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You’re never too old

Q: I am 73, haven't had it in 10 years and want it so bad I can taste it … or wish I could! And all because my wife of 49 years feels she has "done her duty" and no more. To think we would occasionally 69 back in our younger days. It last happened in 1977 and was absolutely delightful. I am so tempted to dip into the classifieds and find myself a 60ish widow who feels as I do. Counseling is out of the question. Bob and Libby Dole, older than I, are my Viagra idols. What to do?

A: If you have a monogamous agreement and one partner won't have sex, then you are left high and dry unless you can change the agreement or are willing to break it unilaterally. Have you tried telling your wife how you feel and enlisting her aid in solving the problem? She may see the unfairness of her position ("I won't and you can't either") and give her blessings on your finding an outside partner. While they are illegal in all states except Nevada, a commercial sex worker might be the ideal solution of presenting no emotional threat to your long marriage.

Q: When I was in junior high and I saw other naked girls in the locker room, I was aroused. My counselor told me not to worry and that it's normal for young teens to be excited and curious about others of the same sex. She said I would grow out of it. I later would have dreams in which I was kissing other girls. Once again, I was told I would grow out of it. I am now 16. My best friend has a secluded pool where, when her father is not home, we skinny dip. Five of us were skinny dipping one day. I made up a story that I heard that teens are turned on by the site of other nude teens their age to find out if others felt what I was feeling. They all laughed at the thought, so I knew I was the only one turned on by being among other nude girls. I always felt that homosexuality was a sin and that somehow you chose to be that way. I didn't choose to be this way and nobody converted me. I know no openly gay people. Help me. I don't know what to do.

A: Homosexuality is a phenomenon that shows up in a certain percentage of humans (and animals) just like left-handedness. It is no more a sin or a choice than being blue-eyed. Your friends may not all have been honest with you. The loudest putdowns of gay people often come from those who are struggling with their own same-sex feelings. Many high schools have clubs for gay, bisexual and "questing" teens and their supporters. If you're sure yours does not, look in your local telephone directory for organizations with gay, lesbian or bisexual in their name and phone for gay teen resources in your area or call the nearest chapter of PFLAG, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. If you have access to a computer there are several excellent sites on teen sexuality — www.scarleteen.com, www.teenwire.com and www.positive.org. You are definitely not alone.

Q: I am a healthy, reasonably attractive woman of 39. My husband is 43 and is very attractive as well. He notices other women and flirts often with them. The problem is that when we have sex there is absolutely no foreplay. He never gives me oral sex or even stimulates my clitoris. I'm clean and wash down there often. When we do the deed it's usually straight sex, only occasionally anal, and he ejaculates very quickly. I have had other men who seemed to enjoy the pleasures of foreplay. I love this man and his actions hurt my feelings.

A: Who is it that's been letting him just hop on and bang away? Many people are of the mindset that if it isn't broke, why fix it? If anything is going to change, you are going to have to tell him that sex with you requires fixing. Let him know what it is that you would like and exactly how. Rent or buy some videos on oral and manual caressing and be sure to get one on ejaculatory control. Men who ejaculate quickly often get right to intercourse because they are afraid that if they hold off they might climax even before their main event.

Confidential to Christine who says "my life feels so empty and I want to die." You don't have to feel this way. You are depressed and medication can help. Anyone can learn the skills of creating more satisfying relationships from a good psychotherapist. Don't put it off. Get help. Isadora Alman is a licensed marriage counselor and a board-certified sexologist. You can reach her online at her Sexuality Forum (www.askisadora.com) or by writing to her care of this paper. Alas, she can not answer questions

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