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Heart to Heart

Name: Anne
Gender: female
Age: 28
Location:
My question is kind of embarrassing, but here goes. I gave birth to a nine pound beautiful baby four weeks ago. I am happy to report that both mother and baby are doing fine. That is except for the fact that my vagina is still stretched out of shape. My question is can I hope to have it return to its previous shape? Also, I’ve heard that new mothers should wait for six weeks after a birth before having sex again. The problem is that my husband is really horny and he doesn’t want to wait. So I’m wondering will it hurt if I start sooner? Another thing, does breast-feeding interfere with my sex drive? I don’t feel really sexy these days. Sorry for so many questions in a row.

In the immoral words of Prissy in Gone With the Wind, “I know nutthin’ about birthin’ babies, Miss Scarlett.”

Congratulations on the birth of your child, Anne. Wow, nine pounds, huh? Pretty hefty. I’ll bet he’s adorable. Everyone here at drdicksexadcice.com is betting that your child is a boy? Us boys tend to give our mommas a hard time right from the get go. At least that’s what my own dear sainted mither used to say.

people-mother_and_baby-cd01-010.jpgI’m also gonna make another assumption, this is your first child, right? Well, the size of the baby as well as the number of children the woman has carried certainly does effect the elasticity of her vagina. No rocket science there, I suppose. Birthin’ babies is pretty traumatic to your pelvic musculature. These muscles lose tone with each successive delivery. But never fear darlin’, there are muscle-toning exercises known as kegels that will help you tighten things up in jiffy.

Excuse me for a moment, Anne, I think I’m losing the males in my audience. Here’s a tip for all you guys out there who are reading this and rolling your eyes and getting ready to turn the page because you think this is some kinda Oprah — vagina moment. Listen up you monkeys; kegel exercises aren’t just for the ladies. Us men folk have pelvic muscles too. So pay attention, you’re gonna want to know about kegels too.

Sorry about that Anne. See what I mean about boys and givin’ folks, not only their mommas, problems? Anyhow, if you’re not already doing kegels, I strongly recommend that you start right away.

What are kegels, you ask? They’re muscle contraction and relaxation exercises designed help restore tone to the muscles that surround the opening of the urethra (see guys, we have one of those), vagina (ok, we don’t have one of those), and anus (we sure as hell have one of those). Since this includes the muscle that you use to stop and start the flow of urine, you can check if you’ve identified the right muscle by testing your kegel technique while peeing — if you can stop the flow of urine when tightening, then you know that you’re contracting the correct muscle group. BTW, the main muscle is call the pubococcygeus muscle, or PC muscle for short.

Let’s try this for starters. Imagine that you’re trying to stop yourself from farting or trying to hold your pee. Notice the feeling of squeezing and lifting — it’s a sensation of your pelvic muscles tightening and drawing up. Try it now, while you’re reading this. That’s the beauty part of kegels; you can do them anywhere, anytime. If you’re finding it difficult to isolate the muscle group, insert a couple fingers into your vagina before doing a kegel. If you feel pressure around your finger while you are tensing your PC muscle, then you’re on the right track.

However, if you’re tightening your abs, squeezing your legs together, clenching your butt, or holding your breath then you’re not exercising the right muscle group. The object here is to isolate your pelvic floor muscles. Those are the ones you wanna be working.

I want everyone, not just you Anne, to work on both muscle strength and tone. Start with five strong prolonged squeezes (5 seconds apiece). Hold then Relax. Then do a series of 10 rapid contractions in a row. Doing three sets of these two types of kegels twice a day for a week is your goal.

Let’s go over that one more time. Start with five strong prolonged squeezes (5 seconds apiece). Hold then Relax. Then do a series of 10 rapid contractions in a row. Doing three sets of these two types of kegels twice a day for a week is your goal.

