Sex Q&A: You Personal Questions Answered (Jul, 1964)
YOUR Personal QUESTIONS ANSWERED
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• Involuntary Discharge (6473)
Dear Doctor: While in the presence of my wife and just before attempting intercourse, I will discharge some semen. When I do this I do not have an erection and there is no sensation. This makes it impossible for me to obtain an erection to carry out intercourse. I am 75 years old. What causes this discharge?
Mr. S.J., California
Answer: You must realize that most men under the stress of sexual excitement, do put out a small amount of mucus from the glands along the urethra. This serves as a lubricant to facilitate the passage of semen. Perhaps this is what you are putting out and are confusing it with semen.
On the other hand, of course, if you do have actual convulsive contractions of the sexual musculature which squeezes out the semen, that is a totally different problem. The only suggestion possible is that you consult a urologist and have a thorough examination. He might be able to come up with some explanation and some help
ful solution. Changes in the prostate or the ejaculatory muscles may be causing it. Such changes occur with aging.
• Clitoral Manipulation (6474)
Dear Doctor: My husband has been impotent for the past 5 years. I am 64 years old and have a strong sex drive. My only source of relief has been getting climaxes through clitoral manipulations. Will that harm my health?
Mrs. B. M., New York
Answer: Obtaining relief from sex tension by clitoral manipulation — either by the husband or by the wife —will not be harmful to health at any age. For persons with a strong and otherwise unsatisfied sex drive, it offers a very satisfactory solution. From a health point of view, it is not important how a climax is obtained, so long as a full release from tension is reached.
If you are referring to masturbation, although few people associate this practice with the older years, doc-
tors and other investigators familiar with sex behavior in these years have found it to be quite common.
• Erotic Literature (6475)
Dear Doctor: I am happily married and my wife and I enjoy a satisfactory sexual relationship. We have found that the reading of various kinds of erotic literature in the form of stories, pictures and cartoons, as a preliminary to sexual relations, increases our sexual enjoyment enormously. Would this be considered perverted or abnormal? We know that such material is often frowned upon.
Mr. M. J., New York
Answer: The fact that such material is frowned upon does not necessarily mean that desire to read it as a preliminary to sex relations is an abnormal or perverted desire. Many acts which are endorsed by leading marriage counselors and spokesmen for all faiths do not have the support of all people.
Marriage counselors today believe that any act of foreplay is normal in the marriage relationship if it affords pleasure to both partners and does not involve cruelty or pain. The means which each couple use to heighten their arousal or pleasure are purely a matter of personal taste.
• Age Disparity (6476)
Dear Doctor: A man of 40 wants to marry a 58-year-old woman. He was wounded in the army at the age of 19 by a bullet that went into his stomach, and for this reason he doesn’t want to marry a young girl because he thinks he could not keep up with her. Do you think it is wise for this girl to marry this man? She does not look her age, but she is afraid it will be hard on her having intercourse with a younger man.
Miss K. A., Illinois
Answer: Since there is 18 years difference between the woman’s and the man’s age, she being the older, there is a very considerable difference. One cannot lay down any rule that will apply in each individual case. In general, such a difference does tend to make complications in marital adjustment as husband and wife age further.
Due to the fact that the man was injured, in this case we can only say it might work out all right, but, of course, there can be no guarantee of this. It would depend entirely upon the emotional maturity of the two people. In this instance they may be ideally suited, since neither seems to want too much sexual activity. Consultation with a qualified marriage counselor might be helpful.
• Unresponsive Woman (6477)
Dear Doctor: I am a widower, 68 years of age and still potent. For the last few years I have gone out with a widow 64 years of age. We have taken many trips together, but always with one of her sisters or friends along, as she maintains we can’t go alone for fear of what neighbors and friends might say.
Sometimes we are very intimate and even have intercourse, but when that happens she pretends she is asleep. There is never a sign that she wants to reach climax or feels aroused. She says she can’t let herself go the limit unless it is legal by marriage. I would marry her except that I am afraid to enter a marriage where there is not an enjoyable sex life. What is the solution?
Mr. N. R. C.. Utah
Answer: There certainly is no easy solution to your problem. It may well be that she has such religious scruples against admitting that she enjoys sexual experience, even to herself, that she will not let herself go unless she is married.
