Savvy sexologist Dr Frances Quirk answers your personal, sexual and relationship questions
Question: My girlfriend wants us to try out a new lubricant that is supposed to be for couples. It comes in a pack with a tube for him and a tube for her and claims that it will improve sensation and intimacy! I am a bit concerned for two reasonsone because I think these things are just a con and a way of getting people to spend money on stuff they don’t need and two because maybe it means my girlfriend isn’t getting enough out of the sex we do have so needs to spice it up! What would be in a product like this that would increase sensation? Damon Answer: Lubricants can be useful to decrease friction or facilitate penetration if a partner tends not to be very wet or to help make masturbation more pleasant and reduce the risk of damaging delicate tissue. Some lubricants include substances that can produce a sensation on the skin and the most commonly included is menthol, which results in a tingling, cool sensation. Most people find this quite pleasant and as the tingling is very similar to the sensations associated with sexual arousal it tends to be experienced as improving arousal. If, as a couple, you have discussed using a lubricant that you will both apply then it is quite likely to mean that you are talking about your sex life and happy enough with each other to experiment a little. The result of that is quite possibly feeling a little closer and enjoying sex more – just check first that neither of you is allergic to any of the contents! Question: My partner seems to be a bit body obsessed but not with mine, with his! He is very focused on his weight and waist size and gets upset if his weight goes over a particular value or he has to adjust his belt a notch. He gets so upset that he refuses to have sex with me unless he feels ’ happy’ with his body! This happens quite often. I thought it was supposed to be women who were all caught up in body image stuff but he is worse than any of my girlfriends, he weighs himself every day and makes excuses not to go out if he thinks his weight is over his ’ acceptable’ limit. He asks me all the time if I think his body is sexy and I always say yes because he does have a fabulous body, he does a lot of exercise and gym sessions every day. I am just worried that his obsession is getting in the way of our relationship. Debs Answer: Over concern with weight and shape can be a problem for both men and women and can go hand in hand with behaviours and thinking that lead to a negative impact on other aspects of life. When any behaviour or pattern of thinking starts to affect those around us, our social lives or work lives, then we might need to take a step back and consider what we are doing. Your partner may not be so aware that this behaviour is a concern to you and you might want to start with gently bringing this up – what concerns you about his behaviour and the impact it has for you. If he is willing to talk to you about it and see that there are some effects on your relationship then suggesting he talk to a health professional or that you go together would be useful. Over concern with weight and shape is often associated with disordered eating behaviour and/ or behaviours to maintain weight loss like over-exercising or dietary restriction and having an increased focus on oneself can lead to difficulties in maintaining close relationships and maintaining a social life.