Question: Just how identical are identical twins in terms of their bodies? Do identical female twins have the same size, shape and color areolae? Do identical male twins have the same penis shape and size (both flaccid and erect)?—D.Q., Reno, Nevada
Advisor: Identical twins are not as identical as previously thought. We all know anecdotally that there are subtle differences between twins. Rare is the carbon copy as judged by the naked eye. It was long believed that identical twins had the exact same genetic makeup and that behavioral and environmental influences caused the physical characteristics of twins to diverge over time. But recent research has shown that the DNA sequencing itself can differ slightly between twins. It's highly unlikely a perfectly identical pair exists, but please drop us a line if you can prove us wrong.
Q: I have a problem as old as time—or at least as old as best friends and their girlfriends. A couple of months into his latest relationship, a buddy of mine is deeply embroiled in la-la land. I'm happy for him, but the problem is I can't stand being around his new girlfriend. Of course I know the important thing is how they feel about each other. Still, I can't help but wonder if there's an acceptable way to say to him, "I miss seeing you without her." Or do I just wait until the honeymoon phase is over and he rediscovers his need for time away from his girlfriend? I've pretty much resigned myself to the latter, but is there an appropriate alternative?—T.W., Denver, Colorado
Advisor: The right and proper thing to do is respectfully let your pal revel in the early days of his new relationship—but don't write him off altogether. The quickest way to sour your friendship is to act needy. As a guy (yes, we're stereotyping here), you should know that's a no-no. But so is distancing yourself from a friend just because you're jealous and can't handle his girlfriend. If you want to hang out, tell him you want to hang out, but definitely don't say "without her." You risk offending him and sounding like a jilted lover. Simply invite him for a guy's night out, which is unambiguous and uncreepy. If he takes you up on it, be prepared for the possibility that the night will include at least one story about how great his new girlfriend is. On the other hand, you might find he has been dying for a break. Either way, a true best friend will remain on his best behavior.
Q: What is more pleasurable for a woman: a straight penis or one that's curved? I've heard that one with a curve provides more pleasure and stimulation. Is there any truth to this?—T.H., Cambridge, Massachusetts
Advisor: Women who enjoy stimulation of the fabled G-spot might prefer a curved penis, as long as it curves upward; others might find it annoying. But generalizing about genitalia is a particularly male obsession. An informal poll of some of our female friends turned up responses ranging from "Absolutely. My last boyfriend's cock was curved, and I still miss it," to "Never noticed," to "You guys think we think about your dicks way more than we do." Questions of length, width and angle aside, what matters in the end is what you do with it.
Q: When threading a belt through jeans, should I put it under or over the leather patch with the designer's name? The patch is left open on both ends, suggesting the belt should go under. Plus, putting it under doesn't cover up the maker's name.—R.B., Stamford, Connecticut
Advisor: We're sure that's the intention of the maker, but we think threading your belt under the label makes it look as though you buy clothes for the brand, not for the fit and feel. It also interrupts the elegant horizontal line of the belt. If you want to do something useful with the space behind the patch, stash some extra cash in there; just remember to take it out before you wash your jeans.
Q: I've recently discovered that I like to be squished by another person. I love having my husband lie on top of me. We both stay fully clothed and do nothing but lie in place. I like the pressure and get a little turned on by it; the fact that it is harder to breathe adds to my enjoyment. I enjoy squishing him as well but not as much as I enjoy being squished. Have you ever heard of this? Is there a name for it?—S.H.,
Advisor: We've heard of squashing but not squishing. Squashing is a fetish that most often involves men being laid on, sat on, partially suffocated and so on by large women. What you describe sounds like a less intense version, and squishing seems like a good name for it. Asphyxiaphilia is the scientific term for liking squashing or squishing. Both involve some level of oxygen deprivation, which can cause a pleasurable light-headedness and rush of adrenaline. The most extreme—and dangerous—form of this is autoerotic asphyxiation (actor David Carradine is one famous victim), so be careful. As good as adrenaline may feel in the moment, living is much more fun in the long run.
Q: My girlfriend just gave me some great-smelling cologne for my birthday. I want to get all the benefits of smelling good and attracting compliments. What is the best way to apply cologne?—D.D., Thibodaux, Louisiana
Advisor: Sparingly. Spray a little on your index finger and then dab your wrists and neck, or mist the cologne into the air and walk through it. Some people think cologne should be detectable only when you're hugging the person wearing it, so if you're receiving compliments from strangers and colleagues, you're probably wearing too much—or getting too close.