Did she enjoy intercourse with her first husband? Has she been able to reach orgasm in the past? Is she interested in learning to reach orgasm now? In other words, if you were married, would she be willing to cooperate and does she understand that a man’s desire to have a woman respond completely is perfectly normal and essential for his own emotional satisfaction? If you could talk some of these problems over with her and get her to face up to the question, you might be able to work out a satisfactory solution.
• Oversized Breasts (6478)
Dear Doctor: I am a woman 58 years old. I never had any children, but I have unusually large and heavy breasts that are making life miserable for me. I can’t buy any clothing that will fit me. My breasts are so pendulous that I’ve never found any garment that would hold them where they belong. My left one hurts most of the time, though the doctors can’t find anything wrong.
I want very much to have my breasts removed. My doctor said he saw nothing wrong in having such an operation but he warned me the scars wouldn’t be very pretty. I don’t care at all about that. I’m just a little scared because I don’t know if it will hurt very much or how long I’ll have to be in the hospital. Please tell me something about this operation. I really want it.
Mrs. M. W., Indiana
Answer: Any competent surgeon can remove or reduce the size of the breasts if they give the trouble you seem to indicate. This would be what is termed a simple mastectomy, not a radical mastectomy. You would have to be in the hospital possibly 6 to 8 days, not longer. There would be no great amount of pain connected with it.
In the operation, it is not necessary to go into the muscles. Only the skin and the fat are removed. You would, of course, have to wear a bra to give some form to your clothing then, but it might very well help you gain the comfort you would like to have.
• Pre-Marital Sex (6479)
Dear Doctor: Are there any states of the United States where premarital relations are considered permissible?
Mr. B. W., New York
Answer: From the moral point of view, there is no state where the official opinion of religious, educational and other authorities regard premarital sex relations as permissible. Some communities, of course, disapprove of such behavior more harshly than others and, in various ways, will punish persons found engaging in it.
Most of the states go so far in their condemnation as to make sex relations outside of marriage, even by adults, punishable by law. Only about ten states — including New York — specifically do not, provided both persons are unmarried.
• Womb Infection (6480)
Dear Doctor: My physician told me that I have an infection in the glands deep inside the neck of the womb. He gave me antibiotics, but they did not help. He said all that could be done is to continue the antibiotics for several weeks and see if it works. He also said that this infection is the reason I have not been able to become pregnant for the past 3 years.
I want to know if this ordinarily is curable so that I can have the children which I dearly want. Will I end up having a hysterectomy? I am 22 years old.
Mrs. S. R., Florida
Answer: If you have an infection of the deep cervical glands, no amount of antibiotic either by hypodermic or by tablets which you take internally will clear it up. The only thing to do is to have either a cauterization or a conization of the cervix. This involves the painless burning away of infected tissue. Doctors commonly cone the cervix—the neck of the womb—in the office under a local anesthesia using the so-called electric surgical current. Some physicians do prefer to do it in the hospital under a general anesthesia. It depends a bit upon the technique used by the doctor and, of course, the wishes of the patient.
The cervical infection certainly could be readily cleared up if given adequate treatment. If there is no involvement of the fallopian tubes or anything of that kind, there is no reason why you should be unable to have children. By all means continue treatment or find a gynecologist who will undertake to cone the cervix if that seems to be indicated. A hysterectomy is not for the condition you describe.
• Breast Stimulation (6481)
Dear Doctor: I am a 41-year-old man, have never been married, although I have had several satisfying experiences with women. I find that when I manipulate my nipples with my hands I get a strong erection. I would like to know if there is anything abnormal about
Mr. K. J., California
Answer: There is a very intimate connection between stimulation of the breasts and the sex organs. It is well known that the breasts are very sensitive in many women and that manipulation of the breasts and nipples produces sexual arousal. There is no reason to believe that male breasts and nipples do not have the same capacity for being sexually sensitive, except that their erotic potential is seldom discovered.
The Kinsey investigators pointed out that breast manipulation is fairly frequent among homosexual males, who commonly know that many males have highly sensitive breasts. They conclude from this that “there may be as many males as there are females who are sensitive to breast stimulation.”
