• I wanted to share with you a Web site that has provided me the opportunity to date again without all the fretting and worries about "the talk" concerning my herpes that comes up inevitably when dating. The site is gotherpes.com. If you mention it in your column, then more people may join, perhaps finding opportunities for meeting new people, dating and possibly a lasting relationship! A quick look at the ads make it clear that this is an equal-opportunity virus, since there are men and women of all ages, socioeconomic status, race, religions, regions of the United States and interests on the site. Another herpes site is singleslikeme.com, which I just joined but haven't posted on. It's way smaller than gotherpes.com, which has about 21,000 men and women (more men) in its database.
• I was appalled to read the letter in this column featuring the sick "mental-health practitioner" who could actually justify his "arrangement" (of sex) with a patient. The fact that he starts the letter out with acknowledging that he's breaking the "taboo of all taboos" makes it even more sick. To phrase it that way suggests he's minimizing what he's doing; that’s clear by the end of the letter when he goes for the "humanitarian" (your word, used sarcastically — good call!) angle by saying he's "preventing ... divorce, disease, arrest, and maybe even rape." I am currently a full-time student of psychology and I found this article relevant since we recently discussed in class our state's "no-touch" policy concerning clients. And for the record, in Pennsylvania, absolutely no touching is allowed, outside of a handshake, when greeting a client. It further sickens me that he is capable of such disastrous rationalization and a complete disregard for his patient's well-being. As a recipient of such a letter, are you legally and/or ethically responsible to report this bastard to the authorities? And if not, how do you justify not doing so to yourself? I appreciate you addressing this in your column.
Only once have I ever taken action when receiving a disturbing letter having identifying information like an address (This one did not; the guy's not an idiot, just immoral.) I received a letter from a woman who sincerely sounded both deranged and murderous and took it to the police. I don't know what happened after that. —Isadora
• I think you could have improved your response to the 20-year-old woman whose boyfriend had trouble with erections. If I had to guess what happened it would be that they had good sex for three months, then for some reason he lost his erection once. Maybe it was stress, maybe he was tired, distracted, who knows what it was? Men are not machines and this happens sometimes, even to 20-year-old men. She probably made a big deal about it and then he became self-conscious about it. Now he has performance anxiety and the harder he tries, the worse it gets. Unfortunately, erections can’t be willed. I’d advise both of them to relax. A man can provide pleasure to a woman numerous ways without an erection. She should tell him something like, "Let's forget about erections for a couple of weeks. We'll just relax and enjoy each other's bodies." And she should mean it and they should truly enjoy each others bodies. After a while they could try and have intercourse again. If it works, great; if not it’s no big deal, they know they can fall back on what they have been doing the past few weeks. If it really is no big deal, my bet is things start working. My guess is most young people do not have access to a sex therapist unless he or she is willing to work for free or well below the normal rate. Isadora Alman, author of Doing It: Real People Having Really Good Sex, is a board-certified sexologist and a California-licensed marriage-and-family therapist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her Sexuality Forum is at
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