Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss


She Likes Sex
The Camera Lies
No Fool like an Old Fool

She Likes Sex

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I'm a 36 year old single woman, never been married, no kids who has had a lot of relationships with men. I have just started dating a man who is 39, has never been married, no kids, etc but he has only been with about 8 women (as sexual partners) in his whole life.

He is able to count the number of women with his hands. I lost count long ago. I am not promiscious, but I do like sex. How do I handle my number of partners, past sex life history? I have the attitude that whatever goes on between two consenting is great and it's nobodys business.

However, I find that my past and my sexual expertise seems to intimidate men. I avoid discussing my past, but I find that men want to know, or make assumptions because I really like sex.

I find it very frustrating, as what do they expect, a virgin at 36? So Dr. Tracy, what is your advice when a man asks about your past, etc.

Dear Sexy,

First of all, congratulations on your healthy attitude about sex. I agree that whatever goes on between two consenting adults is great and it's nobody's business.

However, a woman of experience like yourself, who's had lots of lovers and is sexually sophisticated, has a bit of a dilemma with a man who has been with only eight women. If you tell him how many lovers you've had, or that you've lost count (which is perfectly understandable to me), he's not going to be able to accept that information in the spirit in which it is given.

If you don't tell him anything, he'll suspect that you're keeping something really terrible from him. It may be that he's just too na?ve and unsophisticated for you. Whatever you do, don't give him specifics. Be vague. If he says he wants to know for health reasons or because he's afraid of HIV, suggest he use a condom or that you both get tested, so you'll both be reassured. If he presses you, tell him you've had "lots" of boyfriends, and if that's a problem for him, he should let you know now and you won't take this relationship further.

In general, you should always get this subject out on the table as soon as you start seeing someone. Find out up front if they're going to be uptight about your past. That way you won't have it thrown up at you after you've gotten attached. If a man asks how many, let that be your first clue that he hasn't had enough because he's still counting. My favorite answer to that question is "somewhere between ten and a thousand."

No way should men expect a virgin at 36. And if they do, or the "ten to a thousand" answer scares them off, you should run, not walk, to the next guy in line. There are lots of men who can appreciate a woman who enjoys sex and has a healthy sexual appetite.

You really need to find a man who is as sexually sophisticated and experienced as you are, and that way you won't have to feel like you have to hide anything or worry about shocking him. Look for a guy who has an even more exciting past than you do and you won't have a problem at all. He'll really appreciate your enjoyment of sex. He'll be grateful that you don't need to be coaxed and coerced into bed, and he'll love your lack of sexual inhibitions.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

The Camera Lies

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I read with interest the letter from the woman who asked if internet dating services were just for beauty queens (10/21/01). I have the opposite problem. I'm far, far from being a beauty queen. I'm 44, divorced, and carry more pounds than I'd like on my 5'10" frame -- pounds which make me a solid size 16. However, I have some experience with photo direction, I'm reasonably attractive, and I know how to pose myself to get a good picture (I used to be an advertising art director, and moonlighted as a model when I was younger and thinner).

I recently posted a picture (which I took myself!) on the internet dating service site I'm using. I have had numerous responses, and many "first dates". Yet...the universal reaction that men have when meetin me in person seems to be that I don't "look like my picture", that there's "no magic", that I'm a lovely, witty, fun, loving person who will make a good friend but not a lover, etc., etc., ad nauseum.

Should I post a less flattering picture? I am reluctant to take the picture off, as I have received many more replies with the picture than without. Is it false advertising to post a flattering, attractive picture? Tonight I spent more time than I should have responding to today's responses, and I have the sinking feeling that if I get to meet any of them, they, like the others, will be disappointed in the "real me".

I realize this sounds like a very silly problem, but I suspect that if I am having this problem, others are too. I would really appreciate your help.

[sign me] Too Photogenic

Dear Photogenic,

Of course you shouldn't change your flattering picture in your online dating ad. Use it to attract all the men you can. That's what everyone is doing. Nobody in their right mind puts up an unflattering picture. Instead of replacing the picture with a less flattering image, work on getting yourself to look more like the great picture.

Of course, if the picture is 20 years old, maybe you should take a new one.

When you go out on your first dates, be sure to look as much like the picture as possible. Work on showing your good side, and get to know the man over the phone before you meet. You could even tell him that the picture is you, but that it's a very flattering photo, taken by you and using your skills as a former advertising art director and model. That way, they can't say they weren't warned.

If the guy starts saying things like, "How bad do you really look?" Or, "What's wrong with you now?" Just tell him, "Listen, either you want to meet or not. If not, that's fine, let's not waste our time. There are other men who want to meet me." Let men know that you're looking for a man who can appreciate your inner qualities. That way if he says anything about the picture not looking like you, he'll feel shallow.

Sure, some of these men will be disappointed. I'm sure that you've also been disappointed in the men you've met. That's the problem with Internet dating. You never really know who you're going out with until you see them in person. Pictures can lie and so do people.

