Q: My boyfriend asked me if I would be willing to swallow his cum. He claims that there are health benefits for swallowing semen. Is this true?
A: It is true that some research shows there are potential benefits to "ingesting" semen. For example, some studies have found that ingesting semen is related with lower levels of depression among women (but not gay men for some reason) and it may also be linked with lower levels of breast cancer. However, these findings all come from small studies. Also, they have only looked at women "ingesting" semen vaginally (not orally). Basically, they're looking at groups of women who have sex without using condoms (thus ingesting semen), vs. those who use condoms. In all of these cases, the effects were very small and other studies have failed to find these effects. So, while there may be some health benefits to ingesting semen, it's still pretty unproven and, if true, is likely to yield only small effects. Also, since semen ingested orally has to go through the stomach, which would break down the chemical components of semen, there's no way of knowing if even these small health benefits could occur through oral sex.
In terms of whether or not to swallow semen, it should really come down to personal choice. If swallowing semen is not a turn on for you, you shouldn't do it. There is no good reason to do it beyond that.
For a very well cited article on this topic, check out: http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/sexinfo/article/swallowing-your-partners-ejaculate
Q: I've always considered myself a straight male as I've only had sex with women. But last week I had a very vivid dream where I was making out and eventually had sex with one of my male housemates. Ever since that dream I've have felt kind of awkward being around my housemate. Do dreams tell us something about our sexuality? I feel kind of confused why I would have such a dream.
A: A dream really is just a dream. Dreams occur because we're mentally rehearsing information we've processed that day. So, it's common for us to dream about people, places and things that are familiar to us (such as a roommate). It's also very common to have sexual dreams. When we sleep, our blood vessels dilate to allow nutrients to travel throughout our body more easily, which helps to repair our tissues and organs. This increased blood flow often has the side effect of causing sexual arousal (i.e., an erection). This heightened arousal can easily transfer into our dreams and cause them to become sexual. It's not uncommon for people to dream about having sex with people of the same gender, family members, animals and even inanimate objects. This doesn't mean that a person internally wants to have sex with these things. It's just that they were dreaming about something they had encountered that day and then had a spike in sexual arousal which caused them to begin having sex in their dream.
Despite psychologists' early fascination with dreams, such as with Freud and Carl Jung, most modern psychologists don't put a lot of weight into dreams or their interpretations. Scientists have found that dream content, by and large, is fairly random and that actions in dreams have little to no relation with one's internal drives or personality.
Q: Can a woman get pregnant from pre-cum?
A: While the most commonly cited answer for this question on the internet is "Yes," it turns out that the idea a woman can get pregnant from pre-ejaculate (pre-cum) is somewhat of a myth. Pre-ejaculate actually comes from the Cowper's gland (which is located just behind the penis) and normally contains no sperm. The fluid is just meant to clean out the urethra and vagina, so that sperm aren't harmed by any of the acidic fluids that are usually in those areas. But, scientists used to believe that this fluid sometimes contains sperm too. We now know that it doesn't.
This myth originated from studies where men produced pre-ejaculate and ejaculate multiple times in quick succession. They did this in order to produce enough fluids to be analyzed in a lab. When this is done, sperm can be left in the urethra from the last ejaculation and then the pre-ejaculate can push some of it out, making it look like pre-ejaculate contains sperm. However, unless a man has very recently ejaculated, pre-ejaculate contains no sperm at all. So, women really don't need to worry about getting pregnant from pre-ejaculate, unless their male sex partner has very recently ejaculated.
Q: Is it possible to have sex while on my period?
A: Yes, absolutely. Some women worry that it may be dangerous for them or think that it's "gross" to have sex while on their period. But, as long as it's okay with your sex partner, there's nothing unhealthy or wrong about it. Some women actually experience heightened sexual arousal during menstruation, due to fluctuations in hormones. So, sex may even be better for some women while they're on their period. Either way, there's no reason, other than personal preference, to not have sex while menstruating.
Q: When I have sex with my girlfriend the sex never lasts very long because I always ejaculate within 2 minutes. But when I see a porn movie, the guys are lasting 30 minutes or longer. I know that porn sex is not real sex, but do you have any tips on how a guy can last longer in bed?
