Frosting the cupcake

Q: You receive many letters about people's idiosyncrasies, quirks and fetishes, but I think I have one for you that takes the cake — literally. My girlfriend and I are really into oral sex and rimming. After seeing 9 1/2 Weeks, we started playing with honey, whipped cream, strawberries and the like. Sometimes we put these various substances around and inside of each others' bottoms and lick out the contents. We have even used a baker's icing tube to squirt frosting inside. We are very clean and each do a thorough enema before playing pastry chef. We wash afterward. Are we at risk for getting any illnesses from this such as E. coli or worms?

A: Are each of you sure of your own health status? No hepatitis either? You're not going to catch what either of you doesn't have but you certainly could create a yeast imbalance with all that sugar upsetting delicate internal ecologies. Make sure all of what goes in comes out.

Q: I am a heterosexual woman, but I do not like to receive male body fluids in any way. I am disturbed when watching erotic films and seeing the so-called "money shots." I am OK with watching female-on-female scenes. Ironically, in the age of AIDS and other STDs it's been relatively easy for me to conceal my anxiety. I'm worried about what will happen if I get into a long-term relationship or marriage. Do you think any guy would be OK with this? In case you're wondering, I've had lots of boyfriends but no girlfriends.

A: I wonder a whole lot of things about the writers of letters I receive here. Oddly, whether they have had sex with males, females or both is rarely crucial, and isn't in this case either, so I didn't wonder. You are semen phobic. I am going to hope that the "male body fluids" you avoid are not also saliva and sweat, but are confined to ejaculate. You can either see a psychoanalyst to help figure out why, a behavioral therapist to desensitize yourself to it or make sure your partners continue to wear condoms and not worry about it until and if this becomes a problem within a particular relationship. Being with one person you love may in itself change the dynamics. If not, you can then see what's negotiable and take necessary action.

Q: I would like to know your opinion on couples including another woman in their sex life. I know it depends on the couples involved, but is this a smart idea or is it just asking for trouble?

A: But you already have the answer: "it depends on the couple." Whether it's a good or bad experience will depend on the nature of their relationship, the clarity of their communication, the personal hopes and expectations of each of them, the personality of the third person and her wants and expectations, the sexual chemistry between any two or all three and other factors including the phases of the moon. Anyone who gives blanket advice about human behavior which includes the words "always" or "never," especially when it concerns sexual behavior, doesn't know Shinola.

Q: I am a reasonably attractive and athletic single man in my mid-20s. I am generally very comfortable around strangers and in my professional life I am very communicative. In my personal life I cultivate no substantial relationships with other people outside of the members of my family. I am bisexual, but the comfort level with the gay part of my sexuality has been slow in emerging. For the past four years I have relied mainly on gay pornographic stories as a way of getting off in my private time. I masturbate to porn stories three times a day and have done this pretty consistently for four years. Lately I've begun hooking up with guys I meet online. Although several of these men have been attractive, when I am with them it's been difficult for me to get aroused enough to cum. The whole experience usually feels pretty alien and different from how I would typically get off. I'm worried that pornography has trained my mind and body to get off in a passive way and I'm concerned about my ability to have healthy sexual relationships. What steps can I take to help myself?

A: Of course other hands feel alien. They are someone else's and not your own familiar one. Start digging yourself out of the hole you've placed yourself in by seeking some real-life relationships with other nonfamilial human beings. Join some gay or bisexual activities that do not revolve around hooking up for sex. Try political-action groups or discussion groups, online or, better yet, in real life. Make a concerted effort to masturbate less and when you do masturbate, do it to real-life imagery — someone you know or would like to know. The more comfortable you are with other human beings socially, the more you will be so sexually. You already have those skills in your professional life. Now reapply them. Isadora Alman is a board-certified sexologist and a California-licensed marriage-and-family therapist. Contact her via this paper or [email protected]. Her Sexuality Forum is at

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