Dr Raewyn Teirney
Dr Raewyn Teirney answers your awkward sex questions.
Q: I can never relax during oral sex. I am always concerned my boyfriend thinks I might smell or taste weird. Is this normal? How can I learn to relax?
A: Gwyneth Paltrow may be making millions of dollars selling a candle that smells like ‘her vagina’, but the truth is that every individual woman has her own unique skin pH which will affect the way her vulva and vagina smells and tastes.
It is perfectly normal for your vagina to have some kind of smell – and it isn’t the same as a scented candle, that’s for sure!
It's typically a scent that can range from slightly tangy or sour to metallic or coppery, sweet and sometimes even a bit fishy. It all depends on the pH of your body and the time of month – sometimes you may notice a stronger smell around the time of menstruation.
The same applies for the way your vagina may taste at any given time of the month. Remember, there are a lot of good and bad bacteria in this area, as well as sweat glands, lymph nodes and hair follicles that are all carrying out normal bodily functions. This of course has an effect on the pH of the body and in turn, the smell and taste of your nether regions.
If at any time, the smell or taste becomes overpowering, or lasts for more than a few days, it may indicate a bacterial imbalance or yeast infection, in which case you should see your doctor to have things checked out. You should also see your doctor if the smell is accompanied by itching or burning, pain (especially during sex), thick, cottage-cheese like discharge and/or vaginal bleeding that isn’t related to your period.
Now, how you can relax … Oral sex between a loving couple can be fun, intimate and thoroughly enjoyable – and really, it should be. The first thing you need to realise is that your partner clearly wants to please you and loves performing oral sex on you because he loves you (and he probably really enjoys doing the act itself, too!). If you feel comfortable talking to him about it, raise the topic gently and perhaps even mention watching some erotic movies to get an idea of how many different sizes, shapes and shades of vaginas and vulvas there are, and also how creative he may like to get in that area.
If you are still a little tense around the situation, why not try creating a ‘date night’ where you set a romantic scene at home and give each other a massage using edible oils. It can lead to the most wonderful sensations and the oils are typically lightly scented and flavoured, so it should take away your angst about any scents or tastes you think he may not like. Pretty soon you’ll get into the groove of things and you won’t need to worry so much. Best of luck!
Q: Can I catch Coronavirus from making out or having sex with my partner?
A: The short answer is – as far as we know – ‘yes’. However, that’s only if your partner actually has the virus. Coronavirus is not a sexually transmitted infection, however we do know that close contact with individuals who are carrying the virus does frequently transmit it. If you or your partner are displaying any symptoms, such as shortness of breath, a cough or runny nose, fatigue or other flu-like symptoms, it is best to self-isolate for 14 days or longer and stay in regular touch with the Coronavirus Health Line to see if you need to be tested for the virus.
Q: Is it safe to try to have a baby with the Coronavirus going around?
A: If both partners in the relationship are healthy and show no signs of having the virus, there is no reason to not start trying for a natural conception during the current outbreak of Covid-19. However, as with all couples trying to fall pregnant, I strongly advise a good health care protocol including taking preconception vitamins for both men and women, a healthy diet filled with lots of fresh fruits and veggies and antioxidants, plenty of exercise, reducing stress, sleeping well and cutting back on booze. It's also wise to quit smoking cigarettes and taking any illicit drugs.
I also strongly suggest fertility tracking, which will give you a clearer insight into a woman’s most fertile days and indicate the best possible times for you to conceive, offering all you need to track your most fertile days and keep your health in check. If either (or both) partners have the virus, I’d recommend waiting until you’re both back in perfect health before trying for a baby. I doubt you’d feel like trying, anyway!
Q: My boyfriend and I were making out and even though we didn’t actually have sex, there was a lot of semen around my vaginal area and he did put his fingers inside me. Is it possible I could get pregnant this way?
A: The chances of this happening are incredibly slim, as sperm actually needs to be ejaculated via serum into the vagina, then swim into the uterus for conception to occur. So, I wouldn’t worry right now, but if your period is about two weeks late, you might want to buy a pregnancy test online to put your mind at ease. Most can detect the pregnancy hormone two weeks after conception.
Q: I’ve noticed I get really turned on about a week or two before I get my period and I can't seem to get enough sex. Is there something wrong with me?
A: No, this is perfectly normal and it’s one of your body’s ways of telling you that you are at your most fertile. This is fantastic if you’re trying for a baby, but if you’re not, be sure that you practice safe sex (which you should always do unless you’re in a committed, monogamous relationship) and use adequate oral contraception as a backup. From there, go ahead and enjoy!
Q: I can’t seem to reach orgasm from penetration alone. I can only get there from clitoral stimulation. Is there something wrong with me?
A: No, not at all! Plenty of women I see in my practice tell me the same thing and it is more common than you would think. There are ways you can still have great sex without having a vaginal orgasm, for instance, have your partner please you first so you reach a clitoral orgasm before you enjoy penetrative sex. Sometimes this can relax a woman enough to then go on to have a vaginal orgasm.
You may also wish to experiment with sex toys and vibrators or find other ways to spice things up in the bedroom. Remember, sex is an act of intimacy and the journey to reorgasm should be just as pleasurable as the endgame. Communication is key for both partners, so try to be as relaxed as possible. Let him know what turns you on and find out what turns him on and go from there.