In the 32 years that Loveline has been on the air, long time fans have heard the same question answered hundreds, if not thousands of times. Young people are growing up every day and many of them are curious about the same things as previous generations. The following is a fan distillation of the answers provided by Dr. Drew.
Disclaimer: while Dr. Drew is a practicing physician licensed in the State of California, with specialties in internal medicine and addiction medicine, as well as extensive experience working with psychiatric patients, nothing on this page should be construed as representing Dr. Drew's actual words or opinions, nor should the answers be used as a substitute for qualified medical advice or treatment. There's always things that are unique to each case. But hopefully something here will get you pointed in the right direction.
Is _____ wrong?
"Wrong" implies making a moral judgment about a behavior. That's not helpful to you. What you really should ask is if _____ is healthy for you, or if _____ will cause harm to you or others.
Something awful happened to me when I was a child, but I'm an adult now and that was a long time ago. Can it still affect me and my romantic relationships?
YES! A great truism is that events that are terrorizing in childhood become sources of immense attraction in adulthood. Often you don't know this is happening or why you engage in certain behaviors, but without treatment, you can have serious negative effects. See Repetition Compulsion.
Is it harmful to have sex or sexual contact before the age of 16-18?
Yes. While the potential harm is affected by countless variables, a young developing brain is simply not ready, nor can such a person legally consent such activity in the majority of circumstances. Sex prior to age 13 is automatically sexual abuse.
I had sexual contact before age 13, but it was with another kid. Is this sexual abuse?
Yes, it's called child-on-child sexual abuse. It's extremely common but also even more under-reported than sexual abuse by an adult. While play and exploration among children is normal, if the contact was "directed," meaning it displayed an adult-like pursuit of orgasm, it means one of the kids involved was likely abused by an adult and thus "taught" this behavior. Abuse like this is further complicated because the victim usually feels like they were the initiator, even when they were not and were actually manipulated into it.
I got tested for STDs. Am I good to go?
Not so fast. You can't actually screen for all STDs, men are harder to screen for some STDs than women, and only a few STDs can be detected with just a blood test. The herpes blood test is all but worthless, with a lot of false positives and false negatives. A truly thorough STD workup involves blood, urine, and swabbing of the mouth, urethra and anus.
Can I get pregnant during my period?
Yes you can. Ovulation (the release of an egg) can happen at any time of the month, and sperm can remain active inside you for up to 3 days waiting for an egg to be released.
I'm a woman who can only have an orgasm if someone goes down on me, and can't have one through penetrative sex. Am I normal?
Yes, in fact you are in the majority. Roughly 50-60% of women in the world are just like you. The idea that orgasm should always be possible through penetrative intercourse is a strange cultural artifact. It should be noted that other women will sometimes lie to you about how they achieve orgasm.
I'm a man and I can't have an orgasm from a blowjob. Am I normal?
There's nothing wrong with you. For some men, it's just not their thing, and that's ok.
Can I get an STD from oral sex?
Yes you can. Some STDs are passed more readily than others via oral sex, but for the sake of being brief, assume any STD can be passed this way. This includes herpes, HPV, and gonorrhea. The latter two don't produce any symptoms in the mouth or throat even when contagious, and HPV is associated with head-and-neck cancer just as it is with cervical cancer.
I'm a middle-aged man who smoked, and I have problems with my erection even though I'm way too young to be having ED. What's wrong with me?
This actually could be the very first sign of heart disease. You should get a proper medical evaluation, especially an EKG and treadmill test.
How do I convince my girlfriend to let me have anal sex with her?
You don't. The female anus can be permanently damaged by it (the symptoms sometimes don't appear until a decade or more later), and furthermore, you have no right to manipulate or nag her into doing something she doesn't want to do. A very small minority of women find anal sex enjoyable, and they don't need convincing. They will ask for it.
My boyfriend wants me to stimulate him anally. Is he secretly gay?
No. It is a common and frankly offensive stereotype that only homosexual men find the anus to be an erogenous zone. In actuality, how a man feels about having his anus stimulated is irrelevant to his sexual orientation.
Where is the male G-Spot?
His penis. This absurdity that it's located in the anus is another pop-culture artifact from women's magazines written by faux "experts" with no medical training or understanding of sexuality. If a man wants to you do something with his anus, trust me he will ask. If he doesn't, leave it alone.
Is masturbating when you're in a committed relationship inappropriate/cheating?
No. Sex and masturbation are separate activities that fulfill different needs, especially with men. Their drive to masturbate actually increases when they are in a satisfying relationship. Women that get angry at men for doing this are the ones who are being inappropriate.
Can the taste of semen be improved by drinking Pineapple juice or similar?
No. We ran a test about this once and found it had no effect. The important part of our test is that the "taster" cannot be aware going in if their partner has consumed any juice or not, since perception can be skewed by expectations. It has sometimes been reported that chewing tobacco and methamphetamine can make semen more foul-tasting.
I feel like my penis is too small. How do I make it bigger?
