Other Random Questions

A student from Arizona State wants to know...

Q: What do you think of the new movie KINSEY and, in your opinion, is it really worth seeing.
Female, Senior

Dr. Caron's Answer:
I had the opportunity to see the movie before it officially opened when I was in Orlando attending the professional meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. I loved the movie and highly recommend it. Alfred Kinsey is one of the best-known sex researchers. His findings from thousands of face-to-face interviews were published in two important books: Sexual behavior in the human male (1948) and Sexual behavior in the human female (1953). His research changed forever the way we think and talk about sex.  His findings revealed that there is a wide range of variation in what people do sexually, and helped people realize that there is a wide range of "normal" behaviors.  We certainly have come a long way since the 1940s and 50s.  However, just as Kinsey had to deal with political pressure and opposition to his work, so too do many of today's sexuality researchers.  In many ways, it is a very contemporary story. The movie offers an important message to its viewers: that a lot of human suffering could be prevented if we just gave people accurate information about sexuality. The website to view video clips from the movie, KINSEY is: http://www2.foxsearchlight.com/kinsey/site/.  See it if you can!


A student from Youngstown wants to know....
I've heard of the practice of "autoerotic hanging."  Could you explain what it is?
Male, Sophomore

Dr. Caron's Answer:  Let me begin by stating that this is a very dangerous practice - too often leading to death by asphyxiation.  According to Gary Kelly, author of Sexuality Today, autoerotic hanging is accidental death from pressure placed around the neck during masturbation.  Some people, usually boys or men, have found that wearing a noose around the neck, which causes reduced oxygen to the brain, can enhance erotic pleasure and orgasm.  They will devise various hanging techniques from which they can cut themselves loose prior to loosing consciousness.  What these individuals do not realize is how easy it is to lose consciousness when pressure is placed on the carotid artery in the neck.  The FBI estimates that between 500-1,000 people die accidentally each year from this sort of sexual activity. It is believed that the practice is more widespread than commonly assumed.  Families of victims are often confused about the sexual nature of the death and are embarrassed about reporting it as such.  Partly for the same reason, the dangers of this kind of bondage have not been widely publicized to young people.


A student from UConn wants to know.....

Sometimes when I get drunk I give blowjobs to guys I hardly know.  Is this necessarily bad?  However, they never want to have sex with me.  Do you think they like me?  What should I do?

Female, Sophomore

Dr. Caron's Response:  For starters, I would like to suggest that you stop drinking and take a serious look at your behavior.  You ask if I think these guys like you.  No, I don't think they like you - and I'm concerned you don't like "you" either. I'm concerned that you are putting yourself at risk.  Please make an appointment to talk to someone you can trust about what's going on for you.  Contact your campus counseling center, campus alcohol/substance abuse services program, campus minister, or even the dean of students office for information on who you can talk to. I think sitting down with someone to discuss what is going on for you will help provide you with the insight you need to make healthier choices.  Best wishes.


A student from Cosumnes River College wants to know...

I was wondering why I am so addicted to sex. I have to have an orgasm everyday in order to satisfy myself. I get really angry if I don't have sex. I need sex to relieve my anger. Please help me! Is it normal to feel this way?

Male, First-Year

Dr. Caron's Answer: I think lots of people find orgasm to be a great way to relieve stress. It sounds like you may be one of those people. As far as calling it an addiction, I am not sure I would jump to such a label. If it feels healthy and normal for you to orgasm each day, then great! Just because you like something, doesn't mean it is necessarily a problem. Having said that, I guess the bigger question you raise has to do with the context of the orgasm - that is, your partner. If you were talking about enjoying masturbation each day, I would say not to worry.... but you imply that this involves someone else in a sexual interaction. If this is true: How does your partner feel about this? It sounds like sex has become a demand, rather than a mutual experience of pleasing one another. Is there an issue of needing to prove something or reassure yourself within the relationship? The response to no sex that you label as anger (versus just being a bit edgy or agitated) is interesting and one I would encourage you to explore with someone one-on-one, such as a counselor. Why anger? Looking at the issue of anger seems like an important place to begin that conversation. Best wishes.



A students from the University of California wants to know....

I have been in a relationship for almost 3 years with my girlfriend. We have had a great relationship, the communication could be better but that is both of our fault. The problem came when we went on a vacation together. She was very drawn back and not receptive at all, even to a simple conversation. I had a feeling something was wrong. So I asked her and she said she was fine and nothing was bothering her. A few days after returning home she said we needed a break from one another. This came as a total shock to me. I knew something was wrong I just had no idea it was that bad. She said she needed a break from us so she could be more like a college student. I am very confused and I am not exactly sure how to take it or what to do? I don't want to loose her she means everything in the world to me. If you have any advice I would greatly appreciate it.

