This column was originally published in the Jan. 21, 1997 issue of The Daily Californian, making it the first Sex on Tuesday column the paper published.
Over the past several years, I’ve held a variety of sexual positions. That is, I’ve held several posts that demanded that I deal explicitly with a variety of sexual issues. As both a clinical health counselor and a coordinator for several sex-oriented discussion groups, I realized the endless variety of questions that sex will inevitably inspire. The fact is, people seem to like talking about sex, almost as much as they like having it, sometimes more. While some sexual issues absolutely need to be discussed for safety reasons, others must be broached simply to improve the quality of our lives (and any other lives whose quality we must deal with on a nightly basis).
In the future, I will use this column to answer your questions. I’m looking forward to letters, e-mail and advice from the Berkeley community. I expect supply will not be a problem. For my first column, however, I’ll deal with some inquiries I’ve encountered in my clinical experience:
My partner always insists on a helping of raw oyster shooters when we go out for sushi. He’s convinced that the sea creatures are the be-all and end-all of aphrodisiacs. I find it terribly funny, but I’ll admit he’s good to go by the time we get home. Is my lover just a seafood junkie, or do aphrodisiacs really work?
The answer is yes … if you want them to, and yes, if you believe they do. However, aphrodisiacs do not work all by themselves. If you believe that a special food, exotic herb or even a magic potion will make you feel sexier or make you want to have sex, it very well may.
Often, such devices simply function as an excuse to let your inhibitions down a bit or as a confidence booster. An aphrodisiac may also be a visual stimulant, such as a fruit that looks like a woman’s vulva, or food that has a texture reminiscent of sex. Whatever it is, if it’s making you think about sex — the first giant step — then it is probably working.
My friends rave over the use of lubricants during sex. I have always been curious about using lubes, but I’m not sure which to choose. Are some better, or safer, than others?
Half the people I know simply couldn’t live (at least, a satisfied life) without a lube job now and again. Lubrication can be your best sexual partner in times of need, and whether you “need” it or not, it can be tubes of fun. There are a few key pieces of information that everyone should know about lubricants.
First, never forget that lube must be water-based. If you buy a lubricant marketed specifically for sex (such as Aqualube, Probe or Elbow Grease) you’re probably OK. The stuff you find around your house that may be tempting to use when you’re feeling a bit dry (such as lotions, the infamous jar of Vaseline, butter, Crisco or WD-40) is probably oil-based and therefore a no-no. Oil-based lubricants break down latex, making condoms ineffectual. Also, feel free to use limitless quantities of lube on the outside of a condomed penis, but avoid getting lube on the shaft of the penis itself, which may cause a condom to slip right off.
Before you buy the Price Club-sized container of a particular lube, I suggest going to a store that sells individual-sized samples of lube and trying a few out to find the one you like best. Every lube has a different texture, taste, smell and price, so extensive sampling and testing are essential. Hey, I can think of worse things.
Last week I went to the dentist and I saw latex squares similar to the ones my health worker tried to force on me under the name “dental dam.” I never made the connection before. Did these safe-sex squares originate in the dentist’s office? Also, what are “dental dams” used for other than for cavities (of the dental variety)?
Dental dams, small, thin latex squares, were initially used by dentists to isolate a tooth from the rest of the mouth during dental work. Sexually active and inventive folks keen on safer sex liberated the dental dam from the dentist’s office and brought it into that other haven of mirrors and vibrating tools, the bedroom. The dental dam acts as a barrier during oral sex, keeping mouth stuff on the mouth side, and genital or anal stuff in their respective corners of the ring.
If you find association with the painful dentist’s chair a turn-on, look no further. For the rest of you, there’s something called Lollies, which are larger than dental dams. They also are made of thinner latex similar to the latex used in condoms, which make them a great safe-sex alternative to dental dams. You can even buy a sexy little black garter belt made especially to hold the Lollie in place. You can get dental dams at the Tang Center Pharmacy. Lollies can be found at a store like Good Vibrations (Dwight Way and San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley).
Laura Lambert was a communications major at UC Berkeley and the paper’s first Sex on Tuesday columnist.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Laura Lambert is currently a student at UC Berkeley. In fact, she is a UC Berkeley alumna.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Laura Lambert is currently a coordinator of the Tang Center’s Sexual Health and Education program. In fact, she is no longer a coordinator there.