and may lead to dependency, acne, gynecomastia (enlarged breasts), baldness, aggression (commonly known as “‘roid rage”), high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and jaundice.

 

Hopefully these tips will help you improve your own body image. If you are interested in improving your own sex appeal because you feel others are not interested in you, it is important to first feel good about yourself, because you are deserving of a caring and respectful partner in your life. Your body is a beautiful, wonderful thing just the way it is, and you deserve to feel good about it.

 
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The short answer is yes, it is possible to change gender and/or sex. In order to understand the complicated nature of this, let us explain the difference of gender and sex. Sex (male or female) describes a person’s physical and biological characteristics (penis or vagina), whereas gender describes the way that a person presents themselves according to different feminine or masculine norms. Gender and sex do not always align with each other. There are some people who have male physical features but choose to identify as women. These people often identify as transgender (trans coming from the Greek word for across). People who identify as transgender often feel as if they have been born into the wrong body, and/or that their genitalia do not match the way that they see themselves. This is perfectly okay.

There are many things that a transgender person can do to feel more comfortable in their skin. Often, trans women (biological males who identify as women) will begin to wear typically feminine clothing and act more traditionally feminine in order to feel more comfortable. For some trans women, this is enough to make them feel satisfied with their identity. Other trans women feel that they need to physically change in order for their sex to match their gender identity. These actions are applicable to trans men as well (biological females who identify as men).  For both trans men and trans women who feel they need to physically change, there is sex reassignment surgery. 

Sex-reassignment surgery is not a one-step process, nor is it taken lightly in the medical field. Possible candidates for surgical alterations must first be extensively interviewed for any psychological abnormalities or actual confusions about their gender identity. Once they are properly screened, individuals are asked to adopt the lifestyle of their desired gender for several months to a year. If at the end of this period the individual has adjusted to the new lifestyle, hormone therapy begins. After a year of hormone treatments, many bodily changes (such as changes in body hair, hip size, or amount of fatty tissue) occur.  At this point, the person may be eligible for sex-reassignment surgery. It is important to note that the changes produced by hormones are very difficult to reverse. Thus, it is important that a person about to undergo surgery is committed and mentally prepared to make the full transition.

 Going through the process of transitioning from male to female or female to male is a long and emotional process, and we recommend finding a support system to help through it. There are clinics which provide therapy to help one make their decision as well as give referrals to doctors and surgeons who can assist with the physical transition. Please refer to our website for more information on being transgender and transitioning.

 

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The two-sex model is a way of dividing people into categories based on male and female biological differences. The two-sex model was first theorized in the 18th century; popular opinion beforehand lay with the one-sex model, which stated that women were less perfect versions of men. Transvestism does not necessarily challenge the two-sex model. Transvestism is the practice of dressing and acting in a style or manner traditionally associated with the other sex. Sex and gender are not synonymous. Sex refers to whether a person is biologically male or female. Gender is a state of mind, and its boundaries are not as rigid as sex. One can be born female, but live as a male. Though a man dressing as a woman does challenge traditional gender roles, he is not modifying the biological state of his body. If someone is of the third gender, they are considered neither male nor female, which challenges the two-sex model, but this is not to be mistaken for the third sex. Typically, those of the third gender prefer to be referred to with gender-neutral pronouns such as one, ze, sie, hir, or ey.

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Sometimes I have feelings that I might not be completely straight. As a teenager, is it normal for me to question my sexuality?

It is very, very common for young people to question their sexuality at some point during adolescence (and beyond). Human sexual orientation can be very fluid and does not always fit within rigid boundaries. Some people are almost completely heterosexual or homosexual, but many others have varying degrees of attraction to both genders and do not fit so easily into one box or the other.

In the 1940s, a biologist named Alfred Kinsey began to do some of the first scientific research on human sexuality. After conducting countless interviews with people about their sex lives, Kinsey concluded that homosexual sex was far more common than had been previously imagined in early twentieth-century society, with significant percentages of both men and women having engaged in homosexual behavior at some point in their lives. Although Kinsey’s particular numerical statistics have been questioned, his central point rings true: sexual orientation is not static and cannot easily be divided into binary (two concrete and opposing) categories.

In fact, Kinsey developed a scale of sexual orientation, which ranges from zero to six. On the Kinsey Scale, people who score zero are exclusively heterosexual, and people who score six are exclusively homosexual. However, there are also many points in between zero and six. A two, for instance, is “Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual,” while a five is “Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual.”

(The Kinsey Scale, by the way, isn’t the only way to measure sexuality. There is also the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid, which takes into account dozens of different factors, including past behavior and sexual ideals, as well as sexual attraction, sexual behavior, emotional preference, lifestyle preference, and self-identification. We won’t get into that now. But you see the point: sexual orientation is very complex and cannot be easily defined, despite what some people believe.)

So, where do you fall on the Kinsey Scale? We can’t say for sure. Many young people just like you feel some same-sex attraction when growing up, but then go on to identify as heterosexual. On the Kinsey Scale, these people would probably get a rating of 1 - Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual. (You might also be interested to know that research has shown that most self-identified heterosexual females are sexually aroused by videos of naked women and women having sex, and that female sexuality has been found to be more fluid than male sexuality). Of course, you might eventually decide that you are higher up on the Kinsey Scale. Again, we can’t say for sure.

Whatever your sexuality turns out to be, it’s perfectly okay. Remember, cultural attitudes towards homosexuality have varied throughout history. In many cultures (such as ancient Greece), it was quite normal, manly even, for men to develop very close friendships with other men. At the same time, the female poet Sappho was writing poems proclaiming her love for girls (she lived on the island of Lesbos. You can probably guess where the term “lesbian” came from). The Hebrew Bible, however, forbade same-sex sexual behavior for a very simple reason: living in a harsh region, the Israelites’ society needed lots of children to be born to work the fields, and homosexual sex (obviously) didn’t produce any children.

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My teenage daughter has been kissing other girls. Does this make her a homosexual?

It is very, very common for young people to question and experiment with their sexuality at some point during adolescence. Although age 14 may sound early for this young woman to truly “know” that she is homosexual, many individuals report “knowing” as young as age 3 or 4. It is entirely possible that your daughter may be homosexual. Her experimentation might not be a phase that she can be talked out of. However, there is also a chance that your daughter’s experimentation may simply be “situational homosexuality,” in which case, she might change her mind about being homosexual in a few months, a year, or a few years. Homosexual childhood experimentation is common and does not always lead to homosexuality. Unless the exploration is interfering with her studies, her social life, or her physical and mental health, there is no need to consider it “excessive.” It is also important to remember that human sexual orientation can be very fluid and does not always fit within rigid boundaries. Some people are almost completely heterosexual or homosexual, but many others have varying degrees of attraction to both genders and do not fit so easily into one box or the other.

For many heterosexual parents, it is difficult to cope with the idea of having a child who is homosexual, especially if traditional or religious values are a strong part of the family dynamic. This is understandable. It may take you a long time to fully accept her sexuality, or you may feel you will never be able to move past it. However, we recommend you try your best to understand your daughter’s wishes, regardless of which path she chooses. If you want to maintain a happy and healthy relationship with your daughter, it is important to fully accept this part of her identity. Effective communication is an important tool in working through this confusing time with your daughter. Ask her to explain her feelings, see if she will open up, and then share your feelings with her. Parents, for example, who reject their child’s sexual orientation tend to report major family conflict and even loss of communication between them and their son or daughter.

Should your daughter remain interested in women past the age of 14, she will need your full support. Our society is heteronormative; even though gay marriage is now legal in all 50 of the United States, the general public is still not completely comfortable with non-heterosexual interest and identities. She will face hurdles that heterosexual women do not have to, and she will need your love and support.

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Am I watching too much porn? Am I breaking any laws by watching it?

 

The purpose of pornography is to pleasure and excite viewers who can watch sexual content in a way that is non-coercive. If men are educated enough to know that they should not expect their sex life to be a mirror image of pornography and that everything that is shown in pornography is not necessarily true, pornography can be an excellent way of increasing sexual arousal. Pornography becomes problematic if it begins to interfere with your daily life. Are you skipping out on activities you once enjoyed in favor of watching porn? Are you feeling less social? Are you feeling inadequate or disappointed in your sex life? Answering yes to any of these questions may be a warning sign.

Also, consider that most pornography targets a male audience. In catering to a male audience, most pornography depicts fantasies that are common for males, but most likely are not what females like or expect out of sex. A lot of men also expect certain things out of females because of what they have seen in pornographies, and sometimes these expectations can make their female partner uncomfortable. The false ideas, about female pleasure that males learn from pornography can lead to stress in the relationship and dissatisfaction in sex life. Pornography can give people unrealistic expectations about sex. Pornography usually does not contain information about anatomy, female pleasure, certain types of male pleasure, contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, or successful relationships. It is very important that people take the initiative to learn about human sexuality either at a school or hospital or from an educational book or a website such as ours.

As far as legalities go, in the United States it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to view or purchase pornography. This is a straightforward law in our society, but with internet, laws concerning pornographic material need to be augmented to deal with the ease of accessibility that the internet provides.  Pornographic websites often contain a disclaimer that "no one under 18 may enter," however, while this may relinquish any legal responsibilities the website has regarding illegal viewing, it does not stop young people from viewing porn.

Whether or not porn is considered "obscene," determines if sexual pictures are appropriate in our society. “Factual” pictures are deemed appropriate, while obscene images are not. However, the issue here lies in the definition of “obscene” and people’s personal opinions on how the word applies to the world of pornography. The most modern view of determining whether or not porn is obscene is based on sexual criteria:

1) If the work comes across as clearly offensive to the community as a whole, it may be considered obscene.

2) A work may not be considered obscene if it has any artistic or literary value, maybe even political or scientific value.

3) To be obscene the material as a whole must incite lustful interest in sex.

These three guidelines are the ones used by the U.S. Supreme Court when it tries to determine whether or not something is obscene.

Lastly, the viewing, distribution, and/or making of child pornography, or "kiddie porn," are illegal. Child pornography is a big problem in the United States because it exploits innocent children who might not understand why they are being photographed or filmed naked. The accessibility of the Internet makes the problem even worse.

Overall, pornography is not problematic if it is not interfering with your life,  it is not taken verbatim, and it is not exploiting anyone or breaking any laws.

 
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Why do I experience pain in my testes following masturbation?

