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Love and Sex Prescription

By Dipika Dandade

QUESTION
I recently got married to a wonderful man. He is really nice, understanding and loving, but he has a past that has started to bother me. He was engaged to a girl and then he fell in love with another; ultimately both ended up in disaster for him. Ours is an arranged marriage and it keeps haunting me that he can never love me as much as he did his ex-girlfriend. I recently happened to see her pictures and it’s stuck in my head that she was really attractive, and therefore it is difficult for him to love me. For some weird reason, I have started to believe that she was some out-of-the-world angel that swept my husband off his feet, and I can never do the same to him.

I had the same issue with my ex-boyfriend—I would get insecure about his ex-girlfriend, too. I messed up my relationship with my ex for the


Photo by Rodrigo Torres

same reasons, and I don’t want to repeat that again. People say that I am cute and attractive, but it’s very difficult for me to believe that. My husband has never said that he loves me on his own, even once, in our three months of marriage. He does say “ditto” when I say I love him.

I try to reassure myself by saying that it’s not his nature to express his love, or that he does not love me yet. He also is not very touchy-feely. He does really care for me though. He pays attention to small things and is really nice to me. But, I don’t experience the passion that's usually supposed to be in a newlywed couple. Again, is it just that he’s not that type, or is it that he does not find me attractive?

 

ANSWER
Boost your self-esteem! Before you can truly believe in the future that you and your husband have together, you need to believe in yourself. You've tuned in to the fact that others find you cute and attractive—but you need to believe that yourself. Recount your other strengths for yourself. Are you a kind and thoughtful person? Someone who cares deeply for her friends and family, willing to go that extra mile for a loved one? Someone who strives to be the best in all her endeavors? Is there something at school, work, or in hobbies at which you've particularly excelled? Look inside for reasons to be proud of yourself, instead of looking solely in the mirror.

It's understandable to be jealous of a partner's ex. Don’t torture yourself, though, by creating a personality for your husband's ex based on a two dimensional photo. Who knows what this woman was really like? And, remember, for whatever reason, your husband is no longer with her.

More important than dwelling on your husband's past is focusing on your future together. First, keep in mind that this is an arranged marriage. Though it would be wonderful if the two of you were falling into each other's arms and gazing longingly into each other's eyes from the start, the reality is that it likely won't follow that path. Your husband has been "in love" twice before, it seems. By definition, one would expect a love marriage to involve a couple who are in love from the start, while in an arranged marriage the love is expected to develop with time. Allow your husband just that: TIME. You have had three short months together as husband and wife. Both of you need time to get to know one another. What some discover about each other during their courtship and engagement, you two will need to learn in the early years of your marriage. Perhaps you will learn that your husband is simply not the emotive sort. It may not be in his nature to be overly verbally or physically responsive. The true joy of marriage will come from finding a friend in the person you have married and weathering life's ups and downs together.


QUESTION
I am a 23-year-old Desi man, and I am a virgin. The problem is that I do not think I get an erection that is hard enough for penetration. Secondly, I am not getting hard enough erections when I get up in the mornings—sometimes I don’t have one. Can you please tell me if I can find out whether I am normal or not? And if not, what could be done to improve the situation?

ANSWER
An erection occurs when stimulating input causes changes that allow the penile arteries to engorge with blood. The surrounding spongy tissue then fills with blood and causes hardening of the penis. Keep in mind that touch alone can lead to an erection, but the quality and intensity of the erection may vary with different stimuli. For example, a man may be able to become erect with masturbation, but may find that he’s able to stay harder or stay up longer if he is stimulated by looking at or touching a person. When you do become sexually active, you might find yourself in such a situation.

Most men will have a number of spontaneous erections at night, usually during REM-sleep, when dreaming occurs. These erections are not necessarily associated with dream content. It’s unclear as to why they occur, but it may be because dreams allow for blood flow to the penis and subsequent oxygenation of the tissue. Essentially, the morning erection is an erection that occurs during REM-sleep, but you just happen to wake up to discover it. So, it is normal that there are times that you do not notice an erection in the morning, but erections have likely occurred multiple times during the night.

A man may experience erectile dysfunction (ED), in which case he does not achieve or maintain an erection that allows for penetration or sexual intercourse. There are a number of psychological and physical causes of ED. Relationship problems and life stressors such as loss of a job, or anxiety over sexual performance are examples of psychological issues that lead to ED. Physical causes can result from drug use, medication use, or medical conditions such as diabetes. If diagnosed, steps to treating ED include psychotherapy or medications such as Viagra. In more serious cases, a vacuum device can even be applied to the penis, causing blood to flow into the spongy tissue and leading to erection or penile implants are also available to facilitate an erection.

Your history suggests that your experience is normal. However, it would be best to be evaluated by a urologist for final confirmation.


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Dipika Dandade, 31, is an obstetrician/gynecologist practicing in the Los Angeles area.

ABCDlady does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.


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