DEAR ABBY: I am 38 and have been married to a good husband and provider for 11 years. We have two beautiful children and a lovely home. We appear to be the perfect couple.
Our problem is, my husband seems to be intimidated by my sexuality. In the past, I have told my husband what pleases me. My comments made him feel inadequate, and he has completely given up. We haven't had sex in two years. He says he would rather pleasure himself so he doesn't have to worry that he isn't "doing it right."
I am a normal, red-blooded woman, and I need sex several times a month. Is that so wrong? I have resorted to having an affair with a man whose wife isn't interested in sex, but I would prefer having a sex life with my husband.
I think my husband knows I am unfaithful. However, he accepts it because it's easier for him to deal with than having sex with me. Is there anything I can do to make my husband try again? -- DESPERATELY SEEKING SEX
DEAR DESPERATELY: Having affairs may temporarily satisfy your sexual needs, but it can only damage your marriage further. If ever there were candidates who could benefit from sex therapy, it is you and your husband. Even though he may be reluctant to face this problem, insist that he see a therapist with you. Please don't wait -- it could save your marriage.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 17 and have been best friends with "Alana" for five years. We do everything together. We like the same things, and we're so close that we finish each other's sentences. She's like a sister to me.
However, the difference between us is that Alana gets crushes on boys that never work out, whereas multiple boys have liked me. After each crush falls through, Alana says her life is awful and it must be her fault. When I try to tell her it's not her fault and she's a wonderful person, she ends the conversation.
It hurts me to see her upset, but sometimes I feel lost about what to do. What can I do to help my friend know she's a beautiful person inside and out, and she doesn't need a boy to be happy? I love her and just want her to be OK. -- BEST FRIENDS IN RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CALIF.
DEAR BEST FRIENDS: Until Alana learns for herself that she doesn't need a boy to be happy, she will continue developing crushes that don't work out. Boys are attracted to girls who appear to be happy and confident, and your friend appears to be neither. Much as you might like to, you can't fix this for her. But once she finally gets the message, she will probably realize that someone she never took the time to notice has a crush on her.
DEAR ABBY: I gave birth to a son almost 40 years ago. His biological father would not help me, so I placed the baby for adoption.
Here's the problem: People are always asking me if I have any children. Should I lie and say no, or try to explain? Legally, my son does not belong to me. Please tell me what to say to my questioners. -- SINCERELY CONCERNED
DEAR CONCERNED: Usually people ask that question only as a way to make conversation. Your personal history is nobody's business. If you prefer not to give a detailed explanation about your personal history, simply say no.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)
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