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I really don’t want to sound selfish but my problem is that her  drive is at an all-time low and I’m like any red-blooded male and want intimacy from time to time

Dear Coleen
Both myself and my partner of six years are in our early 50s and for the past three years she as been going through the menopause with its associated symptoms – night sweats, mood swings and so on.

I believe, in fact I’m sure, that I have supported her very well during this time with this and other work and family problems that have cropped up.

I really don’t want to sound selfish but my problem is that her sex drive is at an all-time low and I’m like any red-blooded male in that I want intimacy from time to time.

I have always had a high sex drive, but for most of the time was happy to fit in with my partner’s lower  drive.

Lately, however, she is saying that is not important to her any more and that she could live without it.

It really hurt me when she said that because I love her deeply.

On the occasions when I’ve initiated , more often than not I get rejected, which leaves me feeling even more frustrated and neglected.

I don’t know if I can live in a platonic relationship for the rest of my life without any physical intimacy at all.

I have asked her to mention her low sex drive to her doctor, which she says she’s done. I’m not sure she has or wants to.

Please help.

Coleen says
Sex drive can be hugely affected by the menopause.

I don’t know if she’s taking HRT, but this could help balance her emotions and boost energy and wellbeing, so can indirectly improve sex drive.

It would be worth her discussing treatment options with her GP.

Oestrogen cream and pessaries can make sex easier and more pleasurable. Maybe you could offer to go to the GP with her.

It’s important not to blame her or make her feel pressured because she’ll be even less likely to want intimacy.

Tell her what you’ve told me – you feel hurt she doesn’t want to be intimate because you love her and fancy her, and you’re not ready to give up sex.

You’re in a relationship, so you have to listen to each other and make the effort to work things through.

In any long-term relationship, sex goes off the boil sometimes and you need to make the effort to get it back on track.

It’s an important part of a relationship and unless you’re both on the same page you’re unlikely to have a long-term future together.

I’m 16 and my parents still don’t trust me

GettyMother and daughter having an argument

Dear Coleen

I’m a 16-year-old girl and my parents don’t trust me.

I don’t have a mobile phone and I’m not allowed to go on social networking sites.

In fact, I’m barely allowed out!

I have done some things in the past that I regret, but it all happened a year ago and I don’t know how to make my mum and dad give me more leeway.

I really like a boy, but I’m scared to tell them about it.

He keeps inviting me over to his place and I keep making excuses because I don’t want to tell him it’s because I’m not allowed.

All I want is for my parents to trust me to go and see him for a few hours or for him to come over to our house.

How can I convince them to let me have a bit of a social life?

Coleen says

I don’t know what happened last year to make them clamp down on you like this.

In their defence, it’s pretty terrifying being a parent in this day and age and it’s easy to fall into the trap of being overprotective.

There’s a little part of every parent that wants to keep their kids home with them all the time, wrapped in cotton wool.

Obviously, that’s not fair or realistic, but don’t do anything behind their backs because if they find out, you will have blown it.

The more you let them down, the less they’ll trust you.

You need to try to reach a compromise that you’re all happy with, so explain to them in a mature way how you’re feeling.

Tell them you understand why they’re reacting the way they are because you’ve let them down before.

Ask if this boy can come round to yours because that way they can meet him and they’ll see you’re trying to be honest and responsible.

In terms of social networking, the compromise might be using those sites on a shared computer or telling them your password.

It’s not ideal but in the short term it’s something that might help them to trust you.

If you stick to their rules, they’ll feel confident to let go a bit more.

They’re behaving like this because they care – that’s the positive way of looking at it.

All I see is how ugly and fat I am
GettyScared Young WomanScared Young Woman
Dear Coleen

I already have terrible self-esteem – I look at myself and all I see is how ugly and fat I am, but something recently has me feel even worse.

I received an email from a guy in one of my college classes, first through his mate’s email, and then he sent me a message directly.

He basically said I was sexy and that he wanted to kiss me, but I struggle to believe it because when he wrote the email I was in the same room and he was laughing.

And I know no one thinks I’m pretty, so of course I’m sceptical.

I just don’t know how I’m going to bounce back from this.

When I read the email, all I wanted to do was run out of the room and cry.

Coleen says

Whoa! Hold your horses!

You’re assuming he was making fun of you because your self-esteem is at rock bottom.

You don’t believe you’re attractive, so you can’t imagine anyone would find you sexy.

He might have been laughing because he was embarrassed or excited.

Try to put this incident out of your mind and focus on your self-esteem, changing how you see yourself and how you look at the world.

Of course, it’s easier said than done, but there are great books on building self-esteem and you could think about joining clubs to improve your social confidence.

It doesn’t matter what friends or family say, it’s your own mind-set you have to get tough with.

You must learn to see the positives.

You’re young, clever and healthy, and have your life ahead of you – those are just a few to get on with.


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