How does sex work?
Q Doctor, I am an independent-thinking woman of 21. I have been to college and had a good education, but I do not know a lot about the workings of sex.
So I ask you to enlighten me about the subject of sexual intercourse and the menses. I have a steady boyfriend, but he is away a lot. And quite often, when he returns home to Clarendon, it so happens that I am still having my menses.
Naturally, we would both like to have sex then. But is it safe?
I cannot find an answer to this question in any textbook of biology or physiology. And my partner does not know the answer.
I do remember that my dear mother, who has now passed on, told me that a woman should not have sex during the period - because that could cause a 'red child'. Is that true, doctor?
A Well, that is quite a common myth in rural parts of Jamaica. But it is totally untrue.
The 'red child syndrome' is a genetically-determined thing. It does not depend on which time of the month the baby was conceived. In fact, conception does not often occur during the menses. But if it does, there is no reason why the child should be abnormal.
Sexual intercourse during the menses is messy. And it is certainly not everyone's 'cup of tea'. However, young people do sometimes get carried away by desire at this time of the month, and decide to go ahead - regardless of whether the woman is bleeding. Indeed, there is some evidence that female sexual desire can be at its strongest during the menstrual period.
In certain countries, such as France, women sometimes get round the problem of blood by inserting a contraceptive 'cap' before love-making. This holds the blood back for a few hours.
Finally, I am aware that some young folks - particularly males - are afraid that sex during the menses will somehow hurt them or damage their health. But fortunately, that is not the case.
Q Doc, I am a guy of 19, and because I do not want to get my girlfriend pregnant, I am experimenting with the condom.
However, I have a question to ask. During an evening spent with her, I always put it on as soon as we get into bed. But after a while, I quite often 'get soft' for five minutes - before becoming stiff again, and resuming whatever we were doing.
So what am I supposed to do when I become soft for a little while? Should I go and get another condom, or what?
A That is a good question, because this is something which concerns quite a few young couples. I have three things to say to you:
1. You do not have to put on the condom the moment you get into bed, when you are just kissing and petting. You need not put it on until just before you enter the vagina.
2. It is normal to get 'soft' from time to time. And if you are still erect enough for the condom to stay in place, then you don't have to change it.
3. But if you get so 'floppy' that the condom starts coming off you, then you definitely should remove it altogether - and then put on a new one when you are ready.
Hope this advice helps you and your partner.
Q Doctor, I was a virgin till last month when I let a boy have sex with me.
It hurt quite a bit. Will it always be like that?
A Sorry to hear that it pained you. But sex will not always be like that. As you learn to relax, everything will get easier.
Also, I presume that the boy who you went with was pretty inexperienced. So the likelihood is that he was clumsy, and did not know how to relax you.
I forecast that in years to come, when you have settled down with a loving partner who knows precisely what he is doing, you will find sex to be a fulfilling and pain-free experience.
Q Doc, I am a teenage guy and I am embarrassed to tell you that I seem to be addicted to porn. I have an old laptop in my bedroom, and in the evening I just can't resist looking at films of ladies with big breasts having sex.
I spend hours watching these 'blue movies' until far into the night. I wish I did not do this, but I can't stop myself. If I went to a doctor, could he give me any pills that would help me?
A No, I am afraid that there are no pills which will stop a guy from looking at porn.
Statistics reveal that these days most young males have watched these foolish movies. This is a pity, because the films tend to give teenagers pretty weird ideas about sex, and about how to treat women. But fortunately, the majority of young men can check out a 'blue' website - and then switch off and forget all about it.
In contrast, you really do seem to be addicted to these silly productions. So if by chance there is a youth counsellor near you, you should go and see him or her. In the meantime, I think it is vital that you remove your laptop from your bedroom. Do the same with any other electronic devices that could receive porno material. And if you have any 'blue' magazines or other sexy literature, perhaps you could throw them out.
That way, you should get a better night's sleep.
Q One day last week, I forgot to take my Pill. I had sex that evening.
Do you think I am likely to be pregnant, Doc?
A You will probably 'get away with it', though that is not certain.
If a young woman forgets her Pill, then the best thing to do is to take it the next morning - even though that means that she will end up having two for the day. Most Pill packets contain a leaflet which gives fuller advice concerning what to do about 'missed Pills'.
Women should try hard not to miss any Pills. But we are all human, and it is easy to forget to take a tablet on time. You may like to know that it is now possible to find an app that will remind you to swallow your Pill.
n Email questions to Doc at firstname.lastname@example.org and read more in the Outlook Magazine tomorrow.