Testicular pain following masturbation could have multiple sources. For example, this pain could be caused by pelvic congestion, commonly referred to as “blue balls”. This can occur when a long period of sexual stimulation does not end in ejaculation. During stimulation, the blood vessels in the genitals fill with blood. Ejaculation normally allows this buildup to release so that the blood vessels can quickly return to their normal size. If orgasm is not reached, however, the blood will remain in the genitals for a longer period of time. While the lack of orgasm is by no means harmful, it may leave a temporary sensation of heaviness, aching, or discomfort. Masturbating in one session for a long period of time may also result in pelvic congestion. Try breaking apart the stimulation into two shorter sessions instead. This will allow your body to receive a shorter period of arousal prior to release, and may perhaps prevent pelvic congestion from occurring.

The pain may also be related to how you are positioning yourself during masturbation. If your testicles are moving around too much, this motion could be the reason behind your discomfort. Consider a change in position or try cupping your testicles with your free hand as you are masturbating. This touch could also benefit by providing extra sensation and may make the experience more enjoyable.

Epididymitis can also be a source of testicular pain following ejaculation. This is caused by inflammation in the epididymis (the tube behind each testicle that stores and delivers sperm). The most common cause of epididymitis is a bacterial infection that can be the result of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or coliforms (bacteria that live in the intestines). The infection can usually be cleared up by a dose of antibiotics. Since antibiotics work best the sooner they are taken, so talk to your health care provider as soon as possible to find out if you have epididymitis or a different testicular condition.

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Is it okay to masturbate every day?

First, we would like you all to know that there are many cultural myths about the risks of masturbation but when performed safely masturbation can be a very enjoyable and beneficial activity! Let us provide you with some information on the benefits of masturbation and dispel some common misconceptions about the risks of frequent masturbation.

There is no absolute limit to the amount of times one can or should masturbate in a day. There is only cause for concern when masturbation begins to encroach upon daily life. If someone were to stop socializing or begin neglecting duties because all they want to do is masturbate, there may be cause for concern. However, as long as masturbation is not causing social isolation or irresponsible behavior, there is no reason why frequent masturbation cannot be enjoyed safely. In fact, there are many experts who believe frequent masturbation can be both physically and mentally beneficial. Not only does it relieve sexual tension, but it also helps individuals become more comfortable with their own bodies. Masturbation is an excellent way to learn about your sexual anatomy and unique sexual likes/dislikes and responses. Through experimentation (which is a normal and healthy activity), people can touch all the parts of their body and find out what brings them the most pleasure.

Masturbation is a fantastic way of improving self-confidence and self-esteem throughout one’s lifetime. Despite many myths about the risks of masturbation, please know that manual stimulation of the genitals does not cause fertility changes in men or women and does not reduce sperm or egg count. Touching oneself is a safe and enjoyable way to release tension and experience pleasure. Masturbation is one of the safest sexual activities because it involves no risk of pregnancy or the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). So it is okay to masturbate every day, even multiple times per day, if you are doing so safely and responsibly!

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I have been masturbating while lying on my stomach, and have been feeling weak afterwards. Is this normal?

 

First, know that many women (and men) masturbate while lying on their stomachs. Many do it because they can exert more pressure on their genitals, but this method has been known to cause temporary difficulty reaching orgasm through other stimulation because other kinds cannot replicate the pressure of this masturbation. While we do not want to deter anyone from self-exploration, we are concerned by the negative side effects that can occur. We encourage that if anyone feels weak after prone masturbation they should see a doctor immediately and stop using this method completely until the reason for these symptoms are found. It is also possible that these symptoms are unrelated to the masturbation technique, and in that case, only a doctor has the expertise and training to try and diagnose the cause. If anyone would like to learn more about masturbation, we recommend checking out our articles on different forms of masturbation and masturbation tips.

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I am a female and I have difficulty making myself orgasm when masturbating. How can I masturbate more effectively?

Many females struggle with reaching orgasm while masturbating or participating in other forms of sex. There are some tips to help anyone self-stimulate with the hopes of reaching what one may define as sexual pleasure. We’d like to preface with the fact that an orgasm does not imply that one ejaculates, or “cums.” The majority of women simply do not produce ejaculate when they experience orgasm. An orgasm does not necessarily need to be the goal in any sexual experience. It is important to realize that an orgasm does not mean the experience was successful – the entire series of emotions and sensitized reactions are important to notice and enjoy during sexual activity. Lastly, we would like to add that for all of the following masturbation methods it is very important to be certain that any object used for masturbation is clean and sanitized – this includes toys, fingers and any other tool viewed as most pleasurable.

 

First, it is important to lay back, relax, and find a private and quiet place to focus on some time alone with yourself. Release any external stresses and just focus on the present and the sensations running through all of the nerves in your body.

 

Method #1: Manually. Use your finger(s) to rub your genitals. You don’t need to insert your fingers into your vaginal canal if you don’t want to, but simply rub up and down the external genitalia (also known as the “vulva”) and focus on your clitoris.  You can rub your clitoris in a circular motion, up and down or by any other technique you find enjoyable. For heightened pleasure, you can suggest use a lubricant – whether it is self-lubrication or store-bought (for example, KY Jelly) – this gives added stimulation. We also recommend using your three weakest fingers (pinky, ring and middle fingers) if the index finger proves to be too intense.  If you feel loosened up after a little while of doing this, you can try to insert one of your (smaller) fingers into your vaginal canal and see if that feels good to you. Some women can only achieve climax via coital stimulation (vaginal penetration). There is also a sensitive spot called the G-spot on the anterior wall of the vagina that feels pleasurable when given the right amount of pressure and attention.  Check out our link on the G-spot here!

 

Method #2: Water play. Running water flowing onto the clitoris and vulva tends to give a similar feeling to that of a vibrator. As the water flows and ebbs onto your bare genitalia, the clitoris tends to become erect from arousal. You might consider investing in a hand-held shower head, which can also come with different functions, and can be used while in the shower. One can also use special jets in the bathtub or Jacuzzi, or utilize the faucet to pour water over the clitoris.

 

Method #3: Riding. You can also masturbate with or without your clothes on by riding on top of something, usually a semi-hard corner that you can straddle your legs over. We do suggest that the surface be sanitary and cleaned both before and after use.

These methods can be a good start for effective masturbation. As you become more comfortable with your body and the kind of pleasure you prefer, you can try more masturbation methods and toys to enhance your experience. For more tips and information about female masturbation, click here.

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Is it possible to masturbate too often?

 

Masturbation is typically a normal and healthy part of any human being’s life, but (as with all good things) there actually is such a thing as too much. The term “over-masturbation” refers to excessive masturbation, nearing the level of compulsion. Masturbation is considered too frequent when it interferes with other important aspects of your life, such as work responsibilities or social activity. Frequent masturbation may lead to a friction burn on the genitals, which is a superficial skin abrasion. Friction burns can be quite painful, but they will heal quickly if the area is free from irritation. Be sure to use some form of lubrication to avoid this friction and resulting inflammation. In short, as long as you are not doing any harm to yourself, there is no limit to how much you can masturbate.

 
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What are the chances of me becoming pregnant?

ZERO CHANCE OF PREGNANCY

We were only kissing. There is no risk of becoming pregnant from kissing alone.

We were doing really deep kissing. Deep kissing does not involve the transfer of semen to the vagina, so there is no risk of pregnancy.

I gave him oral sex and he ejaculated in my mouth. Although semen is being ingested, there is no way for his sperm to unite with an egg when the semen enters your digestive tract. There is a zero chance of pregnancy from performing oral sex on a male partner (however there is the potential transmission of sexually transmitted diseases without the use of a condom).

We slept in the same bed but did not do anything sexual. There is zero chance of pregnancy when two individuals do not engage in sexual activity of any kind. Simply lying beside a male without sexual interaction will not increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

We slept in the same bed and he got an erection, nothing else. There is zero chance of pregnancy when two individuals do not engage in sexual activity of any kind.

LOW CHANCE OF PREGNANCY

He ejaculated but we were wearing thick clothing. The chances of becoming pregnant under this circumstance are extremely small. Most likely, sperm will not be able to find their way through densely woven fibers.

He ejaculated but a long way from the vaginal opening. If your partner happens to ejaculate near your vulva (external genitalia), there is a slim chance that you could become pregnant. Sperm can be pretty strong swimmers. However, if he ejaculates anywhere else on your body (stomach, leg, arm, back, etc.), chances of pregnancy are virtually nonexistent. To calm your fears of an unintended pregnancy, just wipe off the semen after ejaculation, or better yet, have your partner use a condom for better protection.

We had penile-vaginal sex with a condom. Latex or polyurethane condoms (not lambskin/natural) provide an excellent source of pregnancy protection if used correctly, not to mention protection against STI transmission. You and your partner must make sure the condom is undamaged (no rips or tears, no damage from extreme temperatures, etc.), within the expiration date (located somewhere on the wrapper), and applied correctly (rolled along the shaft of the penis with an air reservoir at the tip for the ejaculate). When your partner withdraws, it is important to make sure the condom does not slip off of his penis and is properly removed away from the vulva.

MEDIUM CHANCE OF PREGNANCY

He ejaculated near my vaginal opening, but not in it. If ejaculation does not occur directly into the vagina, the chances of pregnancy are lower than if the ejaculate is released inside the vagina. Nevertheless, there is still the possibility that pregnancy can occur. Sperm may find their way into the vaginal canal even if semen made contact with your vulva. Making sure that your partner ejaculates away from you is one way to keep the semen away from your vaginal opening.

He ejaculated near my vagina but we were wearing thin clothing. Sperm are still able to find their way through very thin clothing as long as they are alive. A lot is dependent on the fabric, however there have been studies showing that unless a fabric is completely drenched in semen there is a very unlikely chance that pregnancy will occur.  So, for example, if your male partner ejaculated on your underwear, there is a possibility that the sperm could survive long enough to find their way into the vagina.

He ejaculated on an article of clothing, fabric, etc that interacted with my vagina later.  Sperm have an extremely limited life expectancy outside of the body (only a few minutes.) Interacting with sperm that has been left to the harsh outer environment such as rubbing your vulva with it will have a incredibly reduced chance of pregnancy. It is encouraged to avoid such activity not just from the increased risk of pregnancy but also because of the STI risk it poses.

 

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The condom stayed on the tip of the penis, could I still have gotten her pregnant? 

The latex condom is the only form of birth control that provides protection from both sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy. When the condom is not used properly, however, that protection decreases. Pregnancy can only occur if the sperm enters the vaginal canal. If the ejaculate remained in the reservoir at the tip of the condom, you should be protected from pregnancy.

