Question: Does weed make people horny? If so, what strain should I use?—R.S., Toms River, New Jersey
Playboy Advisor: If there were a surefire aphrodisiac out there, you’d know about it. Remember the Spanish fly? No? Because it didn’t work. Weed, like chocolate and coffee, can help boost energy, but for a guaranteed libido enhancer, don’t count on it. Weed’s ability to intensify the moment can go either way: Some people become more relaxed, uninhibited and focused on their body and that of their partner; others become more anxious, self-conscious and withdrawn. According to two studies, roughly one third of participants reported that marijuana had no positive effect on libido. Heavy long-term marijuana use can lead to lower testosterone levels, which can in turn negatively affect libido. Sativas are often talked about as the best sex-enhancing strains of marijuana. But again, that’s purely anecdotal. It appears to be all in the eye of the toker.
Q: I’m a 35-year-old mother, and I love sex—I always have. I want it every day, all day. I was married and am now divorced, but sex is one area my ex-husband couldn’t complain about. I now have a boyfriend to whom I’m extremely attracted. We used to get it on two or three times a day. We have been together three years, and now he wants it only once a week, if that. I sometimes wish I were a normal chick who didn’t want sex all the time, but I do. I’m now in my prime, and frankly, I’ve worn out all my toys. Do you have any advice for how to approach this problem with my boyfriend? Is there a way not to come off as pushy but still say, “I need more sex, damn it”?—A.R., Des Moines, Iowa
PA: “I need more sex, damn it!” is a perfectly reasonable way to start a conversation about your needs. Given how much sex you guys were having in the beginning of your relationship, it probably won’t come as a surprise to your boyfriend that you’re still game. Your problem is one of the most common for couples, from newbies to veterans, though the difference in sex drives is generally not as vast. A lot of couples find themselves with mismatched libidos after the thrill of the early days of their relationship diminishes. Assuming you and your boyfriend are close in age, and barring any underlying medical issues or depression, he should be able physically and mentally to give it to you more than once a week. If he’s stressed, mildly depressed or preoccupied with work, you may find that spending more time in the sack is therapeutic for him, and the frequency may increase as he begins to see the benefit of your sexual healing.
Q: I’m familiar with men having wet dreams but clueless as to whether a woman can experience the same kind of orgasmic dreams. In the past, more than one of my girlfriends, while in an apparent deep sleep, has awakened me with her heavy breathing, moaning or hip movements, sometimes coupled with her hand between her legs. Yet none of those girlfriends ever tried to wake me up, and they never mentioned anything the following morning. Were they truly having an orgasm?—R.N., Wichita Falls, Texas
PA: Most likely, yes. Wet dreams, or nocturnal emissions, aren’t purely a male phenomenon, and as with men, women don’t need to be awake for it to be an actual orgasm. In the 1950s, Alfred Kinsey found that up to 40 percent of women surveyed had experienced a dream-induced orgasm, and a more recent study produced the same statistic. But these women had actually woken up enough that they realized they were having an orgasm. Since orgasms can occur even while you’re asleep, it’s safe to assume instances of female wet dreams are even higher.
Q: What’s the deal with drop-crotch pants? I thought we all learned from MC Hammer that they’re lame.—A.E., Detroit, Michigan
PA: If you’re referring to what some people 24 years ago called Hammer pants, after rapper MC Hammer, the explanation is that most guys who wear them now were born after “U Can’t Touch This” was a hit single on the Billboard charts, traumatizing a generation. All this goes a long way toward explaining why a youngster like Justin Bieber wears them. Admittedly, not all drop-crotch pants look like wardrobe rejects from The King and I, and indeed there are more subtle varieties out there. Still, they tend to be worn by the sort of guy who wears oversize tank tops with gaping arm holes and a cocktail-dress-length hem. We guess the logic is that if you’re wearing a shirt that’s the same length as a cocktail dress, you need to remind us you have something between your legs. Sure, you could argue these pants have some sort of ninja appeal, since the drop crotch can be considered less binding. But ninjas aren’t supposed to be seen. We think they look like the bottom part of a baby’s onesie and are best avoided. Don’t worry. The trend will pass, and fast.