Male, Junior

Dr. Caron's Response:This sounds like a very painful time for you. The person who you love and care about is now telling you she wants a break. OUCH. That hurts! As you have discovered, there are no guarantees in a relationship, and while you may have had hopes for this one, it sounds like it may be over. I do think that when a person says they need a break, we need to believe them. I do worry that she has left you hanging - suggesting that perhaps you and she may be back together one day, once she has had time to "be more like a college student." But would you really want her back - would the trust be there? would the damage of this surprise announcement be able to be overcome? It would be nice if you could get her to tell you more about what is going on for her, but unfortunately she may not be able to articulate anything more than her need to be a college student. The issue becomes whether you should hang around and wait for her to change her mind - something that may never happen - or let go. A relationship requires a commitment by the two people involved - and she is not currently part of the equation. Your needs are not being met. I would look to my friends for support. You need time to grieve and to begin building a life without her - as a way to protect yourself from more hurt. I hope you can find the support you need to move on - so that should she one day decide she is ready for a new relationship with you, it can be on your terms, as well as on hers. Breaking up/losing someone - is a difficult task - life is really about learning to let go... I hope you can accept her decision to break off the relationship and take whatever valuable lessons you have learned from this into a new relationship one day. Best wishes.


A student from University of North Carolina wants to know....

Does pot (marijuana) enhance sex?

Male, First-Year

Dr. Caron's Answer: Some people report increased interest in sex under the influence of pot. It has been found to lead to relaxation and lowered inhibitions and therefore when used in moderation enhances sexual activity. Used in really high amounts, however, can have the opposite effect - leading to loss of desire for sex and inability to reach orgasm for some people. The only thing desired at this point is food.


A student from the University of Maine wants to know.....

I had a Pap smear come back with some abnormal cells, I have since had another pap and am waiting on the results. My partner is convinced I have cervical cancer due to previous sexual behaviors. Does having multiple sexual partners increase your risk of getting cervical cancer, like he says? Or am I right in that cancer is cancer and it doesn't discriminate?

Female, Sophomore

Dr. Caron's Answer: First of all, I want to congratulate you on taking steps in preventive health care by getting a regular Pap smear. This is a simple screening test for cervical cancer and is recommended annually for women beginning when they are18 or sexually active (whichever comes first). Early changes in the cells lining the cervix can be detected through the Pap smear. Cervical cancer is almost 100% curable if detected early. In fact, Pap smears have been responsible for a 70% decline in deaths from cervical cancer. Of the 5,000 women who die from cervical cancer in the U.S. each year, most had not had a Pap test in 5 or more years.

The results of a Pap smear may reveal normal cervical cells; mild, moderate, or severe dysplasia (abnormal cells); or carcinoma in situ (localized cancer). Abnormal cervical cells may indicate a precancerous condition or a non cancerous condition. The most common cause of an abnormal Pap smear is infection, such as a yeast infection. Some studies suggest up to one-fifth of all Pap smear results may be inaccurate, usually indicating an abnormality when none exists.

When the results of a Pap smear indicate abnormal cells, further tests may be necessary before conclusive diagnosis can be made. However, in the case of mild dysplasia doctors often take a "wait and see" approach. For moderate or severe dysplasia, acolposcopy (an exam using a special microscope) and a tissue biopsy (removal of a piece of cervical tissue to be looked at under a microscope) are two of the tests that may be done. Abnormal cell changes occur up to 15 years before cancer develops. The good news is that there are several simple, effective treatments used for cervical abnormalities including cryosurgery (freezing tissues) and biopsy (cutting out tissue). In more severe cases, a women may need a complete hysterectomy.

In terms of asking if it is true that "cancer is cancer and it does not discriminate," you are correct to suggest that we just do not have all the answers for why some people develop cancer and others do not. However, some research suggests that an increased risk of developing cervical cancer has been linked to: the number of sexual partners (risks increase as numbers increase), those who have had children versus those who have not, infection with certain types of the human papilloma virus(which cause genital warts), not using a barrier method such as the condom or diaphragm, exposure to cigarette smoke (your own or second hand), and those women whose mothers were given DES. Your boyfriend's blaming tone is one of extreme concern -and I would like to know where his compassion and concern is at this point. It certainly appears to reflect some bigger issues for him in this relationship.

Best wishes on finding out the results of your follow-up Pap - and be sure to talk to your medical provider about any of your questions and concerns.


