Dr. Berman Answers Your Sex Questions
What's the best vibrator for a G-spot orgasm?
After a radical hysterectomy, I've lost my sex drive. Any suggestions?
I was sexually abused as a child. How do I keep that from negatively affecting my sex life?
Is it possible to not have a clitoris?
Is female ejaculation real?
I was raped for 11 years. I've done a lot of healing, but my sex drive is still suffering. How can I break free?
What do I need to do to achieve a vaginal orgasm?
I lost my desire for sex after having a baby. What can I do to jump-start my sex drive?
My husband is turned off by kissing, but I love it. Is there anything he can do to get over it?
How can my husband and I talk to you or find a good sex therapist in our area?
I was a virgin until marriage, and now that I'm married I don't desire sex. How can I start to feel more sexual?
Help! I've never had an orgasm.
I am in premenopause. Is there anything I can do about vaginal dryness?
My husband was sexually abused as a child. How do we go about seeking help and developing a sex life not destroyed by the past?
How can I get my husband to stop acting like a child and start being a man so that I can be sexually attracted to him?
A Message from Dr. Berman
I wish I could stay here all night and keep answering all the amazing questions. Thank you everyone for posting them and sharing your stories. I will try to come back another time and get to more of you. Until then, don't be scared and sweep these problems under the rug. You were brave enough to come out today, and they aren't going to go away on their own. You deserve the love and intimacy you desire, and it is always possible to get there, especially when both you and your partner are motivated to do so—so get the help you need. Thank you for watching, and here's to great sex. You deserve it!
I am comfortable with my body and healthy sexually. There isn't any anatomical issues that would keep me from enjoying love making, even though emotionally I could use some help. I feel that we need a few more years of the physical before totally giving in to the hand holding and rocking chair season of life. After all, my grandparents were physically active well into their seventies.
It is not at all uncommon for men to struggle with low libido. We are seeing more and more of this, most likely because the taboos are being lifted and men (and women) are coming forward. Men can experience andropause, especially in midlife, when there is a drop in testosterone which will affect desire and sexual enjoyment. However this almost always goes along with erectile dysfunction. It sounds like your husband has low libido, perhaps caused by stress (typically it's financial or work related) or depression or even relationship conflicts. I encourage you to talk about your feelings, how you miss your intimacy, and encourage him to see a urologist just to check for hormonal issues. You can even make the appointment for him. Good luck!
That's an easy one. There are many vibrators designed for G-spot stimulation. I have several in my line of sexual aids and devices called Berman Basics. You can check them out anywhere from Amazon to any erotica site. You will be looking for something that is curved so that it can reach that spot in the inner third of the vagina on the belly button side. The "Adonis" is one of the more popular G-spot stimulators in my line.
You are not alone. Many women experience a drastic change in libido and sexual function following a hysterectomy—especially a complete hysterectomy where your ovaries were removed. First of all, doctors have still not completely mapped the the crucial nerves and blood vessels that are central to sexual function in women so they don't know what they are cutting/disturbing during a hysterectomy. In addition, most doctors don't inform their patients that with the loss of ovaries they will likely experience a lowering of testosterone which will affect libido and sexual response and a change of intensity of orgasm when the uterus is removed, especially since it's a key part of orgasmic intensity for women who have vaginal orgasms. Talk to your doctor and tell them what you are experiencing and weigh the risks of going on hormone therapy. Also consider talking to your doctor about the possibility of using Viagra, Ciallys or Levitra to enhance blood flow and sensation during sex. In addition consider a sex therapist who can help you with tools to enhance your sexual interest and response. Best of luck!
Believe me you are not alone. 30 percent of women have been sexually assaulted or abused and it takes a major toll on your life, your relationship and your sex life. It's so important to get into therapy to resolve the issues of pain, sadness, guilt, shame and anger. Carrying all of that around is not only toxic for your relationship, but for your spirit and your life. You can heal from sexual trauma and abuse. Find a good sex therapist. You can come to the Berman Center or you can find one in your area. Make sure they have experience dealing with sexual abuse recovery. In addition, you and your partner will need some couples therapy. The things you struggle with—feeling overwhelmed, not feeling like he is helping out or connected, being exhausted—are all very common complaints I hear from women. Couples therapy will help you get your relationship back on track and talk about your needs in a way he can understand and will respond to. I'll be thinking of you.