When you’ve accomplished this you’re ready to increase the set to eight or ten prolonged squeezes and 20 rapid contractions in a set twice a day for a week. The advanced kegeler is able to vary the type and duration of his/her PC squeezing; slow prolonged clenches to quick flutters.

newbornlls07.jpgOn to the other issues you raise. Your uterus and cervix underwent significant changes as you were delivering your baby, and they need time to heal. So if your husband is being a bigger baby than the new-born…see what I mean about boys drivin their mommas and everyone crazy…by pressuring you for nookie, make a deal with him. Hand jobs and blow jobs only for the first six weeks after delivery. I’m sure you can sympathize with the big galoot. He’s probably freakin’ nutty from lack of nookie. How long has it been since he had some of your fine pussy?

Finally, breastfeeding may indeed interfere with your libido, but more likely it’s just the sheer exhaustion of this postpartum period. Nursing your baby every couple of hours, especially during the middle of the night…I mean, how long can that go on before you start looking for the Uzi.

And probably the idea of your husband grabbing at your boobs while they’re still real sore from junior chompin’ away at them probably doesn’t incite great waves of horniness either. Rest assured, this lack of interest in sex won’t last forever. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling all pretty and randy once again. And soon you will once again be inviting and welcoming your hubby’s advances.

Good Luck!

Name: Gordon
Gender: male
Age: 67
Location: Florida
I guess I have more of a comment than a question. I’m 67, a widower and have been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. I never was very adventuresome when it came to sex. In fact before my wife died two years ago I never had sex with any other woman. I never gave prostate cancer a thought, never gave my own prostate a thought either. Now I’m mad as hell that I didn’t. You see when I started to go to a prostate cancer support group I discovered I could have monitored myself better with a simple self-examination. Why don’t doctors tell us about this? Women are supposed to examine their breasts why don’t men examine their prostate? It’s so easy actually and yet it’s this big secret. Why don’t people talk about this? It makes me so mad because it could have made a big difference in my own life. Do you know about this self-examination Dr Dick? If you do why don’t you tell other people about this? I think it would help a lot if you could help get the word out on this. Now that’s all I have to say. Thank you.

No, thank you Gordon. Thank you for sharing your concern with me…with us.

06214123854_275-prostate-cancer.jpgI’ve been an active proponent of prostate self-exam for many years. Let me explain. My career as a therapist began in San Francisco in 1981. As you may recall, that was precisely the same year a mysterious new disease began showing up among gay men. Back then it was being called gay cancer, but soon it would have another name — HIV/AIDS.

Not surprisingly, my private practice focused down almost exclusively to working with sick and dying people. Luckily, I discovered that I was well suited for the job and I liked it very much. So much so that in the mid-90’s I founded a nonprofit organization called, PARADIGM; Enhancing Life Near Death. It was an outreach and resource for terminally ill, chronically ill, elder and dying people. This was brilliant cutting-edge work and I learned so much from the people I was working with. One of the things that struck me most was that regardless of the disease — cancer, HIV, MS, you name it, or even the aging process for that matter — there was always a woeful lack of information about regaining a sense of sexual-self post diagnosis, or sexual wellbeing for seniors in general.

I recall one participant in particular, a man much like you, Gordon. He too had prostate cancer and, like you, he was mad as hell with the indifference of the medical industry toward prostate self-exam. One day during a group session, John was railing against his doctors and cancer associations for their lack of interest in promoting prostate self-awareness. He pointed to the success of the cultural campaign to get women to do breast self-exams. Like you, Gordon, he couldn’t understand why there wasn’t a similar campaign for men.

150_prostate_cancer.jpgAnother group member, Clare, a senior woman in her 70’s and a breast cancer survivor, helped put things in perspective. She reminded us that breast self-awareness in our culture is a relatively new phenomenon. Her mother, aunt, sister and a niece all died of breast cancer before the self-exam campaign began in earnest. Clare went on to say that it was only through the hard work of individuals and grassroots organizations that actively campaigned for breast self-exams that things began to change. Eventually, this movement changed the cultural mindset. Clare said that it was these individuals and grassroots organizations that helped all of us — medical industry, the cancer lobby and women in general — overcome the denial, shame and embarrassment that was associated with women touching themselves, even to save their lives.