Be realistic in who you say yes to. If a guy looks too good to be true, he probably is. If he's way too young, too rich or too gorgeous, consider that a red flag. But most regular nice guys aren't looking for a beauty queen; they're looking for someone just like you: lovely, witty, fun and loving. As for the magic, well, it won't be there most of the time. Magic is ephemeral, like catching lightning in a bottle. You have to date and date and date and meet lots and lots of men.

Since you're 44, one way to avoid men who are just picking you for your picture is for you to choose instead of being chosen. That way, you get what you want instead of some guy getting what he thinks he wants - the girl in the picture. At 44, you know what you like and what you don't like, so why should you only answer men who write you? Become proactive -- and don't make the same mistake the guys make: picking only on the basis of looks.

Remember my three rules for finding love when you're over 35. Choose instead of being chosen; choose only men who are really available and want to make a commitment; and choose only from those who want you (i.e., who really respond to you).

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

No Fool like an Old Fool

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a caucasian male, 63 yrs. old, divorced. The lady with whom I am having a relationship is 55 yr. old, Vetnamese and divorced. She is also my next door neighbor in the mobile home park where we both live. I moved in next door to her about 2&1/2 years ago when my former wife and I separated. I did not really "see" her for about a year or more being in the process of re-establishing myself as a single person. But, one day about a year ago she introduced herself to me and invited me in to see their new home. ( She lives with her son and his wife...) During the following conversation she asked me, out of a clear blue sky what I did for sex. I was taken quite by suprise at so frank a question that I answered quite openly and honestly that I did without. I invited her over to see my home after touring her home where she proceeded to literally throw herself at me sexually. The following attempt at intercourse was a failure at achieving penetration for two reasons: I was not able to achieve a complete erection and, she says, her vulva is too small to permit entry anyway.

Since that encounter we have conducted a relationship that is supposed to be building up, her expression, into a mutually loving relationship. She has even had minor surgery to open up her vulva to permit successful entry on our next attempt at sexual intimacy. So, what is my question after all this?

I have no prior experience with an Asian woman. She has since that initial sexual encounter related with me in a very conservative manner, saying that her Vienamese culture requires this of her, that that one occasion was an anomaly, a momentary lose of self control. In fact, she has imposed rather stringent restrictions on how I am to behave toward her when she comes over to my house to vistit each day, primarily I'm not to do anything of a physical nature, that involves touching except an occasional squeeze of a hand, all in all, a very restrictive code of behavior. She says she wants me to "wait" for her until she finishes her schooling, a degree in accounting, about two years time,, then we can get married if I'm alright with that. She says she wants a man to take care of her and she has chosen me out of one or two others that have shown interest in her. She has asked me to help her financially to complete her schooling and I have agreed to do so, knowing that most would say I was being a fool to do such thing with no apparent reward for my support. But, I am regarding it as an investment in the future of the relationship. I'm rattling on I know, but I'm trying to give you as much background as I can so you can give me the most intellegent evaluation possible.

The bottom line???? There is an old saying, "There's no fool like an old fool!" Where does that leave me? In my desire for a loving relationship have I thrown common sense out the window and sacrificed my good judgement in order that I have a link to someone even if it is not the healthiest of relationships? Your perceptions would be appreciated. As I said before, I have no previous experience with a Vietnamese woman so I have no guidelines to help me along the path of this adventure.

Dear Old Fool,

I'm afraid the old saying fits you perfectly. You are being taken for a ride by this woman. No woman, Vietnamese or American, asks you to support her financially for two years, while not allowing you to kiss her, unless she's just leading you on.

She is taking you for a ride and you have decided to go along with it by refusing to see what is so obviously true. She chose you because you're foolish enough to go along with this sorry arrangement, and if you believe her story, you're just kidding yourself. Her claim to being very conservative is quite laughable after your initial encounter, but not nearly as wacky as her story about the surgery to "open her vulva." Vietnamese vaginas stretch, just like American ones do, and there's always KY Jelly, but if a woman doesn't want you to enter her, she's quite capable of making entry difficult if not impossible

You are allowing loneliness or a desire for a loving relationship to blind you to reality. She never had any intention of having sex with you. She just wanted to get you hooked on the promise of future pleasures.

Stop being such a patsy. There's no reason you can't back out of this hustle. Just tell her you don't want to continue the arrangement the way it is. Tell her that if she doesn't want a real relationship -- if she can't be physically intimate and affectionate with you, the deal is off. I'll be surprised if she doesn't change her tune and decide she can give you more than an occasional squeeze of the hand.

If she doesn't, get on the Internet immediately and find someone else to love. Even if she does, I'd worry about whether she's only interested in you for your money. Do you think you'll be happy and feel good about yourself just being some woman's Sugar Daddy -- even with a little sex thrown in? Only you can answer that. But at your age, you shouldn't be postponing happiness for two years or even two months.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy

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(Featured art from cover of Letting Go, by Zev Wanderer and Tracy Cabot, published by "Bitan" Publishers, Tel-Aviv, Israel)
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