Q: I have a tryst in two weeks with someone I don't get to see very often. Even though my period is due a week from now, I have a feeling it's going to be late and interfere with the special weekend. (It's been coming late about every other month for the past six to eight months.) Is there any natural way to provoke it? I don't do hormonal birth control, so skipping pills isn't an option.

A: There are some natural methods you can try to jump-start a period, all of which are harmless as long as you don't overdo it. The first thing to start with is exercise, both inside and outside the body. When it's time to start your period, try going for a jog or hitting up a cardio dance class to help shake that uterine wall loose. Doing Pilates and sit-ups might also be helpful, since you're exercising your pelvic floor muscles, which cradle your reproductive organs. Having orgasms is always a good idea, and an even better one when you're hoping to provoke menstruation. A good deal of those rhythmic contractions are happening in the uterus, and they could help induce the shedding of its tissue.

There are a number of period-provoking herbs (called emmenagogues), the safest and most accessible of which are parsley and ginger. For parsley, drop a fresh bunch of it into four cups of just-boiling water, remove it from heat and steep for 30 minutes. Drink four cups a day throughout the day until you start bleeding. Ginger tea can be used at the same way, but make the tea by boiling fresh sliced ginger for 20 minutes rather than steeping it. Ginger has stimulating properties, so you might not want to drink the tea before bed. Vitamin C is a mild emmenagogue, as well, and supplements can be taken at the recommended dosage along with the parsley and ginger teas. All three are safe for most individuals, but those with kidney or gallstone maladies should use caution and discuss consumption with a doctor.

In addition to supplements and physical exercise, try a little mental exercise. Instead of telling yourself you won't get your period on time, start telling yourself that you will. Soak in a hot bath (also helpful for increasing bloodflow), sip some tea and meditate on it. Stress depletes the cycle-regulating hormone GnRH, so fretting over your period can delay the flow.

Q: Can you explain to men that a G-spot orgasm is not a substitute for a clitoral O? Getting a girl all hot and bothered and then banging her until she pees herself is great, but leaves the original wet and tingly unsated. Is it too much to ask for cake and ice cream?

A: What she said. As I mentioned in my "Jacking Jill" column (May 24), G-spot stimulation can be orgasmic and even induce squirting, but it doesn't work for all women. Think about it: The clitoris and the penis begin as the same organ in the womb. The organ grows outward if male hormones take over but remains inside if female hormones prevail. The clitoris, then, is analogous to the head of the penis, and the anterior wall of the vagina is analogous to the underside of the penis shaft. A guy might have an orgasm just by having his shaft stroked, but he'd probably prefer some tip action, too. It's no different for us women. Think of the clitoris as a four-inch organ, mostly within the body, with a tip that extends outside the body. Stimulate it accordingly. Ladies, you've got to offer feedback. Guys, ask her for it. The best way to get your cake and eat it, too, is to show your partner where the bakery is.

  • Alexis McKinnis is taking your questions about sex, dating and relationships. Send them to advice@vita.mn or submit anonymously at www.vita.mn/alexis. Don't leave out the juicy details!