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This article was published 4/11/2012 (1665 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm one of those people you see in the erectile dysfunction (ED) commercials. I can't make love to a woman. I've been divorced for 15 years, aged 60, and not a lot of experience with woman since the divorce. I'm dating a woman now, and when I initiate something I have to shut it down fairly quickly because of you-know-what. Not sure what the lady thinks about this quick end. I can see a doctor about it, as per those commercials. Assuming he prescribes some medication to help me with my problem, should I tell my lady friend? Would she even know if I didn't tell her? To take it one step further, should one ask if it is OK to make love to another person before doing so? For all I know she is glad that I stop so soon. Please help. Thanks -- Need Coaching
Dear Need Coaching: It would be a disaster to ask a woman you are seeing if it'd be OK to try out your new erection-maintaining pills on another woman. We are not talking about inanimate dolls stuffed with cotton, but real women here. See your physician about the problem and be very clear about the problem. You may need erection-maintaining pills, but it's more likely you need to see a psychologist. Something has kept you from getting into an intimate relationship these last 15 years and intercourse -- joining with her for a time -- is symbolic of the trust. As long as you are just playing around with no immediacy to a union, you are OK and functional. Then, when it's time to make love, you panic and the physical desire that would allow intercourse melts away. In conversation with a psychologist you could work out this fear, and perhaps not need any pills. So, go see your doctor and ask for a referral to psychologist who could help you get back into the world of love and physical intimacy. Then you might consider the pills, if they are safe for your body and your health situation.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My wife has been getting mysterious packages in the mail. She whips them off to the bedroom, thinking I don't notice her quietly signing for them at the door. I asked her the first time and she said, "Oh, it's a little surprise for your birthday" (I'm turning 50 in a month). Another time, she said it was an outfit she bought to wear at my birthday. When she was out today, I did a search of the house and found one package open but still in all the wrapping. It was at the back of her upper shelf in her clothes closet. It contained a love shop toy. She knows I disapprove of such things in the bedroom, so it couldn't be for my birthday. If she's not using it, then who will be getting the benefit of this toy? If it were for her, it wouldn't still be taped in the packaging with the plastic popping stuff. I hate to even ask this, but do you think she has someone else? I love her more than anything, but I have always been on the conservative side and don't allow phoney things like cheap lingerie and sex toys. -- Straight Arrow, Winnipeg
Dear Straight Arrow: You can confront your wife about the sex toy in the back of the closet (the North American confrontational method), or you can assume your marriage is in trouble and put out a big effort try to woo her away from the threat (the European method). She may be bored with straight-arrow sex all these years. And, what seems phony to you, might be playful and fun for her. This may be her last-ditch effort to seduce you in an exciting way, or she may have found someone else. As you near your 50th year on Earth, it's time to loosen up your conservative ways, mister. It's more than her turn. If you want to win your wife back, buy a book like Guide to Getting It On by Paul Joannides or the recent beautifully illustrated version of Dr. Alex Comfort's book The Joy of Sex and find some new and creative things to do in bed. Then give your wife a happy surprise by initiating them with her before your big birthday.