Q: I’m blind and travel throughout the U.S. for work, averaging more than 30 trips a year. I know my way around a number of airports, but if I’m in a city like Atlanta or Dallas–Fort Worth where the airports are huge, and I’m going from terminal to terminal (sometimes in a hurry), I will often request assistance from an airline employee to get from gate to gate. What I need is someone to act as a guide and read the signs. (One note to airline dudes: Stop trying to bring me a wheelchair. I’ll never use it. Walking isn’t my issue.) I usually give whoever helps me $5 as a tip. This has been met with varying reactions, ranging from gratitude to “Um, okay.” Is $5 adequate? I assume I should be tipping these folks—it seems kind of obvious to me—but I’m writing you just to make sure, as the employees often seem surprised by the gesture.—D.W., Louisville, Kentucky
PA: The fact that you’re being offered wheelchairs leads us to believe the people taking you from gate to gate are not airline employees but employees of wheelchair service companies subcontracted by airlines to provide assistance to the elderly, the injured and others who need help getting from one part of the airport to another as safely and efficiently as possible. As with other service industries such as restaurants, taxis and the like, tipping is customary but not required. But unlike other services, airport assistance doesn’t come with a fare or bill to use as a baseline to help you calculate your tip. The industry-average pay for wheelchair assistants is close to minimum wage in most states. Five dollars is generally considered on the low end, by both wheelchair assistants and travelers who use them, while $20 is the high end. When determining what to tip, take into account the quality of the service, the distance traveled and whether they helped you with your bags or anything else. Your situation is a bit different, as the assistant is not actually transporting you so much as escorting and navigating, so it’s really about the time spent. It sounds as though you’re covering some serious ground, so we would suggest going higher than $5, if you can afford it. Of course, some people don’t tip at all, because they either don’t know the custom, are poor or are just jerks.
Q: I have a fine art collection that I need to have appraised for insurance purposes. I’m also interested in downsizing my collection and selling some pieces. I was advised by a gallery manager I met on a business trip that I should have my collection appraised every five years because the increasing demand for the work of this particular artist results in continual price increases. Where can I find a reputable appraiser to review my collection and give me a value for it?—A.G., Waukesha, Wisconsin.
PA: You need an appraiser who is not only reputable but a specialist in the type of art in your collection. You can find accredited appraisers trained in the “Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice” through the three main trade associations: the International Society of Appraisers, the Appraisers Association of America and the American Society of Appraisers. Their websites are easy to find and have search functions that allow users to look for accredited appraisers by region.
Q: A few years ago I was given a beautiful flask that I put to good use in college. I’m now out of college and continue to put it to good use. Is there a proper way to keep the inside clean and in usable condition for years to come?—A.E., Champaign, Illinois
PA: If, as it sounds, you’re using your flask on a regular basis without any problems (for example, you’re not picking flakes of dried bourbon out of your teeth), then it sounds as though your flask is in good condition. To keep it that way, don’t leave spirits in it for more than a few days; otherwise the liquor will pick up metallic flavors. In between uses fill the flask with hot water, cap it, shake it vigorously and pour out the water. Let the flask drain upside down, open, until completely dry. Should the flask at any point start to taste or smell funny, fill it with distilled white vinegar, shake it vigorously and drain it. Then fill it with hot tap water, shake and drain again. With regular maintenance like this you’ll be able to pass it down to your son.
