A: Personal ads, the Internet, swingers conventions or groups concerned with nontraditional relationships such as polyamorists, swing-party houses, and everyday social doings. Keep an open mind and an open eye.
Q: I have not one, but two, fast-moving, deadly cancers. In spite of chemotherapy, I am not in remission. I am divorced, 65, without a lover, no longer able to practice my profession. I like a lot of romance — good conversation, cuddling, candles, music — to have a really good time in bed, so hiring a sex worker for an hour does not seem viable. I'd like someone with whom I could have more than sex — a full and mutually satisfying relationship. When I found out a had cancers I overindulged in ice cream (better than booze or drugs), so I look like the Michelin Man. After paying my medical bills, I am basically broke. How do I find some appropriate lady? I am not into cheating anyone by letting her believe I am going to last very much longer. I am going downhill. I'd like to have a best friend/lover/soul mate between now and my death. Believe it or not, my morale is excellent and I am into exchanging jokes on the Internet and person-to-person. Looks aren't important; the interior landscape is, especially a good heart.
A: With a bit of editing, your letter to me would make an excellent personal ad in the papers or on the Internet, telling it like it is. You have nothing to lose. Run it. I wish you very good luck.
Q: I have a question I am too embarrassed to ask my doctor. My husband and I enjoy oral sex, but every time I swallow, within a few hours I'll get bad stomach cramps and a case of the runs. Why? Any suggestions other than stopping the practice?
A: You are probably having a reaction to something your husband ate. If you have no known food sensitivities, then it could be to the protein of the semen itself. You could ask him to modify his diet, wear a condom for oral sex — or you could spit it out instead of swallowing.
Q: When I was in the military several years ago in England, this guy took a weekend trip to France. When he got back he had a case of "the blue balls." Could you please tell us how he got this? Is this an infection, or just what is the condition?
A: You've been worrying about this for several years? I'm happy to put your mind at ease. In American vernacular, blue balls means the painful condition of a congested pelvic area due to much sexual excitement without release. It goes away eventually. Women can get it too, only the term "blue ovaries" has never enjoyed much popularity. Of course, since we are talking about a slang term, there is always the possibility that it means something else in England or France.
Q: I am in a relationship with a man who is ineffective and unskilled sexually. Past attempts at discussing this have been unfruitful. What advice do you have for talking with him about the situation so that he does not become defensive?
A: First of all, begin a discussion about improving your mutual sex life (rather than a lecture on what he does wrong) and ask him what he would like done differently. Then suggest that you might really enjoy "a lighter touch" or "more forceful thrusting" or, as specifically as you can, what you would like different. Think about taking a massage course together to learn more sensitive touching proficiency or watching sexual education videos to facilitate discussion. Anyone can learn new techniques, but he is far more likely to be motivated to do that if you let him know what you would like rather than what he does that's wrong and demonstrate your eagerness to make some changes on his behalf as well.
Q: I am a 65-year-old male. I have noticed lately that when I ejaculate there is not as much sperm as a year ago. Is there anything wrong with me or is this a process of old age?
A: You can't see the sperm; those fellows are microscopic. Semen production does slow with age, as does the force with which it's expelled. Try drinking more fluids and see if that makes a difference in your ejaculate volume. Isadora Alman is a licensed marriage counselor and a board-certified sexologist. You can reach her online at her Sexuality Forum (www.askisadora.com) or by writing to her care of this paper. Alas, she cannot answer questions