Talking dirty

• Regarding the man who wanted his partner to be more verbal: What has worked for me is asking questions such as, "Do you like that?" or "Are you ready for me to --------?" Even the ubiquitous "Who's your Daddy?' (when I can say it without laughing) may not turn my partner into a Chatty Cathy, but it does get at least a brief response. Silence begets silence. If the man who wrote to you doesn't create an environment of communication his partner may think that silence during sex is the standard operating procedure.

• The woman who pushes her man out involuntarily when she gets excited: Could this woman have a dropping uterus? Perhaps she should get a pelvic exam.

• Just wanted to drop a note thanking/praising you for quashing the "consensual hand job in a group home" ruckus. I'm an attorney for Maryland's protection and advocacy agency, where we monitor group homes and other facilities for the disabled, and I will say that if I received a report that a worker was giving "consensual" hand jobs to residents, I'd be on the phone to the state's attorney to press criminal charges against the worker, and then I'd call the state licensing agency to get the provider's certificate pulled. Defining consent among adults is awkward; among adults who are not easily understood, it is sweating-dynamite explosive. Sexuality for persons in group homes is a thorny subject; not enough education is given to residents on what sexual behavior is appropriate (e.g., in conformance with criminal law and societal norms). Workers are also under-trained on this topic. That said, workers who decide on their own to make up a sexual behavior 'plan' expose themselves and their employer to a staggering level of civil and criminal liability. While I've never seen a plan for a resident that discussed sexual needs, a worker would better serve her clients if she asked for such a plan to be drawn up with the input of her client and a professional in this field. A licensed/certified/documented worker can then provide whatever specialized services are required for the client. Thanks again for knowing where the line is drawn and holding so firmly to it.

• As the proud owner of a penis, I must say that at the skinnier periods of my life, my flaccid penis has been bigger. Don't get me wrong, the difference between my flaccid and my erect penis is what I believe unusual, probably 4 or 5 inches in length. After I left college the second time, I got very into physical fitness for about a year. My flaccid penis was noticeably larger during this period. That would stand to reason, as there was less room in my pelvis for it to retreat. Not to mention that when there is less of everything else, the genitals will at least appear larger. I am also the occasional nudist, and again I argue, you just don't see big fat guys with big penises. I realize that men may care more about this issue than women, but I'm OK with that. Lose the weight anyway, guys, you'll feel great.

• I read that there was a 26-year-old male virgin frustrated with himself. So as a 27-year-old male virgin, I can identify with him. It is frustrating not being able to have sex with a girl, especially when you have a culture bombarding you with sexual images at times. But he is doing better than me. At least he is dating and contacting women while I'm a dateless wonder. Maybe I should give some advice to him, if it is possible. My advice to him is to take a few weeks off to be yourself. Explore new ideas that you do by yourself, taking classes, surfing, going to concerts, etc. Just spend some time with yourself, and the knowledge you earn maybe helpful when you come back to your friends and the scene. I have been through a lot of experiences in my life, except sex. It has stopped me from enjoying life. Concentrating on another subject, friends, work, family, etc., can help you from having this eat away inside you just as much it has to me. Just enjoy what life has to offer. It is a stupid saying but it helps. If a girl you want comes along, then take the opportunity. It is easier said then done, but please take this from a long-suffering virgin: There are more famous frustrated celibates, like Beethoven, than there are easy studs like Casanova.

• Surely, surely, surely people must realize that extramarital sex is a grave sin and not right under any circumstances. Why can't we all be clear on this? I certainly do think it's misguided compassion for people to imply that it's somehow OK or that "things happen" simply because we're human. After all, we're all in this life together and here to help each other. Most unfortunately, at our core we are primarily spiritual rather than physical beings infused with a soul. Sex is a marvelous gift from God, but within the sacrament of marriage it finds its true expression. Outside of marriage it remains unfulfilling, to say the least.

Do you know, in your impassioned seven-sentence letter I find at least eight things I'd be willing to dispute? How nice for you to be so certain of how things are. —Isadora 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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