• Origins of Marriage (6482)
Dear Doctor: Is it true that the Romans invented marriage and that prior to this time everybody was free to indulge in orgies and promiscuous sex relations? What was the name of the ruler who invented marriage and what date was it established?
Mrs. E.R., Mexico
Answer: Social institutions such as marriage, the family, the tribe, etc., are not “invented” by this or that individual or nation. They develop out of peoples’ needs and experiences.
Marriage in some form has existed as far back as history can record, and undoubtedly has its roots even earlier in prehistoric times. It would be impossible to put a date to its beginning, but it would be more accurate to state that as long as man has been known there has been marriage. Marriage and the family are among the very first social institutions to have been established. This is because only in this way could the reproduction and survival of off-spring be guaranteed.
Sexual activities have always been controlled by some social authority, and there has never been a time when general promiscuity was either encouraged, permitted, or tolerated. The sexual orgies that have occurred from time to time in various civilizations were exceptional and usually controlled by some authority. The very meaning of the word orgy comes from the Greek word for “excess,” very definitely implying a general pattern of sexual discipline and regulation.
• Male Sterilization (6483)
Dear Doctor: I am a single man. Recently I was involved in a legal action concerning a paternity suit. Since that time I have been seriously considering having my sperm tubes cut and tied (vasectomy) to avoid further accidents and embarrassment. Before I go ahead however, I would like certain questions answered. Would this operation have any effect on my virility? Would I require any hospitalization? Are there any cases where, after the operation is performed, the tubes regrow to restore fertility?
Mr. D.E., Colorado
Answer: If you expect to marry some day, to have a vasectomy done would be most unwise. While you may now feel that you would not want to have any children, if you were married, you and your wife might have a different outlook on the matter.
If you had your sperm ducts cut and tied, it would not have any effect upon your virility. It does not ordinarily require hospitalization, as it can be done in any competent surgeon’s office or office operating room. There are very occasionally cases where the vas has grown back together and fertility been restored. This, however, is most unusual and does not happen ordinarily. If it came to a question of a paternity suit again, it could be easily demonstrated as to whether or not the individual were sterile, and in almost all cases following a vasectomy, a man would be.
• Emission of Sperm (6484)
Dear Doctor: Can you please tell me whether sperm can leave the body in any manner other than through the penis ?
Mr. M. R„ New Jersey
Answer: In a normal individual, sperm cannot leave the body in any other way than through the penis. In case of an injury there might then possibly be an abnormal passage formed from the testicle, or something of that kind, where it would be possible, but under normal conditions it would be impossible.
In the case of men who have had their sperm tubes cut and tied off, and possibly to a lesser extent in all men, it is believed that sperm are absorbed by the body and carried off in the blood stream. They would then be utilized and disposed of as would other substances in the blood.
• Uninterested Husband (6485)
Dear Doctor: I have been married for 8 years and we have 3 children. In all these years my husband has seldom had sex relations with me. Sometimes 6 or 9 months will pass without his making a single overture. I know he has had love affairs with other women from time to time and I know from our relations that he has no sex problem and is fully capable of satisfying a woman’s desires. I am young, not too unattractive and have a nice body. He says things will be different when we are in a better economic position, but actually we are living quite well now. What can be wrong ?
Mrs. R. A., Puerto Rico
Answer: There is very little advice we can give you other than that you should discuss the problem directly with your husband and both of you try to understand why he seldom desires relations. Perhaps enlisting the aid of a trained counselor is necessary. It is often the case that a husband fears additional pregnancies and for that reason is afraid to participate in sex relations. Some men simply have a very low sex drive. He may feel too guilty because of his infidelity to approach you. There must be some explanation for the way he acts, but it is impossible for us to hazard a satisfactory guess.
• Hydrocele (6486)
Dear Doctor: I had an operation for a condition called a hydrocele on the left side of my scrotum. What exactly is this condition? Ever since the operation my left testicle has remained high up near the base of the groin. This causes discomfort when I cross my legs and during intercourse. My doctor says it may eventually descend to its normal place, but a year has passed and it has not. Can anything be done?
Mr. C.V., England
Answer: A hydrocele is the result of a collection of fluid in one of the coverings of the testicle called the tunica vaginalis. This is ordinarily cured by simply cutting this covering and wrapping it around the testicle in the other direction, as it were, turning it wrong side out.
