• Actually for every 35 pounds you lose, you gain an inch of penis. I was told so by my doctor.
I think he was trying to inspire you to lose weight. It isn't true. —Isadora
• I was a little concerned that you recommended to a reader that she try using nonlatex Avanti brand condoms for her latex allergy. I had a problem a few years back — chafing, itching, general penile discomfort — and concluded it must have been an allergy to latex. Someone recommended the Avanti condom to me, and the first time I used it, (on what would have been a most beautiful one-night stand) the thing split up the side like a banana peel. I asked some friends and found I wasn't the only one this had happened to. The company must have been dealing with this situation on a regular basis, because when I sent back the unused condoms and packaging for a refund, they asked no questions and cut me a check for twice what I paid.
• I wish you would not recommend Avanti condoms as an alternative to latex without a warning, as you did in your recent column. My one-time-only use of them for intercourse resulted in an unpleasant — and, for my partner, traumatic — day in an abortion clinic. On the advice of you or some other pleasure-first columnist, I ignored the label's small-print advisory that they were not quite approved by the FDA. Expecting truer natural sensation than that supplied by latex, I was amazed at how natural it felt wearing Avanti, until I withdrew to find it torn and rolled halfway up my shaft. I hastened to inject a dose of nonoxynol-9 cream, but to no avail. One month later came the phone call, the positive home pregnancy test, and the beginning of the end of a relationship that was not yet ready to make that decision.
Avanti condoms were taken off the market some time ago and reformulated. They are back and "improved" and I have heard no further horror stories. —Isadora
• You gave false information about herpes in your column. You can have a herpes outbreak and not know you're having one. 30 percent-40 percent of the population has genital herpes but only one quarter of them are aware of having it. People only hear of the minority who have painful outbreaks. Concerning the woman said she wouldn't let her boyfriend go down on her: You should have reassured her there is no way of giving him genital herpes by him going down on her. According to the National Herpes Hotline, there is more likely chance of getting oral herpes from kissing than from going down on somebody with genital herpes. Only 10 percent-20 percent of the population is at all susceptible of getting any type of oral herpes and, once again, the highest risk is from kissing. We are talking cold sores here! I hope you will call the National Herpes Hotline (919-361-8488) and pass on the correct information in your next column. You can help to take away some of the stigma of genital herpes and reassure that woman that when it comes to oral sex her boyfriend is not at risk.
I recommend calling the Hotline, by all means, but the information you got and I got are at distinct odds. Oral sex does present some risk. As for removing the stigma of herpes, there need be none. I feel none and I have personally and publicly said for years that I have herpes. —Isadora
• I agree with the 31-year-old single African-American female about the search for a good man. Believe me, you will not find one in church, parent groups, ads in the paper or through your family or friends, etc. I have been looking for a good man all my life. I have also tried foreign men without success. I am convinced I lost a prospective husband in the Vietnam War. I have tried younger men also and, of course, they want children or have a lot of children to take care of. I’m in my mid-50s and I will not give up the search.
I'm afraid yours will be a very lengthy one unless you admit some possible exceptions to all your didactic generalities. —Isadora 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