Doctor’s Advice | Is too much sex harmful?
Q Doc, could you advise a guy of 19 years? I guess, I am pretty virile and interested in sex, but I can't help that. I have some sort of sex most days, either masturbation or with various girls. It averages to around six times for the week.
I admit this does seem a lot, but I really want to know if this sexual activity will harm my health? I am fretting, Doctor.
A Well, until about the middle of the last century, many doctors believed that male teenagers could be harmed by sexual activity, particularly masturbation. But in the last five or six decades, it has become clear that no one has ever discovered any damage to a young guy's health.
In short, although masturbation is still an embarrassing subject, and most people do not really like to talk about it, it is an activity which is harmless.
The only slight problem that I know of, which is caused by very frequent masturbation, is transient 'puffiness' of the penis. This is known as oedema (or edema), and it usually disappears within a few hours.
I am much more concerned by your, perhaps, slightly casual attitude to sex with various girls. So I ask you to remember that sex with various partners can very easily lead to:
- pregnancy scares;
- conception of a baby;
- sexually transmitted infections;
- often, stress and anxiety among the young women involved, especially if they feel that they have been used by a boy for sex.
Therefore, I urge you to think carefully about your sex life. Rather than 'sleeping around', wouldn't it be better to consider having a regular, steady girlfriend who is faithful to you and to whom you are faithful?
I am not suggesting that this girl should be just a sex object. But a monogamous (one-on-one) relationship like this would be a lot wiser than doing it with various girls.
Q Good day, Doc. I am a 20-year-old. Last year, I decided to go on the Jab, but I've been facing many problems with this particular contraceptive method.
For one, I have had constant bleeding, which has now lessened a bit, but is still there.
The doctors have tried to treat the bleeding by putting me on a type of contraceptive Pill. This works, but the problem is that whenever I stop it, the bleeding starts again!
So, I am really using two types of contraception at once - the Jab and the Pill. Any suggestions, Doc?
A Well, I note that you say that you went on the Jab last year. Now, the ordinary brand of Jab has to be given every three months. So you must be having regular 'top up' injections from a doctor.
Frankly, I do not think this is a good idea. You are having quite severe side-effects (i.e. bleeding), so I think you should stop now and have no more shots.
Now, let us look at the treatment you have been having. When a young woman gets real heavy bleeding on the Jab, it is usual to treat her with oral hormone tablets such as the Pill. The idea is that these will kind of 'dam things up'.
But as you say, if you stop taking the tablets, the bleeding returns. This is simply because once the Jab is in your body, it's in! No one can take it out again. So you just have to wait until the Jab has completely gone from your body, which might take six months or so.
My advice for the moment is that you continue with the well-known brand of contraceptive that you are taking. That will protect you against pregnancy. But don't have any more Jabs.
Finally, I have said before in this column that the Jab is a good method of contraception for most young women, but around 40 per cent of them will experience problems with unwanted bleeding.
Q I recently wore an ill-fitting pair of shoes. The result was that I got a bloodshot in both my big toenails.
Could this lead to cancer, Doc?
A No, it couldn't, so please quit fretting.
Have a doctor look at your toenails to see if they need any treatment. Please don't wear any more ill-fitting footwear!
Q As a guy, I would like to know if it is OK to eat before sex?
A Eating before having sex is OK, so please don't worry.
Q How long does the vagina take to repair itself after intercourse, Doc? Also, are there any home-made remedies that can be done to heal a bruised vagina?
A Women should not have sex with men who cause bruised vaginas! Stay away from partners who are not gentle.
Intercourse does scrape a few layers of cells off the inside of the vagina, but these regenerate (i.e. regrow) within a few days. No, there is no home-made remedy that will accelerate this process. Do not try putting creams or ointments or foams inside the vagina, please.
Incidentally, in June this year, there was a news story reported worldwide concerning women putting mashed up wasp nest (or 'wasp galls') inside their vaginas for cleaning purposes. All female readers should note that it would be absolutely crazy to do this!
Q Doc, if I had a circumcision, what would happen to my foreskin?
A The surgical department would destroy it - normally by incineration. If for any strange reason you wanted to keep it, they would probably let you take it home in a little bottle of formaldehyde.
But don't get the wrong idea. Nobody is going to be able to stick it back on for you!
Q I am a female and I would like to know the answer to a question that no one has discussed with me, Doc.
What does a gynaecological check-up consist of?
A Well, a basic gynaecological check-up begins by putting the patient on a couch, wearing nothing below her waist. The doctor should then visually inspect the vulva, which is the opening of the vagina.
As a rule, she will then put in an instrument called a speculum. That word just means a device for seeing. This thing opens up slightly, so that the doctor can get a good view of the cervix. That allows her to take what is still commonly called by the old name, Pap smear. Cells from the cervix can then be sent to the lab for examination.
Next, having ensured that her patient is comfortable, the doctor inserts her gloved fingers into the vagina. Usually, she puts in two or three.
This enables her to feel:
- the walls of the vagina;
- the cervix;
- the womb, including which way it is pointing;
- possibly, the ovaries - depending on the woman's anatomy and how long the doctors fingers are.
The doctor may also take a swab from inside the vagina if she suspects that any infection may be present. A swab is a little thing like a cotton bud. The idea is that she can send it off to the bacteriology lab to be tested for germs.
I hope that answers all of your questions. If not, please email me again.
- Email questions to Doc at firstname.lastname@example.org, and read more in the 'Outlook Magazine' tomorrow.