Q: I recently had oral sex, and I was wondering if saliva has any spermicidal properties?
A: Spermicides are substances that kills sperm and are commonly used on condoms, diaphragms and other contraceptives to try to reduce the chance of a couple getting pregnant. It is true that saliva can kill sperm, since saliva does contain small amounts of stomach acid (which help to pre-digest food). However, saliva is 99.5% water, so it's relatively safe for sperm. In other words, saliva will only kill a small amount of sperm, leaving most of the 150 million sperm that is released in an average ejaculation unharmed. There is some research that the sticky quality of semen can impede the movement of sperm, but this was found to be a pretty weak effect; again, only affecting a minority of sperm. So, saliva doesn't kill or impede sperm enough to act as a spermicide or other form of contraceptive.
Q: I like masturbating but I don't like cleaning up the mess. Is there a masturbation technique for a man to achieve orgasm without ejaculating? Could a man achieve multiple orgasms without a refractory period?
A: There are a lot of guides online that claim to teach men how to orgasm without ejaculating (you can find some here, here, and here). This is often seen as the key to allowing men to have multiple orgasms. All of these guides claim that the way men can stop ejaculating is by clenching your pelvic floor muscles (in particular, the pubococcygeus, or PC muscles) while orgasming. These muscles can effectively block the seminal track, so that semen doesn't escape during orgasm. This can then allow a man to have an orgasm without ejaculating and maybe even have another orgasm quickly after. However, to do this, you need to have built up very strong PC muscles.
A man (or woman) can build up their PC muscles by performing Kegel exercises. This is where you clench the muscles you would normally use if you wanted to stop urinating suddenly. You clench and hold these muscles for 5 - 10 seconds and then relax them. You would then repeat this 10 times in a row, several times a day. Kegel exercises are most commonly prescribed to women before and after childbirth, because it can help quicken delivery and the healing process afterward.
Using this technique to help men control their ejaculation hasn't been well tested scientifically. It's likely that results will vary a lot between men. Many men will likely be unable to inhibit their ejaculation, even if they frequently perform Kegel exercises. For a man, it isn't natural to not ejaculate when having an orgasm, and it may even be unhealthy. For example, some men have medical conditions where they cannot ejaculate when having an orgasm (known as retrograde ejaculation) and this can cause pain and other medical complications. So, you should probably just be happy that you can ejaculate normally. As for cleaning up the mess, just ejaculate in some Kleenex that you can throw away, or ejaculate in the shower or into a toilet.
Q: I read how having sex before a big game can help athletic performance. Can something similar be true for doing well on exams. Would having sex before my finals increase my test score? I wouldn’t mind preparing for tests if that’s true.
A: There are a lot of myths surrounding the use of sex to "enhance" other abilities. When it comes to sports, I've heard it both ways. Some encourage players to have sex before a big game as a way to reduce stress and stay focused, while others encourage players to abstain from sex before a game, so that they can be extra "amped up." In fact, the Mexican football league ordered their players to abstain from sex for at least 40 days before a World Cup game! However, all of this is based on hearsay and speculation. There is actually no scientific evidence that having sex either helps or hurts an athlete's performance.
The same is true for the impact of sex on test performance: there doesn't seem to be any discernable effect from either having sex or abstaining from it. There is some evidence that regularly orgasming can help with the production of new neurons (neurogenesis), but this is when comparing people who have sex regularly vs. those who don't over the course of years. So, there's no reason to think that either having sex (or not) the night before exams will have any impact on your test scores. Although, it probably wouldn't hurt to test this out for yourself. :-)
Q: If my partner is on birth control, is there really a need for a condom as well? Is there much difference in the chance of getting pregnant when the two methods are combined versus only using birth control?
A: Condoms are a great method of preventing birth. If they are used correctly, they can be 98% effective (meaning if 100 couples had sex regularly for a year and they used condoms, only 2 of the 100 would get pregnant by the end of the year. Birth control (oral pills, implants, IUDs, etc.) work even better. If they're used correctly, they are 99.3 - 99.5% effective (only 1 in 200 couples would get pregnant using it in a year).
