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by andrea nemerson


DEAR ANDREA, You know that guy who cut off his penis and blamed it on some mysterious woman? Being a guy, that story gave me the shivers, but some women I know think it's fairly funny. Do a lot of women actually find this amusing?

The doctors were unable to reattach it. If the unfortunate fellow has no penis but retains his testicles, wouldn't that be a certain kind of hell for him? Wouldn't he retain his libido but be unable to satisfy himself?

Love, Got the Willies

Dear Will,

Something like that. As I recall the story, though, the unfortunate man in question was a murderer, occupied a particularly squalid trailer, had been on a massive bender, and was already living in some certain kind of hell. An unscratchable itch would seem to be the least of his problems.

As for your first question, um – you're really putting me on the spot here, and it pains me to admit this, but – yes. A lot of women do find this sort of thing amusing. What can I say? On behalf of my entire gender, I apologize.

Love, Andrea

Dear Andrea,

Is it safe to have sex in the bathtub or whirlpool? Can it do damage to me or him?

Love, Flipper

Dear Flip,

Not a bit. You may find wet sex surprisingly dry (it washes away your natural lube), and chlorine, unsurprisingly, can be extremely irritating. Other than that (and the obvious but unlikely possibility of drowning), it's safe as houses and can offer a most entertaining sensation of weightlessness.

But allow me to share with you a little-known and truly horrifying bit of information. Did you know that it's possible to be eviscerated by sitting on the drain at the bottom of a pool or spa?

That drain is part of a pumping system that produces an immensely powerful suction. Should the necessary cover be damaged or missing, and should you sit on the uncovered drain, for whatever reason, your entrails can be sucked clear out before you even get the opportunity to drown. Sure, it's rare, and no doubt even rarer since these stories hit the news a few years back, but grant me this: once you've heard about it, you'll never look at that refreshing dip in the pool the same way again.

Love, Andrea

Dear Andrea,

I have a thing for – are you ready for this? – inflatables. Not just inflatable dolls, although I do enjoy them; nearly anything inflatable turns me on.

I'm currently seeing a wonderful woman. I think she'll understand (especially since she already knows that she turns me on!), but just in case, how should I let her know? And is there any research into this particular paraphilia that does not involve trying to "cure" it? I don't think I have any major hang-ups except for not being able to pass a pool supply store without having a look.

Love, Captain Pneumo

Dear Cap,

First off, I must admit that I have little advice to offer you. I was simply so beguiled by the picture of you disporting yourself with a pile of inflatable bunnies and what have you that I felt driven to share it with my readers.

Nobody really knows where these things come from. While many fetishists can trace their obsessions back to some momentous childhood incident, most cannot. Some fetishes seem inborn, others are picked up along the way, and still others are acquired on purpose – these days, having a fetish (or "fetiche") is all the rage. There's nothing more galling than having one's obscure pursuit or interest become trendy, but somehow I just don't think that's going to be a problem for you.

I can't see your girlfriend getting too exercised about this, as long as you present it as a sideline and not the essential core of your sexuality. No beach ball or Love Ewe (the famous inflatable sheep) is about to replace her in your affections. Considering the extremely high goofiness quotient of your particular fixation, she's unlikely to see it as a threat to her hegemony.

Love, Andrea

You can reach Andrea at alt.sex.column, Bay Guardian, 520 Hampshire St., S.F., CA 94110; andrea@altsexcolumn.com; or www.sfbg.com/asc.