YOUR PERSONAL QUESTIONS ANSWERED (Sep, 1965)
YOUR PERSONAL QUESTIONS ANSWERED
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DR. LeMON CLARK, M.D., M.S.
EDITOR, QUESTION and ANSWER DEPT. • Room 300, 154 West 14th St., New York, N.Y. 10011
• Promiscuity (6885)
Dear Doctor: I am a doctor, 50 years of age. For the past few years 1 have maintained an intimate relationship with a woman of 47. She is married to a man whom she left and returned to several years later just to maintain a home. They have no sex life together and are about to completely dissolve their ties.
What bothers me greatly is that during their separation, in a desperate quest for sexual satisfaction, she went from man to man in search of it, having relations with approximately 20 men. We are very compatible and she assures me that during our 2-3 year relationship she has had no desires for other men. On the other hand she sees nothing wrong in having casual meetings with other men and she recently admitted doing this from time to time during our relationship. What’s more, during a recent two-week trip I took on business, she met several men at a pool and joined them for drinks. It is inconceivable to me that grown men would be interested in nothing more than platonic relationships.
This carefree attitude of hers, plus her history of promiscuity, make me quite reluctant to enter into marriage, although we are extremely compatible. I am too old and have had too many failures, marital and otherwise, to take on another drastic conflict. From your experience, would it seem probable that such a woman could enter into a faithful, longstanding marriage?
Dr. F. H. S. Mass.
Answer: As you well understand, no one could make a prediction about how this woman will behave in marriage merely on the basis of the information you have given in your letter. This is a decision you will have to make for yourself.
We can only, therefore, make a few general observations. From what you say. this woman’s going from man to man was a search for sexual gratification which apparently she was not able to obtain either from her husband or the various men. It is quite possible that, if she were sexually satisfied and had a happy marriage, she would no longer feel the need for promiscuous behavior. Also as she grows older, such needs may also decrease.
You also indicate that you do not trust her account of her recent relationships with men as being casual. Such lack of confidence may well create considerable difficulty for both of you in marriage, and should be resolved in some way before marriage takes place. It is possible, of course, that relationships between mature men and women can be platonic.
Since you are so troubled, we can only suggest that you and this woman consult a qualified marriage counselor to try to straighten out these problems in personal consultation.
• Anal Eroticism (6886)
Dear Doctor: 1 am a single man, 45 years old. I have a sexual problem 1 would like to ask you about. I am not a homosexual and I desire relations only with women, but I feel that 1 am anally erotic and often desire anal stimulation.
I feel that this is wrong and it disturbs me greatly, but the desires return nonetheless. Is this something that is not normal?
Mr. A. L., Texas
Answer: There is one trunk nerve coming to the whole area of the sex organs and the anus. For that reason anal stimulation also very commonly gives some degree of sexual stimulation or satisfaction. It is a normal thing.
If you were married and having regular sexual intercourse, some petting or stimulation of the anal area might go on as a part of sexual play and this too would be quite normal.
The best possible advice we can give you is to stop worrying about this.
• Painful Intercourse (6887)
Dear Doctor: I am 23 years old. Some years ago, because of what my doctor termed an ovarian deficiency, I was prescribed Enovid tablets. A recent problem has arisen. In attempts to have intercourse for the first time I suffered great pain in my vagina and penetration was impossible. Can it be a result of fear or is it more likely a physical problem?
Mrs. B. C., Arizona
Answer: It would be wise for you to consult a doctor again. If your ovaries do not function normally it is possible that your vagina has not completely developed and that might very well result in pain at intercourse.
Some women have hymens that are tight and inelastic, which also creates pain at attempted intercourse. This must be investigated by a doctor who can look for this and any number of other possible causes, and then find a remedy for you. Fear of sexual intercourse can make it painful too.
• Nocturnal Emissions (6888)
Dear Doctor: How often would a man have nocturnal emissions if he did not have any other sex outlets? Is the number of times a man can have intercourse determined by the rate at which he manufactures semen?
-Mr. J.R., Wisconsin
Answer: The sexual rhythm of any particular person is a completely individual matter. One man might have nocturnal emissions once a month or less, and another individual might have them once a week. Most people believe that abstinence from sexual activity increases the occurrence of “wet dreams.” However, the famous Kinsey studies suggest that abstinence may not have a very great effect, and there-are some individuals who have nocturnal emissions only after a period of sexual activity.
