A: Matronly at 35? Oy! You do have a wild imagination. I've written many times over the years of the unlikelihood of pinpointing the origins of particularly turn-ons. We can only guess. Perhaps the first time you were spanked you were wearing tight shorts that rubbed you the right way, or some attractive teacher or baby-sitter threatened to spank you and you imagined yourself in tight shorts and became aroused. Whatever the exact scenario, at some point at an early age you eroticized both the article of clothing and being spanked, and what you're now stuck with as an adult is an atypical turn-on. Yours are certainly not unheard of, either separately or together, just not as popular as, say, high-heeled shoes on women or having your penis fondled. You can act out your fantasy as a solo aid to masturbation or with a willing partner who ought not to be that difficult to find ... or you could change to wearing boxers.
Q: I have a brand-new girlfriend that I met over a month ago and we spent part of a weekend together. We clicked so well that after I left her I felt like crying because I knew that I would miss her. Then a couple of weeks ago I went and spent a couple of days with her. We had wonderful sex and became "girlfriends." After I got home from that trip, I cried for two days. Can you give me a reason why my emotions would act on me that way. Does it show that I fell in love with her?
A: When you were a baby and found a particularly delicious tidbit of some unidentified something on the floor to put in your mouth and your mommy took it away from you, I bet you cried then too. Does that mean you are ever after enamored of chewing squashed grapes or cigarette butts? Of course not. But this disappointment is just as basic. Meeting someone you like, you would of course want to spend more time exploring and enjoying, and be disappointed — perhaps to the point of tears — when you couldn't. Do you usually cry easily? Have you been waiting a long time to connect with someone? These and other factors would help explain the weepy separation just as easily as the degree of attachment.
Q: What exactly is a sexual peak? Why do men reach theirs around 18 and women around 30? Would this affect the sex life of a same-age couple?
A: There are biological peaks for mating, but 30 would not be a woman's. There are sociological peaks for marriage, but 18 would not be a man's. Usually these numbers talk about the highest point of a person's libido, but they are just as iffy as a mix with the other numbers thrown in. Yes, teenage boys are usually far hornier than their female contemporaries — think about sex more often, want it more often, can do it more often then than in later life, etc. But this is not always the case. Some men mature later, or have psychological blocks to acknowledging and/or acting upon their hypersexuality. Society has in most cultures put so many obstacles in the way of a woman's sexual expression that it takes many more years of maturing and discovery for her to reach her full stride — but that could happen at 20 or after menopause. It does seem, anecdotally, that younger men are more interested in sex than relationships and older women more often interested in sex when their age mates are just figuring out how good relationships work. These peaks are highly individual, so how they will affect a particular marriage in the present or in the future is anyone's guess. 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 [email protected] Her Sexuality Forum is at