Q Doctor, please, don't laugh at me, but my wife said that she wants me to buy her a vibrator for her birthday. At first I thought that this was some sort of criticism of my performance in bed, but she assures me that this is not so. Her view is that we have a lot of fun together but we can have even more fun if we have a vibrator to use sometimes. I am cool with that. But I have no idea what sort of vibrating device I should buy her. Any ideas?
A. Sales figures for vibrators have increased tremendously in recent years. That is not very surprising because these little things have one remarkable property - they can vibrate much faster than a human hand can move.
This means that they provide a very intense localised sexual stimulation. That is why they have helped so many women throughout the world to have orgasms. There are many couples who, like you and your wife, want to employ them as amusing bedtime toys.
As to which one you should buy? I think that the first thing you should do is to ask your wife what she wants. It is her feelings that are important. You could show her a few websites, out of the thousands which are on the Internet, and get her to pick out a photo of a suitable device.
I really don't think that you should just buy one without consulting her. Men have an unfortunate habit of picking vibrators that are hard and penis-shaped because they think that will be good. In reality, that is not what most women want.
In Outlook of March 18, Dr Heather Little-White wrote a very good article on vibrators. You can still find it on the Internet. I would strongly recommend that you read it. After, show your wife pictures of some and see which one she likes.
Q. I am approaching menopause, and my vagina seems to be getting dryer. This is causing my partner and I some discomfort. Is it true that hormone therapy would help restore my lubrication level?
A. Well, there could be a case for using hormones. But the first thing you should do is to try using a sex lubricant each time you go to bed with your partner. These lubricants are available at pharmacies, or you can buy them via the Internet. Useful brands include K-Y Jelly, Liquid Silk and Pjur Woman. Before commencing intercourse, you should apply some liberally to the vulva, which is the opening of the vagina, and to your partner's organ. Use a lot.
But if the lubricants do not help, then you should see a doctor. He/she will be able to tell if you have low hormone levels. That is common in women over the age of 40. This causes a thinning and dryness of the vaginal walls, plus lack of lubrication.
If the doctor finds that that is the problem, she will prescribe some special female hormone vaginal cream for you. Using that cream will rapidly restore the walls of the vagina to the condition they used to be when you were younger. And they will produce more lubrication, so that sex will once again be pleasant and free from discomfort.
Finally, please note that the hormone cream can occasionally have unwanted effects on you, and possibly your partner. Ask your doctor about these slight risks, and please take care not to use too much.
Q. Doctor, I am very ashamed of this, but while my wife was away in the country last week, I had a date with another woman. We did not have full sex. But I performed oral sex on her and she did climax. But now I am very worried. Could this episode have given me any form of infection?
A. It's a pity that this happened, and I wonder if you should seek some form of marriage counselling in order to explore why you felt you had to be unfaithful to your wife.
Fortunately, cunnilingus, which is oral sex given by a man to a woman, does not often pass on any sexually transmitted infection (STI). However, it can do so, and chlamydia and gonorrhoea are sometimes transmitted this way.
The biggest risk would be if the woman is a prostitute. Unfortunately, women who work in that profession are exposed to a lot of sexually transmissible germs, especially chlamydia. But it sounds more as though this was a social date, rather than a commercial one. My advice to you is to go and see a doctor to have a check-up and, in particular, an examination of your throat for any signs of STIs. Please take care not to see this other woman again.
Q My boyfriend is a wonderful lover, but recently he says that he has been having difficulty in 'entering' me. I could not figure out why until I inspected myself with a mirror and saw that it looks as though part of my vagina is 'bulging' downwards. Is that possible, Doctor?
A. Very possible. Sounds like you may have a little prolapse. A prolapse is a descent of the womb and vagina, occurring because the supports of these structures have been weakened by having a child. So prolapses are very common among women with children.
Please see a doctor, preferably a gynaecologist as soon as you can. The doctor will be able to tell you how severe it is and whether you need an operation or not. Most women who have this condition do need to have what is called a repair operation that restores the supports of the womb and vagina, and firms everything up.
Some women with prolapses choose to have a hysterectomy - that is, womb-removal. But I doubt that will be necessary in your case. Finally, if you do not want to have an operation, it is sometimes possible to keep the genital organs in more or less the right position by wearing a special supporting device inside the vagina 24/7.
Q Doctor, I hope you won't criticise me. Although I am only 27, I am considering marrying a man who is 70 years old. But would he still be potent?
A I would not dream of criticising you! At the age of 70, around 70 per cent of men are still virile. And others can perform pretty well with the help of Viagra or a similar drug. But before you decide to marry him, wouldn't it be best to ask him whether he has lost his nature or not?
Send questions/comments to: email@example.com and read more Doctor's Advice in the Saturday Gleaner.