This is an indication of just how ingrained the sex-negativity and body-negativity runs in this culture.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the funding I needed to continue Paradigm, so after only a couple of years of these groundbreaking programs I had to close up shop. This precipitated a rather sudden move to Seattle in 1999. I guess I was having a major mid-life crisis myself.

I continued to work with sick and dying people here in Seattle. I had a brief gig at a local cancer center where I developed an NIH (National Institute of Health) funded program for women newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I was also working with a group of women with breast cancer and another group of men with prostate cancer. Again I realized that just about every therapeutic intervention I encountered — government funded or foundation funded — was woefully lacking in any clear and unambiguous information about sexual health and wellbeing and intimacy issues.

04011106.jpgTo remedy this, I began planning a video series for people experiencing life threatening and/or disfiguring illnesses. Videos that would help them address reintegrating sex and intimacy post diagnosis. One of the first videos was going to be Public Service Announcement showing men how to do a prostate self-exam. By the way, this particular film was to be dedicated to my friend John, the guy I mentioned earlier. He died shortly after the Paradigm group he was in ended. But he was militant to the end about the pressing need for prostate awareness among men.

Once again the stumbling block I encountered was funding. My grantwriting efforts turned up nothing. I did get a whole lot of, “what a fine idea, Richard. Good luck with that…” brush-off letters though. No foundation would be caught dead funding sexually overt pattern films, even ones with the laudable intent of assisting people with the very information they needed most.

I’m sorry to have been so long-winded in my reply, Gordon. I just wanted you to know that many have preceded you with outrage at the conspiracy of silence regarding prostate self-exam. Let’s face it; our society is so ass-phobic that we’d rather see men die than offer them simple instructions how to finger their butt, find their prostate and keep tabs on their prostate health.

If we want this to change we all need to speak out…as well as stick a finger in our ass.

Keep up the fight, Gordon! And please, stay in touch.

Good luck

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING

Today, I will start with a declaration. A “Thus Sayth Doctor Dick,” sorta deal. I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. I reject the concept of sex addiction, that is floating around in the popular culture these days. I know this will rankle a bunch of you, but you need to get over it. Ya see, there ain’t no such thing as a sex addiction. Period!

That being said, I hasten to add that there are sexual compulsions, plenty of ‘em. However, compulsions are not addictions and addictions, while they may involve irresistible impulses, are not the same thing as compulsions. Get it? Got it? Good!

Check it out. With the help of my handy-dandy dictionary, a good place to start in all such discussions, I discovered these two very distinct definitions.

Addiction — a need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal. Broadly: persistent use of a substance known by the user to be harmful. A state of physiological and psychological dependence on a drug.

Compulsive — driven by an irresistible inner force to do something; i.e. a compulsive liar.See! Different words. Different meanings. Not a particularly complex notion to grasp, right?

And listen, just because a bunch of pseudo-intelligent afternoon talks show hosts banter the two concepts about like they were interchangeable doesn’t make it so. In fact, we do ourselves a huge disservice by jumbling these two very specific concepts. Because finding the proper intervention for either an addiction or a compulsive behavior will be as specific as the problem itself. One thing is for certain; misidentifying one of the things, as the other will surly complicate the problem solving. It’s kinda like going to the doctor with a headache, and when the doc asks where it hurts, you point to your stomach. It simply won’t do.

Dear Dr. Dick, I’ve been married for 5 years now and truly love my wife, however I can never seem to get enough sex. I am 30 and she’s 29, but I constantly find myself in the chat rooms and porn sites lookin for more sex. It’s more than just a hobby; it’s a habit! And if I have a few cocktails in me, and that happens more and more, I really can’t stop myself. I once lost a job once because I used the work computer to search the web for sex. It’s like I’m addicted to sex. My wife knows I have played around (we even did a 3-way once and it was totally hot) but she has no idea how extreme it’s become. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I’m not unhappy with my wife. I just can’t seem to stop wanting sex. Any suggestions?   — Brian

Dear Brian,

You got it bad, and that ain’t good!porn.jpg

It’s interesting to note that you tell me about your compulsive sexual behavior in the same breath that you claim to love your wife. Love and sex are two very different things. And as you’ve probably guessed already, there’s no necessary connection between the two. Sometimes they go together, but not always. So it is possible to love someone dearly and deeply, but still be consumed with pursuing sex with others.