 

It is very important to make sure that your partner is putting the condom on correctly (click here to watch a video tutorial!) and purchasing the proper size. Make sure the condom is not applied inside out. The lip edge around the bottom and the air pocket should be facing out. Roll the condom down as far as it can go. If the fit is incorrect, purchase a sample pack (like from Condomania) or order custom fit condoms (like from Coripa).

If the condom begins to unroll again, stop and replace it with a new one before continuing. The old condom may have sperm on it and can put you at risk for pregnancy. If any semen leaks into the vagina, speak to a healthcare provider as soon as possible about emergency contraception (like the Plan B pill). Plan B is NOT an abortion pill. Rather, the hormones in the pill work to interfere with ovulation or prevent it altogether. Emergency contraception can be used up to five days after unprotected sex. The sooner it is used, the better it will work to prevent pregnancy. In addition to using condoms, you may also want to talk to your healthcare provider about additional forms of contraception like the birth control pill or IUD. Using two contraceptive methods simultaneously will significantly reduce your risk of pregnancy.

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My partner and I were rubbing our genitals together with my underwear on, and later without any clothes on. We did not have penetrative sex, but he ejaculated on my body. Is there a possibility that I could become pregnant?

Technically, in this situation there is a slight to medium risk of pregnancy. However, there are multiple factors that can contribute to the likelihood of you becoming pregnant. These factors include the type of material your underwear was made of, where in relation to your vaginal opening your partner ejaculated, and the amount of time your partner’s ejaculate remained on your underwear. The risk would be lowest if your underwear were made of a thick material, if he ejaculated away from the direct site of your vaginal opening, and if you wiped off the ejaculate or took your underwear off soon after the ejaculate made contact with the material.

You should be aware that sperm could potentially find their way through thin or porous materials (like cotton) and possibly cause pregnancy, although the likelihood is low. Your chances of pregnancy are also reduced if the liquid on your underwear was pre-ejaculate (versus ejaculate). Pre-ejaculate, or “pre-cum,” is expelled out of the penis slowly during the excitement phase and may or may not include residual sperm from a previous ejaculation.

Though your partner did not ejaculate inside of you, the risk of pregnancy did increase when you both removed your underwear. His penis could have expelled pre-cum during the situation you have described, which could result in pregnancy.  Though it does not sound as though there was much penetration involved, there is still a risk that the pre-ejaculate or ejaculate could have made it’s way inside of your vagina. We recommend using contraception, even if penetration is minimal, because of the possible risk of a pregnancy.  For more information about your chance of pregnancy, try our Pregnancy Probability Questionnaire!

 
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Could I be pregnant?

If you have recently engaged in sexual activity with a partner and are wondering about the likelihood of this activity resulting in pregnancy, Sexinfo Online is here to help! There are several resources available to you to help you understand the chances that you or your partner is pregnant.

First, try our Pregnancy Probability Questionnaire (PPQ). This feature contains questions about the details of your specific sexual encounter. Based on your answers to these questions, the PPQ can tell you whether you or your partner’s risk of pregnancy is high, medium, or low. You can access the PPQ using the link on our home page or by clicking the “Could I Be Pregnant?” tab in the tool bar across the top of the page.

We also have articles entitled “Can We Get Pregnant If…” for female and for male partners. These articles contain examples of sexual activities and explanations of the chances of pregnancy for each activity.

Please keep in mind that these resources are meant to give you a rough estimate of your chances of pregnancy. If you believe you or your partner could be pregnant, we encourage you to take a home pregnancy test or visit the nearest doctor to find out for sure. For even more information about getting pregnant, and the chances of becoming pregnant, be sure to explore our many articles!

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I had unprotected sex with my partner. What should I do if we do not want to become pregnant?

Anytime semen comes into contact with the vagina or vulva (the female external genitalia), there is a risk of pregnancy. Sperm can survive for several days inside of a female’s body and fertilize an egg, resulting in pregnancy. Pregnancy can occur at any time during your menstrual cycle (even on your period!), so unprotected sex is not recommended at any time if you are trying to avoid pregnancy. However, there are certain times in your cycle that do carry a higher chance of pregnancy. The closer you are to ovulation, which is the release of an egg from one of the ovaries and generally occurs 14 days after the start of your menstrual cycle, the higher the chance of pregnancy. This period of time is called your “fertile window,” and can vary from woman to woman.

If you suspect that you or your partner is pregnant, we recommend obtaining a pregnancy test. Emergency contraceptives (the “morning after” pill that prevents ovulation or the intrauterine device) are available and highly effective if taken within three to five days of unprotected sex. Emergency contraceptives can reduce the risk of pregnancy for up to five days after having unprotected sex. Just as the name suggests, however, these methods should only be used in emergency situations when unprotected sex occurred or another method of contraception failed. They should not be taken regularly as a primary contraceptive.

All of us here at SexInfo would like to emphasize how important contraception is not only to prevent pregnancy, but also to prevent transmission of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Condoms are one of the cheapest and most effective ways to do this, and can easily be found at your local drugstore or clinic. In the future, be sure to use proper protection when engaging in sexual conduct of any type.

 
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Is pregnancy possible if my partner or I have an irregular menstrual cycle?

About one third of all females experience an irregular menstrual cycle at some point during her life. This can be frustrating if you are trying to conceive (become pregnant). Stress can have a huge effect on fertility, so it is important for you and your partner to try to remain calm and supportive of each other as you are trying to achieve conception.

 

To reduce stress you both can:

  • Communicate openly with one another.

  • Get emotional support from a counselor or group.

  • Exercise regularly and try stress-reduction techniques, including yoga and meditation. You can also check out our article on how to give a massage.

  • Discuss a medical treatment with one another.

 

The first step in determining a female’s fertility would be to buy an ovulation test (available at many grocery stores and drugstores). Ovulation occurs once per month around the 14th day of a female’s menstrual cycle (day 1 is the first day of bleeding) and marks the most fertile period of her entire cycle. A positive result on an ovulation test means that a female would most likely be fertile over the next two days. By having intercourse during this two-day period, the female would have the greatest chance of conceiving.

If a female has used an ovulation test for a while and has determined that she is not ovulating, or if you have had unprotected and regular sex for twelve months without conceiving, it would be wise to contact a reproductive endocrinologist (RE), otherwise known as a fertility doctor. Irregular periods without ovulation can be caused by Polycistic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, or other conditions that require medical treatment.

If a doctor has ruled out these conditions, the female may be prescribed fertility medicine to stimulate ovulation. Typically these medications are orally ingested (taken by mouth) and will stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs.

It is also important to check into male fertility. About one-third of infertility cases can be attributed to male difficulties. To have fertility checked, a male will provide the doctor with a sample of semen for analysis. The doctor will check the sperm count and make sure there are no abnormalities present.

The good news is, after testing both the males and females for the cause of their infertility, about 85% of couples will become pregnant and most pregnancies will occur within the first year of treatment.

 
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My partner and I were having oral sex and he ejaculated in my mouth. Is there any chance that I could be pregnant?

Pregnancy can only result from sexual intercourse or from an encounter where a male’s semen gets inside a female’s reproductive tract via the vulva or vagina. Therefore, activities such as kissing and swallowing a partner’s ejaculate can not cause pregnancy.

Pregnancy occurs when a male’s sperm cells come into contact with a female’s ovum, or egg – the female sex cell. Once every twenty-eight days (on average), a female ovulates, or releases an egg into one of her two fallopian tubes. The twenty-eight day cycle around ovulation is known as the menstrual cycle. After ovulation, the egg stays in one of the two fallopian tubes for a few days. It is during this time that a female can become pregnant, but only in certain circumstances.

When a male has an orgasm, he typically ejaculates a small amount of semen from his penis. Semen contains sperm, which are the male sex cells. If a male ejaculates into a female’s vagina during the time when she is ovulating, then the sperm (the male sex cells) will find their way to the egg (the female sex cell). When this happens, one of the sperm will join together with the egg, and this sperm-and-egg combination (known as a zygote) will implant itself in the uterus and begin to grow and develop into a baby.

In short, pregnancy can only occur if all of the following conditions are met:

1) Sperm enters the vaginal canal. 

2) The sperm makes it through the cervix and into the fallopian tubes.

3) The sperm fertilizes an egg.

4) The fertilized egg implants itself in the uterus.

For a more detailed explanation, click here

If two people kiss or cuddle, there is absolutely no risk of pregnancy. So relax and don’t worry, kissing is an enjoyable and risk-free way of sharing affection with your partner. Of course, you can become pregnant from other sexual activities if sperm comes into contact with a female’s vulva or vagina. If you choose to engage in sexual activity with your partner, we recommend you use condoms or some form of hormonal birth control, to minimize your chances of pregnancy. Of course, communication is important for any relationship, so we advise having an open discussion about birth control and pregnancy with your partner.

 
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My partner and I are trying to get pregnant. What can we do to increase our chances of pregnancy?

Once semen has been ejaculated into the vagina, sperm immediately begin to travel past the cervix into the internal female reproductive tract. It is not necessary to keep the penis inside, as the semen is usually ejaculated deep into the vagina. One simple way to increase the chances of pregnancy is to have sexual intercourse during the female’s window of ovulation. Couples have the greatest chance of pregnancy when they have intercourse in the five days leading up to and including the day of ovulation. (This period of time is referred to as a female’s “fertile window.”) Ovulation strips may be purchased at a drug store and are similar to pregnancy tests in their use and design, but instead they tell a female when she is ovulating. If these tests are not readily available, you can roughly estimate a female’s fertile window. Ovulation typically occurs 12 to 14 days after the start of a female’s period, if she has a regular menstrual cycle. Another way to determine a female’s ovulation window is to check for increased viscosity (or stickiness) and a general increase in female discharge. Other ovulation symptoms include breast tenderness, abdominal cramping, and an increase in body temperature.  

Some doctors recommend the male-on-top position as the optimal position for conception. Placing a pillow under the female’s hips and keeping her legs raised may also aid in sperm travel. Having sex every other day during a female’s ovulation window instead of every day is also recommended, as this allows a male’s sperm count to rise efficiently. Avoiding certain positions, such as female-on-top or sitting down, can also be helpful when trying to conceive. However, it is important to remember that these are simply suggestions and do not guarantee pregnancy. The best way to increase the chances of pregnancy is to have sex during the female’s ovulation window and maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating well and not smoking.

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What are some tips for having sex on your period?

 

Because we were unsure if you were referring to a pad or a tampon (interestingly, many people refer to tampons as “pads”), we would like to address both products. In this response, we will refer to the product that lines the underwear as a pad and the product that is inserted into the vaginal canal as a tampon. Pads, because they are worn externally on the underwear, do not interfere with penile-vaginal intercourse, but they also do not prevent blood from leaking out of the vagina and getting onto your partner.

