Doc, I am female, age 19, and I have never quite had full sex, but I am sure I have picked up some form of sexually transmitted infection (STI), and the doctors will not believe me! To give you a fuller picture, I can say that although I feel guilty about this, I have let two to three boys touch me with their hands in the region of the clitoris. One of them even made me orgasm. Also, I have given what they call 'hand petting' to a couple of guys while kissing them. On one occasion, I managed to make the boy discharge. I know I should not have done that. But I have never, ever allowed anyone to have sexual intercourse with me. I believe that it is wrong. Nevertheless, I feel it is probable that I have somehow caught an STI. Presumably, this was due to my petting activities, about which I feel so guilty now. The reason why I think I have an STI is this. About six months ago, I started to experience low feelings and tiredness. Also, I could not sleep at night. I still have very bad insomnia. Well, Doc, I looked up these symptoms on the Internet, and I soon found out that they could be features of several forms of sex infection, including syphilis and HIV. So I went to a doctor, but he laughed at me and told me that I could not possibly have an STI. He gave me a bottle of some kind of tonic, but still, I felt no better. Therefore, I went to another doctor and she had me do a blood test. The results came back negative, but I still felt terrible. And then I began to think that maybe the needle with which she took my blood test could have been contaminated! If she had previously used it on somebody else, then maybe, that could have given their germs to me - I guess. So what do you think, Doc? Would you say that I have an STI? And if so, which one?
A: Look! In my entire medical career, I have never seen a virgin who had an STI. It is virtually impossible.
I appreciate that you feel guilty about the petting or love-play activities, which you have gone in for with boys, but I would be astonished if these activities had given you any infection.
Now the fact is that you are totally mistaken in the conclusions which you have drawn from looking up your symptoms on the Internet. Tiredness, low feelings, and insomnia are not likely to be indications of an STI. They are far more likely to be symptoms of depression, anxiety, or stress!
And the idea that the doctor's needle could have given you an infection is crazy! These days, doctors use once-only needles, which are totally sterile.
It is clear that at the moment, you are suffering from a psychological condition called venereophobia. This means an irrational fear of a venereal disease. I have seen it in a number of young people, and it was usually provoked by severe guilt about sex.
I appreciate that you are in a lot of distress, but I beg you to go and see a psychiatrist who specialises in phobias. You need urgent psychological treatment.
I am a guy of 21, and my foreskin is much too long, Doc! It is getting in the way of sex. I have found a US website where they tell you how to circumcise yourself. Do you think I should go ahead?
A: I am aware of this crazy American website which tells guys how to circumcise themselves. Frankly, I wish that someone would discontinue it, but under USA law, I suppose there is no way of stopping these people from publicising their views.
Look, to try and circumcise yourself would be foolishness! It could all go terribly wrong. Here are six reasons why you should not do it:
You will be in pain;
You may bleed heavily and be unable to stop the blood flow;
You may get a bad infection afterwards;
You may cut the wrong place and so carve a chunk out of your penis;
You may be left with bad scarring;
You may foul up your sex life for as long as you live.
I do accept that maybe your foreskin is too long and that it is getting in the way of sex. That does happen occasionally, but what you should do now is to go and see a type of surgeon known as a urologist, who can remove your foreskin skilfully. Please do not attempt any do-it-yourself!
How should the Pill be taken?
I cannot understand how one is supposed to take the Pill! Some folks say that you have to start it on the first day of the menses, but I have a friend who says that the menses will begin around two days after stopping the Pill. Which is right, Doc?
A:Many younger women get confused about this. When you start your first pack of the Pill, you should indeed begin taking it on the first day of your period, but that only applies to the first packet. Once you have begun taking it, all you have to do is swallow one nightly for 21 days. Then you have a week's break with no Pills. After that, you start the second pack.
And your friend is right. The menses will usually arrive around two to three days after you finish each pack. It is stopping the Pill that brings on the monthly bleed.
Most brands of the Pill have 21, which is three weeks' supply, in a packet. So generally, it is a simple question of three weeks on, and one week off throughout the year. There are some newer brands, however, which don't have 21 in a pack.
Vaseline as a lubricator
I am a guy of 22, and my fiancée is 21. She is a little dry during sex. So would it be all right for us to use Vaseline as a lubricator?
A: Well, Vaseline would certainly work, and traditionally, many young couples have used it. The big problem with it, however, is that it makes holes in condoms, so if you are relying on the condom, Vaseline is not for you!
Also, many women find Vaseline rather unappealing as a sex lubricant. They view it as being too greasy and too sticky on the personal parts. So you would do better to buy a purpose-designed sex lubricant from a pharmacy.
If you would be embarrassed to ask for one over the counter, then these days, it is easy to purchase lubricants online. Just type the abbreviation 'LUBES' into Google, and you will be offered around six million choices.
One final point: Generally, younger women are capable of producing a great deal of natural lubrication, but they can only do this if they feel relaxed, happy, and desired, and if they are receiving enough foreplay from their partners. So please make sure that you are giving your fiancée as much stimulation as she needs.
Email questions to Doc at firstname.lastname@example.org and read more in the Outlook Magazine tomorrow.