If things get hairy 

Q: I swam competitively in high school and college and only dated other swimmers. I had long-term relationships with two that included many intimate moments. Being swimmers, they shaved whatever body hair they had. Whenever we were naked in bed all I felt was soft skin, a sensuous pleasure I enjoyed as much as the sex. I am now out of school and have met a wonderful man. We have known each other for six months but have not yet slept together. I have made all sorts of excuses and he accepts them (making him all the more desirable), but the real problem is that he is hairy. I have never heard of a straight woman who so hates male body hair. (After eight years of being around both men and women in nothing but Speedos and only being attracted to the guys, that settles the fact that I'm straight). I think this is the man I would want to spend the rest of my life with. I would love to spend every night naked with him if only he had the baby-soft skin of my past lovers. The thought of feeling his hairy body repels me. I need help.

Q: I saved myself for marriage. Now that I am married I have a problem that I'm not sure how to deal with. I feel that something may be wrong with me. My husband wants us to both sleep nude every night. That's no problem; I've done so on hot nights since I was 14, but he also wants to hold me tight and cuddle. He tells me that the feel of my baby-soft skin all over his naked body is heavenly, a sensual delight. If he had baby-smooth skin then I might feel the same way, but he doesn’t. He is very hairy and I don't find the feel of his body hair very pleasant. He suggested that I shave his body, but I fear there will be stubble that will be worse than the untouched hair. Is there anything wrong with me? I have never heard of another woman so turned off by body hair. What can I do to end this dilemma? It's ruining an otherwise wonderful relationship.

A: Obviously neither of you is unique in your aversion, just unlucky. Had you fallen in love with a smooth-skinned man there would be no problem. There are only so many possible arrangements that might work; none will be ideal. You could avoid cuddling when you sleep. One or both can wear some clothing when you have sex or sleep together. He can look into permanent hair removal procedures such as the new laser methods. You or he can wax or cream or shave his body diligently and often to minimize stubble. Or you can learn to get used to — if not enjoy — the feel of his hairy body since it quite literally incorporates the man you love.

Q: Please tell me the best venues for posting a wordy personal ad. I imagine the Internet would be best as it is probably inexpensive to write a lot, but I'm open to any suggestions. I'm seeking a nonpolarized (Venus/Mars) kind of relationship where, rather than filling each other's weaknesses with our own strengths, we support and mirror each other as we each develop our own fullest expressions. I am a man seeking a female artisan/scholar with the same (disarming) defensive style.

A: A long ad stands out in print and many papers such as this one have special promotions where the first so many words of personal ads are free. Internet personals often have a free introductory period where there is a greater leeway for ad size, however women browsing the ads just may not bother reading a long polemic unless you have a photo and a real grabber of a headline.

Q: A few weeks ago you printed a letter from a young woman who had never had an orgasm. This seems to be a common problem for women and the suggested solution is always more foreplay, erotica etc. Couldn't it be possible that there is a medical reason for this? Countless products exist to aid men in reaching orgasm that seem to address poor genital circulation. Can't this be present in women as well? I would so appreciate your answering this for me. I'm sure I'm not the only woman frustrated by the lack of research in female sexual dysfunction.

A: Most products for men focus on erection aids, not orgasm aids. Yes, poor circulation can cause sexual problems for men and women. However, since some women who are paralyzed below the waist, are victims of clitoral circumcision or who have had sexual reassignment surgery have all been known to have orgasms, the issue is rarely a physical one alone. Consider consulting a sex therapist and help us all campaign for more funding for sexuality research. Isadora Alman is a licensed marriage counselor and a board-certified sexologist. You can reach her online at her Sexuality Forum (www.askisadora.com) or by writing to her care of this paper. Alas, she cannot answer questions

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Speaking of Love & Sex, Ask Isadora

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