If your only goal is to prevent pregnancy, there really is no reason you would need more protection than birth control alone. However, condoms are the only form of contraception that can prevent sexually transmitted infections (e.g., herpes, gonorrhea, HIV). If you're absolutely certain that you and your partner do not have STIs, then it's relatively safe to not wear condoms during sex. The other thing to consider, though, is that oral birth control is only effective if a person remembers to take it every single day. Even missing the pill for just two days can greatly reduce its effectiveness in preventing pregnancy. So, in this case, condoms can be a great backup plan.
If your partner is on an oral (pill) form of birth control, she may benefit from getting a more long-lasting form of birth control, such as an implant or IUD. You can find more information on these here. These forms of birth control don't need to be administered every day, so there's no chance of forgetting to take it and becoming unprotected. Studies show these "long acting, reversible contraceptives" (LARCs) tend to be much more effective in reducing pregnancy, even when compared to traditional birth control. In other words, if you're using a LARC and neither of you have an STI, then there really isn't a need to use condoms.
Q: I've heard people say that women reach their "sexual peak" at age 30. What exactly does this mean?
A: There really isn't good evidence that women consistently "peak" in their sexual frequency or enjoyment at any particular age. Scientists have found that men tend to have the greatest levels of sexual desire (or as scientists call it: "horniness") around their late-teens and 20s. However, women tend to have relatively consistent levels of sexual desire throughout their life, up until menopause. While some women experience heightened sexual desire at different times of their life, there doesn't seem to be a consistent pattern that most women experience. Although, most women do experience heightened sexual arousal when they are ovulating (the 14 days before their period). This is due to heightened levels of hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, that occur during this time.
Overall, sexual desire and enjoyment tends to increase in women the more they become comfortable with themselves and their sex partners. Another practice that can help with this to masturbate regularly. This enlivens the nerves of the clitoris and vagina, making them more sensitive and helping women achieve orgasm more quickly and easily. It can also help women to learn what types of stimulation and fantasies get them the most aroused. They can then share this information with their sex partners. In other words, women can have the best sex of their lives at any age, as long as they're having the kind of sex they enjoy with partners that they enjoy being with.
Q: I've given my boyfriend a blowjob a couple of times, but the experience hasn't been good. Both times I had a gag reflex. He's not particularly large down there so I don't understand why I would gag. Is it normal to gag during oral sex? Any advice to more pleasurable oral sex?
A: One thing to remember when having oral sex is that the most sensitive part of the penis is the head. So, there's no need to put the entire penis into your mouth and throat. Also, the most soft and pleasurable parts of the mouth are the lips and tongue. Going further into the mouth just makes the penis hit the hard palate, which isn't very pleasurable. Also, just behind that is the uvula (the dangly bit of flesh in the back of the throat) which can cause you to gag. If you're hitting your gag-reflex while giving oral sex, then you're putting the penis too far into your mouth. Simply take the head of the penis into your mouth and stimulate it with your lips and tongue. Then, find a rhythm that he likes. Most men enjoy oral sexual stimulation that is slow and soft, perhaps building up to be a bit quicker when he's close to climaxing.
An advanced technique is to build up some saliva and let it run down the shaft of his penis. You can use that as lubrication for masturbating his penis with your hand hands while you stimulate the head of his penis with your mouth. You can then get both your hands and mouth moving in a consistent up-and-down rhythm and that feels very much like having vaginal sex. You can also use your hands to stimulate the testicles or any other part of his body that he might enjoy.
For more tips, check out this safe-for-work video.
Q: I am a heterosexual female that wants to have anal sex but does not know how "prepare" for it. I have heard horror stories about the pain and heard about lube but I need more tips. I want to be able to satisfy my partner and over all enjoy the experience too. #help
A: The key to having enjoyable anal sex is to relax and take things slow. There are several layers of muscles within the anus, so anal sex is only enjoyable if you can get these internal muscles to relax. It's best to start with some fingering first. Make sure to use lots of lube, since the anus doesn't naturally lubricate itself. While fingering your anus, use your other hand (or his) to masturbate your vagina, paying special attention to the clitoris. This will heighten your arousal and help you associate anal play with sexual pleasure. If you start to feel any pain, simply back off and take it a bit slower. Over time, you can build up to inserting two fingers, and eventually three fingers. Once you can comfortably fit three fingers into the anus, then it's ready to be penetrated by an average-sized penus. Again, while transfering from fingers to a penis, you want to take it slow at first and stop if it gets uncomfortable.