How frequently a man is able to have sexual intercourse is not determined by the rate at which semen is secreted. It is determined by his entire personality, the attractiveness for him of the opportunities available, and his sexual nervous system which becomes more or less exhausted after orgasm and then builds up energy or tension again.
• Wedding Plans (6889)
Dear Doctor: I am planning to marry soon. The date scheduled for the wielding is 2 days after my menstrual period should stop. Is there any chance that I could become pregnant on my wedding night? Would it be harmful to take the contraceptive pills in advance of the wedding?
Miss S.M., New Mexico
Answer: If you are to marry 2 days after your menstruation is over, the chances of your becoming pregnant just then would, of course, be minimal although it is not absolutely impossible. The most fertile time is generally around 12 days after the period begins, or approximately 7 or 8 days after it ends.
On the other hand, if you wish to use the birth control pills, you must start taking them before you are to be married. As your doctor will explain to you, you count the first day of menstruation as one and on the fifth day, you start the tablets. You take the tablets for 20 days, then you stop taking them and within 3 to 5 days you will menstruate. Again you count that first day of menstruation as one and on the fifth day again start the tablets. If you keep that up very faithfully you can be reasonably sure that you will not become pregnant until you wish to and discontinue taking the tablets.
• Penis Size (6890)
Dear Doctor: I want some expert information about those devices that are advertised as penis enlargers. I thought this was impossible, but they make this claim.
Mr. P. G. Illinois
Answer: There are no devices which will enlarge the penis, despite their claims. There are some types of vacuum pump devices which will, of course, draw blood into the penis and even over-extend it.
These devices are definitely dangerous. The may bring about a fibrous degeneration of the cavernous spaces of the penis and do real harm.
The size of the penis is an hereditary matter. If it is undersized because of some hormonal difficulty and this is treated during the teenage period, possibly then the penis may be brought up to normal size for that individual. But it is impossible to increase the size of the penis once the individual has passed the period of youth.
• Dryness of Vagina (6891 )
Dear Doctor: I am 28 years old and my husband is 37. We have been married for 5 years. I have a problem that may cause me to lose my husband if I don’t do something about it. It seems that my vagina is dry and I am not able to secrete fluid. I went to my doctor, but he dismissed me by saying I am too young to have such a problem. I was too embarrassed to ask any more questions. Please tell me what I can do? My doctor examined me, said there is nothing wrong and I am in good health. Obviously there is something wrong.
Mrs. C.P. Illinois
Answer: It might be very helpful for you to obtain a vaginal cream containing estrogen, a female sex hormone. Premarin is one such product. It may be necessary to obtain a prescription before purchasing this, however.
If this were applied to the walls of the vagina for 3 or 4 days, and then at the rate of twice a week, it ought to increase the tone of the vagina and bring about a normal output of mucus secretions. It is true, as your doctor said, that most women do not encounter this difficulty until after the menopause when the ovaries cease producing large amounts of female sex hormones. However, some younger women do have this difficulty too. You might discuss our suggestion with your doctor and see whether he agrees that this might be a helpful course.
• Impotence (6892)
Dear Doctor: My age is 48 and I have been impotent for the past 3 years. This state has me almost out of my mind, not to mention my wife’s condition. The need and desire for sexual intercourse are present, but the ability is gone.
I am extremely sensitive and embarrassed about this condition and have not been able to consult a doctor because of the embarrassment. I must do something because I feel very useless to everyone. Can hormone injections help me? If I do see a doctor, what type should it be?
Mr. J.O., California
Answer: You should have no feeling of embarrassment about consulting a physician over your difficulty with impotence. It is an everyday occurrence for a competent internist or a urologist to deal with such a problem.
It is possible that some testosterone (male sex hormone) injections might help. It is too bad that you have let the whole situation go on for as long as 3 years. That may complicate adequate treatment. You must realize that there may be some physiological cause for it such as, for instance, diabetes which makes you impotent. If that were corrected, the situation might be changed.
