Consensual Sex Talk Our readers write back

It's time for another peek into the Sex File mail bag, where you can read fellow readers' latest expressions of appreciation, outrage, anger and praise.

The most e-mail-provoking story of the year was about the controversial practice known as sexual surrogacy hands-on sex therapy that can include genital contact and intercourse.

Some people found the practice reprehensible, like this irate reader: "You are sick and your entire understanding is twisted," wrote Sylvia S. "Intercourse belongs only within marriage and perhaps people who can't achieve a complete sexual experience outside of marriage simply have some morals and decency."

Another reader, David F., took issue with's entire approach to the story.

"Your attitude as 'objective observer' is an ongoing problem in our American culture," he wrote, "in that somehow sex has become a health care problem. Tell me how you are any less than a voyeur."

Not all responses were negative. One reader who wished to remain nameless called the surrogacy piece "a very good article," and suggested it "would certainly help out folks whose age-old spouses have gotten to the point of not wanting to be bothered any longer. Too bad I live in Texas," where sexual surrogacy is illegal, the reader wrote.


Dan E. blasted us for our article on outercourse a sexual practice that excludes penetration or the exchange of fluids. The article quoted sex expert Dr. Beverly Whipple, who Dan E. wrote, "is a dingbat and [ reporter] Adam Pasick is a fool for taking her seriously. Teaching or encouraging teenagers to perform any kind of sexual act is idiotic. It will lead to pregnancy, venereal disease, abortion and welfare babies."

Dana S. shared her own experiences: "I am a 40-year-old-woman who has recently shown my boyfriend that there are times when intercourse isn't necessary," she wrote. "I showed him how to play poker in a different light. ... Whoever wins the hand gets to ask the other to perform any sexual act to them, from a warm and cozy cuddle to kissing, licking, body rubs, etc."

'Sexual Anorexia'

Some of the most heartfelt letters came in response to our column on sexual anorexia, a pathological fear and avoidance of sexual situations.

"I think you made me realize that I have a problem and (it) is affecting my relationship," wrote one anonymous woman. "I don't know what to do anymore. I need help because my husband is a super good man but is not going to wait forever."

Another reader wrote, "I used to love sex, really enjoy it. Now, it's like turning a switch off if my husband tries to make love to me. ... I would like to be able to enjoy a loving sexual relationship with my husband."

Still Doin' It

Last week's article on sex after 60 was a hit with one reader who only gave his name as Paul. He urged us to explore cultural stereotypes.

"Our society says old men should be sweet, harmless guys who sit around and play parlor games with the gals," he wrote. "Notice that this vision of us old men bears no resemblance to the idea of masculinity for younger men."

Bruce P. thought our article should have mentioned one prime benefit of aging with regards to sexuality. "I'm delighted that my libido has dropped to a manageable level and I'm no longer victimized by my hormones," he wrote.

Whatever your opinion of Sex File, we want to hear your feedback. Keep those letters coming, and remember to specify if you'd like your name used.