Over time, the anus will get used to being penetrated. If you've associated this sensation with being sexually stimulated, through masturbation, kissing, nipple-play, etc., then you will likely begin to enjoy this anal stimulation. You can also purchase anal trainers, which are basically a set of small to moderately sized dildos or butt-plugs that can be used to “train” the anus to remain comfortable while being penetrated.
For more tips on having painless and enjoyable anal sex, check out the link here: http://www.spicesexup.com/does-anal-sex-hurt.html
Q: My girlfriend and I enjoy oral sex. My girlfriend has a deathly peanut allergy. So I've been avoiding eating anything with peanuts before sex. However, I really enjoy products with peanuts like peanut butter. Is it safe for me to consume peanut products before we engage in oral sex or any other types of sex?
A: I couldn't find a lot of research on this, but there has been one recorded case of a man giving his partner an allergic reaction from having sex with them right after eating nuts. In this case, doctors found that the man's semen did contain nut proteins that may have caused the allergic reaction. While this is far from conclusive, it does show that there is a potential risk of having one's semen contaminated with allergy-causing nut proteins soon after eating peanuts. However, even in this case, the allergic reaction was quite minor (itching, rash).
Most studies find little evidence that people with peanut allergies have major reactions simply from coming into contact with secondary peanut residue. In other words, if a person washes thoroughly with soap and water after being exposed to nuts, there should be no issues with touching someone who has a peanut allergy. But, if your girlfriend does have a very severe reaction to peanuts, it would be safer to not eat nuts for at least one day before having sex with her. After a day has passed, it's very likely that any proteins from the nuts you ingested will be out of your system.
Q: I'm a male and I have been having a difficult time having an orgasm during sex. I'm super arroused, but I just can't orgasm with my female partner. Is it something I'm doing? The passion is there and I just want to be able to enjoy sex more, but I don't know how. I've had sex before this next sex partner. I have no problem pleasuring my partner, but I also want to orgasm.
A: If you're taking any kind of anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication, one of the most common side-effects is delayed orgasming. However, there may be other reasons for this.
One thing to look at is your masturbatory habits. If you're able to achieve orgasm through masturbation, then examine what's different about that compared to when you're having sex. Many men grip their penis very tightly during masturbation, which is going to provide a lot more pressure on the penis than there would be during sex. This can make it so that the penis can only achieve orgasm when placed under a lot of pressure. If this is the case, relax your grip while masturbating to make the sensation more like having vaginal intercourse. It could also be that you've gotten very used to watching pornography while masturbating and this has made it difficult to ejaculate when not watching porn. If this is the case, you would want to change your masturbatory habits to include less porn and more fantasizing about your current partner.
If none of these are issues for you, I would suggest seeing a doctor. In some cases, delayed ejaculation can be caused by more serious medical problems, such as an enlarged prostate, urinary tract infections, or early signs of diabetes.
Q: When I'm having sex with my girlfriend, I make her talk dirty saying things like, "F*** me harder", "you taste so good", etc... I find that it really turns me on to hear her say these things. She thinks its kind of weird, but she plays along. Why does hearing certain words make us more horny?
A: Most of what we personally find sexually arousing comes down to past experiences. Whatever we've been exposed to while being sexually aroused in the past tends to make us more sexually aroused in the future. This is a product of classical conditioning. For example, let's say you're watching pornography that you find particularly arousing and, in this porn, the actors are using this type of language. It's likely your brain will make an association between these words and being sexually aroused. Then, in the future, when you hear this type of language again, it will activate the parts of your brain that respond to sexual arousal.
There may also be something especially titillating about curse words, given their forbidden nature. When we act in a way that isn't socially acceptable, it heightens our physiological arousal. This is why many criminals feel a sort of "high" when they're committing a crime, and why teens often enjoy "breaking the rules" with their friends. This heightened arousal is caused, in part, by the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone can give us the feeling of having more energy and have a greater degree of concentration and motivation. It's likely that hearing your partner curse is triggering this type of stress-response in you, which can be quite pleasurable during sex.
Answers provided by Dr. Ross Avilla
Dr. Ross Avilla has been teaching Human Sexuality since 2013 and has a PhD in psychology from UC Davis. Dr. Avilla is not a clinician and all information and advice offered on this website are for educational purposes only.