The other week I was browsing through my ex–boyfriend’s Instagram images and noticed that his new girlfriend looks eerily like me. I’m a tall brunette, as is this new woman, who also has a lot of other features similar to mine. Could this mean he misses me and wants to fill the void by dating someone exactly like me? Or am I sadly just another woman who fits his “type”? —S.K., St. Louis, Missouri
Not knowing the nature of your breakup, it’s tough for us to say, but it’s probably a bit of both. As much as we’d like to claim otherwise, men do tend to gravitate toward types. If you really want to know if you fit his preference, you’d be better off scrolling through his Facebook timeline. That social media platform has been around long enough for you to engage in a more in-depth study of his previous paramours.
For many years I have frequented swingers’ clubs in various cities (Miami, Atlanta and Charlotte in the U.S. and Bogotá and Medellín in Colombia) with a number of different women as my dates. I find it interesting that most of these girls go swinging so they can be with other girls. Is it going too far to say that most women are bisexual? —P.E., Miami, Florida
That is indeed going too far. Your experience at swingers’ events doesn’t qualify as a small scale representation of society at large. As you no doubt have witnessed, swingers are a self-selecting group of like-minded people who by definition have a much more fluid attitude toward sexual activity, from fidelity to multiple concurrent partners to, as you point out, bisexuality. Perhaps being inside that world has colored your view of the world outside. Studies indicate that just one percent of the U.S. female population identifies as bisexual (that translates to 1.6 million women several of whom seem to frequent your parties). It does appear, however, that there is a gender imbalance among bisexual Americans. According to a recently published study that surveyed 10,000 adults in the United States, women are three times more likely to identify as bisexual than men.
I’ve recently noticed a change in my sexual performance. I used to be able to keep going right through an orgasm without losing my erection. Now it seems that as soon as I climax, it’s all over; I lose my erection and it feels like forever before I can get it back. What gives? —T.D., Washington, D.C.
You’re getting older.
The other day I dropped my prescription sunglasses onto the top of my skateboard. The grip tape on my board is as rough as sandpaper, and—you guessed it—it scratched the hell out of both lenses. It wouldn’t bother me if the scratches weren’t in the dead center of my vision and extremely distracting. I read online that you can polish scratched lenses, and I’m debating whether I should try. What’s your advice? —P.C., Santa Cruz, California
We think you have better things to do than spend your time playing amateur optometrist. Depending on the depth of the scratches and the lens material, you can in some cases buff out minor abrasions. But the multistep process requires various cleaning products, polishes and specialized fabrics, and it has a pretty dismal failure rate. If you factor in the time spent watching YouTube instructional videos, the time spent traveling to and from various stores to acquire the necessary products and the money spent on said materials, you could conceivably spend more of your labor and hard-earned cash than the $50 to $100 it would take for a professional lens replacement. Our money is on going with the pros in this case.
We already have the socioeconomic categories of blue-collar and white-collar workers. Shouldn’t people who work in sex-related enterprises (jobs that involve nudity or sex)—including porn stars, glamour or fetish models, erotic masseuses, prostitutes, sex therapists, strippers, webcam girls and escorts—have their own category called “red-collar workers”? —R.S., Toms River, New Jersey
We’re guessing that members of the professions you lump together might take issue with each other’s company, but we’ll leave that to them. That aside, your logic doesn’t hold. “Blue-collar” originated as a reference to the denim and chambray shirts commonly worn by manual laborers in the early 20th century, when the term was coined. “White-collar” refers to the typical white shirt that was de rigueur for office workers during the same period. “Red-collar” doesn’t work for the sex-related professions you list because there is no standard dress code and, in some cases, no dress at all. As for a single term to describe those professions, “sex worker” has become the catchall.