****A student from the University of Maine wants to know....
Is it really true that having sex makes you live longer?
Male, Junior

Dr. Caron's Answer:
Clearly, if you are going to be sexually active, practicing safer sex will help you live longer. In terms of your question, there have seen a series of research articles suggesting that this might be true. For example, one study found people who had sex less than once a month had twice the death rate of those who had sex at least twice a week. In another study, a researcher found that people who have more sex than the average person (about 4 times a week!) not only live longer, but they actually look younger. Why you ask? Researchers believe that it could be the result of hormones (such as Oxytocin) which are released during orgasm. In his book, Super Young: The Proven Way to Stay Young Forever, Dr. Weeks stresses that diet and exercise also affect whether or not people look younger. One interesting finding was that while masturbation is a healthy alternative to couple sex, he did not find it to be as beneficial in staying younger. So now you know why some people look young for their age! Other studies have linked oxytocin to feelings of bonding or closeness. It turns out women produce about 50 times more of this chemical during sex than do men. In fact, it's been referred to as the "cuddling chemical" - as it seems to play an important role in prompting cuddling between lovers before, during and after lovemaking. Women also produce oxytocin during birthing and lactation - and many believe it may play a role in mother-infant bonding.


**** A college student from UT wants to know...
I have heard that having oral sex is illegal. Is that true? I hope people don't actually get arrested for it! Female, Sophomore

****Dr. Caron's Answer:
Many of our laws dealing with sexual behavior were written 50, 100, or more years ago when society's values and attitudes toward sex and marriage were quite different from what we find acceptable today. Yet many of these laws remain on the books and are sometimes applied by special interest groups in discriminartory ways. About half the states in the U.S. have statutes prohibiting intercourse between unmarried persons, extramarital affairs, oral-genital sex, and anal intercourse. These are called sodomy laws, the term sodomy being applied rather freely to many forms of sex other than penis-in-vagina intercourse. As recently as 1986 the US Supreme Court upheld a Georgia antisodomy law in the case of Bowers v. Hardwick, citing condemnations of oral and anal sex dating back in English common law to the days of King Henry IV. In Georgia, oral and anal sex is a criminal offense "regardless of whether the parties who engage in it are married or unmarried, or of the same or different sexes." Yet in 26 states oral and anal sex is no longer a crime when engaged in by consenting adults.


****Question from a student at Fanshawe College:
In the heat of the moment, I forgot to remove my tampon before me and my boyfriend had sex...now it's gone...what do I do now?

****Dr. Caron's Answer:
If you are sure you did not take it out before intercourse, then it is not "gone" as you say - it is in there somewhere - most likely pushed up/crammed to the top of your vagina, next to your cervix. If you or your partner are unable to reach it when you are squatting and one of you inserts a finger into your vagina, I suggest you seek some medical assistance. It is not uncommon to have a woman contact a health center and ask for assistance in removing a tampon. If you just leave it there, it can create an environment that leads to infection - and you will be seeking medical assistance at that point to relieve the infection. Better now than later. Best wishes!


****Question from a student at the UNCW:
What does it take to keep my fiancé from cheating online? (female, senior)

****Dr. Caron's Answer:
One place to start is to talk with him about his motivation for cheating online. Perhaps he sees what he is doing with another person via a computer as quite innocent. Whether it's in person or online, the reasons people "cheat" are varied and complex. Sometimes such relationships are motivated by a desire for excitement and variety. Some may be motivated to gain evidence that they are still desirable to others. In other cases people may be unhappy with their current relationship. If emotional needs aren't being met in the relationship, cheating may seem inviting. In some cases, having a relationship with someone else may provide just the impetus a person needs to end a relationship they no longer wish to be a part of. A person may also be motivated to "cheat" by a desire for revenge. It would be helpful to have that conversation with him and understand what he is thinking.

It will also be helpful to talk with him about the impact it is having on your relationship with him. The effects of "cheating" can vary. When the cheating is discovered, the "betrayed" person may feel devastated, or overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy, rejection, extreme anger, resentment, shame, and jealousy. It is important to know that while some relationships in which a partner "cheats" end, it is possible for couples to move past the cheating and have a successful relationship. In some cases, the discovery may motivate a couple to search for sources of the problems within their relationship, a process that may actually lead to an improved relationship. If both partners are willing to make a commitment to the relationship, it is possible to rebuild the foundation. Trust and honesty are key components for a successful relationship. It will take time.

Finally, you refer to him as your fiancé. This implies you are planning a long-term commitment. Perhaps he needs to be reminded that it's difficult to have a deep and meaningful relationship built on a major lie. In your case, it sounds like he says he is committed to you but at the same time he is forming relationships with others online. If he truly cares about you then he needs to sort out what matters more to him, and whether or not he's ready for a single committed relationship. If he cannot sort out which one is more important to him (you or the online relationships), he probably is not ready for a committed relationship. The sooner you find that out, the better. Best wishes.

 

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