A physician will prescribe for you under these conditions. It would probably be better to consult a urologist although a good internist would be able to deal with the problem also. If they can find no physical cause, psychological help might be the next step.
At a meeting of the American Association of Marriage Counselors some months ago, it was pointed out by three of those who had had the most experience in dealing with problems of impotence, that a cooperative, helpful, patient partner was one of the most important elements in bringing about a cure. It may well be that your wife needs to be counseled as well as you and both of you helped to bring about a solution to your problem.
• Vibrator Device! (6893)
Dear Doctor: I am a 55-year-old widow who has had sexual intercourse but once in almost 4 years. There are nights when I awaken from sleep in a highly sexual state of excitement. I have heard people speak of using the vibrator device to achieve sexual gratification. Can they harm themselves with it?
Mrs. R. D., Virginia
Answer: As Sexology reported in its October 1964 issue, the use of the electric vibrator was discussed recently by leading marriage counselors. There was little doubt that a number of women have reached orgasm and gained release from sexual tension with it.
As far as physical harm is concerned, there is no evidence that any harm will result from use of a vibrator. However, some counselors had some warnings to make about its disadvantages.
One of them felt that some women might easily become addicted to use of the vibrator and also warned that if it were used constantly it might induce a certain amount of pelvic anesthesia, or lack of feeling. Some women found that the vibrator was unsatisfactory because it brought about orgasm too quickly.
Although there is not enough experience for experts to evaluate it completely, the likelihood of harm is not great.
• Bump on Testicles (6894)
Dear Doctor: I am 22 years old. My problem is a small, soft nodule about in size located on a testicle. It causes no pain but I can feel it within my scrotum. What could it be? Could it be cancerous, or could it have any effect on my sex life?
Mr. W.B., North Carolina
Answer: The nodule you refer to could, of course, be nothing more than the epididymis on top of one testicle. You did not give us any information as to how long you had been conscious of it. Is it something that you have only just noticed? If so, watch it through a period of the next 2 or 3 months to see if it changes in size or tenderness.
Of course, one very wise thing to do would be to consult a urologist, a doctor who specializes in diseases of the genito-urinary tract and have an adequate examination. He could give you far better advice after a thorough examination.
• Facial Hair (6895)
Dear Doctor: I would like you to give me good advice about how to manage the hair on my face. I am a 39-year-old woman and I have a facial beard as thick as a man’s. This bothers me “ready and I don’t know what to do.
Mrs. P. J., Vermont
Answer: The only suggestion we can possibly make is that you consult a dermatologist. A dermatologist is a physician specializing in treatment of the skin. It might be that he could give you some suggestion that would help. An examination might also reveal a hormonal unbalance or other cause which might be remedied.
In general, it is most difficult to get rid of hair on the face of a young woman. If it is too thick, as yours apparently is from your description of it, it would be most difficult to do by electrolysis and very complicated. Some things you might do would very possibly make it worse rather than better.
By all means, consult a physician and be guided by his suggestions as to what could be done.
• Pubic Lice (6896)
Dear Doctor: I would be grateful for some advice. A few days ago I discovered some little bugs in my pubic hair. I washed with a rubbing alcohol, with some success. But 2 days later I found 2 more bugs. How can I get rid of them permanently?
Mr. J.I. New York
Answer: You undoubtedly have an infestation of pediculosis of the pubis, or pubic lice. For this condition, doctors generally recommend the use of Bornate Lotion, obtainable at drug stores. This should be rubbed into the whole hairy area where the lice are and left on for ten minutes. You should then wash it out thoroughly with any mild soap. Use one ounce of this the first time and then about two days later repeat it in order to get all the lice of the eggs that might have hatched, although it is supposed to kill the nits also.
• Bust Size (6897)
Dear Doctor: I am 26 years old, married and the mother of 4 children. When I was younger my bust size was small but my breasts were well shaped. Now I have to use falsies. This embarrasses me and I never undress in front of my husband, though I think he understands why. Are there injections to enlarge the breasts? Is there any other effective treatment? If there is, what would be the cost?
Mrs. A. R. New York
Answer: Certain hormone injections to enlarge the female breasts were experimented with, but their use now is almost entirely abandoned. The results are rarely satisfactory over an extended period of time.