Honestly, you can't. For a time there was a surgery which could lengthen it by about an inch via tearing the suspensory ligament, and increase girth by opening the skin and sewing in donated tissue from a corpse, but this surgery is rarely done anymore. And no, there are no pills or exercises that change the size. People that claim they worked have been shown to be experiencing a placebo effect. However, it should be noted that most men who feel their penis is too small are being unrealistic about it and suffering from emotional issues.
Will getting my penis pierced increase my female partner's satisfaction?
It doesn't quite work like that. Some women enjoy the appearance and the "thought" of a penile piercing, but physically it has no effect. The area within the vaginal canal that makes contact with most common piercings has no nerves associated with orgasm. Genital piercings also increase the risk of a condom tearing unless special reinforced ones are used, and are also highly prone to infection. There have been several cases of men needing to to have their genitalia surgically removed as a result of these infections. Strangely, most men who get these piercings also have a history of physical abuse in childhood.
Will getting my clitoris pierced increase my orgasmic function?
For a little while, then you will likely experience a loss of sensation worse than when you started. The piercing often causes permanent nerve damage over time. Like males, this type of piercing is also associated with physical abuse in childhood.
Is spanking child abuse?
Yes. Piles of research data have been accumulating over the years showing that inflicting physical pain on children to correct their behavior is shattering to them, and leads to increased risk of aggression, disobedience, mental health problems and drug use. Despite many non-experts insisting otherwise, there is literally no empirical evidence showing spanking affects children positively or is more effective than other child behavior modification methods (such as time-outs). Adults who grow up claiming they "turned out fine" are usually deluded and on close scrutiny, have mental health problems they don't realize are associated with the abuse.
Is the "Morning After Pill" an abortion drug?
No, you are confusing two different drugs. The Morning After Pill, sold under the name "Plan B" is a hormone called Levonorgestrel. It's the exact same hormone in the every-day birth control pills, just in a high dose, and is intended for women not already taking such pills. It works by making the ovary not release an egg, so conception never occurs. If the woman already has an egg released before taking Plan B, there is no effect and she will still get pregnant. The drug you might have confused Plan B with is called Mifepristone (aka RU-486) , and is a chemical abortion pill. It is only available by prescription.
Is addiction genetic?
To an extent, yes. This is an complex question, but addiction has been shown to have a strong genetic component. The genetic "burden" of each person is on a scale, from severely prone to addiction, to almost no predisposition. Psychological trauma also plays a part in activating the genetics. One analogy is to think of genetics as the fuel, and trauma as the match.
I'm an atheist and AA/12-step has a lot of religious talk. Can it still work for me?
Yes it can! 12-step in and of itself is not actually intended to be religious, but a strong component is the concept of faith. This can be faith that the sun will rise or that laws of Newtonian Physics will hold. It doesn't have to be in a god or religion. If a local meeting you attended was too religious, you should try to look at other meetings or ask for recommendations for one that is less god-focused. I should add that a lot of addicts claim to be atheists as an excuse to avoid treatment, when really it's about them thinking they are the center of the universe and wanting to control everything.
My doctor found I have low testosterone. How can I boost it/should I start hormone replacement?
Whoa, hold up there. Low testosterone is like saying "I have a fever." Why is your testosterone low? It can be for many reasons, but you need to find the cause of your low testosterone with your doctor. The treatment then should be for whatever the cause is.
I'm lesbian/gay/bisexual but my parents don't know. They are extremely conservative and against homosexuality. How can I come out to them?
It depends on where you are and if you are dependent on your parents. If you are still living with them or are otherwise dependent on them for food, shelter etc, and your parents are likely to react unreasonably, don't come out now. You may wish to be yourself, but you also must avoid putting yourself in harms way, especially if you suspect they might become violent or cast you out without a way to care for yourself. If this is the case, wait until you are financially independent, no longer living with them and have the support of your community before you come out to them.
I want to break up with my girlfriend/boyfriend but I’m afraid they will commit suicide. What should I do?
While it is sad, you are not responsible for your significant other's depression, nor is it your responsibility to be their caretaker or therapist. It becomes a relationship you are staying in out of pity. If they are threatening suicide when you talk of leaving, it is effectively holding you hostage. The most important thing is that all suicidal ideation or threats must be taken seriously. It is a medical emergency and should be dealt with as such if he or she expresses a plan. This means calling his or her medical provider, or the police if necessary.
When it comes to sex, how long is too long?
If we're talking about intercourse itself (that is, the actual penetrative act), surveys show that most women prefer about 8-12 minutes. Longer than that often results in pain or burning as a result of friction, though rarely there are exceptions. There is a phenomenon rarely talked about called "delayed ejaculation" where a male just can't orgasm in a reasonable time period, to his partner's detriment.
It burns after I have sex. Could I be allergic to my partner's semen?
It's possible, but very unlikely. There is such a thing as an allergy, but it's exceptionally rare and comes up more frequently as during fertility problems. The most common cause of burning or pain after sex is a side effect of hormonal birth control, particularly pills. The hormones cause something called atrophic vaginitis which makes the area less lubricated and also very sensitive to irritation. Doctors frequently don't tell their patients about this side effect when they prescribe.