Opening Pandora’s box 

Q: I am 43-year-old female. I have never had any sexual desires. I guess I am old enough not to be embarrassed to ask about it. I am a virgin. Do I perhaps have a shortage of a hormone? I never could understand other women's attraction and sexual desire. It has hurt me all my life. Am I just weird?

A: Less than 100 years ago your condition was believed by many in the medical establishment to be the norm for women, and those with sexual desires needed medical attention to correct that "flaw." The pendulum has swung, leaving you at the unpopular end of the arc. Yes, it is distinctly atypical for a woman never to have felt any desire toward another human being. Yes, you probably have a very low amount of certain hormones, although there well may be a strong psychological component. At issue is not what to call yourself but what you want to do about this. A hormonal assay — a check to see what your levels of such critical hormones as testosterone are in your blood — is a very simple saliva test costing less than $200. If your levels are low they can be corrected. By all means find out where you stand medically. Then you might want to talk with a therapist to decide on your options.

Q: I was hoping you could help me with my concern that my boyfriend sometimes fakes his orgasms. I suspect that this is happening because at these times there is no semen produced. In addition to this, there is sometimes a definite difference in his body movements and the sounds that he makes. When I tried to talk to him about this, he got extremely upset, angry, defensive and then indignant. I am feeling hurt, rejected, unattractive and angry. Can you give me any answers? Could he be faking?

A: What a lot of miserable feelings focusing on a teaspoon full of semen! Whether or not he ejaculates need have no bearing on you, your attractiveness or his desire for you. Yes, he could be faking. Perhaps he just can't come and doesn't know how to stop and say so. He could also have occasional retrograde ejaculation, where the semen gets absorbed back into the body rather than shooting out. He could also be experiencing orgasm without ejaculation, a separation that many men work diligently to achieve. Unless he's willing to find out what's going on and share the information with you, you're going to remain in the dark. If you two were using condoms you'd never know the difference. Why not decide to ignore it unless he's willing to talk?

Q: I am a 28-year-old gay male. I am very frustrated with men who want to wear articles of women's clothing. My last two boyfriends and my current boyfriend are interested in pantyhose. Boyfriend No. 1 dropped a bomb on me when he admitted that he had a pantyhose fetish. He says he "likes the way they feel and look." He also wanted to wear pantyhose while we had sex. I was adamant that he not wear pantyhose ever and we had several arguments over the issue. He would not relent and even encouraged me to try them on so I "would see how it's not such a big deal." He eventually dumped me, saying one of the reasons was that I didn't take his sexual needs into consideration. When dating boyfriend No. 2, I mentioned boyfriend No. 1's pantyhose fetish and we discovered that No. 1 and No. 2 met once before and had sex together while both wore pantyhose! No. 2 admitted that he liked the feel of pantyhose and wanted me to stimulate his penis while he wore them. I angrily refused and he never brought it up again. We stopped our relationship shortly thereafter. Finally, a friend of mine jokingly said to my new boyfriend that she hoped he didn't own any lingerie because I would be extremely upset. Boyfriend No. 3 asked what she was talking about and she told him about boyfriends No. 1 and No. 2. Boyfriend No. 3 now wants to try on a pair of pantyhose. I told him I forbid it and if he does try them I'll break up with him. I like a man who acts and dresses like a man. I don't think it's so wrong of me not to want a boyfriend to wear pantyhose. Men aren't supposed to wear ladies' pantyhose.

A: And adult lovers are not supposed to "forbid" one another safe sexual experimentation either, but, as you see, it happens. Either you have had an unusual run of luck, you are the first to let me know of a new fad sweeping the gay community or you have got to stop finding potential boyfriends in Macy's accessories department. 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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Speaking of Love & Sex, Ask Isadora

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