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Try a banana

Q: I know yours isn't a how-to column, but I have to ask — any tips on giving a good blow job?

A: Lots. But rather than my writing a column on oral sex techniques that would, um, barely cover the surface, may I suggest that you pick up an instructional video tape such as The Complete Guide to Oral Lovemaking available at www.goodvibes.com, among other places, or read the various tips from other readers and my Forum users collected in my latest book, Doing It. For more customized helpful hints and a great deal of entertainment, ask your guy to show you what he likes using a banana to demonstrate.

Q: My husband and I have been together for 23 years. He is seven years older than I am. When he turned 40 two years ago he started to fool around with younger women. We don't have sexual contact unless he is drunk. That's the only time he will make love to me. He won't even talk to me unless he is drunk. What do you think I should do? I still love him. That's why I keep hanging on, hoping one day he will change and everything will be back to normal.

A: And, as some relationship sage said, "maybe someday monkeys will fly out of your ass." Quit hoping, quit waiting, and at the very least get yourself to an Al-Anon meeting to hear the sad stories of spouses who hung on for a lot longer than two years while their husband or wife drank their marriage away. That should motivate you to confront your husband, when he's sober, and have a heart-to-heart talk. Does he no longer want your marriage? If not, best to hear it said so you can make other plans. If he insists he does, get his sorry tail into marriage counseling with you. One way or another, do something besides write to me. That was the easy step. The rest will be more difficult, but may make some changes for the better.

Q: I am a 34-year-old chef at one of the city's large hotels. I have friends. I like my life. I consider myself average looking and in shape. I have dated a few women since I was 25 years old. Before that I was too shy or unconfident to date. Anyway, when the second date comes around and the subject of sex comes up I admit that I am a virgin. When I was younger I was led to believe that special woman would come along, but it hasn't happened. Are there many people out there in their mid-30s, especially men, who are still virgins or is it just me?

A: A goodly percentage of the clientele of sex therapists are late bloomers like you, often much older. The good news, I suppose, is that you are not alone at all. The bad news is that ridding yourself of your virginity does not become any easier as you age. Either don't admit your lack of experience, learn everything you can from books, videos and friends, and when the occasion arises just go for it, or find a therapist who refers to sexual surrogates and investigate. A third possibility is a personal ad stating your inexperience so that every woman you met from that source will either feel positively about your inexperience or, at the very least, neutral.

Q: Help! There are some things that are just too personal to talk about, like my problem: my nipples are getting out of control. Even with a bra, camisole, blouse and vest or jacket on, they sometimes show. I hate it because I think men think women are aroused when they stick out and this is just not so. I certainly want a classy look at work and hate having to wear so many layers of clothes, especially in summer. Can my nipples be surgically cut down? Would I lose sensation?

A: Surgery? Because your nipples show? For pity's sake, woman, fold a few tissues inside your bra. If that doesn't fully cover the problem, overcome your unreasonable shame and talk to a woman who fits and sells undergarments for some suggestions in padded bras.

Q: I have recently heard about subliminal tapes and their ability to influence others in the areas of love, affection and sexuality. Is there any truth in this? If so, do you know where I can buy these tapes?

A: I really don't know. Some people are more easily influenced than others. Why not make a tape of some personal positive affirmations (such as "I am sexual catnip"), then play it for yourself while you sleep. If your life changes for the better, great. If it doesn't, you saved yourself some money. Isadora Alman is a board-certified sexologist and a California-licensed marriage-and-family therapist. Contact her via this paper or askisadora@aol.com. Her Sexuality Forum is at

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