While tampons should NOT be worn during penile-vaginal sex, they can be worn during other forms of sexual activity that do not involve the vaginal canal (such as anal and oral sex) as a pleasant and discreet way to prevent leakage. We do not recommend having penile-vaginal intercourse while wearing a tampon because the penis can push the tampon far into the vaginal canal during penetration and cause irritation. There is also a risk of the tampon being pushed so far into the vagina that you will not be able to retrieve it yourself. In this case, you would have to visit a doctor to have it removed.

Fortunately, there is an alternative solution that can be worn during penile-vaginal sex and prevents any blood from getting onto your partner: the menstrual cup! The menstrual cup is a small, flexible cup-shaped device that is inserted into the vagina against the cervix and catches all menstrual flow. This product prevents any blood from leaving the vagina and/or getting onto your partner because it catches the blood and holds it at the cervix; this way menstrual blood never even enters the vaginal canal. Also, because it is inserted so deeply into the vagina, it is not felt by you or your partner during penile-vaginal sex. We hope this response was helpful and urge you to write in with any more questions that may arise!

If you would like to see our article dedicated to sex on your period, please click here.

If you would like to learn more about the menstrual cup and other menstrual products, please click here.

 
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My partner and I would like to try anal sex, how should we prepare?

Anal sex can be a very pleasurable and exciting experience for both partners, if done properly, and should never be done without each partner's consent.

It is important to remember that the anus is very different from the vagina; it does not self-lubricate, it does not lengthen to accommodate a penis when aroused, and it houses many potentially dangerous bacteria. Before attempting anal sex, be sure to communicate with your partner to establish ground rules and make sure she or he is participating of her own free will.  Also, be sure to have plenty of lube and condoms on hand. It is a good idea to have her empty her bowels and clean her anus before participating in order to lessen the chance of spreading bacteria.

When you and your partner are ready to begin, be sure to lubricate the anus generously. The anus is controlled by two sphincters, one of which is involuntary and stays closed. Make sure your partner is relaxed and, before attempting to insert your penis, try gently pushing on the constricted sphincters with a clean, well-trimmed finger (to prevent the spread of bacteria, use a latex glove) to coax the sphincter to relax and loosen. Once your partner is ready, and with plenty of communication and lubrication, you can slowly and gradually begin to insert your finger, a sex toy, or a penis (always use a condom!).  Remember, slow and steady wins the race!  Trying to force anything into the anus without proper lubrication and relaxation can cause small tears in the anal tissue, which is not only painful for the receiving partner, but leads to the transmission of bacteria and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS. Again, using a condom during anal sex is an absolute necessity!

After anal sex, you should never try to insert the penis into her vagina or mouth without thoroughly cleaning your penis, disposing of and replacing the condom in order to prevent serious infections.

To learn more about anal sex, click here:

To learn more about condoms, click here:

 
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No. The oral type of herpes (herpes simplex I) usually infects the mouth. However, it can still affect other areas of the body, including the genitals. Herpes infections are extremely contagious, especially when a sore is present. It is important to steer clear of oral sex and kissing until the sore heals completely. It is also important to not use spit while masturbating, as you may infect your own genitals if you are not careful. Use other forms of lube until the sore completely disappears.

 
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Yes. Cold and flu germs are spread from the nose and mouth, not sexual fluids. Being sexually active is technically ok, but there is a high chance of transferring your cold to your partner since you are in such close quarters. It is wise to abstain from all sexual activity for a few days. If it is a sickness that may be cured through antibiotics, you are usually not contagious 48 hours after starting antibiotics. However, we are not doctors so it is wise to check with them before engaging in sexual activity. If you are going to have sex, consider positions where you are not directly face-to-face with your partner (such as doggie-style) to avoid kissing them or spreading germs.

 
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No. Sex before a Pap smear may irritate the vaginal issue, increasing the chances of receiving a false positive test result. The test may indicate the presence of a problem when there is not one. A woman should abstain from vaginal intercourse for 48 hours before seeing her gynecologist. It is also recommended for women to avoid receiving oral sex as well to ensure accurate test results.

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Yes. A woman most likely will not transmit a yeast infection to her partner during sex since it is NOT an STI. However, using protection is recommended if one partner has a yeast infection. That way, partners will not reinfect each other with the infectious form of yeast that may have caused the original outbreak. A male partner may experience some itching, but yeast infections do not grow on dry skin (like that of the shaft of the penis). Yeast organisms thrive mostly in warm, moist environments. Meaning that two female partners may want to abstain from sexual activity to prevent the reoccurrence of symptoms. Also, sex may aggravate the already existing symptoms of a yeast infection, but will not worsen an existing condition.

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Yes. A UTI is not contagious. Having sex will not delay the healing process once antibiotics have been started. However, friction on already-inflamed tissue may worsen the symptoms of the UTI. Having sex with a UTI will not pose any health risks, but may be slightly uncomfortable. Do what feels right for you body.

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What are the dangers of giving/receiving fellatio (blowjob)?

Giving or receiving fellatio, more commonly referred to as a “blowjob” or “head,” has the potential to be both a safe and rewarding sexual experience if both partners are prepared and communicate well with each other. All partners involved should voice their concerns and preferences prior to engaging in fellatio. Furthermore, each person should feel comfortable talking with his or her respective partner during fellatio if a problem does arise. Common problems that occur during fellatio include, but are not limited to, harming the penis with one’s teeth, a male partner forcing his penis deeper into their partner’s throat/mouth, or a male partner ejaculating into the other partner’s mouth without warning. Note, upon reaching orgasm a male can either withdraw his penis from his partner’s mouth or ejaculate into it. The recipient’s partner should voice his or her preference prior to sexual engagement to avoid unnecessary confusion and harm.

Beyond personal preferences, those planning to participate in fellatio should be aware that oral sex allows for transmission of sexual infections, and proper barrier methods should be used to prevent this. The receiving partner should always wear a condom during fellatio in order to prevent passing any sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to his partner. Furthermore, we recommend all partners get tested for STIs prior to engaging in any sexual activity, so that when they do engage in sexual activity they will be aware of the risks and use proper protection. We encourage you to read our oral sex article if you desire further knowledge on the subject.

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Can I have sex while I have a tampon in my vagina?

We do not recommend having penile-vaginal intercourse while wearing a tampon because the penis can push the tampon far into the vaginal canal during penetration and cause irritation. There is also a risk of the tampon being pushed so far into the vagina that you will not be able to retrieve it yourself. In this case, you would have to visit a doctor to have it removed. While tampons should NOT be worn during penile-vaginal sex, they can be worn during other forms of sexual activity that do not involve the vaginal canal (such as anal and oral sex) as a pleasant and discreet way to prevent leakage. Fortunately, there is an alternative solution that can be worn during penile-vaginal sex and prevents any blood from getting onto your partner:  the menstrual cup. The menstrual cup is a small, flexible cup-shaped device that is inserted into the vagina against the cervix and catches all menstrual flow. This product prevents any blood from leaving the vagina and/or getting onto your partner because it catches the blood and holds it at the cervix; this way menstrual blood never even enters the vaginal canal. Also, because it is inserted so deeply into the vagina, it is not felt by you or your partner during penile-vaginal sex.

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I am overweight and my partner and I want to try positions other than the missionary position. Any suggestions?

There are sex positions other than missionary (such as side-by-side or big flying legs) that may be fun for you and your partner to try out. Starting the doggie-style position while lying down may help you two achieve vaginal penetration. You can also use pillows to aid you in raising your hips or buttocks depending on which position you are in. You and your partner can also change up your usual routine by experimenting with oral sex, manual stimulation, and sensual massages; these techniques can help you learn more about your partner’s body and are usually very pleasurable for the receiving partner. Exploring and learning about each other’s bodies can be a very romantic and rewarding experience. Also, If you are interested in adding more spice to your sex life, we suggest adding toys such as vibrators or handcuffs. However, you and your partner should discuss the use of sex toys before introducing them into the bedroom to determine which toys and behaviors you two are comfortable with. We also suggest engaging in activities together outside of the bedroom, such as exercising together, in order to become more comfortable with each other and deepen your relationship. Exercise has been proven to increase couples’ satisfaction with their sex lives, as well as increase an individual’s confidence and stamina. You can read more about how exercise can benefit your sex life here. The most important part of trying new things in the bedroom is communication with your partner. If you and your partner are willing to step out of your comfort zones together to strengthen your sexual relationship, you two can definitely have a more adventurous and satisfying sex life!

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I don’t enjoy G-Spot stimulation from my partner. What should I do?

First, we would like to emphasize that you should never feel pressured into any activity that you are uncomfortable with. Being unable to relax during G-spot stimulation may be preventing the results your partner wishes to achieve. Communicate with your partner, and tell him or her that at this point in time, you would rather not experiment with G-spot stimulation. If you have specific reasons why you are uncomfortable with it, sharing them may help your partner better understand your feelings. You can try brainstorming with your partner to incorporate another activity that you are both excited about into your sex life.We encourage you to read more information about the G-Spot here in the hopes that you will feel more at ease!

When exploring G-spot stimulation, we recommend that you first test out the region on your own. This way, you can have a better idea of how to guide your partner to pleasuring you. Some females describe the orgasm from G-spot stimulation as much more intense and heated than a clitoral orgasm, while others may feel little sensation or even discomfort.

If you enjoy self-stimulation, you can begin exploring the region with your partner. Relax and think about something that arouses you as you have your partner slip their fingers into your vagina and feel along the vaginal wall. You can guide their finger motions, telling them which maneuvers you enjoy best. You can ask him or her to massage the spot in slow circles; touch it in a  “come here” motion, a figure eight pattern; or tap rapidly with force. You and your partner may also find greater success by elevating your pelvic area with a few pillows beneath your butt. This can provide them with greater access to the region by changing the angle of penetration. Make sure to communicate with your partner so you can guide them towards what feels best for you! If you enjoy oral stimulation from your partner, you may enjoy blending manual stimulation of your G-spot with oral stimulation of your clitoris.

After experimenting with your partner, if you still do not enjoy G-spot stimulation, do not be discouraged! Each woman experiences sexual sensations differently. While some women are capable of orgasms with G-spot stimulation, others are not and may feel discomfort. In either case, this situation has opened up communication and exploration between you and your partner.

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Can my partner die from anal sex?

Only under very extreme circumstances does death occur from anal sex. For instance, penetrating the anus with a very large object (i.e. an unreasonably large dildo) and no lubrication may perforate (puncture) the colon and cause serious complications that could ultimately lead to death. However, by taking precautions and being considerate of your partner, this should not be a concern.

