Q: Remember the pink rabbit that Charlotte got “addicted” to on Sex and the City? Are there really downsides to using a vibrator?
A: Just about anything exciting has its downsides, and vibrators are no exception. That said, Im all for them. But think of a vibrator as just one item in your bag of goodies that adds spice to your routine. Otherwise, yes, there is a chance youll get so hooked on its particular charms that sex with your partner might start to seem ho-hum. There is a slight risk of injury to your clitoris from extreme overuse, but its very rare. To be safe and creative, try using your vibrator on your thighs, nipples, anywhere you like (and bring your partner in on the fun). If its a tad too intense, try a lower speed or slip a thin blanket between you and your toy. And dont feel like you have to choose just one: While no woman needs as many vibrators as she does shoes, its nice to have a few for variety.
Q: Im a B cup, and my husbands been talking about implants. If he really thinks theyre sexy, I might do it. Am I crazy? I doubt that caving to pressure to get a boob job will pay off in better sex.
A: One of my clients tried implants at her husbands behest, only to end up divorced the following yearmission unaccomplished. Of course, if a woman gets implants because she wants them, she can see a boost in sexual confidence. Studies back this up. But if youre happy with your body just the way it is, surgery could potentially change that for the worse. Youre not likely to feel sexier if the implants leak, for instance, or if you lose nipple sensitivity (neither side effect is uncommon). My advice? Be proud of what youve got, and work with it. Show off those B cups with pretty bras that create cleavage. Your husband might enjoy picking out a fewand hell definitely enjoy taking them off.
Q: I just changed birth control methods, and Im much less interested in sex than usual. Could birth control be the problem?
A: Absolutely. For 5 to 10 percent of women, birth control pills can stifle desire, especially if they decrease testosterone supply significantly. If you suspect this is a problem for you, switch brands; you may see a difference. As for other methods, Depo-Provera infamously wins the Not Tonight award for its likeliness to kill the mood, since it significantly reduces both estrogen and testosterone. (In fact, its been used to chemically castrate male sex offenders.) To cut the chances of losing your groove, choose a method with the least hormonal interference possible. That could be condoms or even an intrauterine contraceptive (IUC)one study showed that the Mirena IUC, which contains progestin but not estrogen, left sex drive in full throttle.
If you or your partner are considering tube-tying or vasectomy, theres no evidence that these solutions cramp desire. And remember: No matter what form of birth control you go with, feeling unhappy with it for any reason is never sexy.
Linda De Villers, PhD is a certified sex therapist based in California and author of Love Skills.