Yes there is such a thing as clitoral hood fusion or clitoral atrophy. Believe it or not, most gynecologists don't even check the clitoris during a routine exam unless asked to by the patient. Look at the anatomical drawings from the show and check yourself out. It may be that the hood of the clitoris (the flap of skin over the outside tip of the clitoris) is stuck or "fused" or that there is something happening anatomically or medically to cause your clitoris to be malformed or shrink in some way. Definitely see your gynecologist and get them to check you out!
Female ejaculation is real, and according to experts is something you can learn. Many women ejaculate, and scientists have proven that the ejaculate is not urine even though it comes out of the urethra. It typically occurs during G-spot stimulated orgasms. The idea is that women automatically tend to tighten and squeeze their pelvic floor muscles during orgasm. If you release those muscles during a vaginal orgasm and push out, almost like trying to urinate, ejaculation will come out. Give it a try!
I'm sorry for all you've been through and happy to hear that you have done so much work and so much healing. With sexual trauma and abuse, the sex life is often the final frontier of healing. Sure it may be that there is still some guilt about what happened. It also may bring back traumatic memories when you find yourself in a similar sexual situation that you had with your abuser. The bottom line is that this is totally OK and normal. The key to sexual healing is to reclaim your sex life. That may mean redefining it and maybe even not engaging in some behaviors that are too loaded. A good sex therapist can help you make sense of all of this too. Best of luck to you.
This is a very common story from women—orgasm only through oral sex. You are not alone! And remember only 30 percent of women can even reach orgasm through intercourse. It's not easy and requires lots of communication, pelvic floor strengthening and usually simultaneous clitoral stimulation. You may want to use positions where you can get that clitoral stimulation either through body to body friction or incorporating a vibrator. Experiment on your own with G-spot stimulation and orgasm and then it will be easier to incorporate into lovemaking with your partner. Ultimately I don't think you should fret. An orgasm is an orgasm and it doesn't matter how you get there!
Tvlr000, thanks for writing. So many women share your struggle with that post-partum low libido. You've got the exhaustion, crazy stress, juggling, relationship adjustments and hormonal changes, especially since you are in your 40s. Many women experience post-partum androgen deficiency syndrome where their testosterone levels drop after having a baby (or two) and then don't recover. So definitely get your total and free testosterone checked and get off any hormonal contraceptives you are on. Those will do a number on your libido as well.
Beyond the medical it does seem that you and your husband could use a jump start to get back on the same page and to help stimulate the passion again. This is where sex therapy comes in. You are more than welcome to come to the Berman Center. Just check out our website. We have intensive retreats where couples come from all over the country for 3-5 days and leave their lives behind to focus on their relationship. This would be a great program for you. If you can't make the trip to Chicago you should definitely find someone in your own community who can work with you. The sooner the better so that this issue won't take more of a toll on your relationship. Good luck!
So your lover isn't into kissing, in fact turned off by it. That's usually due to some earlier trauma or really negative messages about germs or dirt. Also, it may be some sensory issue he has. Is he strange about certain fabrics or feelings of other things on his skin? I would suggest that you encourage him to talk to a therapist and really try to get to the bottom of what's going on for him. It would be one thing if kissing was no biggie for you. But clearly it is, so it will ultimately be up to you if this is a deal breaker or not. Let's hope he makes some progress in therapy and gets over this phobia!
So many of you are asking about finding a good couples/sex therapist. At the Berman Center we do ongoing, individual, couples and sex therapy in person and by phone in certain cases. We also do intensive retreats where couples come for 3-5 days and leave their lives behind to jump start things in their relationship. Then afterwards the staff at the Berman Center will help you find a therapist in your community to work with and/or will continue working with you on the phone. You can check out our website or call for more information. We'd love to have you!
In general, when you look for a sex therapist in your community you should be looking for someone who does general as well as sex therapy and is experienced in both. Talk to them on the phone and ask about their particular experience treating problems like yours. It is also completely OK to have a trial session and see if there is a connection and if you are comfortable with them. This is especially important if you have a hesitant partner. You would want to go first, check the person out and make sure you, and your partner, would click with them.