It is important to remember that the anus is very different from the vagina; it does not self-lubricate, it does not lengthen to accommodate a penis when aroused, and it houses many potentially dangerous bacteria. Before attempting anal sex, be sure to communicate with your partner to establish ground rules and make sure she or he is participating of their own free will.  Also, be sure to have plenty of lube and condoms on hand. It is a good idea to have them empty their bowels and clean their anus before participating in order to lessen the chance of spreading bacteria.

When you and your partner are ready to begin, be sure to lubricate the anus generously. Make sure your partner is relaxed and, before attempting to insert your penis, try gently pushing on the constricted sphincters with a clean, well-trimmed finger to coax the sphincter to relax and loosen. Trying to force anything into the anus without proper lubrication and relaxation can cause small tears in the anal tissue, which is not only painful for the receiving partner, but leads to the transmission of bacteria and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS. Again, using a condom during anal sex is an absolute necessity!After anal sex, you should never try to insert the penis into a vagina or mouth without thoroughly cleaning the penis, disposing of and replacing the condom in order to prevent serious infections.

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Is it okay to swallow semen?

Semen is perfectly safe to swallow as long as the neither of the participants do not have any sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). About one percent of semen is sperm. Semen is full of protein, minerals like zinc and calcium, some fructose sugars and other nutrients necessary to create life. However, swallowing semen has little nutritional value. It has few calories and its nutrient content is much lower than the recommended daily amount for the average human. To learn more about swallowing your partner’s ejaculate, click here.

 
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What is the best way to make another man orgasm?

There are many ways for men to achieve orgasm, but every individual is different. For this reason, we suggest that good communication is most important for ensuring that you and your partner will have the best experience possible. First, it is important to always receive a clear and exuberant “YES” from any and all partners. Similarly, it is important to recognize that consent can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity. That is, if there comes a point when a person becomes uncomfortable and wishes to stop the activity, they have the right to withdraw their consent at any time. One way for men to achieve orgasm is through manual stimulation of the penis, commonly referred to as a “handjob.” It is common for a partner to use one or both hands to grip the penis, and move the hand(s) in an up-and-down motion to stimulate the penis. Some men also enjoy having their testicles involved in the stimulation. A partner may gently cup or tug on the testicles with one hand, or rub them. As always, partners should communicate about what feels best and what they feel comfortable doing.

Another pleasurable activity, closely related to manual stimulation, is mutual masturbation. When performed with a partner, mutual masturbation can be a fun and intimate activity. You can stimulate your partner, or you can touch yourself in the presence of your partner. You can also masturbate together, or stimulate one another at the same time. Not only is this activity enjoyable, but it can also be a very educational experience. You may learn the likes and dislikes of your partner by observing the techniques they use to pleasure themselves during masturbation. There are several things you can do to make mutual masturbation more enjoyable. First, make sure your partner is comfortable with the idea of masturbating together. Some people may think masturbation is a private practice; others may be thrilled to share the experience. Second, we recommend that you and your partner have some artificial lubricant handy. It may not be necessary, but it can be especially useful if you and your partner are going to engage in a long period of sexual activity. (Experimenting with different brands of lube may be a fun experience as well!) Last, as with any sexual activity, practice safe sex. If you plan on touching your partner in ways that could transmit bodily fluids, be sure to use a barrier method of birth control. Also, it is wise to wash your hands before manually stimulating yourself, or a partner, to avoid spreading any germs or bacteria from the hands to the genitals.    

Another way men can achieve orgasm is through oral stimulation, commonly referred to as fellatio or a “blowjob.” A male’s partner can stimulate him orally by licking and sucking on his penis and testicles. The glans, frenulum, corona, and penile shaft are all highly sensitive, so many people like to focus on these areas. To bring your partner more pleasure, you can try encircling his penis with your mouth and moving it in and out. Teeth can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort, so the lips should be the main source of pressure on the penis. As the male gets more aroused, his partner can move the penis deeper into the mouth/throat, or speed up the pace of the in-and-out motion. If the partner is not comfortable moving the penis deeper into the mouth, he may place his hands around the base of the penis and move them up and down simultaneously with the mouth. This will create a similar sensation. When performing fellatio, it is important to know what you and your partner are going to do once he reaches orgasm. This is something that is best discussed beforehand. The male can withdraw his penis, or he can ejaculate into his partner's mouth. If he withdraws from the mouth, his partner can continue to stimulate the penis with their hands until ejaculation. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be spread through oral sex, so we would like to remind you to always use a barrier method of contraception.

Finally, anal sex is another way that men can achieve orgasm. This is caused by the stimulation of the prostate gland, which is located about two to three inches inside the rectum, directly below the bladder. Anal sex can be highly pleasurable for some men, but we do recommend practicing caution when engaging in it. Anal sex can be an extremely risky sexual act if the necessary precautions are not taken because the anus has no ability to produce a natural lubricant, so any tears that occur in the delicate anal tissue become direct pathways into the body for STIs and viruses. It is therefore incredibly important to use a condom at all times during anal sex. Also, be sure to use lube generously and proceed slowly when beginning anal sex in order to avoid any rips or tears in the anus.

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I sometimes get headaches after having sex or masturbating. Is there an explanation for this? How can I find relief?

 

Head pains leading up to and during orgasm are often caused by a phenomenon known as “Benign Sexual Headaches.” They can be quite painful, but luckily there are many known treatments for this condition. Please know we are not qualified medical practitioners, and if  headaches do persist, we highly recommend a visit to a physician who will be able to properly diagnose this pain. In some cases, these headaches are a symptom of underlying conditions which require medical treatment. However, we can offer some holistic solutions to try which may help alleviate this pain.

Often, Benign Sexual Headaches are exacerbated by being tired, stressed, and engaging in masturbation several times in rapid succession. Try to create a cool, relaxed environment, remember to breathe, and drink lots of water to prevent dehydration. If a computer is being used as a visual aid, staring at a computer screen for a prolonged period can also worsen headaches in some people. Some people also find that changing the position in which they masturbate provides relief (i.e. lying down).

Most of the time, Benign Sexual Headaches disappear on their own. Although they are rarely a health risk, it is still important to seek out a physician, who can run the proper tests and provide treatment to reduce the pain.

I want to have sex more often than my partner, is this normal? How can I solve this problem?

 

It is common for couples to find that they have different sex drives. Just because your libidos are not currently synchronized does not mean that you and your partner cannot enjoy a gratifying sexual relationship. This difference can be solved through communication, compromise, and the use of other outlets for your sexual energy.

    First, do not feel shy communicating about sex with your partner and telling him when you are aroused. Through effective communication you and your partner can come to better understand each other’s physical needs and desires and reach a happy compromise. You may also want to set aside time for you and your partner that is specifically designated for intimacy. If your partner is too tired for sex in the evening, try initiating sexual intercourse in the morning or midday while you are both refreshed and energetic. If there are times when your partner would not like to participate in sexual activity but you find yourself aroused, there are ways in which you can resolve your arousal yourself. Masturbation is an extremely healthy way to get to know your own body and release sexual tension without a partner. It could be done alone or even in front of your partner. Another useful way to release energy is to exercise; this activity is good for you and can help alleviate sexual energy. You could also try to focus your thoughts somewhere else when you feel yourself becoming aroused. This could be a solo activity or something you and your partner do together. You could propose a fun activity that you both will enjoy that will help you take your mind off your arousal.

    There is nothing wrong or unusual with having a high libido and being in a relationship with someone whose libido is not the same as yours. Communication is key to resolving differences that naturally arise in any relationship.

My partner and I have tried everything, but I cannot reach orgasm with him/her. I can have them on my own through masturbation, what should I do?

The condition you are referring to is known as female orgasmic disorder, or anorgasmia, which is the difficulty or impossibility to achieve orgasm. Most sexual difficulties, including anorgasmia, can stem from both physical and psychological causes. In other words, there may be nothing physically wrong, but you may be thinking about the problem too much and creating a mental blockade. Remember, anxiety is the opposite of orgasm. The female climax requires a complete letting go of bodily control, which may be difficult. In addition, you may feel the need to reciprocate sexual stimulation during partner sex, which may be distracting. This may explain why you are able to give yourself an orgasm (because you are focused and in control), but cannot achieve one when someone else is trying to make you climax. Additionally, try not to think about orgasm as the major goal of sex and instead focusing on all of the pleasurable aspects of the interaction. You will certainly enjoy the experience more and you might even reach that orgasm you desire!

While you say that you have tried everything, we want to stress that it is rare for a female to orgasm from penis-vaginal intercourse alone. Females oftentimes find that cunnilingus (oral stimulation of the clitoris and vulva) is usually the sexual practice that leads to orgasm because the clitoris is directly stimulated. Talk to your partner; make sure he/she is doing what you want him/her to do. Your partner cannot feel the sensations you are feeling, so using communication will definitely help! Allowing your partner to watch you masturbate (manually or with a vibrator) can be a good way to show him/her exactly what you want. For more information, please see our in-depth article on Anorgasmia. Best of luck!

 

Why is my period brownish/blackish in color? Is this normal, and can I still engage in sexual activity?

When a women is nearing the end of their period they may start seeing very brown or black blood. Periods tend to begin with bright red blood (new blood just shed from the uterus) then transition to darker blood as the older blood is shed. (Blood gets darker and thicker as it sits in the uterus.) The blood flow should gradually become lighter and stop after several days much like any other period. If this is not when an individual usually has their period, they may be experiencing spotting, and it is likely nothing to worry about. However, if this dark blood continues to worry them or they begin to experience other symptoms, we recommend they visit their doctor.

To answer the second question, women can have sex on their period, and we absolutely recommend using a condom to prevent pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Unless they are trying to conceive or are engaging in sex with a clean, trusted partner, we always recommend using protection. Periods do not interfere with the efficacy of condoms or most birth control methods.

I am worried that my vagina is too tight for intercourse. Can I still have pleasurable sex?

First, we would like to say that sexual performance and the size/width/tightness of a woman’s vaginal canal are factors oftentimes unrelated from one another. Women need not worry about the tightness of their vagina and its effect on their sexual function or pleasure! Sex can be pleasurable for both women and their partners regardless of your vaginal “tightness.” However, many women have reported an increase in pleasure and sensitivity after practicing muscle tightening exercises called Kegel exercises, which work to strengthen their pubococcygeus (PC) or “pelvic floor” muscles. This suggests that having strong PC muscles (AKA a “tight vagina”) may have some advantages regarding sexual sensation because they can increase both male and female pleasure. A tight vagina can allow for more coital (penile/vaginal) friction, which in turn increases stimulation and the possibility of orgasm for both partners.