There is no reason why the testicle should be drawn up closer to the groin or pubic bone following such an operation, at least in the ordinary case. It must be that there is some scar tissue or adhesion holding the testicle up there. It may be that as time passes, this will relax or disappear, permitting the testicle to fall down in normal fashion.
Under anesthesia to eliminate pain, it might be possible for a doctor to pull the testicle gently to see if it would result in the freeing of these adhesions and letting the testicle fall into its normal position. We can only suggest that you return to your surgeon. Reoperation may be necessary to correct this problem.
• Becoming Pregnant (6487)
Dear Doctor: I have been married for 4 years. Because my husband is a traveling salesman we only have intercourse about twice a month, and I have not conceived yet. I was told that some hormone treatments might help me to become pregnant. Do you think they might?
Mrs. B. C., El Salvador
Answer: You are undoubtedly not having intercourse frequently enough with your husband to give you the greatest chance of becoming pregnant. A recent study shows that where a couple have intercourse 4 times a week, 85 per cent of the wives become pregnant within 6 months. Where intercourse was had only once a week, only 14 to 16 per cent become pregnant within 6 months.
It is not likely that any hormonal treatment would help you to become pregnant unless a glandular deficiency exists.
The best thing that you can do is to try to be with your husband more and to have intercourse more times through a longer period of time at the period between the 10th and the 15th or 16th day following the onset of menstruation.
• Prostate Enlargement (6488)
Dear Doctor: Would having intercourse have anything to do with enlarging the prostate? How long would a man live after having his prostate removed ?
Mr. C, H., Indiana
Answer: Enlargement of the prostate is largely a function of age. Most men who live to a fairly ripe age have some enlargement of the prostate.
Sexual intercourse in amount satisfactory to the individual probably would tend to prevent enlargement of the prostate rather than to cause it. Chronic congestion of the prostate due to frustration of normal sex desire would probably contribute to enlargement of the prostate.
Removal of the prostate would have nothing to do with shortening a man’s life. Since the operation is performed to correct an unhealthy condition, it stands to reason that where the operation is necessary it enables the individual to live longer.
• Virgins and Orgasm (6489)
Dear Doctor: Can a virgin woman reach orgasm and still retain her virginity? Can an older woman who no longer menstruates still have orgasms?
Mrs. L. R.. New Mexico
Answer: A virgin woman can reach orgasm by manipulation of the vulva and clitoris and still retain her virginity. The hymen or maidenhead is inside of the vaginal opening; a person is still a virgin if this membrane is intact, regardless of having reached orgasm.
The majority of women who are past the menopause, so long as they do not have some emotional reaction against it, reach orgasm and gain release from sexual tension. The menopause means the end of menstruation; it does not mean the end of sex activity. Many women are most responsive after the end of menstruation.
• Sperm Count (6490)
Dear Doctor: I am an unmarried virgin man of 39. I’d like to get married some day and have children with my wife. What kind of tests should 1 take to find out if I can become a father ?
Mr. W.D., California
Answer: It is a perfectly simple matter for any competent urologist to take a specimen of semen and do a sperm count on it. A fresh sample of your semen is placed on a slide and observed under a microscope. If this is done, he can tell whether or not your sperm count and quality is satisfactory. If it is up to the average level, then there is no reason to believe that you could not impregnate a woman if you were to marry and wished to have children.
• Boy’s Height (6491)
Dear Doctor: My son who is 18 years old has the problem of slow growth. He is only 5′ 1″ tall, whereas my husband is 5′ 10″, although I am very short. Most sons seem to be taller than their fathers and I want to know if there is some way to hasten his growth.
Mrs. M. A., Venezuela
Answer: Since your son is 18 years of age, if he is to grow any more something should be done as soon as possible. He has probably inherited the characteristic of short height from you or your side of the family. The best possible thing you can do is to take him to an endocrinologist, a specialist in the glands and their hormones, and then be guided by his suggestions as to treatment. The administration of the right type of hormone might stimulate his growth provided X-ray examination does not show that his bones are already fused. In this case, no further growth would be possible.