Q: I recently started dating a girl who, I swear, fakes orgasms. They're what I would call "porn perfect": head thrown back, much shouting of "Oh God," "Yes" and "Give it to me" followed by "That was so good, baby." She actually initiates sex more often than I do, so I don't want to jinx it and ask her if she's pretending. Why would she fake an orgasm and still want to have sex with me?—G.I., Madison, Wisconsin
Advisor: More women fake orgasms than you may realize. According to Planned Parenthood, as many as one out of three women has trouble experiencing orgasms during intercourse. A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior explored the motivations behind the faked orgasm by polling approximately 400 women and determined they fake it for various reasons. In addition to the obvious "Let's get it over with" motivation, women fake it to overcome feelings of self-consciousness, to make a partner feel gratified and to increase their own arousal (a sort of fake-it-till-you-make-it approach), among other reasons. Men tend to obsess about the female orgasm. We suggest you take a journey-is-the-destination approach and appreciate the fact that you have a willing and able partner.
Q: I recently bought my first peacoat (admittedly having been influenced by Daniel Craig's James Bond). I find myself wanting to leave the bottom button undone, as I do when wearing a suit jacket. What is the standard practice?—T.K., Rapid City, South Dakota
Advisor: There is no standard practice. If you were so inclined, you could drape the coat over your shoulders like a cape, wear it off one shoulder like Napoleon, leave it open like a peddler of counterfeit watches or button it all the way up like a sailor on night watch. However, the method you describe is probably the safest bet; it keeps the coat closed without restricting movement. It also allows the jacket to flare just a bit at the bottom, creating a more flattering shape. By the way, if you want to have the real thing, the peacoat Daniel Craig wears as Bond in Skyfall was made by American designer Billy Reid.
Q: A friend of mine recently went through a nightmare scenario in which he got a woman pregnant during a one-night stand. He swears he wore a condom and took all precautions. I used to feel confident with my condoms. Now, not so much.—S.I., Portland, Oregon
Advisor: We assume by "all precautions" you mean he used a condom that wasn't past its expiration date, had been stored in a cool place (and not stuffed, unused and hopeful, into his wallet, thereby risking degradation), was from a package that didn't have a microtear (the unopened package should feel puffy, like an air-filled pillow, when squeezed) and was the right fit (snug but not too tight). Other precautions include squeezing the tip of the condom when putting it on so it's free of air but has enough room for his semen; using lube to minimize friction and wear; withdrawing promptly after ejaculation but while still erect and while holding on to the condom at the base; and tying the condom off, throwing it away and thoroughly washing his hands. If your friend did all these things, the condom failure rate could be as low as one percent. If he didn't, the rate goes up, according to estimates, from 10 to 20 percent. Combining a condom with other contraceptive methods your partner can use, such as an IUD, a diaphragm or the pill, improves the odds of avoiding pregnancy.
Q: My wife of many years is normally a sedate and quiet person, but when we're making love she turns into something just short of a screaming banshee. Her shrieking usually reaches a crescendo when she starts climaxing, and her very loud and often profane exhortations echo off the bedroom walls. It doesn't bother me, but my wife is usually mortified after we've finished. At times my next-door neighbor has grinned at me knowingly. Do you think it's advisable to ask her to try to cool it, or should I keep my mouth shut and let her continue to enjoy herself—and continue to amuse the neighbors?—J.S., Carmel, California
Advisor: The fact that after many years of marriage you guys are still having eardrum-popping sex is to be commended. Even if you asked her to quiet down, we're not sure it would work—have you ever been able to control your orgasm face? To quote your wife, "Don't stop."
Q: I just got a job in sales and need a respectable but economical car to use when visiting clients. (It's time to graduate from the beater I've been driving since high school.) I know the kind of car I want, but it seems the price varies from dealer to dealer, and specials come and go. I don't want to get ripped off. How do I protect myself and get the best deal?—J.B., Atlanta, Georgia
Advisor: Nobody is trying to rip you off. Car dealerships survive on narrow margins. Knowing what car you want is the first step; you're already past the emotional and vulnerable stage of shopping. The worst thing any car buyer can do is visit a dealership and ask a salesperson for advice on which car to get. One easy way to get the best deal is to use Edmunds.com, a website that allows you to "build" the car you want with options and then send an e-mail blast querying multiple dealers in your area. Dealers will e-mail you back if they have the model in stock. Work with several dealers at once, politely letting them know they're in competition, and ask them all the same three questions: What's the absolute lowest price below invoice you can give me? (If you're leasing, ask for the lowest capitalized cost.) What's the least I can put down? And what's the best interest rate you can offer? Keep all these numbers as low as possible and you'll get the best deal. Try to buy your car during the last week of the month, when dealers have greater incentive to move units. And don't fall for the "How much do you want to pay each month?" trick. Dealers can stretch a loan over many years to reduce your monthly payment, but you'll end up paying more in the long run. If you need to stretch the payments out for that long, you can't afford the car. Do all this work via e-mail, which creates a paper trail and avoids the trap of sitting in a dealership. Using these methods, a friend of ours actually talked a dealer into delivering the car straight to his office.
This article originally appeared in the June 2014 issue of Playboy.
Illustration by Skip Sterling
For answers to reasonable questions relating to food and drink, fashion and taste, and sex and dating, write the Playboy Advisor, 9346 Civic Center Drive, Beverly Hills, California 90210, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The most interesting and pertinent questions will be presented in these pages each month.