           Sometimes, however, the vagina can be too tight and penetration may be difficult and painful for females. This condition is known as Vaginismus and is characterized by involuntary spasms of the pelvic floor muscles that surround the vagina. These spasms can make penetration impossible or extremely difficult. If a woman feels pain or discomfort during penetration, we would advise them to schedule an appointment with a gynecologist for proper diagnosis and treatment (vaginismus is treatable, so do not be afraid or disappointed if you are experiencing any of these symptoms).

Lastly, we would like to note that a female’s vagina might become “loose” (AKA her pelvic floor muscles have weakened) after giving birth, not merely from having many sexual partners or encounters. Again, these muscles can be strengthened/tightened through Kegels, which also aids in urinary control and stronger, longer lasting orgasms.

I am a middle-aged female, and I oftentimes have no sexual desire. Is this normal, and how can I change my libido?

There are many factors that can contribute to a decrease in sexual desire. As women age, many changes occur in their body that can affect sexual desire. One of the most significant changes is menopause, the time in a female's life when she ceases to menstruate. This usually occurs between the ages of 40 to 60 and can affect their libido (sex drive) by causing changes such as decreased lubrication, lower estrogen levels (the female sex hormone), lower testosterone levels (the hormone believed to be responsible for female sexual arousal), and vaginal atrophy (the thinning and decreasing elasticity of the vaginal walls). Certain drugs, including those used to treat depression and others used to relieve the symptoms of menopause, can contribute to lower sexual desire. Other hormonal changes, negative sexual experiences, depression, anxiety and stress, non-sexual medical issues, habituation to their partner, and relationship problems can also cause sexual desire to decrease.

           There are a variety of treatments that can be used to combat low sexual desire depending on which factors are relevant in any particular case. If a woman has been feeling stressed or anxious, meditation, exercise, and psychotherapy can help reduce stress and increase sexual desire. Certain medications, such as anti-anxiety medication, bupropion hydrochloride sustained-release tablets, and Lorexys, have been shown to increase sexual desire in females. A clitoral therapy device called the EROS-CTD, designed to increase blood flow to the clitoral area by creating a gentle suction over the clitoris, could also be a solution. Other treatments include sensate focus, Kegel exercises, and self-exploration through autoeroticism and masturbation.

            In order to figure out exactly what is causing a women’s decreased sexual desire and the best way to treat it, it is important to seek medical attention. The cause may be an underlying medical issue that can be diagnosed and alleviated by a physician. It is also important to have open and effective communication in a romantic relationship.Women should talk to their partner about how they have been feeling and possible ways that the two of them can make their sex life more exciting and appealing. Proper identification of the cause of their low sexual desire, whether it be physiological, psychological, or interpersonal, is crucial for effective treatment.

There could be several possible answers to this question. The first possibility is that there could be no specific reason for the changes, as sex is never quite the same and can feel different each time! Women’s bodies respond in different ways depending on many factors such as stress level,  mood, or the stage of their menstrual cycle. We recommend experimenting by having sex at different times of the day/week/month and see if any of these feelings change. Also, if a women hasn’t had sex in a while, the muscles in their vagina will become used to being closed, so the first time they have sex after a break their vagina may be a little tighter than normal.

    The difference that a women’s partner is experiencing could be dependent on which sex position they both are in. He will feel a difference depending on how the women’s body is positioned and the angle of penetration. One position that can increase the feeling of “tightness” is if the woman lays on their stomach with their legs together and have their partner enter from behind. The added friction from the women’s thighs will provide their partner with more pressure and “tightness.”

    The amount of time spent on foreplay also changes both the lubrication level and the shape of a women’s vagina. If a woman is not properly and completely aroused, they will not have a lot of natural lubrication, which will make their partner feel more friction but could end up being painful for them. Most of the time, the vagina lies flat, but when a female is aroused, the vagina lengthens and the inner two-thirds expand in a process called “tenting.” The biological function of this action is to create a receptacle for semen. When a woman is properly aroused, the factors mentioned above may combine to make it feel as if their vagina is “looser,” but it should not be a concern as this is their body’s natural reaction to ensure that the sex is pleasurable and comfortable for them.

There is one way that a woman can increase the strength of their vaginal muscles (and in turn tightness of their vagina), and it is through Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises strengthen the pubococcygeus (PC) muscle, which forms the pelvic floor and supports the pelvic organs, to increase sexual response and satisfaction. To locate their PC muscle, they must try stopping the flow of their urine. The muscle that they clench to do this is their PC muscle. Practice squeezing this muscle, and gradually build up the number of repetitions and the length of each squeeze. Just like normal exercise, doing this often will strengthen a woman’s PC muscle. Anyone can practice Kegel exercises discretely almost anytime and anywhere (e.g., in their car, in their living room, etc.). Strengthening this muscle will add to the overall tightness of their vagina and also give you stronger contractions during orgasm, which will make their orgasms feel more powerful (a win-win situation!). Women can try clenching their PC muscle slightly during sex to increase the pleasure for her and her partner.  

There are many reasons a condom could be irritating to someones vagina, so we will list several below.

Latex Allergy

Most condoms are made out of latex, and about 1 to 3% of people have latex allergies. Physical reactions to a latex allergy can include a rash on or around the genitals, redness, blistering, and itching; they usually begin to appear 6 to 48 hours after the exposure to latex. If someone ever experiences more severe symptoms, like cramps, hives, severe itching, rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, or difficulty breathing, they should stop using the condom immediately, and should not hesitate to contact a doctor. These may be signs of a severe and life-threatening form of latex allergy. If someone would like to know for sure whether or not they may be allergic to latex, they should contact a physician who will be able to test them for the allergy.

Plastic (also known as polyurethane, a type of rubber) condoms are available for people with latex allergies. Plastic and latex condoms have roughly equivalent efficacy rates of preventing pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Polyurethane condoms are slightly thinner and less flexible than latex ones, so more lubrication and caution are required when putting one on. (Plastic condoms also tend to be more expensive.) Remember that both oil-based and water-based lubricants are safe to use with plastic condoms, but oil-based lubricants should never be used with latex condoms. Oil deteriorates latex and makes it much more likely to tear.  

Spermicide

    Some condoms contain a spermicide, which helps eliminate any sperm that may escape the condom. Unfortunately, the active ingredient in most spermicides is the chemical nonoxynol-9. Nonoxynol-9 has been shown to irritate the vaginal walls and cause lesions (small cuts), which could be the cause of irritation. Check to see if the condoms that are used contain this ingredient, and if they do, find condoms that do not. (This should not be difficult to do because most condoms no longer contain spermicide.)

Insufficient Lubrication

    A very common cause of vaginal irritation or pain during intercourse is insufficient lubrication. If someone is not very aroused or their vagina naturally produces less lubrication, penetrative sexual activity may cause too much friction, and this friction can irritate their vagina by creating microscopic tears in the vaginal walls. Lesions not only cause irritation, but they also facilitate the transmission of STIs and viruses. Because of this, it is very important to be sufficiently lubricated before any penetration occurs, especially if the penetration is going to be vigorous. Luckily, there is a very simple solution: use a personal lubricant! There are many different types available, so people can experiment and see if any help. As mentioned previously, never use an oil-based lubricant with a latex condom.

    The condoms being used may have a textured surface. This is said to increase stimulation for the female, and therefore increase pleasure. However, perhaps this texture is creating too much friction and is irritating. If this is the case then a person should use a condom that has a smooth surface.

Different brands and kinds of condoms produce different sensations. People should try to use a different brand of condom and find one that feels more comfortable.

Condom Quality

Check that the condoms that are being used are neither expired nor damaged. Check that the wrapping is not torn, punctured, or worn out. Check the expiration date. Condoms should never be stored in direct sunlight or exposed to high temperatures. When the condom is taken out of its packaging, make sure that it is not discolored, torn, sticky, dry, or brittle. If its believed that a condom has been compromised in any way, do not use it.

We would like to calm anyone’s worries regarding the curve of their  penis by letting them know that the shape of a man’s penis can vary considerably from person to person. More importantly, we want to stress that as long as the curvature of a man’s penis does not cause any discomfort or pain to the individual or their partner, the shape of their penis should not be a cause for alarm.

We would like to underscore the fact that a curved penis is actually much more common than it seems. In fact, more than 50 percent of men have a slight curve or tilt to their erection. Some curve up, some down, some to one side or the other. These men are not alone! The need for treatment or corrective procedures depends on the severity of the curvature, and most men do not require any straightening procedures. If a man has just a slight curve in any direction, it is unlikely that it has any significant effect during penetrative intercourse. However, if the curve is more severe it can make sex painful for the man and his partner. (This is especially true for penises that curve down.) If the curve of a man’s penis is causing them pain or discomfort, we recommend seeking professional medical help. A doctor will be able to provide an individual with much more specific information and treatment, if necessary.

Ultimately, the decision to seek corrective surgery for cosmetic reasons rests with the individual. While surgery can be effective, it can pose many unnecessary and serious risks, including impotence (the inability to become erect or maintain an erection for sexual intercourse). It is strongly advised that surgery be sought out in only the most severe cases in which intercourse is extremely painful or even impossible. As mentioned previously, a slight curve in the penis is very common and not a cause for concern. If it is not interfering with a man’s sex or daily life, they should know that there is no cause for concern.

Epididymal hypertension or "blue balls" refers to the testicular aching that occurs when a male is sexually aroused for a prolonged period of time, and the blood in his genitals is not dissipated because he does not orgasm. The reason this condition is termed “blue balls” is because the scrotum may turn a bluish hue from the accumulation of deoxygenated blood in the testicles. Oxygen-rich blood is bright red while oxygen-poor blood is dark red. When blood remains in the genitals because of prolonged sexual arousal, it does not circulate back to the heart and lungs and its dark appearance contributes to the bluish hue of the scrotum.

Epididymal hypertension does not usually last for very long, and the pain associated with it is often minor. Some men grow frustrated when they are sexually aroused but do not achieve orgasm. This frustration and failure to ejaculate can add psychological stress to physical discomfort and exacerbate his discomfort. The simplest remedy for blue balls is orgasm and ejaculation. Masturbation is often the most viable way to achieve orgasm, especially if one's partner is not ready for intercourse. The testicular pain will dissipate slowly after orgasm, and a single orgasm should be sufficient to relieve the tension. Without orgasm, the tension will slowly relieve itself as the individual becomes less aroused. If a man continues to experience significant or persistent pain, we recommend that they visit their doctor. 