To all of you who have written in with struggles having been virgins until marriage. It's not easy. First of all, in order to remain a virgin that long in our world you have to have shut down some part of your sexual self. In addition, many of you were likely raised in earlier life to believe that sex was wrong, sinful or dirty. That sexual light switch was taped down in the off position. But then, when you are married, you are suddenly supposed to be able to turn that light switch on and that's not always so easy! In addition, if you haven't had lots of sexual experience, it can be hard to figure out what works and what to do, especially if you are both rather inexperienced. Finally, I do sometimes hear from people who found, when they finally did have sex on their wedding night, that the chemistry just wasn't what they imagined it would be. The answer? Therapy. A good therapist can help both of you work together to build an exciting and rewarding sex life. It's a process, but definitely doable.
OK. Let's talk about orgasms a little bit.
First of all, for those of you trying to get from clitoral orgasms to G-spot orgasms, let me first say that orgasms are great no matter how you get them, and they differ in intensity from day to day, position to position, etc. If you are one of those many women who find it easier to have an orgasm through manual or oral stimulation, don't worry. That's completely normal because the clitoris is the easiest way to reach orgasm. Love it and appreciate it. It's not a dysfunction that this is how you get there. It's completely normal.
If you do want to explore G-spot orgasm and/or orgasm during intercourse. First and foremost experiment with your fingers as I described in the show. During sex, try positions that allow for maximum clitoral stimulation. Many of these are outlined in my new book, Real Sex for Real Women, complete with illustrations.
Now let's talk vibrators. Definitely try these out because this is the best and easiest way to reach orgasm during intercourse. Most partners are thrilled to play with something new in the bedroom. You can try a G-spot vibrator that you can use on your own to start figuring it all out and experiencing a vaginal orgasm, or a clitoral vibrator that is small enough to fit in between the two of you during intercourse. Finally, you want to work work work those kegels and the trasverse abdominals. Maybe even use a kegel exerciser. There are lots of devices like these out there, and I have several in my line of sexual aids and devices, called Berman Basics. For instance, the "athena" is a great little cylindrical external vibrator you can use during intercourse. The "Adonis" is a great g-spot stimulator that actually provides g-spot and clitoral stimulation at the same time. The "Juno" or "Isis" are two great kegel exercisers in the line as well.
Finally, let's discuss faking it. Bad idea! I know, I know. I call it the "mercy fake" cause he's trying so hard and you know you aren't going to get there and he says "all the other women he's been with have been able to." But the reason all the other women have been able to is because around 70% of them were faking. That's the average stat on the number of women who admit they have faked orgasm. The bottom line is that you are doing yourself a disservice. At first it might be easier, but eventually you come to resent it. And then when you want to do something about it and you tell him your relationship goes into crisis as he wonders what else you've lied to him about and wallows in humiliation! If you have been faking it, just tell him that you feel that your sexual response right now isn't what it could be and that you want to work on it and try some new things. If you feel compelled to tell, make sure you have a therapist lined up to help heal the relationship afterward. Big trust issue!
Phew! I think that covers the clitoral/G-spot/faking it questions! Did I forget anything?
So many of you are asking, so let's talk about some of the sexual symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. As I discussed on the show, most women start going through perimenopause in late 30s to early 40s and it lasts through menopause, occuring on average around age 51. Women who have had chemotherapy or women who have had their ovaries removed also go through what's called "surgical" or "medical menopause."
Symptoms of perimenopause include some sleeplessness, moodiness, dryness and low libido. This is all due to dropping hormones. A woman in her 60s has half the testosterone that a woman in her 20s has and it slowly declines throughout our life span. So around the perimenopause, testosterone levels will often be getting low enough to see some of the effects: low energy, low zest for life, difficulty reaching orgasm, low genital and/or nipple sensation (or irritating sensation), and low desire. Also don't forget that chronic stress and hormonal contraceptives can also do a number on your testosterone levels as well. As estrogen starts to drop, women experience dryness as well as loss of pelvic floor tone and thinning/shrinking of the vaginal walls and even the clitoris and labia.
Now what to do? First of all, you need to get your hormone levels checked. I encourage all women to do this, especially if they are happy with the way they feel and their sex lives because each woman's hormonal needs are as unique as her fingerprint. It can be so helpful to have a baseline to use later if/when you start to have symptoms so that if you consider hormone therapy you'll know what to shoot for.
