Dr. Allegra “Ally” Skye, sex therapist and amateur sleuth, is the fictional heroine of Marcia James’ comic romantic mystery series, which begins with Sex & the Single Therapist. When Ally isn’t helping her Las Vegas police detective boyfriend, Zack Crawford, solve murders, she counsels patients and writes this column. Ally requests that all questions be submitted to her through Marcia (Marcia@MarciaJames.net). In exchange, Marcia reserves the right to use the Sex Q&A column as a source of inspiration when writing Dr. Ally’s mystery series.

This Sex Q&A column is designed to be entertaining, not to provide professional advice. Those in need of counseling are urged to meet with a licensed sex therapist.

Q: Dear Dr. Skye: I heard that you were overseas, volunteering with the Doctors Without Borders organization for almost two years.  Are you back in Las Vegas and answering questions for this column? — James D., Columbus, OH

A: Yes. I enjoyed volunteering very much, but I’m back in Las Vegas with my busy sex therapy practice and my friends. I also do a little consulting for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department when they come across sex-related crimes. Never a dull moment!

Q: Dear Dr. Skye: My lover said he’s going out next Friday night and I can’t go with him because it’s a “brodown”. What the heck is that and should I be worried? — Sherry D., St. Paul, MN

A: According to Urbandictionary.com, a brodown is “a boy’s night out.” Unless you have some reason to think more than basic male bonding is taking place, then you have nothing to worry about. Why not call up your girlfriends and plan an evening out with them?

Q: Dear Dr. Skye: Why haven’t you posted any Sex Q&A this year? — Marcia A., Columbus, OH

A: I was out of town for a month over the holidays, and since returning, I’ve had a sharp increase in appointments for my sex therapy practice. New Year’s Resolutions usually target the areas of life one wants to change for the better, and many people feel their sex lives have room for improvement. But I’m back and available to answer questions, too. So please send any questions to Marcia@MarciaJames.net, and she will make sure I receive them.

Q: Dear Dr. Skye: I’m a vegan and I only date other vegans.  My friends think I’m being silly, but I swear meat-eating guys smell and taste different.  Besides, I don’t want to kiss a mouth that has chewed meat.  What do you think?  — Petal S., San Francisco, CA

A: I think you have the right to date whomever you wish, and finding a man who shares your vegan values makes sense.  In 2007, a New Zealand researcher coined the term “vegansexuality” after testing over 150 vegans on “cruelty-free living”, which included the idea of “rejecting meat-eaters as intimate partners”.  Many of the test subjects felt the way you do about omnivores.  Interestingly, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) commented at the time that not sleeping with meat-eaters meant vegans were missing the opportunity to “convert” them to veganism.  Personally, I think converting a non-vegan is a poor reason to pick a sex partner.

Dear Dr. Skye: I’ve got a bar bet riding on your answer.  Does a bad economy help or hurt the sex trade? — Gerald H., Tampa, FL

A: It depends what part of the sex industry you are talking about.  Internet porn seems to do well no matter what, but recently the strippers in NY clubs complained about a lack of business due to the stock market fluctuations.  The New York Post reported that strip clubs were seeing fewer customers and a major drop in lap dances.  Exotic dancers are feeling the squeeze these days, and it isn’t from a frisky patron!

Definition of the Day

[Dr. Skye credits Urbandictionary.com for its wealth of interesting words and definitions you won’t find in Webster’s Dictionary.]

Today’s Urbandictionary.com term: Friend Girl

Definition: A woman with whom one is friendly but not romantically linked in any way.

Usage example: “My girlfriend is always jealous of Sandy, but Sandy is just my friend girl.”

Dr. Ally’s Sex Q&A returns after a summer hiatus:

Q. My divorced uncle is always saying rude remarks about empowered women, groups like the National Association of Women, and women in what he calls “male professions”.  He thinks Rush Limbaugh’s “feminazis” comments are hilarious and refers to strong females as “sexless butches”.  How can I stop him from being such a jerk? — Evie J., Dexter, MO

A. You can’t. Someone with such an aggressively negative view can rarely be persuaded to see reason.  However, you can tell him you’re offended by his comments and make yourself scarce, if possible, when he starts spouting his vitriol.  By the way, a Rutgers University psychology study found that men with feminist partners have “healthier, more romantic heterosexual relationships than men who are with women who hold more traditional attitudes.”  So you might take some satisfaction in the idea that if your uncle ever finds his ideal woman — that paragon of 1950s’ housewifery (read “Stepford Wife”), there’s a good chance he’s in for a let-down.

Q: Dear Dr. Skye: Did you hear in the news about the British study that says men think women with big lips are sexy? Does this mean we all should get collagen injections in our lips? — Bess K., Monterey, CA

A: I’m going to take a guess that you mean the study about judging a man or woman’s suitability for a fling vs. a long-term commitment by their facial cues. The men in the study generally preferred a woman they thought might be available for short-term sex, while women most often chose men they believed were husband material.  According to the men in the study, women with wide eyes and full lips seemed to signal a willingness to have a quick roll in the hay.  The women in the study thought men with softer features would be good long-term partners.  This is just one study, and I certainly wouldn’t go through the pain of collagen injections to give off the “quickie” vibe. 😉

Q: Dear Dr. Skye: I’m hosting a bachelorette party for my sister and want to serve food appropriate to the risqué theme of the party.  What do you suggest? — Izzie P., Bethesda, MD

A: You have a wealth of options.  You could choose food based on their alleged aphrodisiac qualities, such as chocolate, oysters and avocado.  Just Google “Aphrodisiacs” and you’ll get a long list.  You could serve drinks with risqué names, such as “Sex on the Beach” and “Fuzzy Nipple”.  There are a number of phallic-shaped foods, such as hotdogs, sausages, and meatballs , that could be arranged artfully.  And risqué retailers like Spencer Gifts sell pasta in shape of male organs.  Then, for dessert, most adult stores offer sexy cake pans and candy molds for adventuresome cooks, and many local bakeries sell adult-themed sweets.  For example, in Portland, OR, Voodoo Doughnut does a brisk business in pastries in the shape of erotic body parts.  Of course, you could also hire a male stripper who won’t mind being decorated with edible body paint!