Q: My girlfriend and I have been dating for six years. For the past eight months I have contemplated ending it. I enjoy the time we spend together, we go well together “after dark,” and we share a lot of interests. But I’m only 25 years old and I can’t help thinking I should experiment more. Every time I ask myself if she’s “the one,” I never answer with a definitive “yes.” I just feel as though we’re best friends with benefits, not husband-and-wife material. Should I try to talk to other women and see if we hit it off? In other words, should I try to date without any physical contact before possibly breaking up with my girlfriend? Should I just end it now, or should I go on a little longer to see if the attraction builds up again? There are one or two women I could see myself trying to date. I’ve been pretty flirtatious with them, but the whole dating scene scares me a little, because it has been a while. I just don’t feel as attracted to my girlfriend as I feel I should be. I don’t know what to do.—R.B., Dover, Delaware
PA: By your assessment the relationship sounds like it has a lot going for it. But that mystery equation of “the one” should be there, at least in the beginning. Was that spark ever there, or has it always been lacking? Absolutely refrain from sneaking around to figure out if there are better options. Not only is it dishonest, but an affair will complicate a fair and measured assessment of your relationship. Some people who find themselves at a similar point with their partner break up and then get back together after playing the field and realizing how good they had it. But just as many people call it quits after arriving at such a point. It won’t hurt to give the relationship a few more months, but any longer than that and you’ll be doing both of you a disservice. “Best friends with benefits” is probably how a lot of happily married couples would describe their situation, but you’re young enough to at least enjoy the extended honeymoon of a flourishing relationship. And don’t worry too much about jumping back into the dating scene—at 25 you have many more prime dating years ahead of you should you decide to end it.
Q: Are female bodybuilders better in bed than the average woman? I find female bodybuilders to be extremely sexy. I read somewhere that they may be more sexually aggressive and have more sensitive vaginas. I find other women attractive as well, but to me bodybuilders are so incredibly sexy that the average lady would be like a little girl compared with them.—C.B., Miami, Florida
PA: There are no averages when it comes to one-on-one sexual experiences in the real world. The sexual aggression and genital sensitivity you mention are commonly held myths about the side effects of anabolic steroids, which can just as often have the opposite effect. We should also point out that not all bodybuilders, female or otherwise, use steroids.
Q: I love using the second date to prepare a meal for the person I’m seeing, but I’m not a great cook. A dish that features pasta is easy, but opening a box of rotini feels amateurish—and not very sexy. Without considering special diets, veganism or vegetarianism, can you suggest a perfect go-to, fail-safe entrée appropriate for such an occasion? I’m assuming any meal that can be cooked together is preferred.—S.S., Los Angeles, California
PA: For the culinarily challenged, sometimes it’s best to spend money on amazing ingredients that require minimal cooking skills. Call it capital-intensive cooking. One of the easiest and sexiest dishes you can cook is scallops with thyme brown butter and aged balsamic. Get six jumbo sea scallops (hand-harvested “diver” scallops are best, and U-10 is the ideal size, meaning there are approximately 10 per pound). Salt and pepper them, and then sear over medium-high heat in a little olive oil for about two minutes a side, and set aside. Put three tablespoons of unsalted butter and a tablespoon of fresh thyme in the pan and cook until lightly browned. Drizzle scallops with brown butter, then with aged balsamic. (Don’t use the cheapo stuff; splurge on a $45 bottle of Villa Manodori at eataly.com. This should get you through at least 15 second dates.) Serve with a crisp steel-tank chardonnay to balance the richness and to toast your date.
Q: Recently I was invited to celebrate a friend’s birthday at a bar where his roommate is employed. The roommate, who was tending bar that night, comped us four rounds of drinks—two rounds of shots and two rounds of Moscow mules. What is the proper etiquette when it comes to tipping bartenders who give you free drinks? Most times, I end up tipping more than I would have paid for the drinks at face value, which seems counterproductive. This also happened once when I didn’t know the bartender—I ordered two drinks and he charged me for only one. In that case, I tipped 60 percent ($4 on a $6 tab), but it still seemed lousy and almost offensive, so I went back and handed him a $5 bill.—W.K., Springfield, Illinois
PA: In the latter case, you erred a little on the high side, paying $15 for what would have cost you nearly $15 had he charged you for the second drink and you tipped the standard 20 percent. When we’re comped a drink, we don’t see it so much as a free drink but as a graciously discounted one, so we tend to pay the price of the “free” drink minus the standard 20 percent tip. In the case of your friend’s bartending roommate, you were what is called “friends of the house” in the hospitality business and got the royal treatment. In this situation we would still apply the face-value-minus-tip rule.
For answers to reasonable questions relating to food and drink, fashion and taste, and sex and dating, write the Playboy Advisor, 9346 Civic Center Drive, Beverly Hills, California 90210, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.The most interesting and pertinent questions will be presented in these pages each month.