Even operations with the insertion of some spongy material beneath the breast pad to force it out and enlarge it are now largely discredited. Even when they are done, they are very expensive. The surgeon’s fee alone could be $1,000 or more and the hospitalization charges would be another $500, $600, or possibly $800.
The best possible thing you can do is to accept your own situation and perhaps if you talked it over frankly with your husband, you would find that there is no need for you to feel embarrassed at all.
The size of the breasts in a young woman is largely a hereditary matter. You had a parent or a grandparent with a relatively small breast and you have inherited that characteristic.
• Unusual Stimulation (6898)
Dear Doctor: Is it abnormal to become sexually aroused from listening to bodily murmurs such as the heartbeat, intestinal noises, breathing, etc.? I have always been highly aroused this way, especially from the rumblings of the intestine, but my wife feels that it is abnormal.
I personally believe that this could not possibly be labelled abnormal, but rather it is simply something due to a childhood experience in which the child experienced sexual excitement while lying on the mother’s lap. Do you agree that it is not abnormal? Also, how long does the average intercourse last?
Mr. V. I., Florida
Answer: Any type of physical intimacy to which the individual has become accustomed may serve as a sexual stimulant. In your own case, for some reason, the placing of the ear on the abdomen and listening for bowel sounds has come to mean a peculiar type of intimacy to you with a sexual background. There is certainly nothing abnormal in this and if it is a part of your desired sexual play leading on to intercourse, there is no reason why you should not do it.
Remember, too, that the term “abnormal” may mean merely “different,” and does not necessarily indicate mental illness.
According to the Kinsey studies, the average sex act, after intromission of the penis into the vagina, lasts about 2 minutes.
• Condoms (6899)
Dear Doctor: The use of rubber condoms is the birth-control method my husband and 1 would prefer to use. However, I have been told that contact with the rubber and chemicals that go into its manufacture can cause cancer for the woman. Is this true?
Mrs. L. R., New York
Answer: The use of a rubber condom certainly would not cause cancer. You should put your mind completely at rest on that score. It is nonsense.
• Sexual Areas (6900)
Dear Doctor: Is it possible that some women have no external clitoris and it can’t be seen or felt? I believe my wife has no eroticism at the spot where the clitoris should be, yet an inch or two within, along the top part of the vagina, there is a spot that is very sensitive to stimulation. Contact with it produces a quick orgasm. Is the clitoris inverted?
Mr. S. E., Pennsylvania
Answer: It is, of course, not impossible that a woman might be born without a clitoris. It is, however, highly improbable. The more probable answer is that it is simply covered with adhesions between the inner lips. A competent gynecologist interested in such things could determine this for her.
The urethra is surrounded by a network of nerves which is very sensitive and many women get a considerable sense of pleasure out of stimulation along the anterior vaginal wall where the urethra lies. This is probably why actual intercourse with intromission of the penis gives a woman some stimulation additional to stimulation of the clitoris. This probably accounts for the sensitive spot your wife has.
• Obstructed Tubes (6901)
Dear Doctor: I have been married for almost 3 years and have been unable to become pregnant. This is because my fallopian tubes are obstructed. I have had 10 insufflations in which air has been blown into my tubes, but they did no good. The doctor says I must have an operation. Can the operation help? Is there any other kind of treatment that might be successful? My husband has had sperm tests and he is a normally fertile man.
Mrs. L. E., Colombia
Answer; Before having an operation because of tubal obstruction, it would be wise to have salpingograms made. This means injecting an iodized oil solution through the womb and into the tubes to determine where the obstruction may be. It is similar to the tubal insufflation excepting that instead of being done with air or carbon dioxide, it is done with an iodized solution. The iodized solution sometimes opens the obstruction.
The operations for obstructed tubes are very delicate and are very often unsuccessful.
• Aging Effects (6902)
Dear Doctor: I am 67 years old. At one time my penis was 7 inches long. Now it is only inches. Can you tell me the cause of this? It also has a curvature now.
Mr. P. A., Indiana
Answer: A curvature is often due to what is called “Peyronie’s Disease.” This is the formation of an inflammatory area in the spongy tissue of the penis. You should consult a urologist and pet his advice on the basis of an adequate examination.
