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Is Lover's Story about Genital P for Real?
from Fearful Next Morning Ms

Dear Ed: I noticed in my surfing in the wee hours this morning that you do sometimes wear an "Advice for the Lovelorn" hat. You might want to put that on, now. I've just survived (I hope) my first night of intimacy with a new lover who claims to have psoriasis on his penis.

I'm a thirty-something divorcee who wasn't sure how to spell "psoriasis" until 4:00 a.m. this morning when Google set me straight. My new boyfriend — we'll call him Ben — had to get up at 3:30 and drive to the next city up the highway to work. Ben and I have been dating for about three months and, at our ages and in our culture, we feel that's a pretty conservative "breaking in" period before the clothes come off. Until last night, I was unaware Ben had psoriasis. Now that I've spent a few hours surfing FlakeHQ and ShockingPsoriasis.com, I'm not quite sure what to make of Ben's claim. He doesn't have any of the flaky lesions you write about and that are pictured at ShockingPsoriasis. What Ben does have is a very red penis and part of his scrotum. No flakes though, more like a port wine stain birthmark (but red, not port-color). He says that at times it itches terribly and feels like it's burning. He treats it with some prescription cream, but I don't know what that is and he didn't have any with him that I could see.

Do you think he could be pulling my leg about having psoriasis? Thankfully, we'd agreed to use a condom before things got heated, and long before the psoriasis revelation. I'm not sure I could have relaxed into the occasion without him sheathed. If we had been a "lights off" couple, I don't think I'd have even seen his problem last night, but Ben wasn't shy about my discovery. He did, however, not want to waste a lot of time discussing the subject. He said psoriasis isn't contagious and that appears to be true from everything I've read this morning.

Please ease my mind, if you can. -Fearful Next Morning Ms


Ed's Response: Well, I hope Ben was being honest with you, Fearful ... and he certainly COULD HAVE BEEN, because there is a form of psoriasis called "inverse psoriasis" that can affect the genitals and look somewhat like a port-wine stain birthmark.  Go here for a picture (of inverse P in an arm pit). Ben's description of his psoriasis as "itches terribly and feels like it's burning" also rings true. As an all-too-often victim of this particular form of psoriasis, I would make the same complaint. Should any of this affect your relations with Ben, or be a matter of concern? As far as your own safety is concerned, Ben's P is not a threat and it does not contribute in any way to all the other safety concerns surrounding Sex in the Twenty-First Century. So, turn off the anxiety about P, but continue healthy precautions against all the other REALLY nasty stuff. -Ed

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