• Tranquilizers (6492)
Dear Doctor: I’d like you to tell me if tranquilizers will eventually make a man impotent or unable to produce sperm if they are taken over a period of years. I am taking some and I still function sexually and sometimes have nocturnal emissions.
Mr. D. R., California
Answer: If taken through a considerable period of time, tranquilizers might tend to decrease the nervous tension of the individual so that he would be somewhat less potent. There is no reason to believe that they would alter the sperm production.
Apparently your sex functioning has not been affected. However, the use of one particular tranquilizer, thioridazine (Mellaril), while not stopping sperm production, has prevented men from ejaculating semen, although they otherwise performed normally. Other tranquilizers have definitely brought about impotence while they were used.
A general statement on the subject is difficult. Overall, though, tranquilizers should be considered to have a negative effect on sexual response. Usually when discontinued, potency would return.
• Pregnancy Symptoms (6493)
Dear Doctor: I know it sounds crazy and I feel foolish going to a doctor about it, but even though I had my tubes tied 5 years ago, I now think I am pregnant. My periods have become very irregular, I can’t get into my dresses, my breasts are swollen, I have to urinate constantly, I feel bloated and I have a shortness of breath.
I wanted to become pregnant and felt awful because I knew I couldn’t because I requested to have my tubes cut after the birth of my sixth child. Now is it really possible that I am pregnant?
Mrs. W.F., California
Answer: If your tubes were tied 5 years ago, you have been sterilized. The chances of your becoming pregnant after that would be very, very slight. It does depend upon the type of operation that was done. A competent operator would usually take precautions and do the job so thoroughly that the possibility of your becoming pregnant would be perfectly nil.
Your difficulties sound as though you may very well have had some change in thyroid gland activity. This would account very possibly for your change in menstruation. It could also account for your feeling that you are bloated.
You should consult a physician and have a thorough physical examination, including probably a so-called BMR (Basal Metabolism Rate) examination which is a test of thyroid activity.
Another explanation for some of your difficulty may be that you have simply gained a considerable amount of weight. In any event, do consult a physician and be guided by his suggestions as to what might be done.
• Pain in Prostate (6494)
Dear Doctor: For the past year I have had a burning pain after each ejaculation somewhere in the prostate area. But examinations show that my prostate is not enlarged. I have no trouble urinating and don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to urinate either. My doctor doesn’t know what is wrong with me. We have tried prostate massages, hot baths, diathermy, mild diets, female hormones, but got no relief. I still have burning pain for several days after ejaculation only. I am 48 years old. I try to avoid any sex tension, but that is very hard to do. Have you any idea what is wrong with me?
Mr. E. V., California
Answer: In cases such as yours, there is sometimes found to be a mild inflammation of the area of the ejaculatory ducts. This centers around the verumontanum, a small mound between the ejaculatory ducts in the rear urethra. Only a cystoscopic examination which permits a doctor to look up into the urethra by inserting a tubular instrument into it, can show whether or not that is the case. If it is the reason for your difficulty, then a slight destruction of tissue with electric current in this area, through the cystoscope, sometimes helps, or even instilling a few drops of silver nitrate. If you have not consulted a urologist, do so and follow his suggestions as to any further treatment.
• Milk Production (6495)
Dear Doctor: I am baffled about how a woman produces milk from her breasts just at the time a baby is born. What creates this? How do her breasts “know” when to make milk? Can milk production be brought about artificially without pregnancy? Does the size of a woman’s breasts have anything to do with the amount of milk she puts out?
Mrs. R. S., California
Answer: The breasts are prepared for the secretion of milk throughout pregnancy by hormones produced by the placenta—the organ through which the unborn baby derives nourishment from the mother—and the ovary. After the child is born, the pituitary gland releases hormones which in a complicated and as yet little – understood process make it possible for the breasts to produce milk.
Experiments have been made to see if it is possible to produce a synthetic hormone so that women who do not have an adequate milk supply might so stimulate their breasts as to be able to nurse a baby. Up to the present time, there has been no successful product put upon the market that can do this.
The size of the woman’s breasts has relatively little to do with it. A small breast that is all glandular tissue with very little fat may be able to produce a large quantity of milk after the birth of a child. A woman with very large breasts, where there is relatively little glandular tissue but a great deal of fat, may not be able to produce a great quantity of milk.