A: First of all, you should know that you're not alone. Premature ejaculation (cumming too quickly) is one of the most common problems that men have in the bedroom. And, research finds that lasting 2 minutes might be the norm for about 40% of men. Also, several studies have found that penile-vaginal intercouse lasts an average of 5 - 7 minutes for most couples. But, if you want to last longer, there are several things you can try.
One method is the "Start and Stop" technique. This is something that can be done with a partner or while masturbating. Just stimulate the penis like you normally do until you feel like you're getting close to orgasm. Then stop stimulating the penis and wait for the sensation to die down. Once you aren't close to orgasm anymore, begin stimulating the penis again. Continue doing this until you've reached the desired amount of time and then stimulate yourself until you reach orgasm. This can train the body and brain to last a certain amount of time before orgasming. It does take a while to retrain yourself, but this technique works for most men.
Another method you could try is using condoms. Condoms can somewhat reduce sensation during sex. This is sometimes seen as a negative thing by men, but it can be a benefit for men who experience premature ejaculation. You can also purchase special condoms that have a mild analgesic coating on the inside, which can slightly deaden the nerves of the penis while the condom is worn. This can further elongate the time before ejaculation.
Something to keep in mind, though, is that this is only a "problem" if it's keeping you and your partner from enjoying sex. A great way to help both of you enjoy sex more is to have lots of foreplay before engaging in penile-vaginal intercourse. It typically takes women about 20 - 30 minutes of stimulation to reach peak arousal and have an orgasm, so hopefully you are engaging in foreplay long enough to allow that to happen. Whether your partner orgasms from vaginal sex or oral or manual sex likely doesn't matter to them, as long as they're being sexually fulfilled.
Q: I masturbate 10 times a day. I was wondering if that is obsessive behavior.
A: As to whether someone is masturbating too much, it doesn't really come down to how many times someone masturbates in a day. The important thing to consider is whether the level of masturbation is causing significant problems in a person's life. If someone's drive to masturbate is so frequent and overwhelming that it causes them to be impaired in their relationships, school/work, and personal happiness, then it is a problem.
I would say that if you're masturbating 10 times a day, then it's likely you do have a problem. I can't imagine how someone could masturbate that much and not have it negatively impact their life. At the very least, I would imagine that this is on your mind throughout the day, making it difficult to concentrate on and enjoy other aspects of your life. If this is the case, I would recommend seeing a counselor. You can attain counseling at UC Merced by visiting counseling.ucmerced.edu.
Q: How do those guys in pornos ejaculate so much?
A: Many aspects of porn videos are not typical of most sexual encounters. It's best to think about porn as a fantasy or action movie, where everything is "heightened." In porn, men's penises are much larger than average, women's bodies are often surgically augmented, and they engage in sex for much longer periods of time than is typical for most couples. Another thing that is often heightened in porn is how much men ejaculate. Typically, men ejaculate about a tablespoon of liquid, but there are a few tricks porn stars use to greatly increase this volume.
Very often the "cum shot" is faked in porn. There are ways to shoot the action at such an angle that an IV bag full of fake semen can be squirted out to make it look like the man is ejaculating. This is often done, because porn actors typically use drugs to maintain an erection for long periods of time and these drugs can inhibit ejaculation. Many male porn actors literally inject these drugs into their penis with a syringe. This is not a glamorous business! You can find an interesting blog entry about insider secrets in the porn industry here. You can find a similar article here, but this one is decidedly NSFW.
If a man wants to legitimately increase his "load," the most effective way to do this is to masturbate regularly (every day if possible) for a week and then to stop masturbating entirely for an additional week. This will first get him to produce semen on a regular basis and then, over the second week, he will store this additional semen. Then, after those two weeks, he should have a larger than average load. This process will also increase the number of sperm per volume in the ejaculate. However, it can be uncomfortable for men, as it tends to cause unwanted erections and sometimes nighttime emissions during the second week.
