Sexual Etiquette

Contraception and STIs

Performance problems

Serious Sex-related issues


Sex myths

Gay and Lesbian sex

Everyday couples, exceptional sex

Dear Diary, I had great sex today


Appendix: A Sex Dictionary






Hot And Cold In Sex


Performance Problems

Some of the reasons sex goes wrong and how to get it lustily back on track

As a writer who specializes in sex, I discuss penises , clitorises, and the pros and cons of G-spot orgasms as often as other people talk about where to go for lunch. I've done stories on dominatrix and drag queens, prostitutes and premature ejaculators; I've visited bondage and discipline parlors, a sex addicts' club, and sat around with a group of naked women armed with vibrators big enough to build hoses with. All that experience makes me a popular dinner party guest-but it freaks penises out big-time (not to mention the men they're attached to).
              Add a tendency to forget not everyone's as open about sex as I am, and you can see why some men find me too hot to even think about handling. "So, you can help me out with a story I'm doing," I said to one guy on a first (never-to-be-repeated) dinner date. "Oh really?" he said nervously, Adam's apple doing an Irish jig. "It's an easy one,:" I continued. "All I need to know is this. When you're giving a girl oral sex, have you ever noticed if any fluid comes out? See, this story's on female ejaculation." I scooped up a mouthful of pasta and beamed an encouraging, cheerful smile. Ummm.. how's your meal?" he answered. Later, he told a mutual friend the only guy who'd be confident enough to sleep with me answered to the name of Bond.
              No matter how much I tell men the pressure's on me to perform in bed, some still give me this watery, wan smile and continue to think, Dh God, she knows so much, I'm bound to do something wrong. And, of course, they do. Which probably explains why I can't really understand all the fuss over genital malfunctions. So our body parts don't behave as we want them to occasionally. So what? Genitals are like expensive electrical equipment-they act up now and again. Leave it until the next day and the problem often magically cures itself. Penises, vaginas, and clitorises might be part of your body but they're not always within your control. Accept this one simple fact and you'll avoid the psychological head games that turn a lot of isolated technical hiccups into chronic sex problems.
              As for other sex-or relationship-related trouble zones, again you'll notice the same advice given over and over. Talk to your partner. Discuss the problem. Tell him or her you're not happy. Your mouth is great sex today for a lot of things to do with sex but its most important function in the bedroom is for talking. Good communication can solve lots of problems and make them all easier to cope with. Talk is cheap, cheaper than sex therapy.
              This chapter looks at the common physical and emotional reasons why sex goes wrong and suggests practical solutions to the problems.

Penis Problems
              Personally, I'd hate to have a penis-it's so humiliatingly obvious when things go wrong! Because female parts are hidden, we get away with all sorts of things. We're dying to have sex but our vagina's as dry as a piece of unbuttered toast? No problem. A quick trip to the bathroom, a scoop of K-Y and our lover's none the wiser. Not so for men. A limp penis stands out like ...well, it doesn't, and that's pretty obvious to both of you. As for corning too soon, I've yet to hear a man complain if his girlfriend hits the target within three minutes (more like hallelujah!). The pressure on men to perform is enormous, even if nothing else is.
              If you're a guy, chances are at some point in your life you'll find yourself in one of the following situations. If you're a woman, it's pretty obvious you could be the one he's with at the time. Men take their penises very, very seriously sex related issue, so it pays for both of you to be prepared. How you react to the problem initially very often dictates how long it remains one.

              . "You never, ever talk about penis problems to other guys. It's almost like your penis is you. Guys are so ego-oriented and sex-oriented. If I confessed to a friend, he'd have one up on me. I actually find it easier to talk to women you're not sleeping with, that is." Christopher, 23, music rep

He can't get it up (impotence)
Sometimes, penises and brains have different ideas of what's fun. You want to ravish her, but your penis wants to snuggle up into your Calvins and have a nap. Nearly every man will have had problems getting an erection by the time he reaches forty. It's normal and usually explicable. Maybe you drank too much, work pressures are stressing you out, or you're simply tired. Dismiss it as a one-time- thing and chances are that's what it will be. Worry yourself sick about it, and it may well happen again. The more wound-up and anxious you are the next time, the more nervous poor old Willy's going to be and the less likely he'll be to rise to the Occasion. Your worst nightmare will be confirmed and you will be officially (if only temporarily) impotent.

              . Only one-third of impotency cases are anxious you are the next time, due to physical problems, and almost all are treatable.