It appears to me that you’ve really got two problems happening simultaneously. First, your compulsive prowling of the internet for sex. (This is complicated by your alcohol abuse.) Second, the deception you’re practicing on your wife. Let’s deal with each of these in turn.

Your particular sexual activity, like any compulsive behavior (over eating, excessive shopping, etc.), is more than just a bad habit. It’s a serious dysfunction. Take it from me, breaking this behavior pattern will be very difficult, if not impossible, without some professional help. If the problem is as serious as you say, then you’d better seek help right away. This sort of thing, if left untreated, will not only destroy your marriage; it will ruin your life. When you seek professional help, I encourage you to include information about your alcohol consumption. If there is an addiction in all of this, it’s the alcohol, not the sex. And in your case, your (alcohol) addiction may be fueling your (sex) compulsion.

Look for a sex-positive therapist, someone who has experience working with other people similarly challenged. A support group may also be an option. Since you’re not alone in this, there is probably a group already meeting in where you live. You’ll need to do some legwork to uncover these resources, but I promise you it will be well worth your effort.

Now, regarding your relationship. It’s imperative that you come clean with your wife about your (sex) compulsion and probable (alcohol) addiction. Not only will you feel better not having to deceive her anymore, but you’ll also need her support in overcoming these problems. I suggest that you attend to this right away. There’s not a moment to lose.

Good luck

Hey doc! I think I’m addicted to having sex on the internet. I haven’t told my partner. Do you think this is a form of cheating or is it just harmless fun? I like getting off with guys in chat rooms and with my webcam. I feel guilty about it so I guess this tells me something!— Luke

Dear Luke,

You’re having what is commonly known as cyber sex, right? If that’s a good call on myfingering.jpg part, I don’t consider it a form of “cheating” on your partner, any more than I would consider jerking off to porn to be cheating. (We’ll address this notion of cheating in a later column.)

However, your feelings of guilt are another thing all together. They tell me that you are not at peace with your sexual practices. Maybe you need to take a look at this. Are your cyber pursuits a serious concern? Do you squander your sexual energy on cyber sex, instead of sharing it with your partner? Only you can determine this for sure. I can assure you that the guilt feelings will continue to plague you until you dump the sexual practices that are hurtful to you and those you love, and integrate healthier ones in their place.

Good luck

Hi Dr. Dick, My boyfriend cheats on me. Every time he does he begs me for forgiveness. I think ok, but don’t do that again. I love him, but I hate feeling bad all the time. I feel stupid putting up with all of this, but I can’t leave him. I still love him. Please give me some advice. Thank You. Hope to here from you soon, Denise

Dear Denise,cunny_illus.jpg

Before we turn our attention to your boyfriend, let me make a quick observation about you, Denise. You’re a mess, girl! I mean really, take a long hard look at yourself, you’re a freakin’ doormat! How’s the BF supposed to respect you when you have no respect for yourself? How can you say that you love a person that makes you feel bad? You are deceiving yourself, girlfriend, cuz LOVE don’t ever make you feel bad.

As screwed up as your BF is, and he is pretty fucked up, he is just part of the problem. You’ve got some obsession issues yourself that you need to address.Your boyfriend probably has you pegged as a pussy…and not in a good way. He knows you will tolerate his misbehavior, which of course gives him permission to do whatever he feels like doing whenever he feel like doing it. If you’re really serious about reining in the bastard, you’d better come up with a clear, unambiguous message about what you will and will not tolerate. Until you do precisely that he’ll just think that he can roam wherever he wants and whenever he wants.

There are root causes for his behavior, just like there is a root cause for your behavior. To get to the bottom of all of this each of you will need to invest a good deal of time and energy with a therapist. One can only hope that there’s a bank of goodwill between the two of you, enough to carry the day. However, if I had to guess, I’d say there was a slim to no chance for that, right? If so, I advise you throw the bum out. And no more relationships for you till you get your head screwed on tighter.

Good Luck

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