Savvy sexologist Dr Frances Quirk answers your personal, sexual and relationship questions
Question: I have a good male friend who has invited me to see a movie that is about being ’ sex friends’. We go to the movies quite a bit but tend to steer clear of anything that is romantic or sexual so I am surprised he has suggested we go to this one. We have been friends for years and really like each other but it’s more of a platonic thing, although we did have sex once when we went away on holiday together. There was a mix up with our room booking and we had a double instead of a twin, so we shared and one thing led to another! But we talked about that afterwards and agreed it was just a one-off and didn’t mean anything. Neither of us is seeing anyone else but I don’t want to give him the wrong impression that I am interested in a sexual relationship with him. Should I suggest we go to see a different movie? Adele Answer: It sounds as if your concern is that agreeing to go and see this particular movie might be taken as implicit endorsement of the principle of ’ sex friends’ and that your friend may make a move or make this suggestion to you. This is a great opportunity to check out your concerns against your friends intentions! With a good friend it is easier to start a lighthearted conversation about the content of the movie or to be more direct and state your concerns, being able to clarify his intentions and voice your concerns will probably reduce some of your anxiety about this. If you are going to be more direct then it would be worth mentioning the previous experience that you had and giving that as one reason why you are wondering if this is a desire on the part of your friend. It is probably worth taking some time to think through your own reaction and why this has come up as a concern for you now rather than previously-given that you have been friends for a long time. Otherwise-enjoy the movie! Question: My girlfriend’s genitals smell really bad just before and when she has her period. She uses tampons and not pads so I don’t think it is that and she has good personal hygiene and everything. But it is just really noticeable around that time and it sort of puts me off getting too close to her, particularly in bed. We don’t usually have sex when she has her period but she does like to be a bit more affectionate and I am really struggling to keep that up because I can’t bear the smell! I don’t know if this is a common thing with women ( I haven’t really noticed it with previous girlfriends) or if I have a particularly sensitive nose but it is a really awkward thing to try and bring up and I just don’t know what to do about it? David Answer: For some women changes in their vaginal acidity occurs just prior to and during their period, this acidity and the normal vaginal bacterial flora can also be affected by things like bacterial infection, the use of an intra-uterine contraceptive device ( IUD), douching, frequency of sex, a new partner or multiple sex partners. If your partner is aware herself of a smell that changes with her period then she may be quite conscious of it and perhaps be washing more or using douches to try and mask the smell, which would actually make things worse. Whilst it is likely to be a sensitive issue if it is framed as concern and with a suggestion to follow up with a GP to make sure there is nothing wrong it may be easier to bring up and easier for your girlfriend to respond to.