This painful experience can have multiple sources of origin. The following suggestions are simply possibilities we believe may be the cause of this rectal pain and are not meant in any way to be an official medical diagnosis. During the excitement phase of the sexual response cycle, the penis becomes erect due to an increase in blood flow to the genital area (this process of engorgement is called vasocongestion). When the penis is fully erect but does not progress through the phases of sexual response (stopping sexual relations prior to emission and ejaculation), the increase blood supply is still present and can lead to pain in the genital area. Medically known as temporary fluid congestion, this ailment causes a mild cramp-like ache in the prostate and swelling and tenderness of the testes. The rectal pain might be physiologically linked to the prostate ache; if this is the case, we suggest masturbating (perhaps alone versus mutual masturbation with a partner) to ejaculation when ejaculation does not occur in a person’s sexual encounters with their partner.

Another possible explanation for rectal pain could be hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectal canal and are classified by two sub-categories: external hemorrhoids and internal hemorrhoids. Veins that are swollen within the anal canal lead to internal hemorrhoids, while veins that swell near the opening of the anus characterize external hemorrhoids. People can experience both types at the same time or individually and are characterized by similar symptoms. These symptoms include: bleeding during bowel movements, itching, and rectal pain. The swollen anal veins of internal hemorrhoids might be the cause of that pain. Walking can create extra pressure on the swollen veins, causing mild to extreme pain. The symptoms associated with hemorrhoids might become more intense after sexual encounters due to the excess fluid congestion and pressure in the area. Hemorrhoids can be easily treated with over-the-counter creams and medications. 

Sometimes when I am having sex with my partner, I ejaculate before I would like to. Is there anything I can do to prevent this from occurring?

It is very common for a man to ejaculate before he intends to during sex. In order to combat this, there are a variety of techniques designed to help a male partner last longer before ejaculating. One method is called the “Stop-Start Technique,” in which the male’s partner stimulates his penis until he can sense orgasm is near (a man can stimulate himself as well). As soon as he feels this, stimulation must stop until the male’s arousal decreases. Once the male has returned to the plateau stage of the sexual response cycle, stimulation may begin again. (If you would like to learn more about the sexual response cycle, please click here.) Through repetition of this process, a male can slowly learn to improve his orgasmic control.

A second method of prolonging orgasm is known simply as the “Squeeze Technique.” It is similar to the “Stop-Start” method (mentioned above). Instead of ceasing stimulation near orgasm, however, either the male or his partner squeezes right below the glans (the head of the penis) or the base of the penis, until arousal has decreased. When the male is ready, stimulation may begin again. More information on these techniques can be found in our article: Premature Ejaculation.

Another factor to bear in mind is that orgasm should not be the end goal of sexual activity. Sex can often be very fulfilling and satisfying even when one or both partners do not orgasm. In fact, many partners learn to enjoy foreplay and intercourse more than the orgasm itself. Couples should try to treat the entire experience as if there is no goal in mind; they should take their time with foreplay, communicate, explore each other’s bodies, and discover what makes each other feel pleasure along the way. Lastly, it is important to remember that even after orgasm, one can still satisfy his or her partner with the fingers (manual stimulation) or mouth (oral stimulation), or even with sex toys such as dildos and vibrators.

 

More information on these methods of sexual stimulation can be found on our website:

·         Manual Stimulation

·         Oral Sex

·         Female Masturbation

·         Sex Toys

 

Male infertility can result from several factors, including low sperm count, abnormal sperm shape or size, and reduced sperm motility. These abnormalities can result from both a male’s lifestyle and genetics. While it takes the fertilization of just one egg by one sperm to achieve pregnancy, there are millions of sperm in every ejaculate that never reach an egg. A typical ejaculation contains about 100 million sperm. A low sperm count is defined as fewer than 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen. In order to maintain a healthy sperm count, make sure to avoid smoking cigarettes, decrease exposure to toxins such as pesticides, limit consumption of alcohol, and reduce activities that promote excessive heating of your scrotum—such as sitting in a hot bath or hot tub. Some studies have also shown that keeping a cell phone in a man’s pocket or computer on their lap may decrease  their sperm count by heating the testicles with electromagnetic frequencies. To maintain healthy sperm levels, it is also important to establish a healthy weight and diet and to remain physically active.

For natural methods to increase sperm count, some turn to acupuncture and nutrition. Acupuncture treatments focus on returning the entire body to a state of balance, in hopes that whole-body health (including sperm health) will increase in quality. Acupuncture may also help relieve stress, which can be correlated with a reduced sperm count. Adjusting a man’s  nutrition to increase sperm levels can include adding supplements, such as multi-vitamins, fish oil, and Selenium, to their diet. Selenium levels can be increased with the consumption of brazil nuts, liver, turkey, crimini mushrooms, and fish such as snapper, cod, halibut, tuna, salmon, sardines, and shrimp. Eating foods with zinc may also boost sperm levels. This mineral can be found in lamb, venison, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, green peas, and beef. Vitamin B (found in clams, oysters, eggs, beef, lamb, and cheese) and Vitamin C (found in plants and fruits, especially red peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes, and citrus fruits) are two vitamins that may help improve sperm count. Herbal tonics made with maca root, schisandra fruit and seed, tribulus, or ashwagandha root may also help increase sperm count. Men should reduce the intake of foods that mimic estrogen in the male body since these can throw off their natural hormone levels. Things that mimic estrogen—and should therefore be avoided—include soy foods, hormones added to dairy and meat, pesticides, and plastic seepage from bottles and food containers. It takes about three months for sperm to mature in the testes, so a change in diet may not have visible results for at least three to six months.  

There are also alternative methods to achieving pregnancy. A man should talk to their health care provider about surgery, medication, and hormone treatments that may help increase the chances of conception. One method is intrauterine insemination, in which the male provides the doctor with a sample of his semen. From this sample, the doctor separates the healthy sperm from the semen and then places these sperm directly into the female’s uterus. This increases the chance that sperm will successfully reach and fertilize an egg. In vitro fertilization is another option, in which the female’s eggs are removed and combined with sperm in a lab. Once fertilization has occurred, one or more fertilized eggs are placed into the female’s uterus in hopes that a pregnancy will result. 

This is very common, many men have difficulty maintaining an erection directly before a sexual opportunity. He may have too many things on his mind and feel anxious before having sex. Some men worry that they aren’t experienced enough and fear judgment from their partner. Others may be intimidated by some women and experience something termed “performance anxiety.” This term is problematic because it insinuates that having sex is a performance, which is not true. Sex is not a way for a man to “show off” or “perform” by any means, rather, it is an opportunity for a man and his partner to make each other feel wonderful. To keep this from reoccurring, a man can try relaxing before attempting to have intercourse. Stretching or doing yoga may help them find inner peace and make them feel more confident. Having a grip on their psyche will have tremendous effects on a man’s sex life in various ways. Communicating with their future partner about their fears may actually make them feel relieved and more relaxed. If a man continues to feel nervous before having sex, they may want to question the suitability of their partner. A man should make sure their partner welcomes sexual contact and makes them feel welcome in the bedroom.

The “difficulty” described regarding a lack of ejaculatory fluid may be a condition called “ejaculatory incompetence” (please note this term is from the professional literature and does NOT imply any incompetence on the part of the male experiencing the problem!). Ejaculatory incompetence is defined as a male’s evident inability to ejaculate, even with the presence of an erection and sexual arousal. Another possibility is a condition called “partial ejaculatory incompetence,” which results in a “half” orgasm – that is, slight seepage of semen without true orgasmic sensations (caused by pelvic muscle contractions). Partial ejaculatory incompetence is relatively common for males and is often related to fatigue or a state of stress in the man’s life.

If there are satisfying orgasms without ejaculation, however, there could be a deeper physiological (biological) cause. One possible culprit is the phenomenon called “retrograde ejaculation,” in which semen enters the bladder upon ejaculation instead of going out through the penis. With retrograde ejaculation, the sphincter muscle that typically blocks off the opening to the bladder does not function properly, allowing all or part of the semen to travel up into the bladder instead of through the tip of the penis. If this is occurring, urine may appear cloudy after sexual climax. The presence of semen in the bladder is harmless. In some cases, though, retrograde ejaculation can cause infertility, so it is important to speak with a doctor to determine the actual underlying cause of ejaculatory difficulty. 

Blood in urine is medically referred to as hematuria and can have many different causes. Forceful or harsh coughing does not usually lead to blood in urine, so it is probable that the pain and bleeding are caused by another factor. The following are possible causes for these symptoms and are not meant as an official medical diagnoses. If the problem persists or worsens, we recommend visiting a doctor for proper evaluation and treatment.

    Urinary tract infections (UTIs), which are infections of parts of the urinary tract system, are a common cause of hematuria accompanied by painful urination. Infections of the urethra (urethritis) and infections of the bladder (cystitis) are more common and less detrimental than infections of the kidneys (pyelonephritis). The symptoms of these infections are as follows:

  • Urethritis: painful urination

  • Cystitis: pelvic pressure or pain, lower abdominal pain, urinary urgency and pain, blood or pus in urine.

  • Pyelonephritis: nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, upper back and side pain, abdominal pain, urinary urgency.

If any of these symptoms are experienced, it is important to visit a physician for treatment immediately because the infections can worsen and complications, such as kidney damage, may arise. No over-the-counter treatment or home remedy, such as drinking cranberry juice, can cure UTIs; antibiotics are vital for treatment.

Another possible cause of the hematuria are kidney stones. Kidney stones can be caused by dehydration and symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, dark-colored urine, light-headedness, and dry cough. Passing kidney stones through the urethra can be extremely painful and can often cause small tears in the urethra leading to hematuria. Other urological conditions such as kidney disease, enlarged prostate, or kidney injury may be possible etiologies (causes) of hematuria.

What is the average penis size? Is my penis too small? Too big?

What is the average penis size?

While penises come in various colors, shapes and sizes, studies have shown that the average penis size is anywhere from 5-7 inches. Here are the statistics on the percent of white college men who have erect penises of various lengths (According to the Alfred C. Kinsey Institute for Sex Research).

The same study found that the average girth is 4.84 inches.

Is my penis size too small?

Even if you were less than average, that would not mean that women would walk away with disappointment. A man can pleasure a woman in many ways - fingers, tongue and gentle hands, to name just a few (although I could go on). For many women, the penis is NOT what brings her to orgasm. Gentle stimulation around the clitoris is the thing most women like. Good sexual relationships do not depend on the size of your penis. They are enhanced by good communication, time, patience, understanding, acceptance and effective stimulation of the clitoris and nearby areas.