The decrease in size of the penis may be simply due to age, since you are 67 years old. Again, the urologist might be able to help you. The changes in the penis tissue may account for it also. There are some diseases, which occur very rarely, involving general demasculinization, including shrinkage of the penis, but most probably it is a change which is due to aging and possibly lack of use of the organ.
• Superfetation (6903)
Dear Doctor: I have read about 2 children born together who were not twins. Was that some sort of a joke or trick to attract people to buy the magazine containing the story, or is such a thing possible? How could they not be twins?
Mrs. D. K., Illinois
Answer: It is possible for 2 children to be born at the same time and not be twins. However, even though the children may have been delivered together they have been developing in the womb for different lengths of time. This is called superfetation.
Generally, once a woman is pregnant she stops menstruating and stops releasing eggs. In cases of superfetation, after a woman has had one egg fertilized and is pregnant, for some reason another egg is released from her ovary at a successive period.
If the other egg is fertilized too at a subsequent intercourse, she will have 2 fetuses which are not twins in her womb. They may be delivered together or several days or several weeks apart.
• Large Testicles (6904)
Dear Doctor: I am 22 years of age. Since childhood I have had extraordinarily large testicles. This causes embarrassment to me in swimming trunks or sportswear. A doctor advised that the testicles are large but normal and nothing can be done. He has no idea of the constant embarrassment they cause.
A friend of mine who gelds animals on his farm says he knows of cases where it was done on people without any harm. What would happen if it were not done by a doctor?
Mr. M. W. Texas
Answer: We can only advise you most strongly against attempting to have testicles removed by a farm friend the way it is done on colts. In the first place, it might be highly dangerous. In the second place, it would mean that you could never have any children because you are castrated. This would be definitely unfair to your wife and might bring you very great unhappiness in a very few years.
You are undoubtedly oversensitive about the problem. You should just learn to live with it. If a doctor has assured you that the testicles are not enlarged because of an ailment, then there is nothing to be done about it. If there is a hydrocele (accumulation of fluids), that, of course, could be tapped and the scrotum made smaller. You should consult a urologist and be guided by his suggestions as to what should be done.
• Tube Operation (6905)
Dear Doctor: After 2 cesarean births, at the insistence of my husband 1 permitted the doctor to tie off my fallopian tubes to prevent future pregnancies. Following that we divorced and now I am married again.
My new husband wishes to have children so I returned to the doctor. Me untied one of the tubes—the other he believed impossible to save—-and put a catheter inside it for 4 days to keep it open. Both my ovaries are in perfect condition, though 1 have a fibroid tumor in my womb. He thinks I have a good chance of becoming pregnant. Do you think it’s true?
Mrs. L. V., Kentucky
Answer: Because you have had both tubes operated upon for sterilization and then had one reoperated trying to restore fertility, the possibilities of your getting pregnant are very greatly reduced.
The fact that you have a fibroid in the womb also militates against the possibility of your becoming pregnant. It is impossible to say that you cannot become pregnant, but the possibility of your doing so is certainly relatively small.
• Pre-Coital Mucus (6906)
Dear Doctor: I’ve been dating a wonderful girl for about a year. Since I’ve been dating her I’ve had no sexual experiences with her or any other girl. I masturbate about 4 times a month. Do you think this is too often?
When I’m with my girl I get an erection very easily. When I get the slightest bit sexually aroused I secrete a clear liquid from my urethra. Is this normal? Is there any way to prevent it?
Mr. J. K., Missouri
Answer: Masturbation 4 times a month is certainly not excessive. Whatever frequency you desire, as long as it does not become an all-consuming preoccupation, is perfectly all right.
The secretion you speak about comes from tiny glands in the urethra. It is perfectly normal. In some individuals it is far more profuse than in others. Practically speaking, there is no way of controlling it other than to avoid sexual excitement. The purpose of it is to lubricate the urethra and to alkalinize it to permit the passage and survival of sperm in the semen at the time of orgasm and ejaculation.
• Post-Coital Douche (6907)
Dear Doctor: I would like to know why they say on the vaginal cream contraceptives not to douche for at least 6 hours after intercourse. I want to know if it is really all right to take one right after intercourse. My husband doesn’t ejaculate within the vagina, but I use it as a safety measure.
