The Plus Side of Going Without Sex
Our sexpert Linda De Villers, PhD. explains whyplus straight talk on circumcision, pain during lovemaking, and the problem with separate bedrooms.
Q: My partner and I are both on the road a lot for work. Lately, Ive been thinking about the old adage, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” If we have less sex, will we want it more?
A: Your instinct for keeping the spark alive is right on, Im happy to report.
Resisting the urge to have sex can pay off in hotter action the next time you succumb to desire, even if its just your maddening travel schedules causing the resistance. And absence may even have benefits over expensive mate-wooing extras like beauty treatments or lingerie. One study shows that men whove spent time apart from their partners not only are more eager to get them in the sack, but find them more attractive, too. Theres also good news if youre hoping to get pregnant after an extended run of sex-free days and nights: Your partners sperm count will be higher.
To tip the quality-versus-quantity ratio further in your favor, send your honey occasional lusty e-mails or text messages to get him thinking about that next encounter, however far off it may be. And when you finally do hook up, special touches like champagne and strawberries make it even more worth the wait.
Q: Is there any difference in having sex with men who are circumcised and those who arent?
A: First, lets talk visual effects. If you get amorous with an uncut guy, his erection will cause the foreskin to retract, leaving his penis bareheaded in all its glory, just like circumcised ones. Once hes inside you, you shouldnt feel any difference.
Your partner, though, just might count himself lucky that he never got nipped. Some (but not all) studies suggest that the tip of an uncircumcised penis is more sensitive to stimulation because keeping it covered up preserves its fine texture. Regardless, that uncut foreskin can function as a sort of free sex toy during foreplay if youre in the mood to experiment with it by pulling it up and down.
Worried about a greater risk of infection? Some research suggests that circumcision decreases a mans chances of contracting sexually transmitted infections (and passing these along to his partners). If youre concerned about STIs, use condoms and have a frank chat with any new partner, cut or otherwise, about your sexual histories.
Q: I feel pain around my navel after making love, and Im getting worried. Whats wrong?
A: I suspect youre experiencing “referred pain”you feel pain in one spot while its source lies elsewhere. Referred pain around your belly button could be caused by a problem originating elsewhere in your pelvic region, such as a muscle strain (which could be exacerbated during orgasm) or irritable bowel syndrome (which has other symptoms like diarrhea, cramps, and gas).
If the pains steadily getting worse when you have sex, or youve experienced changes in your menstrual cycle, dial up your gynecologist right away. Otherwise, try logging the details in a pain journal for a few weeks before seeing your doctor. That way, shell have more evidence to help her get to the root of your problem. Keep track of how often you feel this pain, whether its dull or piercing, steady or brief, and what effect, if any, sex positions or orgasms have. You might also keep track of connections between the pain and how fatigued you are, or what youve eaten.
If you do see a doctor, she may recommend tests such as colonoscopy or ultrasound.
Q: Ive been sleeping on the sofa with my 1-year-old, while my husband and our two sons (both under 5) sleep in our bedroom. We never have sex anymore. What can I do?
A: When you have three kids under 5, tending to their nonstop needs is bound to lead to some neglect of your own. A sex drought isnt fun, but its typical. Whats far from typical, however, is your bedtime arrangementits estranging you and your husband, emotionally and physically. The first rule of order is to work on changing who sleeps where. If your youngest cant sleep without you, and you really would like her to sleep in a crib in her own room, get help with that. Same with the boys in your bed. A chat with the pediatrician or a sleep expert might help you problem-solve ways to get the kids all in their own beds, if thats your goal. It might take some time and effort, but getting back in bed with your spouse is worth it.
Of course, other problems could be keeping you and your husband apartyoure worried youll get pregnant again, youre exhausted, or youve gained a lot of weight. Whatevers going on, try to bring it up in a candid talk with your husband. If thats hard, you might want to seek help from a sex therapist. Suffering isnt worth it.
Our resident sexpert, Linda De Villers, PhD. Linda is a certified sex therapist based in California and author of Love Skills.