Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Dear Doc: I allow my husband to cheat

Published:Sunday | January 17, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Q Doctor, can you advice me. I am a married woman with no children.

My husband and I have been married for 13 years. It has not been an entirely happy marriage, but I do love him. We still have sex - two to three times for the week.

The fact is, doctor, some years ago, we sort of agreed that he could 'play away' sometimes, providing it didn't cause any trouble. I don't ask for details, but I get the impression that he has three or four girlfriends in various parts of the island and no 'outside children.'

Well Doc, I wish that the situation was different, but that is how it is. I am reasonably happy, and so is he. Fortunately, we get along very well - we laugh a lot, which is a good thing.

But my worry is this. He must be having sex with other women at least once per week, I guess. So I suppose there has to be a chance that he might catch something. Would he then 'bring it home' to me?

I have heard that there is a lot of chlamydia around. Is this true? How could I protect myself against it? And how would I know if I got it?

A: Well, this is a rather sad situation. But the fact is that in most parts of the world, there are marriages like yours, in which the couple gets along reasonably well and have sex regularly, but it is tacitly understood that the husband can 'play around' with other women.

I wish I could suggest some way in which you could get your marriage back on the 'straight and narrow' path of total fidelity. But at the moment, that does not seem likely, unless your husband has a sudden attack of conscience, and completely changes his ways. So you have to take care to protect yourself. Because your spouse is having sex with all these other women, there has to be a big chance that he will catch some sexually-transmitted infection (STI). And if he does get one, then it is highly probable that he will give it to you during intercourse.

You are quite right in saying that there is a lot of chlamydia around, and it is easily transmitted.

Unfortunately, very often, chlamydia produces no symptoms in women - at least, during the early stages. However, quite a lot of women do have symptoms, such as:

• Pain when they urinate.

• Vaginal discharge.

• Intermittent bleeding from the vagina.

• Lower bellyache.

I cannot overemphasise the fact that many women get chlamydia and do not know it. So it is quite possible that you already have it.

What should you do? I strongly suggest that you go to a doctor or clinic and do tests for all kinds of STIs - including chlamydia.

Fortunately, chlamydial testing can easily be done on a fresh specimen of urine, collected in a sterile container. You could take the specimen with you to the doctor's office.

If any of the tests are positive, then, of course, you would have to get treatment - and so would your husband. Fortunately, chlamydia is easily curable, and so are most of the other infections (with the notable exception of HIV).

What else should you do? Well, if your husband will not mend his ways, then I think that you should insist that he uses a condom whenever he has sex with you. Also, it is just possible that you might be able to persuade him to use condoms when he is with the other women.

Since you love your spouse, I hope that you will be able to keep your marriage going. But I do think that your husband should try to get his act together, and stop putting you at risk of infection.

Do I have penis cancer?

Q: I am a 28-year-old man, and I am scared that I may have cancer of the penis!

I have looked it up on the Internet, and I seem to have the symptoms - a strange dark lump on my foreskin. It's uncomfortable, but it doesn't hurt. It has been there for weeks, and it doesn't change at all.

What do you think, Doc? Is it cancer?

A: Cancer of the penis is not all that common in Jamaica, though it does occur. But it most often occurs in men over 60. So the odds have to be against you getting it at only 28.

Nevertheless, any lump or bump in this area has to be checked by a doctor as soon as possible! Try and see the doctor this week. In the meantime, please do not have sex.

What is Mirena?

Q: Recently, my sex life has been rather limited by heavy menses. I got a good check-up from a doctor, and she wants me to try 'Mirena'. But what is it? And will it interfere with sex?

A: The Mirena is a sort of IUD or coil. But it contains some medication, in the form of a female hormone.

This means that it works pretty well as a contraceptive, but it also helps to control your periods.

Admittedly, the good effect on the menses does not usually occur for three to six months. And during those first few cycles, you may actually get more bleeding and spotting than you did before.

However, once it has 'settled' inside, you should have much more manageable periods than you do now. And the device will not interfere with your sex life, though your partner may be able to feel a tickly sensation caused from the thread of the Mirena. Most men do not object to this.

However, it is very important that you understand the possible side effects of Mirena. Your doctor should tell you about these before he/she inserts it. I feel that the most important thing you should know about it is that there is a small chance of getting a pelvic infection, as a result of having the device in your womb.

But the risk of this happening is pretty slight, provided that you only have one sexual partner.

Sore throat after oral sex

Q: I performed oral sex on a girl in Montego Bay about a week ago. Now I have a sore throat. Is it true that this could be gonorrhoea?

A: Well, it certainly is possible to catch gonorrhoea (the clap) in the throat as a result of oral sex. That can happen to both men and women. Women are particularly vulnerable to it, because of the fact that during fellatio (that is, oral sex performed on a man), the penis usually reaches deep into the throat.

Frankly, I think it is unlikely that you have picked up this germ in your throat. But I feel you should ask a doctor to take a look at you. If he has any doubt, he can take a throat swab and send it to the lab.