Is my penis size too big?

The only situation where you have to worry about your penis being too big is if it causes pain to your partner. If it does, you may need to be careful not to thrust too deeply during sex. There are a variety of sexual positions that may be useful to a male with a larger penis, which you can find on the Sexpert Approved Sex Positions article.

 
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How tight should a female's vagina be?

First, we would like to say that sexual performance and the size/width/tightness of your vaginal canal are factors oftentimes unrelated from one another. You need not worry about the tightness of your vagina and its effect on your sexual function or pleasure! Sex can be pleasurable for both you and your partner regardless of your vaginal “tightness.” However, many women have reported an increase in pleasure and sensitivity after practicing muscle tightening exercises called Kegel exercises, which work to strengthen your pubococcygeus (PC) or “pelvic floor” muscles. This suggests that having strong PC muscles (AKA a “tight vagina”) may have some advantages regarding sexual sensation because they can increase both male and female pleasure. A tight vagina can allow for more coital (penile/vaginal) friction, which in turn increases stimulation and the possibility of orgasm for both partners.

Sometimes, however, the vagina can be too tight and penetration may be difficult and painful for females. This condition is known as Vaginismus and is characterized by involuntary spasms of the pelvic floor muscles that surround the vagina. These spasms can make penetration impossible or extremely difficult. If you feel pain or discomfort during penetration, we would advise you to schedule an appointment with a gynecologist for proper diagnosis and treatment (vaginismus is treatable, so do not be afraid or disappointed if you are experiencing any of these symptoms).

Lastly, we would like to note that a female’s vagina might become “loose” (AKA her pelvic floor muscles have weakened) after giving birth, not merely from having many sexual partners or encounters. Again, these muscles can be strengthened/tightened through Kegels, which also aids in urinary control and stronger, longer lasting orgasms.

 
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What is PPP and what are some treatments?

Pearly penile papules (PPP) are small protrusions on the head of the penis, rimming the corona or “crown.” They are usually pearly or flesh-colored, dome-shaped, and smooth, ranging from one to three millimeters in diameter. These are not to be confused with HPV warts, which are contagious and spread via multiple forms of sex. Pearly penile papules, in contrast, tend to be uniform in shape and size and are arranged in neat circular rows. It is important to recognize the distinction between these two by visiting a dermatologist at a doctor’s office and getting tested for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) to ensure your skin condition is, in fact, pearly penile papules and not genital warts or another STI.

Pearly penile papules are very common; they are present in about 25% of adult males, and are harmless in nature. These bumps do not pose a risk to your health or the health of your sexual partner(s). They play no role in sexual performance and pose no health risk. For this reason, treatment is only advised if the bumps are a cause of psychological stress. If you decide to seek treatment, you should be sure to get a proper diagnosis from a doctor. Treatment is typically surgical removal of each papule via carbon dioxide laser surgery, radiosurgery, freezing, excisional surgery, or electro-desiccation. Other home remedies have also been used, although they are variable in effectiveness and should be carefully researched prior to use, as home attempts may be unsafe and can possibly worsen the appearance of the penis. These include applying gels or pastes such as toothpaste, castor oil, lemon juice, or eucalyptus oil to the papules for weeks at a time until the bumps seem to shrink in size.

Psychological distress from PPP is often experienced by men through feelings of low self-esteem or self-consciousness. While surgical removal may provide relief from such distress for some people, the high cost of surgery limits its access. Ads claiming to remove PPP in a short amount of time may be scams and should be avoided. The best advice for those experiencing psychological distress from PPP is to love your body. While it is understandable to feel some anxiety over a physical “abnormality,” especially when it affects such a delicate region of the body, acceptance and respect for oneself is inarguably the healthiest (and most cost-effective) mode of treatment.

 
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What are some common problems that occur with the male prostate?

Prostate-related illnesses are common amongst middle-aged men and should not be taken lightly. We highly recommend you see a doctor if you think you or anyone you know is experiencing any prostate problems.

There are a variety of common prostate-related health conditions, one of which is an enlarged prostate. Those suffering from an enlarged prostate (also referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH) may experience frequent urination, strained urination, a weak or slow urinary stream, dribbling of urine, or a constant urge to urinate throughout the night. Benign prostatic hyperplasia is most common in older men.

Another common prostate disease is prostatitis. Prostatitis involves inflammation of the prostate and/or the surrounding area. There are several different types of prostatitis with symptoms that range from mild to severe. If left untreated, prostatitis can greatly impact a man’s quality of life.

The last (and most serious) type of prostate disease is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men (after skin cancer). Symptoms associated with prostate cancer include difficulty urinating or holding in urine; erectile dysfunction; blood in the urine; pain in the spine, hips, ribs, or other bones; weakness or numbness in the legs or feet; and loss of bladder or bowel control.

Doctors can use digital rectal exams and blood tests to help diagnose prostate-related conditions like enlarged prostate (BPH), prostatitis, and prostate cancer. These tests are often administered as a part of a man’s general health check-up, especially if he is over the age of 50. If you or someone you know is indeed suffering from a prostate disease, it is extremely important to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

 
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What are some problems associated with ovarian cysts?

A common problem associated with ovarian cysts is amenorrhea, which is the absence of menstrual periods for longer than a year. The cessation of periods is often a sign of a problem with ovulation or another aspect of the menstrual cycle. Although missing periods can often mean that ovulation is not occurring, it is not completely correct to assume that a woman is infertile because she is not experiencing regular periods. We strongly recommend anyone who believes they have ovarian cysts visit a doctor as only a trained medical professional can determine the extent of her fertility.

 
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What is Sperm?

Sperm is the male reproductive cell. Sperm are commonly confused with semen but they are technically different from one another. Semen (also called ejaculate or “cum”) is the name of the entire body of fluid that is expelled from the penis during ejaculation, while sperm is one of the many components of semen. Although sperm may be considered the most “important” ingredient of semen because it is necessary for pregnancy, it makes up less than one percent of the volume of a man’s ejaculate. Sperm is created in the testicles in a process called spermatogenesis, then stored away until the sperm have matured and are ready to leave the body. When a male ejaculates, the mature sperm (combined with the rest of the fluids that make up semen) is expelled out of the urethra, located at the tip of the penis. The fluids in semen contain sugar to fuel the sperm through the vaginal canal and chemicals to activate the sperm to facilitate pregnancy. Not all of the sperm in semen are “activated,” or moving, immediately upon expulsion from the penis because the sperm would lose energy too quickly. To increase the chances of impregnating a female, only small groups of the sperm inside semen are moving at the same time. This process is the reason why a female can become pregnant for up to 5 days after a male has ejaculated inside her vagina.If sperm enters the female reproductive tract via the vagina and successfully fertilizes an egg, pregnancy occurs. If you would like to learn in more detail about the male reproductive system, please click here.

 
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I am a male experiencing puberty. Some of my friends have seen growth in their penises, and I have not. When and how will my penis start to grow?

 

Puberty is different for everyone and can begin as early as 9 years of age for some and as late as 14 or 15 years of age for others. During puberty, your penis will grow longer and thicker. However, like all changes that occur during puberty, penis growth occurs at different times and at different speeds for each individual. Therefore, if you are just beginning to experience puberty, it is likely that your penis is nowhere near finished growing.

    The first change that your genitals will undergo will be the enlargement of your scrotum and testicles (two sensitive, almond-shaped structures inside of your scrotum). After this change in scrotum size begins, your penis will begin to grow. In these beginning stages of puberty, your penis may grow in length, but not much in width. At this point, you may begin to grow pubic hair, which will thicken and become coarser over the span of puberty. Your penis will eventually thicken and begin to produce semen, allowing for ejaculation. Your penis will continue to grow throughout puberty and will not stop until puberty is over. For most males, this will be between ages 16-18, but some males have been known to experience puberty and penis growth into their early twenties.

    As penis growth occurs, you will notice changes that may come as a surprise. One of these new experiences that you may or may not have already encountered is an erection. An erection occurs when the structures in your penis expand and fill with blood and the shaft of the penis becomes hard. Erections are typically the most common in the morning, immediately after waking up, but they can occur spontaneously throughout the day or night. Many erections occur when you are not even thinking about anything sexual. Erections are a normal part of puberty that are nothing to worry about.  Something else that may occur throughout puberty are nocturnal emissions, commonly known as “wet dreams.” A wet dream occurs when you ejaculate (expel semen from your penis) in your sleep, and wake up with wet pajamas and sheets. Like erections, “wet dreams” are a normal part of puberty and usually stop when you get older. If you would like to reduce the amount of wet dreams you encounter, try masturbating to ejaculation right before bed.

    Penis growth and puberty occur at different times and at different speeds for each person. It is also important to note that penis size is genetic, just like the size of your hands or the color of your eyes. There is no such thing as a “normal” penis size. Keep in mind that penis size has nothing to do with your masculinity or your sexual ability (if you are a heterosexual male, please know that the majority of nerves in a female’s vaginal canal are actually located at the very opening of the vagina, so the length of a penis is oftentimes irrelevant for providing female pleasure). If this worry persists, we encourage you to talk to your parents or doctor about the different stages of puberty.

 
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How do you know if you don't have your hymen? What exactly does it look like?

The hymen is different on every female. If you are curious about what your hymen looks like, you can use a mirror to see inside your vaginal canal. Position the mirror between your legs so you can see your vulva, and slowly spread the inner and outer “lips” (the labia minora and labia majora) of your vulva. If you cannot see into your vaginal canal, use a flashlight to illuminate the area. If you can see a thin layer of skin right inside your vaginal opening that has a small hole (or holes) present, your hymen is most likely intact. If you notice small traces of broken skin surrounding your vaginal canal but no thin membrane, you may have already stretched or broken your hymen. The hymen can be broken during activities such as physical exercise, using tampons, having sex, or masturbating. This is not always a painful occurrence, some women do not even feel it break. The stretching or breaking of the hymen is completely normal and does not necessarily mean that a female is not a “virgin”.

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What happens when the hymen breaks? Does the hymen break during the first time you have intercourse?

When a penis enters a vagina for the first time, the hymen (a small layer of skin that partially covers the vaginal canal) will most likely tear and may cause bleeding. Many females do have a small to moderate amount of blood when they engage in intercourse for the first time, but the bleeding usually subsides within a few hours to a day. If you do not see any blood after intercourse, the hymen may have stretched or broken earlier in life (possibly due to sports, horseback riding, gymnastics, insertion of a tampon, etc.). Many females do not experience pain or bleeding if their hymen has previously broken.  It is important to note that a woman can still be a virgin even if her hymen is no longer intact.

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