Ask Fiona: I can't stop making sexual advances at men – what should I do?
Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers her perspective on a woman with a high sex drive and a reader with a particularly hairy eyebrow issue.
I'VE always had an unusually high sex drive, which means I've had no shortage of sexual partners. The problem, however, is that I can't stop myself from making a play at any man that I meet.
It doesn't matter if they are married, going out with someone or recently widowed. And it doesn't seem to matter if they're going out with one of my friends either, so I've inevitably lost people I was once close to.
Just this last week, I've lost what I thought was going to be a great friend, who had recently joined the company where I work. We hit it off right away but when, just a week later, I made a pass at her husband at a Friday after-work get-together, she stopped speaking to me.
The silly thing is, I know my behaviour causes problems. I am 32, still single, have almost no friends and am very unhappy – but I just can't stop myself. I've heard of drugs that prisons give to inmates to reduce sex drive and I wonder if a GP would consider prescribing this for me?
Unless I can get this under control, I can't see myself being happy. What should I do?
FIONA SAYS: The issue here could be emotional
Please do chat to your GP, but I think it's unlikely that he or she will prescribe medication like this. From what I understand these drugs are powerful, have significant side effects and are typically only given to sexual offenders.
In spite of what you say, I'm not convinced that a strong sex drive is necessarily at the root of your problems. Many people have high libidos and yet have happy, fulfilling relationships.
I believe it's possible, therefore, that the root cause of your problems is emotional rather than physical. It could be that you're driven by a need for reassurance; you need to know that you're attractive and that reassurance is a bigger driver than your need for friendship.
Instant sex isn't ever really going to fulfil your emotional needs, because it has no relationship behind it and it means nothing – to you or to the person you've had sex with.
Whatever the reason (or reasons), these are complex issues that are beyond the scope of a column like this to resolve. I believe you need help, so speaking to your doctor about your behaviour and feelings would be a good start.
Hopefully the doctor will refer you for counselling, which will help you to understand your behaviour and suggest ways for you to control it. It may involve you going through therapy of some kind to see what, if anything, in your past has triggered your approach to men.
If your doctor can't suggest a local counselling service, then please contact Relate (relate.org.uk) to talk to someone trained to help. You can either do that through an online chat service, by phone or face to face.
I CAN'T FACE PLUCKING MY EYEBROWS
Plucking my eyebrows had always been painful so, two years ago, I started to shave them instead. A friend has recently said that I should stop doing this as it might cause the hairs to get thicker. Is she right? I really can't face going back to plucking.
FIONA SAYS: Try waxing or threading
There is no evidence that proves shaving makes hairs thicker when they re-grow, although they may feel coarser when first cut. If you want to reduce the thickness of your eyebrows, find someone who can use threading for you, or consider getting them waxed.
Having said that, fuller brows have become very fashionable – certainly far more acceptable – so you could even dispense with any treatment at all.
IS MY PILL EFFECTIVE AT PREVENTING PREGNANCY?
I was divorced at the age of 33 and I took the combined contraceptive pill throughout my eight-year marriage. I came off the pill shortly after this and stayed off for the next five years.
I have now met someone new and it's fast becoming a serious relationship, so I saw my GP last week who prescribed a 'mini' pill. He didn't volunteer any further information about it and I just took the prescription, as I don't like talking about these things.
However, I am now worried that this pill might not be as effective as the combined pill that I used to take. Why didn't he just give me the old pill?
FIONA SAYS: Yes but there are health risks
The 'mini' pill (sometimes called Pops) is a progestogen-only pill, unlike the combined pill you used to take, which is a mix of oestrogen and progestogen.
Both pills are effective and are currently perhaps the most reliable methods, but they differ in the level of risk attached to long-term use. The combined pill does carry a slightly higher risk factor, especially in older women who may also have secondary issues like obesity, or who may be smokers. To find out why the mini-pill was used in your case, you'd need to see a GP again, but if you're uncomfortable talking to your regular doctor, ask if there's a female GP at the practice.
You might also find it useful to learn more about all the various methods of contraception.
Sexwise, a new information service from the FPA (sexwise.fpa.org.uk) should help you to look at all the options. You may even find there's a method you'd find more practical.
I DON'T WANT TO FIND OUT THE SEX OF OUR BABY
I am six months pregnant and my husband has been putting pressure on me to find out whether it's a boy or a girl. As we already have a daughter, he's desperate for a son. The problem is, I want it to be a surprise.
I have tried to explain that knowing now won't make any difference to the eventual sex of the baby, but he will not let it go. We've already had a couple of arguments about it and it's really getting me down. Why won't he understand?
FIONA SAYS: FInding out might make things easier
This is difficult and there's no easy solution here. If there is no way to reach a compromise, one of you is going to be disappointed. If your husband is going to be seriously disappointed in another daughter, then you should consider whether you would rather this happened now.
That way he will have time to come to terms with his disappointment, rather than deal with it when the baby is born. If he's just pushing out of curiosity then you can stick to your guns, but it's your decision.
If there's any chance of any negative sentiments being around during the birth, then personally, I'd rather get these out of the way now.
:: If you have a problem and you'd like Fiona's advice, email firstname.lastname@example.org