I recently brought a bottle of cake-flavored vodka to a dinner party at a friend’s house. All my friends gave me grief over my choice of booze, calling me a fool. But after trying it, everyone actually liked it. It was incredibly cheap and, when mixed with cranberry juice, went down easy. In fact, we polished off the bottle by the end of the evening. Should I feel ashamed for bringing it?—T.T., San Antonio, Texas
Not in the least. Despite the popular position that manly drinks need to be amber and strong, the truth is that most people don’t want to be challenged by intense flavors. As long as a drink contains a little ethyl alcohol, they’ll end up liking it, which is why vodka and light beer remain two of the best-selling alcoholic beverages in the United States. Let other men hide behind their mixology. You should let your flavored-vodka-loving freak flag fly.
My wife and I have had sex only one time since this summer. We used to do it as many as four times a week. She says she loves me, but lately her behavior makes me think she may be cheating. This has happened to me in past relationships, so I think I’m pretty good at reading the signs: She’s always gone when I return from work, and she doesn’t come home until late at night. I need some outside input. I want to trust her, but my gut feeling, along with the fact that we stopped having sex, is making me sick. —B.H., Lakeside, Ohio
A drop that precipitous in the frequency of a married couple’s intercourse happens for a reason, and unpredictable, secretive behavior is a warning sign. Your wife isn’t necessarily having an affair, but the gut is a primitive and often reliable indicator when something is amiss. As a private detective friend of ours likes to say, “If you think your spouse is cheating on you, they probably are.” That’s a professional pessimist talking, but it’s something to consider. Talk to your wife as soon as possible; don’t let this fester. A measured and calm question is sometimes all it takes to open up an honest dialogue. If it turns out your spouse has been unfaithful, be prepared for the pain to get worse in the short term, but the only thing that will allow you to move forward is learning the truth. Infidelity is often destructive, but many couples can learn from it if both partners are committed to improving their relationship.
I’m a 28-year-old recently married guy who makes a decent middle-class salary in a large city. I’ve lived downtown since I was in college, including the past three years with my wife. Now she and I are looking to buy a place. I would like to stay in the city, but houses in the suburbs are less expensive than apartments downtown. I heard about this trend on the news: Couples around my age are opting to buy in the suburbs instead of the city—the opposite of what you would expect. Some of my best friends still live in the city, and I don’t want to give up all the bars and restaurants downtown. Plus we don’t plan to have kids for another five years. Is it worth it to pay more for a two-bedroom pad downtown, or should we admit we’re old and find a house in the suburbs? If we head to the burbs, what would we be giving up? —W.M., Los Angeles, California
If you can afford a house now, go for it. Interest rates are historically low and won’t hold forever. Owning a house gives you tax benefits that can make the cost equivalent to renting. Creating a real estate asset in a city with growth potential such as yours will serve you in the long run, while the longer you rent, the longer you miss out on building equity in that asset. We’re just guessing, but after three years of cohabitation with your wife, you’ll probably be heading into the potential kid years sooner than you think, so we say look for a house with at least one more bedroom than you need now. If you can buy in a good school district, do it. You can buy a cheaper house in lesser school districts, but the price of private education in the Los Angeles area is quite high and could reach six figures in less than a decade.
Recently I was waiting to board an airplane with a colleague. Before the plane departed, she offered me some ibuprofen, saying it relaxes her. I’m typically a somewhat nervous flier, so I said what the heck and swallowed two pills about 20 minutes before we took off. I think it truly calmed me down. Am I crazy, or was it just the placebo effect? —S.T., New Canaan, Connecticut
Several studies have shown that both ibuprofen and acetaminophen blunt emotional responses to stressful stimuli, which could be interpreted as reducing anxiety. Using ibuprofen once in a while won’t hurt, but you might instead want to use a widely accepted nonmedicinal treatment such as mindful meditation or cognitive behavioral therapy. Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti–inflammatory drug. If you habitually use it or other NSAIDs above the recommended dosage, you run the risk of damaging your liver or stomach lining, especially if you drink after taking the pills.