Ask your doctor for a full hormonal profile including total and free testosterone. You have to ask specifically for these. Based on your results and your individual history and risk factors you can talk to your doctor about the options. Many doctors are moving toward bioidentical hormones, not only because they are made from natural sources, but that they are processed in your body in an "identical" way to the way your natural hormones are processed. There is some science, but not enough, looking at long term studies of the safety of bioidentical hormones versus "synthetic" hormones. The bottom line is that most doctors agree that if you are going to take hormones it is best to take the lowest possible dose for the shortest amount of time and I think this is why so many prescribing physicians appreciate bioidentical hormones because they can be compounded in a dose specific way. You can then start on the lowest possible dose and work your way up until your symptoms improve. Ultimately it's an individual decision you must make with your doctor. But make sure your doctor is at least open to working with you. Many doctors just unequivocally refuse to prescribe any hormones, but there are many who do so on a case by case basis. These are the ones you will want to seek out.
I'm sorry that you and your husband are struggling. It is all too common when one or both of you have been sexually traumatized. It would be great to one day do an entire show on healing the wounds of sexual abuse since 30 percent of women have been victimized and so many men as well. The numbers are just becoming clear because for so long boys and men were too ashamed and embarrased to come out and report it. While Tantra would be great it seems like he first will need to do some basic recovery work. Is the therapist he is seeing experienced in sexual trauma and recovery? Is he going through a process of healing and relief from shame and guilt, even forgiveness? This needs to be achieved before you can start tackeling your intimacy and if this therapist is trained, he/she will be able to guide you through that as well. Don't give up. There is help available and you can rebuild your sex life.
He even asks if what he's wearing is okay with me before we leave the house together. I know his mother failed him miserably by being a control freak and belittling him and making him feel insignificant and stupid, but I have no desire to constantly stroke his manhood (excuse the pun) and tell him how wonderful and manly he is. I take full control and responsibility for myself, my family and my actions. He, on the other hand, when left to his own devices, paid close to $3,000.00 in late fees in less than a year because he doesn't like doing paperwork, so he didn't write checks and pay his bills! I had to take over so he didn't lose the family homestead not just once or twice but three times!
I know what I want in bed and I have no problem telling him what does and doesn't feel good but at one point he kept telling me that he was too tired for sexual relations. This went on for a year, and during this time I kept asking him if he was going online to look at porn and he insisted that my mind was in the gutter. When I caught him he admitted that he was looking at porn and then masturbating in the bathroom while I was waiting for him to come to bed. We went to see a therapist that told him that I was normal for wanting it close to every night and that masturbating when you have a willing partner was abnormal. I am almost 47 years old and he turned 53 this past June. What should I do? He just doesn't want to grow up and be a man! Can you help me? Is it time for me to throw in the towel once and for all?
I hear your frustration, but what's also clear is your resentment. Believe me, I don't blame you. It sounds like your man has been frustrating, irresponsible, and unwilling to step up. But if I see your resentment, you can be sure he feels it and experiences it tenfold. It sounds like you are stuck in a hero mode you don't want to be in, while he is stuck in victim. The only way to change that is if one of you shifts. That means that you stop rescuing him. You can make up all kinds of stories in your head (all of them arguable) about what would happen if you didn't pay his bills or you didn't stroke his ego. But as long as you are going back and forth between babying him and demasculinizing him, nothing's going to change.
I would bet he's depressed too. The combination of feeling immobilized, depressed and being criticized by you, not to mention the wounds of his childhood—boy! No wonder he's got no libido! It's time for you to stop trying to "fix him" and get him to a therapist to heal those old wounds and get to the bottom of what's going on for him in the here and now. I would suggest that you get very clear about this. Instead of just throwing in the towel, are you ready to commit to letting him become the man you want to be? So often there is a part of us that unconsciously needs or wants that control role, even though we consciously cant stand it! Sometimes it makes us feel needed, better than, stronger, etc. Just something to think about. Let him know in a loving way that you feel scared and angry and sad about how things are going in your life together. Find a therapist and go to see him or her and see if you think your husband will like them. Then ask your husband to come with you. Don't make him the "damaged" one. It always takes two to tango and if you take responsibility for your part in your relationship struggles,you can bet it will make it easier for him to do so. Once he's engaged in the therapy, the therapist will be able to address his issues as well, either with both of you as a couple, or with him alone.