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    Do anti-depressants prevent orgasms?
    Israeli sexologists answer readers’ questions

    I am a 48-year-old divorced Israeli woman. My children live abroad with my ex-husband, and I am currently in a relationship with an Israeli man of my same age. We have a wonderful relationship, but I cannot orgasm, even though he takes his time at foreplay, and tries to get me to feel sexual release. Could it be related to the fact that I am currently under treatment with Seroxat?


    According to Dr. Liora Abramov, senior gynecologist and director of the sexual therapy clinic at Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv,
    any state of depression or anxiety can damage one’s sexual activity and ability to reach an orgasm.


    "Popular medicines against depression, such as Prozac or Seroxat," she says, "are all highly effective against stress and anxiety and can reduce distress, but they may also numb sexual awakening. They act serotonin suppressants in the brain and clearly lead to orgasm delay among men and women.


    "This side effect is manifested in men by premature ejaculation, but for women difficulties in reaching an orgasm are prominent and very disturbing. I recommend that you turn to the family doctor or psychiatrist who prescribed this medicine, and consult with him on an alternative sedative.


    I am a 14-year-old Israeli girl, and have no one to talk about masturbation with. My parents are old, and I don’t want to talk about it with my girlfriends. What is the surest manner to pleasure myself into an orgasm?


    Dr. Aurelie Jones Goodwin, a psychotherapist, certified sexual therapist and author of the guidebook "A Woman's Guide to Overcoming Sexual Fear and Pain" says the way to learn how to experience orgasm is by masturbation.


    "Every woman finds the most suitable way for her. A woman can masturbate by putting her legs together, rubbing her genitalia in bed, running water on her clitoris in the bathtub, using a vibrator or with her hands and fingers," she says.


    'Our sex life is wonderful'


    "Every woman has the ability to achieve sexual climax, unless she has suffered from a medical condition or experienced a surgical procedure in which important nerves inside the vagina were removed. But using gradual self-discovery, a woman can discover her sexual responses, and when the timing and age are right, she can switch to sexual contact with a partner with whom she has a close relationship.


    "In an overwhelming majority of cases, women can learn how to reach an orgasm by themselves, following a few weeks of experimentation. Actually, it is sometimes more complicated to reach an orgasm with a partner. This is because the woman must cope with her mind sidetracking away from her own sensations, while she provides attention to her partner. She may also be stricken with anxiety or embarrassed by the sudden sensual release at the presence of another person."


    'One should also consider an emotional reason'


    I am a 23-year-old Israeli woman, and my boyfriend is 30 years old. Our sex life is wonderful, but once the 'deed is done,' my boyfriend feels a burning sensation and oversensitivity in his penis. Is it possible that this over-sensitivity stems from my shaving all my pubic hair?


    According to Miriam Brenner, certified sexual therapist at Dr. Ronit Aloni’s clinic in Tel Aviv, the burning sensation and oversensitivity that your boyfriend feels in his member after intercourse are not necessarily related to the fact that you shave the vaginal region.


    She says the burning sensation could result from dryness in the vagina or from an inflammation either partner's genitalia.


    "If you both perform penetration over a prolonged period of time, it can cause oversensitivity and burning sensation of the penis," she says.


    "In addition, one should also consider a potential emotional reason, such as an inner conflict or discomfort about commitment in a relationship. The first step to solving the problem would be to try having sexual intercourse with a condom and a lubricant, sold at pharmacies across Israel without prescription.


    "If still there is no improvement, both of you should turn to a sexual therapy clinic, where you will be examined and diagnosed as to the reason behind the burning sensation and oversensitivity of the penis. The first visit at sexual clinics in Israel is free."


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    Photo: Gabi Menashe
    'Depression or anxiety can damage one’s sexual activity.'
    Photo: Gabi Menashe