All in the family?

Q: My husband introduced me to the pleasures of professional massage several months ago. I am not naïve; I know that for him the experience ends in orgasm. I am also aware that masseuses only are employed at our spa; there are no men. I anticipated a nonsexual massage. However, once I relaxed I allowed the masseuse to move from my inner thighs to my genitals and I had the most sensational orgasm. I have since returned several times with my husband. I told my sister-in-law about my experiences; the two of us went to the masseuse together and she had the same response. Over coffee the next week we decided we could save money if we gave massages to each other that culminated in orgasm. We have found this to be a fantastic stress reducer. However, after our last meeting and massage, my sister-in-law kissed me, which she had never done before (at least not in that fashion). I would like to take this experience further and I believe she wants to also. I am concerned that we may take things too far. Neither of us wants to hurt our husbands.

A: At the risk of sounding like Abby or Ann, things went too far for common sense quite some time back. Hasn't anyone in your neighborhood heard of boundaries? Spa masseuses do not regularly offer orgasms as part of their service unless they’re working at (wink, wink) one of those kinds of massage parlors where there are periodic police busts. It is illegal. People do not exchange "stress-reducing" orgasms unless they are sexual playmates. And if they are at all sensible, family members other than husband and wife do not have sex together. Aren't family relations fraught enough without adding additional tensions? Buy yourself a personal massager, i.e. a vibrator, and avoid complications at family gatherings.

Q: I saw a TV movie last night in which an actress and actor engaged in very heavy nibbling, kissing and hugging before the story shifted to another locale. I'm sure their hormones were raging full steam ahead during the "take." I don't have any qualms about what I watched, but I wonder how actors and actresses cool their raging hormones at the end of such scenes? Do they actually finish what they started when they are off camera, or what?

A: What you saw were two actors with "chemistry," that is, whose connection translated electrically on screen. Sometimes romances do begin on set. Often you read about them in gossip columns or way after the fact in movie star tell-all biographies. Most of the time, however, what you are seeing is actors doing what they do best — acting. Think of those onscreen lovers, male and female, who eventually were revealed to be gay. Or, often these days, straight actors who play homosexuals in hot kissing scenes. If it makes you feel better to think of the two finishing their making out on camera by staggering back to the dressing room and humping like crazed weasels, go right ahead. Screen actors are used to being the stuff of moviegoers' fantasies.

Q: I'm having a strange problem with my libido, I guess you could say, and I'm not sure how to get around it. My girlfriend is on birth control. Early last week, the morning after the last night we truly made love, she told me that she had forgotten to take two of her pills, but she had caught back up on them. The directions for her medication specifically say that an alternate means of birth control should be used if two or more pills are missed. I was quite concerned, but she told me it would be OK, and wanted to make love (this time, using a condom) right after she told me that. A few minutes after we started, I lost my erection, and I felt like I wasn't even in the mood anymore. Ever since that morning, I really haven't been in the mood at all, and I can't keep an erection for more than a few minutes. How do I fix my problem? Any help is much appreciated — especially by my girlfriend.

A: Your body is talking to you loud and clear. You fix your problem by paying attention to what it's saying — that to you (and your penis) an unwanted pregnancy is definitely and quite literally a downer. Let your girlfriend know that you are angry about her unreliability. (Anger is a very efficient libido killer too.) Do you want the contraception to be in your hands so that you can trust it? Jointly, like a diaphragm you can help her insert? Do you want to share responsibility by using a condom as well as birth-control pills? Then decide together what method(s) of birth control will work best for the two of you. Isadora Alman is a licensed marriage counselor and a board-certified sexologist. You can reach her online at her Sexuality Forum ( or by writing to her care of this paper. Alas, she cannot answer questions

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