There is, of course, a very considerable inheritance factor in all of this. If a young woman’s mother has been able to nurse children, then the young woman herself very probably will be able to, if she would like to do so and will try.
• Penis Device (6496)
Dear Doctor: Recently I received a circular for an instrument that is supposed to enlarge the penis. It consists mostly of a 10-inch-tube and some sort of suction device. I would like to know if this works and if it is harmful.
Mr. V. M., California
Answer: The use of this device is dangerous. If it were used over a lengthy period of time, it might set up an inflammatory reaction in the penis. This would lead to tissue changes of the hollow bodies whose function is to engorge with blood, thus creating erection. Eventually it would be impossible for the individual to attain normal erection.
No enlargement of the penis can safely be attained through use of this device.
• First Intercourse (6497)
Dear Doctor: I am 22 years old and will marry very soon. I am still a virgin. Can you tell me if there is some way to have intercourse for the first time without there being any pain? Are there some pills I could take to put me to sleep when it happens? Isn’t it dangerous?
Miss G. K., Venezuela
Answer: First intercourse certainly isn’t dangerous, which should certainly be apparent from the fact that practically every woman in the world has this experience. In fact, about one-third of the women feel virtually no pain at all, and it is only a very, very small minority who experience pain of any severity.
The best possible thing for you to do is to consult a physician and have a vaginal examination. He can tell whether there is any condition which might cause trouble and can take a few simple steps to correct it. What might cause difficulty is your fear itself, and perhaps it might be wise to get help from a counselor so that you will be more relaxed on your wedding night. If your husband will be gentle, you have nothing to fear.
• Semen and Infection (6498)
Dear Doctor: Is there any danger if a man’s semen remains on his hands or body overnight, or if it is simply rinsed off without the use of soap? Can it cause pimples or infection?
Mr. D J., Pennsylvania
Answer: Normal semen is essentially sterile. There is no danger of your getting any infection from it, whether you wash yourself thoroughly or merely wipe it off, or leave it on your skin overnight. There certainly is nothing to worry about in that regard.
• Giving Sex Hormones (6499)
Dear Doctor: I read that female sex hormones are a cure for slight heart condition in a man. I want to know how they can get the hormones from a woman’s ovaries to put them in a man. I understand that with certain illnesses doctors put male hormones in women. How do they get these male hormones from the man?
Mrs. M. S., New York
Answer: The so-called male and female sex hormones that are used as medical drugs are not taken from the ovaries of the woman or the testes of the man. They are usually manufactured from various plants which produce substances which are chemically the same as the hormones produced in the body. It is also possible to obtain some female hormone from a pregnant mare’s urine.
Actually, calling these hormones “male” or “female” is very inexact. Each type of hormone is found in both the male and the female, only in different quantities.
• Curvature of the Penis (6500)
Dear Doctor: Is the condition of a curved penis which is known as Peyronie’s disease really a venereal disease that is gotten from sexual intercourse? Can it be treated or cured?
Mr. R. W., Texas
Answer: Peyronie’s disease is not a venereal disease, although in some instances it does develop from a gonorrhea infection which is a venereal disease. It can also develop from a bruise, wound, or for no apparent reason.
Usually a hard ridge develops along the top of the penis, causing the curvature.
Rather recently, in the last very few years, operations have been developed to remove this ridge, and so restore a reasonably normal shape. Such an operation should be done only by a very skilled urologic surgeon who understands the whole problem very thoroughly.
If the curvature does not seriously interfere with intercourse, it is undoubtedly better to leave it alone than to attempt any surgery whatever. In most cases, the condition limits itself.
Ever since the first issue of this magazine appeared in 1933, we have had letters expressing doubt as to the authenticity of the letters which are answered here.
All letters printed here are genuine. The fact is that the magazine receives far more letters than It con possibly publish. It receives an average of 200 letters every month, of which only about 25 can be answered in the magazine. The rest are answered by mail, not only in English but a large percentage in Spanish as well, from our Spanish edition, Luz.
All original letters are kept in our files for a period of years until they are individually destroyed.
We will be happy to allow any interested authority to look over these letters for verification—without, however, divulging the names of our correspondents, since this information is strictly confidential.—The Editors
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