What is cold-brewed coffee? I’ve noticed that Starbucks and Peet’s offer iced coffee under that description. I’ve always associated brewing with heat, so I’m wondering how coffee can be “brewed” cold. And why even do it to begin with? —R.H., Wichita, Kansas
Cold brewing is the process of extracting flavor from ground coffee beans without heat. You grind the beans, soak them in water at room temperature and voila! You’ve got a coffee concentrate full of roasty, rich, fruity coffee-bean flavor. (The $40 Toddy system is the market leader.) One bonus is that the absence of heat means none of the harsh acids are extracted, just the deliciousness. Cold-brewed coffee is easier on the palate and on the stomach.
A friend of mine claims that taking Viagra makes it possible for him to have sex multiple times a night with different women. He doesn’t fit what I’d call the typical Viagra profile; he’s in his mid-20s, doesn’t have erectile dysfunction and isn’t in a committed relationship. I’m considering using Viagra with my girlfriend. Is this safe? —R.M., Atlanta, Georgia
After Viagra and its ilk (known by the sexy laboratory name phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors) hit the market, erectile dysfunction diagnoses surged by 250 percent. While aggressive marketing of the drugs has helped destigmatize erectile dysfunction, it has also inspired a small group of men to use them for performance enhancement, if you will. (Adult film actors use Viagra to remain erect during film shoots, for example.) Drug manufacturers explicitly warn against using PDE5 inhibitors if you don’t suffer from erectile dysfunction because prolonged use can actually cause ED. If your penis is already in fine working order, we say don’t mess with a good thing.
My car lease ends in a few months, and I’m having a hard time deciding what my next set of wheels should be. It seems that car design and technology are evolving by leaps and bounds. I’m worried that if I buy something now I’ll be stuck with a soon outmoded technology. Driverless cars are in the works, and some cars can already park themselves. Other options include automatic braking, electric fuel cells, hybrid cars, even hydrogen fuel. I can’t keep up. A friend and I were debating whether it’s wise to sit it out until the perfect car comes along. He said it would be cheaper to use a ride sharing app than to lease or buy most midprice cars. What is the Advisor’s take? —D.E., Oakland, California
The Advisor is seduced by the notion of having a chauffeur on call 24-7. One study we read analyzed the cost of car ownership versus the cost of using a ride-sharing app and essentially arrived at this: If you live in a city well served by such apps and your commute is less than 25 minutes in each direction, it’s a toss-up between owning and apping. Then factor in all the hidden costs of true ownership: fuel, insurance, parking and maintenance, in addition to the lease payments and taxes—not to mention the vehicle license fee and the down payment required for a lease. Add in the fact that if you use ride sharing apps you’ll never be at risk for a DUI or a lawsuit for injuring someone or destroying property, and it’s pretty appealing. Still, you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to relinquish that primitive manly attachment to control that driving affords, not to mention the sheer pleasure of pushing the throttle open and feeling the torque of takeoff, the g-forces of a well-steered corner and the romance of the road. Don’t underestimate the draw of owning your own transportation. We can’t help but think of Shakespeare’s King Richard, who was willing to trade his kingdom for a horse.
Say I’m on a beer-drinking binge at a crowded bar, I have to pee really bad, and the line for the men’s room is a mile long. If I ignore the urge and keep drinking, will my kidneys halt (or slow down) production until my bladder is emptied? Or would I just be adding fuel to the fire? A drinking buddy says the kidneys react to the pressure in the bladder and stop creating more urine. I say it’s just the opposite: The stronger the urge and the fuller the bladder, the faster the kidneys will keep on pumping more. Which one of us is right? A case of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer is riding on your answer! —E.T., Houston, Texas
Your kidneys will continue functioning and processing urine whether you hold in your pee or not. A full bladder doesn’t send signals back to the kidneys; rather, it sends information to your most important organ: the brain. The main things that keep you from urinating are mind-set and willpower. Neither of you is right. You can send the case of PBR to the address below.
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 advisor@-playboy.com. The most interesting and pertinent questions will be presented in these pages each month.