Q: My husband and I have been together for five years and married for one and a half. We have been trying to have a baby for two years, and I have had one miscarriage. My husband has lost interest in sex almost completely. I have to beg him every month to sleep with me while I'm fertile. I am getting really tired of begging for it, and I'm feeling like he doesn't think of me as sexy anymore. This is taking a big toll on our marriage.
A: There could be a number of reasons behind his lack of desire. There are many couples who have a hard time getting pregnant and then develop problems with sexual desire, as the sex act risks becoming a chore rather than something pleasurable. But there could be other reasons too.
Perhaps he's not so sure he wants a child. Perhaps your relationship is having some problems unrelated to this. Or perhaps he is under stress for other reasons, such as a problem at work. Perhaps the psychological repercussions of the miscarriage have affected him negatively.
It would not be responsible of me to try to guess which of these factors (and more than one could be at play) is behind his lack of desire. My advice, before you get pregnant, is to go for some couples therapy. See if a professional can figure out what is going on, and then see if you can fix it. You may already know this, but stress definitely reduces the odds of a woman becoming pregnant, and so getting psychological help for your relationship — the sexual part and other aspects — actually could make a significant contribution to a future pregnancy.
Q: I don't have a left testicle, and I was wondering, am I still able to have kids with only my right testicle? And also, is it normal to be born with a micro penis? It is so small — it's only 3 inches when erect. Is this normal? As much as I like to wear briefs when I go swimming, I can't because I'm embarrassed. I love sex but I can't get enough of it because of my small penis. The girls I meet tell me they feel sorry for me and that's why they have sex with me, but they say they're not satisfied.
A: My guess is that you will produce enough sperm in one testicle to have children. The reason the human body has so much redundancy — two of certain things — is so that if you lose one, you can still function. But if you're concerned, you could have your ejaculate tested.
As to the size of your penis, I will admit that it is going to be a problem, but it shouldn't be a major one. I never grew taller than 4 feet 7 inches, and that hasn't stopped me from leading a full life, including getting married and having children. There are some women who will reject you because of your penis, but those women probably wouldn't be right for you anyway. You have to find a woman who falls in love with your character, your intelligence, your sense of humor, etc. Once you have established a good relationship, she won't care very much about the size of your penis.
Q: I'm 59 years old and haven't had sex in more than 10 years. Worse yet, I have never performed oral sex. Now I've met someone and would like to satisfy him, but I don't know what to do. I don't want to feel like a failure. I would like to get over my hang-ups, but where do I start?
A: It's not yet time to panic. Oral sex and masturbation aren't skills for which you need a degree. It's very difficult to do them wrong, as long as you are aware of your partner. If he gives you cues, either verbally or physically, just take them. But odds are he'll be enjoying himself too much and you'll have nothing to worry about, at least from his perspective. There are women who, even though they say they are willing, find that they can't manage to perform oral sex because they get squeamish. And if you can't bring yourself to do it, then don't.
Don't make too big a deal about this before you've even had sex. He might be quite satisfied with whatever type of sex you have.
There are two important points you need to remember, however: First of all, you may not be lubricating the way you once did, and that could make intercourse painful or even impossible. So make sure that you have some lubrication with you. The other is that STDs don't differentiate among people because of their age. He should wear a condom if he can't prove to you that he's been tested, and even oral sex isn't safe without a condom.
"Sex for Dummies" (IDG Books) is among Dr. Ruth Westheimer's most popular books. Have a question for Dr. Ruth? Write to her at drruth.com.
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