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Until recently many (if not most) people thought that anything a couple did in bed (apart from intercourse in the ‘missionary; position) was ‘perverted’.  Happily, there are now few men and women who take such a view  but the fact remains  that many husbands  and wives are basically very unsure  about various  practices that they, are or their partners, feel like trying in bed, but which  they think might be ‘kinky’.
            That’s why people send  in endless questions to advice column enquiring whether this or that is wrong.  Now, in my answers I always try to make it clear that I am concerned with medicine and not with morals.  If a so-called  ‘kinky’  practice is medically harmful I’ll say so but I think it would be an impertinence on my  part to condemn something that a couple  do in the privacy  of their bedroom  as being morally wrong.  Unlike many commentators on sexual  matters  in the past, I see no reason to start labelling people as deprived or disgusting  because they happen to find mutual pleasure in something that is of  no interest to me personally.
            So in this chapter we’ll look at various common bedroom activities, judging  them on only two criteria  whether they are  likely to enrich a marriage, and  whether  they could do any medical harm to the couple involved.
Is oral love-play OK?
            Perfectly ‘mouth music’, as it’s sometimes called, is one of the nicest aids to marital happiness, but people still seem to get in a bit of a state about oral sex, behaving as if it were something  terribly vulgar or indecent. I’ve even encountered men and women who thought it caused cancer of the throat, which seems a trifle irrational to say the least.
            I would give one commonsense warning about these lovemaking techniques: obviously it’s rather silly to indulge in oral  love play when  you have an infection of either the mouth area or the genital region, in practice, it’s rare for germs  to be carried to the sex organs from the mouth but it  can happen, just as ordinary kissing can transmit cold germs from one mouth to another.
            Perhaps what is  more important, genital infections like thrush, gonorrhoea or syphilis can occasionally be transferred to the  lips, tongue, or throat by oral/genital contact.  So if  you have any kind of  discharge or genital sore, don’t have  sex (oral or otherwise ) until the cause has been diagnosed.  Neglect of this simple and fairly obvious  health in marriage principle has led to people getting  such bizarre conditions as gonorrhoea  of the tonsils which may sound rather funny, but which is no joke when you’re got it.

Is blowing down the  penis harmful?
            Yes, it could well be.  This practice has become popular in some areas (particularly in the USA) but it’s most unwise.  There’s a chance that the wife who blows  her husband’s penis may damage his sexual equipment, temporarily or permanently.

Is it all right if the wife swallows the seminal fluid?
            This is a very commonly asked question, many women are disgusted by the idea of swallowing the fluid  anyway,  though others take the view of Molly Bloom in James Joyce’s Ulysses and derive a lot of satisfaction from it.
            Seminal fluid is quite harmless and non-toxic but it has one possible side-effect that I ought to point out.  A woman who is more than  seven months  pregnant should not swallow it in  case it puts her into premature labour.  African tribes use a draught made from the fluid  to try to bring women into labour, and I understand from Professor S.M.M.Karim, who is currently the world’s leading authority on prostaglandin’s (which are very potent chemical present in certain body tissue) that it would theoretically be possible for the amount of prostaglandin’s in a single  ejaculate to have this effect.  However, he says that there is no danger at all during the first six months of pregnancy.

Is it all right to put things in the vagina?
            That  depends on what you’re  going to put in and how easy it is to  get out!  Any casualty officer soon learns that a  lot of people have the habit of popping all sorts of daft things inside during love-making.  For instance, very often a husband  and wife will go out together  on a Saturday night, have perhaps a few too many  drinks, and then return home for home for some rather tipsy love-making.  Suddenly it strikes one or other of them as a  good joke to pop, say, an apple inside the vagina.  The  joke wears a bit thin when they  discover they can’t get it our again!  So the wife goes along to the  nearest  hospital with some incredible story about having  tripped over a fruit bowl, which the doctor listens to with some cynicism.
            The object can always be removed, but the  woman  may need a general anesthetic first.  So my advice would be never to put anything into the vagina  that wasn’t specifically designed for it, and  above all to avoid sharp or breakable objects.  In the past I have had considerable difficulty in  removing fragile bottles of make-up or perfume which no-one in their right mind should want inserted into their bodies.
            It’s quite all right to put in contraceptive pessaries, however, and in many parts of the world (notably  West Africa), husbands encourage their wives to get certain effervescent brands from the clinic because of the pleasant tingle  they produce for both partners.
            I have also had a number of letters from couple who pop an ice cube in just before love-making in order to produce the same effect.   Provided the  cube is very small and not too cold (so that it melts within about 30 seconds) I would say that as an occasional practice this would  probably be harmless.  At least  an ice cube has the  merit of vanishing  by itself, which is more than one can  say for many of the  other  dotty things that people  put into themselves.

But what about inserting vibrators?
            Well, that’s a different matter, because vibrators are meant  to be  placed in the vagina, and those made by reputable manufacturers shouldn’t break or have bits fall  off them  when they’re inside.
            I would caution, however, against the use of rectal vibrators.  These devices have become very popular in some  countries in recent years, but the danger of them is that they can get lost.  Despite its French name (Le cul), the back passage isn’t  soft sac like  the vagina, and there have been a number of unfortunate and embarrassing cases  in which men and women who have used these things have ended up having to undergo an  abdominal operation to have them removed from somewhere in the region of their lives very nasty.

But what about electric vibrators generally?  Are they OK?
            Well yes, they’re quite harmless things, though  it’s  important to ensure that those which run off the main, rather than a battery, are properly earthed.  When they first appeared  in the  shops some years ago a lot of people were  offended by them and thought them ‘obscene.’  This is why they still tend to be  advertised (in the most  respectable journals!) as being for  general massage.  But, as I think nearly everyone knows by now, most of the millions of vibrators that have been sold in recent  years are intended purely  as sex aids.
            Now there’s nothing medically wrong  with this,  provided that a couple don’t  expect  that a vibrator will be some kind of magic remedy to any sexual difficulties they may have, though some  patients who are ‘frigid’ may well derive some help from the use of a vibrator.  If a couple buy one just to add to their bedroom fun, that’s fine.
            The most commonly used type of vibrator, shown in figure is made of plastic  and was quite  obviously designed by a man.  It is, as you can see,  penis-shaped, hard, cold and  unyielding.  It also makes a devil of a racket, so that  anyone  who lives in a house with thin walls would  be well advised to use it only when the neighbours are out!
            Happily, more romantic –looking (and quieter) vibrators are slowly  coming onto the market.  They can be placed in the vagina, on the penis, or (most commonly) over the area of the  clitoris,  where of course they have the greatest  effect.   Some types can be strapped to the back of the husband’s  hand; if he then places the tips of his  fingers on the wife’s  clitoris the transmitted vibration will give her quite an agreeable and unusual sensation.
            Most women could reach a climax by using  a vibrator, though I would stress, however, that few wives regard the feeling produced by a vibrator as being  anything  like as good as ‘the real thing.’