When my girlfriend and I have sex, we talk about the sex she had with her husband when they were married. At my encouragement, sometimes she has phone sex with him while we’re fucking (he doesn’t know I’m in the room). We both find this incredibly erotic, and our sex life is off the charts. Is this a prelude to something bigger down the road, or do we just enjoy the fantasy part of it?—E.S., New York, New York
It certainly sounds like it’s working for you for now, but have you considered the possibility that your girlfriend may end up gravitating back to her ex? We ran your situation by Los Angeles–based psychologist Melissa Tufeld, who points out your sex play has actually moved beyond pure fantasy. “There are three people involved,” she says. “Depending on if and how things progress, you could end up being the third wheel.” In the meantime, Tufeld smartly adds, “Just don’t cough.”
Whenever I’m hungover, my sex drive goes to the redline. I recover quickly but get turned on by damn near every woman I see; I’m not able to keep it down. I assume this is the result of a biochemical reaction after my body processes a large amount of alcohol, but I’ve never heard of this happening to anybody else. Is there a logical explanation behind my morning-after craze?—R.H., Moscow, Idaho
You’re not alone. The “horny hangover” is prevalent enough to warrant an entry in the Urban Dictionary, but woefully little research is out there to explain the cause. Some people theorize that a horny hangover comes from the residual disinhibiting effects of the previous night’s alcohol. Others think it has something to do with the more primitive state a hangover puts us in: Our complex thinking diminishes, and basic needs such as food and sex come to the fore. The “horny flu” is a phenomenon similar to your hangover. Think of them as maladies with benefits.
I inherited an old bottle of Kentucky bourbon and am curious about its value. It’s an unopened gallon of Old Charter that was bottled in 1917. I showed photos of it to a clerk at a liquor store, and he said it could be worth a great deal of money. What do you think?—B.M., Augusta, Georgia
Very old bottles of spirits have become a hot commodity with collectors, bartenders and thieves. Last year, $26,000 worth of rare Pappy Van Winkle bourbon was stolen from a warehouse in Kentucky. Intact booze bottles that predate Prohibition are particularly rare. A few top mixologists at fancy bars in London, Tokyo and New York charge well-heeled patrons more than $100 for a cocktail made with vintage spirits. As for your bottle, the Old Charter brand has been around since 1874 and is now owned by Buffalo Trace Distillery, one of the largest bourbon companies in the U.S. According to Mike Veach, bourbon historian at Louisville, Kentucky’s Filson Historical Society, if the bottle is authentic and hasn’t been opened and refilled, it could bring $500 at auction.
Glass dildos seem like an accident waiting to happen. Why are they even made? Glass strikes me as an antiquated material to be using in the 21st century.—J.A., Evanston, Illinois
Quite the opposite: Glass dildos offer quality (there’s nothing smoother), cleanliness (they’re nonporous) and environmental friendliness (glassmaking uses less energy than plastic or rubber manufacturing). For a pro’s take on glass dildos we talked to Shellie Yarnell, owner of Crystal Delights, a leading manufacturer of American-made glass sex toys. Yarnell has designed and manufactured glass objects ranging from a trophy for the Feminist Porn Awards to a torch-shaped dildo for the big-budget (at least for porn) production of Spartacus MMXII. (Check out her wares at CrystalDelights.com; the company also has a product line that benefits cancer charities.) You want something handblown (rim shot!) and made out of borosilicate, also known as Pyrex, which Yarnell says makes “the most sanitary adult toy you could ever buy.” Unlike rubber or plastic, glass toys can be thoroughly sterilized, won’t cause irritation in people with latex or plastic allergies and can be heated in warm water to be made more comfortable for use.
