When it gets to asking sex questions, we know you can get a bit shy. So we've asked the questions for you and taken the answers off our sex forum.
1. Why are condoms good contraceptives?
"Be condom-wise" and "No glove, no love" are slogans seen everywhere. Why are condoms seen as so effective?
Pregnancy prevention: Condoms, when used to correctly, go a long way to preventing pregnancies, but they are not as effective as many other forms of contraception.
Easy-to-find: Many roadside shops and all chemists stock condoms. They are not difficult to find – at any time of the day.
Easy-to-use: Condoms are not complicated to use – in fact, most teenagers will know how. Other contraceptives can be quite complicated.
Cheap: Condoms are not expensive and can also be obtained free at family planning clinics.
STI prevention: Condoms prevent STIs, icluding HIV, as it provides a protective sheath between two sex partners.
2. Is masturbation good for me?
For many years people believed masturbation was bad – it's not. The only harm it can do is to feel guilty about it. Point is, it's actually good for you, because:
It keeps the sperm supply healthy by getting your body to keep on producing fresh sperm;
It helps you to get to know your own sexual responses;
It helps you to learn to postpone ejaculation and get more powerful climaxes.
3. Will sex be difficult the first time?
Many young people feel nervous before having sex the first time. What are the things to remember?
Only if you want to: Don't let other people pressurise you. This is your decision only.
Relax: Stop worrying that you won't know what to do – your body knows.
Condoms: This is a non-negotiable to prevent infections or an unwanted pregnancy.
Do some planning: Choose a private venue where you will not be interrupted.
Wait: Having sex for the first time means so much more if you really care about your partner.
Sex can be messy: There will be natural vaginal lubrication and your own ejaculate around. Be prepared.
Willing partner: It is essential that your partner is not pressurised into doing this by you.
4. My husband has no interest in sex
Many wives are frustrated by their husband's lack of interest in sex. What could be the cause of this lack of interest?
Physical causes: These include heart disease and disease of blood vessels, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, alcoholism, smoking, abdominal surgery, damage to the spinal cord or nerves, low levels of certain hormones, some prescription drugs (antidepressants).
Psychological causes: These could include job stress, relationship problems, financial concerns, depression or anxiety about poor sexual performance, psychiatric conditions.
5. My wife has no interest in sex
Many husbands wonder why their wives have no interest in sex. What can be the cause of this?
Physical causes: Hormone imbalances, underlying inefficiency of vital chemical messengers, smaller clitoral size, reduced or inadequate numbers of sensory receptors in the sexual tissues, configuration of the sexual tissues, feedback loops evolving from pain during intercourse.
Psychological causes: Anxiety, depression, overbearing family responsibilities, money worries, miscarriage, bereavement, rape, child abuse and paternal or religious influences.
6. How can I prevent STIs?
There are many different sexually transmitted diseases. Here is a short list of things you can do to prevent them.
Choose your partner carefully. If your partner has had many other sexual relationships, the chances increase of your being infected with an STI.
Stay faithful to your partner. Monogamy is still one of the best ways of preventing STIs.
Never have sex without a condom. Condoms go along way to preventing the transmission of many STIs. Don't ever break this rule – it could cost you your life.
Masturbate. The sexologist recommends this rather than having sex with someone you know nothing about. People don't get STIs from masturbating.
7. Where can I meet a partner?
Meeting a new partner isn't always easy. So where do you start? Try the following places:
Gyms: It's quite easy to start talking to strangers here.
Friends: Your friends have many other friends or colleagues. Accept all invitations.
Evening classes: Learn something new. Likeminded people will do the same classes.
Check your colleagues: Only the single ones, that is.
Join societies/clubs: People with similar interests will also be there.
8. How does pregnancy occur?
Not all pregnancies are welcome and all sexual partners are not always chosen with the kind of care that would be wise. But what needs to happen for a pregnancy to occur?
Sexual intercourse ending in ejaculation, or at least an opportunity for sperm to get to female ova.
No contraception or incorrectly used contraception.
Ovulation – the middle four days of a woman's 28-day cycle.
9. What are the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases?
The frightening thing is that often they have no symptoms. STIs like chlamydia and HIV have no easy-to-spot symptoms. But there are other symptoms that should alert you:
A discharge from the penis or the vagina
Rashes or bumps or small ulcers on your genitals
An itch that wasn't there before you had sexual intercourse with this person
10. What are the signs of abusive behaviour?
Many people who end up as abusers, both men and women, start off as being charming and extremely pleasant. But relationships slowly deteriorate and the following are signs that you could be abused:
Excessive desire for control over your every move
Constant criticism and name-calling
Extreme jealousy and constant checking up on you
Episodes of violence – whether weeks or months apart
Attempts to isolate you from friends and family
(Health 24, updated December 2011)
14 most common sex questions
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