The Sexuality Advisor, Issue #3


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Column #3 - May 29, 2000

Welcome to The Sexuality Advisor, a new feature at sexuality.org! Every other week, we'll answer a few questions about sex, love, and relationships submitted by our readers.

We're thrilled--questions continue to pour in! Regretfully, we cannot answer every letter individually. Whether or not your question is answered in this forum, you can be sure that your email address and question will be kept strictly confidential. We reserve the right to edit the letters we publish for readability and length.


How Can I Stop My Child From Masturbating?

I am new to your site. I have a question for you. My daughter has thing with masturbation. I have tried to make her stop and she will not. Can you give me any tips on how to make her quit. Second question: do you think masturbation is right or wrong for a person to practice if they are not sexually active in the first place.

Sincerely,

Concerned parent

Masturbation is a deeply-rooted human behavior. From the earliest days of infancy, people are aware of and enjoy pleasurable sensations. It really isn't surprising that when babies and children discover that touching their genitals feels good, they want to keep up that touching and good feeling. All children do it. Heck, almost all adults do it, and I wish the ones who don't would pick up the habit! Masturbation is harmless and pleasurable, the safest sex around, a great way to reduce stress and to enjoy the body. So, to answer your second question first, I don't think there's anything wrong with masturbation, regardless of whether one is sexually active with other people or not.

Trying too hard to make your daughter stop masturbating may have some fairly unhappy long-term consequences. For instance, if she's made to feel from a very young age that touching her vulva is bad and dirty and wrong and that she must not do it, how will she be able to have a healthy sex life when she's older?

My advice would be to focus on teaching her that touching her vulva is something that should be done in private. The SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States) web site discusses different ways that parents of preschoolers can approach sexual issues, and the different messages kids pick up as a result. I recommend having a look at their site and thinking long and hard about the kinds of messages you may be sending to your daughter about her body and sexuality.


Is Swallowing Semen Safe?

A bunch of married monogamous women have been arguing and we need the correct answer...

During oral sex is "swallowing" sperm dangerous....besides the normal disease issues.

If neither partner has a disease that can be transmitted during oral sex, then (aside from the random chance of choking) swallowing semen is not dangerous. Not everyone enjoys the taste of semen or the sensation of ejaculation in the mouth, so if you don't like to do it, don't do it. If you do like it, bon appetit!


What If My Lover Has Some Same-Sex Attractions?

These two letters arrived within days of one another:

Dear advisor,

I feel desperate for some understanding. I have felt as though my boyfriend was attracted to men (as well as women). He did tell me that he in 8th grade he met a man who he wanted to kiss--this urge he says was just one time. He has said other things that lead me to believe that he is interested in men. He claims he's not--that it's not an issue and that sexuality is an ever evolving thing.

How common is it for straight men to have urges to be with other men? I can't handle being in a relationship (long-term) with a man who may later want to explore same sex love.

Can you offer me some insight into his claim to not be gay or how likely it is that he will want to try it later?

Thank so much,

E

and

Hi:

My name is JV. I have a concern regarding my girlfriend's sexual preference.

We have been together for 7 months now, and recently she told me that she finds women sexually attractive and arousing. But this is not what worries me. I understand that it is very common for people to feel attracted to members of their same gender. Our sexualities are usually more than just black and white.

What worries me is that she told me that she finds women more arousing than men. In other words, she is into women more than into men. So I feel very unstable about our relationship. Knowing this makes me feel very insecure, not only about myself but about us as a couple, knowing that she does not like me as much as she likes women. I am worried that she is with me just because she has feelings for me, but while her heart tells her to be with me, her body tells her otherwise. I don't know whether I should tell her about how I feel because I fear that she is going to lie about her true sexual self in order to keep things "cool". After all, when I first asked her if she liked women, she said no. And it took her a long while to admit the fact that she did. So I don't know if I should be in this relationship or if I should be careful of probable future problems with her sexual preference.

What should I do?

Thank you...

JV

How do you deal with it when your lover is capable of being attracted to someone of their same sex? Well, how do you deal with it when your lover is capable of being attracted to others of your own sex? I'm not trying to be flip. People don't have sexual chemistry with entire genders. They have relationships with individuals.

E, you know that your boyfriend must be straight to some degree. Does he want to be involved with every woman he knows? Probably not; he wants to be with you. JV, you know that your girlfriend must be straight to some degree. Does she want to be involved with every man she knows? Probably not; she wants to be with you. Don't let homophobia make this more complicated than it needs to be. Don't fantasize that there's a mysterious something that only a person of your lover's own sex can give them, and they'll be inexorably lured away. That's just a fanciful projection of your own fear.

It's useful to remember that most people--male or female, straight, gay, or bi, whatever--don't act on every single sexual whim that enters their minds. Thinking doesn't automatically translate into doing; usually real life and common sense step in and restrain behavior. This is especially true when there's a strong sense of prohibition about the desire, so I'd bet that most people who've been attracted to members of their same sex have never acted on it at all. But even if your lover is the adventurous type who might cross that line, it doesn't automatically mean they're going to rush right out and dump you for someone, anyone, of their own sex. If your lover dumps you for someone of their own sex, it's probably for the same reason that they would have dumped you for someone of their opposite sex: because there was something wrong with your relationship.

Most people want to eventually settle down with one partner, and that means one individual of one sex, with all their particular strengths and weaknesses. Many factors go into that choice, and it takes a lot of compatibility, more than just sexual chemistry, to make a good fit: it's not true that if you pair any two people at random that they'll make a happy couple, even mixed-sex couples. So if your lover wants to be with you and pledges his or her love and fidelity, evaluate that claim on its own merits. Fretting about all the other people that your lover might ever want to fuck is a bad idea; that way lies madness, or at least a lot of unhealthy jealousy and possessiveness. Relax, don't worry about it, and work on making your relationship the best it can be.


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