No sex for more than three years

My wife and I have been married 16 years and have two teenage kids. When we were first married, we were regularly intimate.

Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married 16 years and have two teenage kids.

When we were first married, we were regularly intimate.

Even after the kids were born, we were able to have romantic weekends several times a year.

I am now 41, and she is 39, and the last time we had sex was more than three years ago.

I know women go through changes, but when I read in your column about women who desire sex from their husbands more than once a month, or couples in their 50s, 60s and even 70s who still enjoy a healthy sex life, I thought, “Why not us?”

My wife was never inhibited, is still beautiful and sexy, and would give any 25-year-old woman a run for her money in the looks and figure departments. I stay in shape, am well-groomed and have a decent job.

I help with the laundry, the cleaning and the kids so she can spend time with her friends or go to lunch with her sisters. I’m 99 per cent sure she isn’t having an affair.

I have tried all kinds of things to get her in the mood — exotic dinners, adventurous outings, candles in the bedroom, massages and once even sent the kids away for the weekend and spent several hundred dollars on a spa afternoon.

I often just hug and kiss her with no intention of it going any further.

The mere thought of going to counselling makes me so uncomfortable. Should I just accept the fact that the last time we made love was the last time we will ever make love? — 41 and Done

Dear Done: We hope not. Your wife is much too young for such a diminished libido.

Please talk to her and suggest she see her doctor. There could be a hormonal or other medical problem that is interfering with her sex drive. If she is unwilling to discuss it, that’s when counselling can help, and we hope you will give it a try.

Dear Annie: Over the past five years, my mother has developed a pattern of alcohol abuse. She used to drink only in the early evening, but now starts in the afternoon. She consumes five or six glasses of wine before dinner and continues until bedtime. She slurs, repeats herself over and over, and sometimes cannot recall entire conversations she had the night before.

I do not believe anything my mother tells me, because I’m never sure if it is the alcohol talking. She thinks only people who drink hard liquor have an addiction, and that she couldn’t possibly be an alcoholic because she only consumes wine.

I have encouraged her to get help and offered to go with her, but she refuses. Please help. — Concerned Daughter

Dear Concerned: You can be an alcoholic even if you only drink wine or beer. It’s a matter of quantity and how it affects you. You cannot force your mother to get help if she isn’t ready to admit she has a problem. You, however, can contact Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org) at 1-888-4AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666), which is for family and friends of alcoholics.

Dear Annie: This is in response to “Confused in Riverside, Calif.,” who asked about the proper way to identify yourself after saying “hello” on the phone. The simplest way to handle the problem is to avoid it entirely by answering the phone with one’s own name. Instead of saying “hello,” say “Mary Smith speaking.” That lets the caller know immediately whether or not they have a wrong number and whether they are speaking to the person they wanted. It saves a lot of follow-up questions. I have always answered the phone that way and taught all five of my children to do the same. It is a courtesy to the caller and avoids one of life’s little speed bumps. Hope this is helpful. — Herb in Roanoke

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