College Sex Talk

Real people real answers

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

Can a woman have sex while she is menstruating?

Male, First-Year

Dr. Caron's Response:

Yes, and many women do. Some women even prefer intercourse during this time
because they fear pregnancy less (assuming they ovulate in the middle of their cycle). For others,
having sex/orgasm often makes a women feel particularly good at this time and can relieve menstrual cramping by relieving pelvic congestion. While some women feel more sexual during this period, it should be noted that others wouldn’t dream of desiring sex at this time. Although sex during a woman’s period is harmless, one’s attitude about menstruation can effect how she (or her partner)
feels about participating in sex during this time.

A student from Triton College wants to know.....

How a girl can know when she's ovulating? And if the girl does not have an orgasm during sex, can she get pregnant even when she's ovulating?

Female, First-year

Dr. Caron's Response:

In terms of your first question, it can be really difficult to know when a girl is ovulating. Many people say that ovulation takes place about 12-14 days before menstruation. That means you can figure it out "after-the-fact" so to speak. For example, if a woman has a 28-day cycle, she is thought to ovulate around the 14th day. But this clearly varies from girl to girl. To help determine more precisely when ovulation takes place, you may want to learn Natural Family Planning - in which you take your basal body temperature each day and record it on a chart, along with charting what your cervical mucous looks like, and the feel of your cervix. Over time, a girl will be able to determine her ovulation as that time when her temperature drops, her mucus looks like egg white, and her cervix feels soft. It takes a bit of practice and a few months to figure out -there are many good books that explain it in greater detail. In terms of the second question, a girl can get pregnant during intercourse if she is ovulating and there is semen ejaculated into/around the vagina. The sperm and egg could care less if you enjoy the act or not. So to answer your question: No, having an orgasm is not necessary for pregnancy.

A student from Salem State wants to know.....

How do I get a larger penis? I think most women look for that.

Male, Senior

Dr. Caron's Response:

I am not aware of any exercise or surgery that truly works to increase a man's penis size. If I did know a way to increase a man's penis size, I would not be a college professor I would be a billionaire, since it appears so many men have anxieties about the size of their penis. Dr. Bernie Zilbergeld (author of The New Male Sexuality), says "penises come in a variety of shapes and sizes….and about the only thing most penises have in common is that they are the wrong size or shape as far as their owners are concerned." The average size of an unerect penis is 3-4 inches; the average size of an erect penis is 5-7 inches. Frequent intercourse or masturbation does not cause a penis to get larger. Penis size is not related to height, weight, or race. I realize there are a few men who are paying thousands of dollars each to have their penises made thicker by liposuction, however all the major medical associations have issued warnings about the safety of this type of procedure. Wait! Before you go searching the Internet for this type of service, please think about this: Most women say penis size is not important to them in a sexual relationship. They are more concerned about their male partner taking his time and his total response to her during sexual intercourse. The quality of the entire relationship (not the size of the penis) appears to be the most important factor in sexual enjoyment and satisfaction.

A student from Central Florida wants to know.....

I have never seen anything like this before. My boyfriend has a curved penis, which makes sexual intercourse uncomfortable. We've tried different positions, but that hasn't helped. It's really curved! What should I do?

Female, Senior

Dr. Caron's Response:

Unlike women, who tend to have regular gyn exams where certain conditions are recognized and discussed, males are not so lucky. Has he ever been to see a family physician or urologist to discuss this? I would encourage him to do so. While some degree of curvature is perfectly normal, men with Peyronie's disease have excessive curvature that can make erections painful or make it difficult to enjoy intercourse. This rare condition is caused by buildup of fibrous tissue and calcium deposits in the penile shaft. Although some Peyronie's disease appears to clear up on their own, most require medical attention. Encourage him to talk to his family doctor for a referral to a urologist. Good luck.

A student from SF State wants to know.....

What does it mean to have a "tipped" uterus? My doctor told me this and gave me no indication of what this might mean for me down the road.

Female, Junior

Dr. Caron's Response:

The uterus is held in the pelvic area by ligaments - sort of suspended in place. It is generally perpendicular to the vagina - tilting toward the bladder. However, in 1 in every 5 women, the uterus tilts back toward the rectum (hence the term "tipped"). So no need to worry. This poses no serious problems but may cause discomfort in some positions during intercourse. In the old days, they would tell women this could lead to difficulty in pregnancy (conceiving, carrying or delivering a baby) - but this has not proven to be the case. Although I should point out that some have suggested that rear-entry intercourse position may be more comfortable and may improve the chances of conception over the man-on-top intercourse position.

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

What should the inside of your vagina look like? and why would a person have secretions running out of them? it turns to white stuff sometimes - is this normal?

Female, Sophomore

Dr. Caron's Response:

The inside of the vagina resembles the inside of your mouth. It is warm, moist, and has folds of skin. Next time you have your gynecological exam (generally recommended when you turn 18 or when you become sexually active -whichever comes first), ask the nurse to offer you a mirror to take a look. In terms of the moisture and vaginal secretions you experience: yes, that is normal. It is mucus from the cervix and it changes throughout a woman's monthly cycle. If you monitor this closely, you will notice a marked change in the quantity and consistency of cervical mucus it changes from being white and sticky right after your menstrual period to clear and slippery like egg white for a few days - and then back to white and sticky just before your period. The easiest way to monitor your cervical mucus is to insert a finger high up into your vagina each day and note the color and consistency of your mucus. By the way, when the mucus is clear and slippery like egg white (usually only lasting a day or two), this is a signal that you have ovulated. This is part of the Natural Family Planning method of birth control, where you monitor cervical mucus, along with your basel body temperature, to more accurately determine the time of ovulation. By using this method, you know when to have intercourse if you want to become pregnant, and when to avoid unprotected intercourse if you do not want to be pregnant.

A student from Bowling Green wants to know.....

Which is better in a penis: length or width?

Male, First-year

Dr. Caron's Response:

You may have heard the quote, "It's not the size of the boat, but the motion of the ocean." The vagina is quite adept at accommodating to penis size and many women actually prefer stimulation around the clitoris and vaginal opening to deep thrusting, which some women may find painful. Pleasant stimulation doesn't require a large penis (in width or length) and can be achieved by hand or mouth. The size of a man's penis seems to be more important in the locker room than in the bedroom.

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