Recently I’ve seen a lot of advertisements for affordable jewelry made with lab-created diamonds. Would it be wise to purchase an engagement ring that uses one of these diamonds, since I can get a larger stone for less money? Or would it be better to go with a real diamond? I don’t want to look cheap. I love my girlfriend very much; I just don’t have the income to provide a natural stone of the size I feel she deserves.—M.R., Boise, Idaho
We wish diamond companies were as romantic as you are. Much of the mystique surrounding natural diamonds comes from the idea that they are rare—and much of that scarcity has been created by diamond conglomerates that historically stockpile supplies to drive up prices. Lab-engineered diamonds are identical in chemical composition and clarity to natural, mined diamonds and indistinguishable without laboratory testing. If you do go the synthetic-diamond route, you can be confident that it is in fact a diamond by all scientific measures. Plus, it was created in a lab and not mined through the backbreaking labor of workers in countries with questionable human-rights track records.
I’m a 24-year-old man who, ever since puberty, has had a fetish for women’s panties—thongs, G-strings and bikini-style in particular. I never steal panties, but I do use my girlfriend’s when I’m alone. I know there are websites and magazines dedicated to this, but I want to know if any women enjoy the same fetish and if there are websites for women looking for guys who love panties. My ultimate fantasy is that a woman will put her panties in my mouth while I take her from behind. Am I a freak?—M.Q., Richmond, Virginia
You’re not a freak, but as you said, you have a fetish, which most sex researchers define as a sexual preoccupation with a body part, a material or an object. This is distinct from paraphilia, which is basically a fetish that leads to socially unacceptable behavior. You say you don’t steal panties, but it doesn’t sound as though you’ve admitted your attraction to undergarments to your girlfriend. Telling her about it, rather than trawling the internet, should be your first step toward exploring the ultimate fantasy you describe. It’s commonly thought that a fetish becomes a barrier to true intimacy if you’re more focused on the object than on your partner. Pantyphilia is common enough to have inspired a number of websites that are happy to profit from your fetish and sell you undies purportedly worn by women, though how you can prove their authenticity is beyond us (and good luck complaining to the Better Business Bureau if you get a pair with the distinct stink of male body odor).
I see tons of “Work From Home” ads on Craigslist and message boards that tell me I can make up to $500 a week if I’m self-motivated. Are any of these pitches legit, or are they all scams?—W.P., New Orleans, Louisiana
Five hundred bucks is chump change compared with the $1,800 a week one such ad promised us. We clicked the link and found ourselves at a website that claimed it would tell us how to make money, but only after we paid, which is how many of these companies work. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that only one in 55 of the work-from-home ads you see online, in newspapers and elsewhere is legitimate. Even the “legitimate” ones require you to pay out-of-pocket start-up costs that you may never recoup; you take on all the risk. And those are the operations that aren’t technically criminal. Others take your credit card billing information and charge you repeatedly for goods and services they don’t provide. The scams are so prevalent that the FTC maintains a website to help consumers avoid being ripped off by these companies. The URL is a mouthful, so google “FTC business opportunity scams” to learn more about it.
I often get very wet while having sex, which for a woman is awesome because I’ve never had to use lubricants. Unfortunately, my significant other has been complaining that he is unable to climax because I’m too slippery down there. I’m also confident that my girl parts are tight. Although I cannot control how wet I get, I wipe myself as much as possible during the act. Is there anything else I can do to help him climax? Is this a typical male complaint?—L.D., Indianapolis, Indiana
You’re not the first person to reach out to us on this matter, but women who have the opposite condition outnumber you by far. That said, some women produce more fluid at various points during their menstrual cycle. Pay attention to the calendar to see if there’s a pattern, and then take advantage of the low-flow days. You might also want to try gripping your boyfriend’s cock with your thumb and first two fingers for added friction at the entrance of your vagina. Think of this as a sort of drier, tighter vaginal extension. It could take some practice to get just right, but with patience the added pressure of your fingers will stimulate him to the point of climax.
On the advice of my doctor, several months ago I began exercising daily to improve my cardiovascular health. But when I factor in the time it takes to drive to and from the gym and to do the workout itself (an hour-long workout with weights and treadmill), plus the cost of a gym membership, I can’t help but think I’m spending way too much time and money. Now I don’t have any free time to hang out with my family in the morning or see friends at night. Frankly, I’m afraid I’ll give up altogether and slip back into my sedentary ways. Any advice on how to stick with it? I can’t afford a personal trainer to keep me motivated.—D.P., Kingston, New York
It sounds as if you’ve developed a pretty good baseline fitness and don’t want to backslide completely. Fortunately for you, one of the side benefits of our overscheduled, overworked culture is the boom in “microworkout” DVD series you can watch at home. The newest are P90X3 (a half-hour version of the popular P90X series) and Focus T25, an intense 25-minute workout program. Lest you think this is just infomercial opportunism, recent studies have shown that short, intense workouts can provide the same cardiovascular benefits as longer, more moderate fitness regimens.