Mrs. R. M., Michigan
Answer: The reason for delaying a douche after using the vaginal cream for birth control is to be sure that the cream has an opportunity of destroying the sperm. If you take a douche immediately afterwards, you are apt to wash sperm up into the womb before the cream has a chance to destroy them.
If your husband is practicing withdrawal, of course, then whether or not you take a douche is not quite so important.
It is probably better for both of you not to have him practice withdrawal, but consider an adequate method of birth control that would permit completely normal sexual intercourse.
• Homosexuality (6908)
Dear Doctor: Are men who seek out homosexuals and pay them for sexual activities considered homosexuals ? What about the men who do it only for money, are they homosexuals? If they are not to be classified as homosexuals, can this type of activity make them lose interest in females anyway?
Some older boys have been known to perform sexual acts on younger boys. Are the younger boys who consent to this sort of behavior to be considered homosexuals themselves, or is this just a stage some boys go through?
Mr. P. H., Alabama
Answer: The many questions you raise indicate how vague the terms “homosexual” and “homosexuality” are. It is for this reason that the Kinsey investigators preferred to talk about “homosexual behavior” and drew up a scale ranging from exclusive sexual behavior with the opposite sex, through behavior with both sexes, to exclusive sexual behavior with the same sex. Homosexuality thus is not an all-or-none condition.
Many psychiatrists feel that the term homosexual should be applied only to those individuals who more or less chronically feel an urgent sexual desire and responsiveness to members of their own sex and who seek to gratify this desire predominantly with persons of their own sex.
If we look at it in this light, certainly all of the different groups you mention are engaging in homosexual behavior, though they may not be predominantly homosexual. Any sexual relationship between persons of the same sex would have to be defined as a homosexual relationship.
Young boys may often engage in homosexual acts, but go on to be primarily interested in the opposite sex. Many male prostitutes pride themselves on not being homosexuals, but their later life often shows that they have strong homosexual inclinations.
• Becoming Pregnant (6909)
Dear Doctor: I am a recently married woman, 36 years of age. I have had no luck in my attempts to become pregnant. I never reach orgasm at the same time as my husband. Could this be the reason I don’t become pregnant?
Mrs. J. E., New York
Answer: It is not necessary for you to reach orgasm to become pregnant.
Whether or not you reach orgasm at the same time as your husband is not in the least important For emotional reasons, it is important that you should reach orgasm, but this is not essential for pregnancy.
You should go to a competent physician and have both yourself and your husband examined. The starting point is with him. He should be examined first. If he is normally fertile, then it is time enough to start examining you, which is much more complicated. If there is nothing the matter with you vaginally and if your womb is in a normal position, then you must consult a competent gynecologist who will take X-rays of the tubes. This will show him whether or not your tubes are open. He can also determine if you ovulate — release eggs — normally.
• Undershorts (6910)
Dear Doctor: I would like to know if, in your opinion, the type of undershorts a man wears affects the functioning of his testicles. Now I wear the brief jockey type, but I want to know if it could be healthier in any way to wear the boxer shorts.
Mr. S. D., New York
Answer: If there was any question of infertility, then there might be an advantage to wearing the so called boxer type shorts which could not hold the scrotum so close to the body and, therefore, keep it so warm. They would permit the scrotum to hang more in a normal position, especially in hot weather, and by letting the testicles be cool—which after all is the function of the scrotum and the cremasteric muscle which raises and lowers the testicles—would favor sperm production.
Whenever the testicles are kept too warm, it decreases sperm production. For that reason, the jockey type shorts, especially if they are tight and bold the scrotum up very close to the body, might decrease sperm production.
Aside from this consideration, there is certainly no other question of affecting health one way or another.
• Amount of Semen (6911)
Dear Doctor: What can cause a lessened amount of semen to be ejaculated at intercourse? Is excessive work, or perhaps a slight cold responsible? Could it be caused by too frequent intercourse?
Mrs. B. M., Nevada
Answer: If intercourse is had very frequently, the amount of ejaculate will be markedly decreased.
Excessive work or a simple cold or other minor health trouble would not have a significant effect.