Trying the back door 

Q: I have always dreamed of having anal sex with my girlfriend but I am afraid it might hurt her, plus it is not a clean area to have sex. I watched a few adult videos and it seemed to me those women kept their anus so clean. What do they use to keep it clean and does it really hurt?

A: Soap and water. Those who are fastidious can also cleans their rectum with a douche or enema of warm water. Anal sex — and even penis-in-vagina sex — hurts when it is done recklessly. What's needed for successful anal sex is lots of communication and lots of lubrication. If you have already discussed this with your girlfriend and she has agreed to try, if you have already penetrated her with a well-lubricated (and hangnail-free) finger or two and she enjoys that, the best time to attempt full penis penetration is after she is relaxed but still aroused from an orgasm arrived at in whatever is your usual way first.

Q: We hear a great deal about the many elderly people who continue to enjoy sex. But how many are able to live reasonably happy lives without it? In your opinion (or based on your reading of literature), what percentage of women in their 60s would be content in a relationship with a man who was highly intelligent, cultured, financially independent, honest, psychologically aware and a very good conversationalist, but simply not interested in a sexual relationship beyond hugging, kissing and caressing?

A: If I say one in a hundred or one in a million, you're still looking for the proverbial straw-covered needle. Yes, there exist women of every age who would be content with a relationship that leaves out penile penetration but includes other forms of sexual and affectional expression. A recent study by some organization on aging came up with the figure of around 50 percent of those older than 60 being sexually active. That leaves a hell of a lot of the other 50 percent available for some sort of sex rather than going without entirely. Your best bet is to start courting women that appeal to you. If you begin dating and things look promising, turn the subject to sex and exchange views on what each wants. You'll find — or convert — Ms. Right, I'm sure.

Q: From what I have heard and read concerning the pattern in which AIDS is spreading, it appears that it is far easier for males to infect females than the reverse. We know that the primary locus of the virus is blood and that it survives intact in semen. Is there any clear evidence about HIV surviving in and being transmitted through female genital liquors? I recognize that this question is one that may be impossible to investigate with any certitude. Clearly, the most modest cold sore or any active bleeding, however slight and hard to see and feel, would present a clear path for infection. Small lesions can be tucked into and behind any of the nooks to be found in both oral and vulval cavities. Lesions can develop in the course of sexual activity. In short, both partners must remain aware and attentive in order to protect themselves and each other. My problem is I can’t bear the thought of getting down to gobble some pussy and finding nothing more tasty to revel in than a vulvar condom. Can we never again safely lick some likable labia without first learning the lady's whole history for the past decade? Can the ethical lover nevermore kiss any clit but that one dedicated to his exclusive enjoyment without fearing that the least little whisker burn may subject one or the other of them to an unacceptable risk?

A: You seem to be confusing herpes and its outbreak lesions with HIV which has no visible signs. Alas, all good things have their risks and catching herpes from unprotected cunnilingus is a larger one, even with no lesions present, than catching HIV, but that risk, small as it is, does seem to exist.

Q: My breasts are a size 34B (barely). My boyfriend thinks they're lovely, but my smallish breasts are a source of mild dissatisfaction and insecurity to me. Implants are not an option — I'm not so insecure that I'd be willing to have sacks of poisonous silicone inserted in my body. I've seen ads for herbal pills that supposedly reactivate one's hormones and restimulate breast growth. Do they work? Are they safe? Do you know of any other effective, nonsurgical methods to increase bust size?

A: I wouldn't mess around with hormones or something that "reactivates" them unless it's the use of doctor-monitored birth control pills which do increase breast size in some women. The only other method I've heard about with some success for a few is a device like a toilet plunger that acts on the suction principle. I don't know anything more about the product. Readers? Isadora Alman is a board-certified sexologist and a California-licensed marriage-and-family therapist. Contact her via this paper or Her Sexuality Forum is at

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