As far as I know, there are no scientifically verified methods to increase a man's ejaculatory load through diet, pills or other means. There are plenty of fake pills out there that claim they can do this, but these are not medically or FDA tested, because they only contain herbal ingredients. So, there is no way to verify that these work. Furthermore, studies have found that "herbal" pills very often contain no active ingredients at all. In other words, it's very unlikely any of these actually work.
Q: After giving a handjob to my boyfriend, he ejaculates, and it spread on both of our hands we clean ourselves and it dries up. Should I (girl) be concerned if he right after touches my genitals? Because my breast a day later started getting tendered.
A: You definitely don't want to rub semen onto the vagina if you don't want to get pregnant. Sperm is very mobile and, once introduced to the vagina, they can survive for up to 5 days. This might allow them the opportunity to swim up through the cervix and to enter the uterus. So, it's best to play it safe and thoroughly wash the semen off with water and soap after he ejaculates. That should flush away and kill any sperm and then it's perfectly safe for him or yourself to touch your vagina.
Breasts can become tender for different reasons. This can happen at various times during a woman's menstrual cycle (most commonly during ovulation or right before menstruating) due to fluctuating hormones. It can also happen if a woman gets pregnant, also due to fluctuating hormones. So, you should wait to see if you develop any other signs of pregnancy (e.g., fatigue, water retention, swelling of the breasts, nausea). Although, it's unlikely that you would be at risk for becoming pregnant if you both washed the semen off your hands before he made contact with your vagina again.
Q: I just got diagnosed with genital herpes. I do not wish to tell ANYONE about it.. even future partners. Yet I know this is incredibly unfair and I will feel absolutely terrible if I don't tell them. How can I go about this?
A: You're right that it's always a good (and right) thing to tell your partners if you have an STI (sexually transmitted infection), such as herpes. The good news is that you now know that you have this STI, so you can actively manage it. You're already far better off than the thousands of people who have STIs, but don't even know it. Thankfully, herpes itself is very treatable and, if you follow the steps outlined below, it's unlikely you'll pass it on to anyone else.
The first thing you should do is contact your doctor about getting on medication to keep the herpes virus in remission. Most often when people get herpes, they will only have occasional outbreaks (and usually more often right after getting the virus). There are certain medications, such as Valtrex, that help to keep these outbreaks from happening. This lessens the pain and sores caused by herpes and also greatly prevents the virus from spreading.
Herpes typically spreads when a sore forms, which releases puss that contains the virus. If that puss comes into contact with someone else's genitals, then they can contract the virus. So, if you notice that you're having an outbreak, with visible sores, pain or itching on the genitals, don't have sex during that time. Outbreaks are most likely to occur right after contracting the virus or when the immune system is compromised, such as when someone has a flu or cold.
Lastly, you should try to contact the last person you had sex with, as this is likely the person you contracted the STI from. It wouldn't be helpful to accuse or chastise them, but you can let them know that you have the virus, which makes it likely that they do as well. Simply raising awareness of the disease, as well as how to manage it, can greatly help prevent its spread in the greater community.
Q: As a guy, i hear tons of stories about how vaginal sex is amazing, yet I typically get very little stimulation during vaginal sex. In fact, when I am receiving oral sex I feel huge amounts of stimulation. Is there something wrong?
A: This is a fairly common experience for men. The walls of the vagina are very smooth and soft and this can sometimes not provide enough stimulation for the penis for a man to reach orgasm. On the other hand, the mouth has the tongue, lips and soft palate, which can offer more varied stimulation (especially if you throw in stimulation with the hands as well). This can make it easier for a man to receive enough stimulation to orgasm.
One way to make sex more stimulating in general is to mix up the type of stimulation being used. You can switch between vaginal, oral, and manual stimulation as your having sex, which creates more variety in sensation. Also, the penis can sometimes get "burned out," or numbed by repetitive stimulation. This is easily fixed by not stimulating the penis for a minute or two so that it can regain its sensitivity. By adding more variety and spacing in penile stimulation, it's likely you'll able to reach orgasm more quickly and during vaginal intercourse.
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 is for educational purposes only.