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What Should I Tell My Husband?

A reader asks our sexpert how much of one's sexual history it's wise to reveal

Unhappy wife

C. Krag/Camera Press/Vault

How much of your sexual history should you reveal?

Q: I have a rich sexual past, and my new husband has been asking me a lot of questions about it: How many partners have I had? What did I do with them? I've resisted telling him the truth because I worry it will turn him off — but he says it would turn him on! Is that normal? And how much of my past "adventures" should I reveal?

A: It's true that some men get turned on by learning of a partner's exploits, so I'm tempted to respond, "Why not indulge him?"

The risk here, however, is that your narrative will spark jealousy — possibly even distrust — instead.

What happens if he starts thinking, Why would she do that with him but not with me? Or, What sort of person has that many partners? You catch my drift.

And even if this history lesson does turn him on, how will that make you feel? Closer to him? Or questioning his need to imagine you with someone else?

Don't get me wrong; I know couples who spice up their sex lives in precisely this way. Rather than getting insecure or judgy with each other, they have fun with it. But you can't reliably predict that will happen in your case, too.

You could test his response by relating some modestly hot episode from years ago — that time in high school, for example, when you and your boyfriend made out on the principal's desk after hours. (I'm making this up, obviously — unless you really did that!) You can "season to taste" from there, but I would definitely omit your most vivid erotic scenes. Pictures, once painted, don't vanish.

And if your past-partners number is truly record-setting, don't reveal the specific figure. Rather, be French about it: My research tells me that the French people keep a lot of sexual secrets, and both parties deem that discretion magnifique.

Q: Every time my wife and I make love, I start to lose my erection and have an orgasm in about five minutes. How can I last longer so she gets more pleasure?

A: First, a question: Do you lose your erection when you masturbate? If so, the cause may be physical — a lack of adequate blood flow, for example. You should see your doctor to determine if this is the case.

If your erection softens only during intercourse, however, the cause may be psychological — specifically, your fear of ejaculating quickly. (Lasting five minutes, by the way, is not necessarily considered "quick." Many medical texts quantify ejaculation as "premature" only if it occurs within less than three minutes of starting intercourse.)

Still, if you feel your hair-trigger response is leaving your wife unsatisfied, there are some steps you can take.

1. Extend foreplay. Arouse your wife orally or manually until she nears orgasm, then enter her just before she is ready to climax. The thrusting will bring on her climax, and you won't have to hold back your own orgasm for long.

2. Use a penis-shaped vibrator or dildo. These sex toys can feel just as great as a penis. (Sorry, but it's true!) Consider one that literally feels like real skin. Then replace it with the genuine article when she is close to orgasm.

3. Try the "squeeze" technique. This is a proven way to delay ejaculation. When you feel close, place your thumb and forefinger just below the head of the penis and squeeze. The pressure helps you control your excitement in the moment — and, over time, you may learn to last longer.

Once you are confident that you can satisfy your wife, I suspect your erections will be less inclined to lose steam.

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