          Why did it happen in the first place? Too much booze can do it, so can recreational drugs, physical exhaustion, pressure, stress, and guilt (your penis may try to be faithful, even if you don't). Usually, it's psychological but there may be a medical reason. It's easy to figure out which category you fit into: if you have an erection when you wake up in the morning or during sexual masturbation, it's probably psychological. You're not getting one with your partner because you feel anxious, embarrassed, or ashamed- may be she's made you feel that way by being critical.


                                                Real men don't always get erections whenever they want to. I'm being kind, it's true. I asked every female who called the day I was writing this and out often only one had never encountered the problem (my niece, who's five years old). Accepting that you're not the only one is often the solution to the problem. Many of you get horribly upset because you think of sex as intercourse- which needs an erect penis. Illogically, you'll think you're a dud in bed even if she's had ten orgasms through oral sex. That's really silly. Take it from me, women don't think like you do. we'll go for the guy who gives us great head over an erect penis every time. so first up, change your mind-set.

              . It first happened when I was nineteen. I'd just met a girl and couldn't get it up. I thought it was a bit strange but put it down to the fact that I was really into her and wanted things to go really well. The second time it happened, I became obsessive-wound myself up into a complete state. The girl kept saying, "It must be me ' and that made It worse. After her, I slept with a few girls casually with no problem, then I met my next long-term girlfriend and was back to square one. I finally figured it only ever happens with women that matter so I warn them and once I'm relaxed it goes away." Tony, 28 teacher

              Talk to your girlfriend and confess that you're going through a weird time. Don't avoid sex, just have it without penetration; use your tongue, hands, and mouth to pleasure her instead, (She'll be praying you stay impotent forever.) Rule out any medical reasons for the condition. Take a break from drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes and rethink your health and lifestyle generally. If you're on any prescribed medication, ask your doctor about possible side effects. If it's happening a lot, ask your doctor for a referral to a urologist for a physical examination or make an appointment to see a sex therapist. Think about why it's happening. Is it with all women or just this one? If it's just her, maybe you're mistaking friendship for lust or love. Sometimes, if you're really crazy about her, you're scared limp because you're so desperate to please her. Relax a little. If she's going to leave you because you can't get an erection, she wasn't worth the effort in the first place.


              . Don't take it personally. It doesn't mean your tummy is too big, he doesn't like your underwear, or he fancies the blond in accounts.
              . Don't pretend you don't notice. Talk to him about it. Say, "I know how that feels. Sometimes I want sex, but I don't get wet." Ask him if he'd like you to try to arouse him or whether he'd prefer to get some rest. Talk to his penis as well. Say, "Poor thing, you're tired" or "Too much beer, eh?" anything to lighten the situation. The worst thing you can do is ignore it. gently stroke it from base to tip or give him oral sex but don't labour the point. If he doesn't become hard in a few minutes, shift to another area- his nipples, his mouth, his testicles.
              . Turn it around Say, "Fantastic! This means I get you all to myself." Let him use his hands and tongue to bring you to orgasm. Masturbate for him. Relax and enjoy yourself- an orgasm each doesn't necessarily have to be the goal of love-making.
              . Have intercourse anyway. If you can push it in (with his or your fingers), he'll often become erect inside you.

              . The Relationship was great, except we still hadn't had intercourse and it'd been six weeks! He'd give me these amazing, passionate kisses out in public, but while I couldn't wait to get home and rip out clothes off, he'd avoid it. then I found out why: he'd been impotent for months. Of course, I was convinced I could solve it. When I couldn't, I thought, 'Oh shit, this guy really does have problems.' I'm a really sexual person and I need to have sex and orgasms. If he'd taken the time to satisfy me with his hands and mouth, it wouldn't have been such a problem, but he seemed so caught up with it, he forgot about me." Carla, 24, secretary

He can't come
What's going on? You've been at it for so long she's not only planned the menu for tomorrow night's dinner party but the shopping list and what to wear as well. Rapid thrusting usually does the trick, but this time, though you're close to orgasm, you can't quite get there. Usually it's because sensation in your penis is deadened by too much alcohol, drugs (especially speed), or (lucky you!) she's worn you out from too many previous climaxes. Women are used to having sex without the ultimate reward of orgasm-you're used to quite the opposite.
              If it's not the result of overdoing it, it could be psychological. Have you just swapped girlfriends and are too shy to tell your new couple what you need to tip over the edge? Some men can only orgasm if their partner squeezes their testicles; others want her to insert a finger into their anus. If you've just split with someone and always orgasmed the same way, your body and brain may be waiting for the signal to let go. Alternatively, you might be feeling emotionally upset. Are you worried about losing her, having work hassles, or generally going through a stressful time? You're having trouble because your mind's not on the job.