My wife and I have been together for six years. She really enjoys sex, likes vibrators and toys, and has orgasms easily and often. When we met, the subject of anal sex came up, and I was surprised by her extremely strong dismissal of it—she said if I wanted to have anal sex, I should do it with a man, not her. So I figured that was that. However, I noticed that when we had sex, she really enjoyed having her ass played with. Fingering it always brought a powerful orgasm—I’m talking claw-the-sheets-and-scream-into-the-pillow type of thing. As time has gone on, she has let me slip my cock into her ass from time to time, usually after she has had some drinks, and it is obvious she enjoys it. Now here comes the strange part: Afterward, we never talk about it, as though it never happened. I find this odd. Any ideas?—G.O., -Wichita, Kansas
We think her initial negative reaction to the idea might have to do with her not yet knowing or trusting you in the early stages of your relationship. Now that she’s secure in the longevity of your partnership and satisfied with your sex life, she’s clearly open to more ideas and confident you’re not going to leave her for a guy. That said, we don’t see much point in exploring the why of it with her. Why jeopardize a good thing? Ask yourself which you prefer: anal or analysis? We think we know what your answer will be.
What style dress shirt does President Obama wear? I like the way the collars sit—not too wide, not too pointy. I’d like to get one with cuffs that button. Where should I look?—M.C., San Antonio, Texas
The collar style President Obama is most often seen wearing is called a medium-spread or point collar, as it points downward more dramatically than wider styles, such as spread and semi-spread collars. J. Crew’s Ludlow point-collar dress shirt (around $80) is well made and very similar to what you describe.
I have been celibate for one year, and a friend of mine has offered to provide me with oral sex. He says if you do only oral, with no penetration, you remain celibate. Is this true, or is he just trying to get into my pants? I have known him for about six years, and he has never made a pass at me, not even close. We have even slept in the same bed. What should I do? Will I still be celibate?—T.H., Portland, Maine
Of course you won’t be celibate. Since you’re using the word “celibate” and not a phrase like “hard up” or “off the market,” we assume you’re abstaining from sex for religious reasons. But we’re wondering what religion would leave you unclear about the definition a full year into it. A little Celibacy 101: In traditions ranging from Buddhism to Christianity to Hinduism, the basic idea is that celibacy eliminates the distraction of lust and the desire for physical gratification, thereby helping practitioners focus solely on their spiritual growth. That means abstaining from sexual activity of all kinds: vaginal, oral, anal, masturbation, even simply making out. By sleeping in the same bed with your friend, you’ve already been pushing the limits. Before you abandon celibacy altogether, we suggest you first figure out exactly what you’re looking to gain from it. And yes, your friend is just trying to get into your pants.
Several years ago I purchased knives at a culinary store, and they were not cheap. I use a sharpening steel before and after each use, hand wash them and keep them in protective covers when they aren’t being used. Obviously, after years of use, they are starting to dull. I don’t want to ruin the blades with a cheap knife sharpener you can buy at any store. Would you please give me some direction as to how to properly sharpen them so that it’s done correctly and I get my lifetime guarantee out of them?—D.O., Edmonton, Alberta
Ask local restaurants to recommend a good professional sharpener in your area. Failing that, consider buying the Edgecraft Chef’s Choice 120 three-stage electric sharpener, which goes for around $150. It grinds, hones and sharpens. Use the grinding stage sparingly, as it can take considerable metal off your blade over time. With light maintenance, some of our knives are more than 10 years old and still slice and dice like they’re brand-new.
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 email firstname.lastname@example.org. The most interesting and pertinent questions will be presented in these pages each month.