Female trouble

Cherry: Bonjour. There is a rumor circulating that you are really a male writing under the guise of a woman. I bet a friend 40 francs (about $5) that this is true. What is your gender? (Regardless of who you really are, I thoroughly enjoy reading your column. My 65-year-old mother is delighted to read it as well.) Best regards, merci beaucoup.—Paul

Paul: You lose. Je suis femme, you frog.

Cherry: My boyfriend gets squeamish about having intercourse with me when I'm menstruating. We'll fool around, and then just as I'm getting aroused, he'll masturbate himself to orgasm. How do I convince him that sex during my periods can be great? —Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary: The next time you get your period, don't tell him. Have sex with him in the dark to cloak the evidence (maxipad, tampon, spotted underwear) and later, when both of you are flushed with afterglow, gently tell him—surprise!--about your little visitor.

I've had a couple of boyfriends like that before; they would make love to me from the waist up, as if my pubic area were a radiation zone. In my younger years, I accepted it. After all, I didn't want to gross the guy out. But now that I'm older and wiser, I've realized that women try too hard to please men. And what does it get them? Men who are spoiled and squeamish. Real men like blood. Why else would Arnold Schwarzenegger have a film career? If anything, a woman's period should be a turn-on to men. (Actually, it's a fetish for some; there's a Museum of Menstruation in the Washington, DC, area started by a man and plenty of Web sites devoted to pictures of women showing off their soiled panties and tampons. Will wonders never cease?)

The last time I had my period, I even had my b.f. go down on me. It wasn't even half as messy as one would think. Unless a woman is experiencing a heavy period, the blood usually seeps out slowly, especially toward the end of the period. So right before I got into bed, I took out the tampon, cleaned the vulval area with some antiseptic soap, and voila, I was ready for some lovin'. Sure enough, b.f. had no problem with this. The clit is far enough above the vagina that his mouth didn't touch any blood. And for his unwavering enthusiasm, I rewarded b.f. well.

Cherry: As a 21-year-old female college student, I appreciate your strong opinions on women's sexuality. Can you give me some advice? I have never had an orgasm while I'm with a guy. Usually, when I climax, it is when I am touching myself. I'm worried I've conditioned myself to come only when masturbating. Help! Is there some sort of trick to having an orgasm during intercourse?—Icy

It's not entirely your fault that you're not coming during intercourse—it takes two to teriyaki. Details like position, speed, and wetness are crucial. If something doesn't feel good to you—like if he's going too fast, or if you're feeling dry, or if there's pizza cheese stuck to his beard—say it! If there's any one trick to achieving orgasm, it's talking. Talk about what you like and what you don't like—after all, he's not psychic, and you don't have meters and lights that go off when things are out of order. You've got to teach your boyfriends what pleases you. Who else will?

Also, there's nothing wrong with touching yourself while you're with someone. Mutual masturbation is a very intimate experience. Try fingering your clit during intercourse (with a wet finger)—that's a sure way to heaven for many women. Finally, don't think so much about NOT coming. Focus instead on all the pleasures of sex—the heat, the touch, the breathing, the light and heavy pressures of skin on skin. . . .

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