Love at first bite 

Q: I am 18 years old and have been friends with a very beautiful young woman for about two years. The other day I went out with her and attempted to kiss her, at which time she threatened to bite me! What's up with her? I have not hurt her in any way, nor is she with anyone. I care for her a lot, and thought she felt the same. What do I do now?

A: You talk about it. If your physical move came out of the blue after two years of friendship, then her response might have been an automatic defense to a perceived attack. It could also be a very ungracious way of telling you that anything sexual between you is not to be. Ask her where you stand and take it from there.

Q: Do you think that ability to tolerate and/or enjoy an open relationship is innate or learned? I am an emergency room physician, my wife a homemaker. I have changed over the years, looking for new areas to explore, including relationships. I love to travel, play classical guitar, love art, museums, cooking, flying airplanes, scuba diving and sex. I have no intention of breaking up my family and love my wife dearly. We have experimented with an open relationship, yet she became fearful, and now insists the whole thing was a mistake. For me, it was like tapping into an endless river of energy. She was giddy with such a new outlook on life, and even took a lover for a short period of time, only to later retrench ... because it was "too crazy." Now, she thinks I have an "addictive" personality, depending on which Web site she is surfing that day. She thinks because the desires persists, it is "proof" of my addiction, that I would risk the family. Yet in the same breath she would be willing to dump our relationship if I openly shed monogamy! Of course, the norms of society are on her side. My whole life I have been a salmon swimming upstream, one of the reasons she loves me ... and one of the things that may separate us. Now we talk little about such things. I have told her I will make monogamy work, but it feels very odd to me. Now I know what gay people feel like. Nothing like walking a mile in someone else's moccasins. I am looking for intellectual friends, with depth. I imagine my life like a canvas, with many layers and textures. Does this sound like addiction? Obsession?

A: Like the word promiscuous (i.e. having more partners than I think you ought to have), obsession is a label often affixed by others. One man's addiction is another man's hobby. Scientific exploration seems to suggest that some humans are wired to need order and comfort, while others require a great deal of sensory input. That you have chosen emergency room medicine as a specialty, rather than, say, ophthalmology, would seem to indicate a personality preference for higher stimulation. Is your wife someone of methodical habits, the kind of woman who enjoys the same daily breakfast, bedtime, vacation spot? If so, what you have is your basic opposites-attract coupling and how you adjust to it, or not, is going to be very individual. You might explore some of the online discussion groups including www.polyamory.org, just to know there are others who share your predilection and perhaps find some cyberfriends.

Q: I just got married and my husband and I are having a serious problem in bed. He wants me to sleep nude because he likes to cuddle against my soft skin. I have been sleeping nude on hot nights since I was 14, but he is hairy and I don't like the feel of his body hair. He is wondering if I am really a lesbian. I can't say I have ever fantasized making love with a woman and I do desire him. In fact, his hairy body is visually appealing but not sensually appealing. Have you ever heard of this problem and do you have any solutions?

A: The first letter like yours that I received seemed odd since I personally really like hair. But over the years I have received several from folks with the same dilemma. I wish I had a simple solution beyond cream rinse on his body hair to perhaps soften its texture. Some men are willing to get rid of their body hair; some even love the smooth result. Some women get over their aversion. Some couples adopt sleep clothes and save nude contact for moments of high passion. Experiment and hope for the best.

Q: Occasionally when the work muse leaves for a while, my mind wanders and I'll look at the sex ads on gay Web sites. I think I'm pretty savvy in most areas, but lately with younger guys, it seems they talk about being OK with "420." Any clue what this is?

A: It’s not a gay thing, but universal. It means marijuana use. Isadora Alman is a board-certified sexologist and a California-licensed marriage-and-family therapist. Contact her via this paper or askisadora@sfbg.com. Her Sexuality Forum is at

Speaking of Love & Sex, Ask Isadora

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