Q. I read with interest your comments on male premature ejaculation, but my problem is just the opposite. My wife and I have a very good sexual relationship (with the help of Viagra), but I very seldom reach a climax. My wife has an orgasm after about 20 to 30 minutes, which is normal for us. I try very hard, but about 90 percent of the time I can’t achieve a climax and just give up. My wife does not know this and believes I have climaxed. What can I do to overcome this problem?

A. You did not mention whether you are taking any other medications. A number of prescription drugs can delay or even prevent orgasm. Antidepressants such as Effexor, Nardil, Prozac, Paxil and Serzone can all interfere with sexual satisfaction. Other medications can modify libido or desire.

We’re sending you our Guides to Drugs that Affect Sexuality and Treating Sexual Dysfunction. Anyone who would like copies, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (no. 10) stamped (57 cents) self-addressed envelope:
Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. YP-96, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027.

Another possibility is hormonal imbalance. To find out, have your testosterone and thyroid levels checked. Please discuss your situation with a health care professional who is knowledgeable about male sexuality. You shouldn’t have to fake an orgasm.

Q. Last summer a coronary artery scan showed some plaque but no blockage. My doctor said there’s no medicine to remove plaque, but I’ve seen ads on TV for a drug called Plavix. It is meant to be used after a heart attack. Would it remove the plaque if used beforehand?

A. Plavix (clopidogrel) won’t remove arterial plaque. Instead this prescription drug reduces the possibility that a blood clot will form in an artery narrowed by plaque. Possible side effects of Plavix include chest pain, fatigue, swollen legs, headache, dizziness and stomachache.

A less expensive approach which also discourages blood clot formation is aspirin. Be sure to check with your physician before starting on a daily regimen of aspirin, because even this common drug may cause ulcers or interact with other medications.

Q. My son has red hair and freckles and is very fair. I slather him with sunscreen but wonder whether it will protect him from sun damage.

He is in and out of the pool most of the day all summer long. Will water resistant sunscreens protect him adequately?

A. Even if your son is not getting burned by the sun, he may be experiencing invisible sun damage if he is outside in the middle of the day. Australian authorities have recognized this problem and often provide shade on playgrounds to keep children out of direct sunlight between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.

He should be reapplying sunscreen if he is in and out of the pool and you may want to look for blockers with either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These minerals can help block a broader spectrum of harmful ultraviolet light.

Q. When I was 23 I caught herpes. I used to have flare-ups three or four times a year. Now they are rare, once a year or even less often. Can I transmit the virus even if I have no symptoms?

A. It is possible to shed virus and be contagious even without herpes symptoms. Let any partner know that you had herpes so he or she can take appropriate precautions.

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