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Annie's Mailbox

Ask Amy column

Q. My book club friends and I would be grateful to have you address this issue in your column. We are a group of women who consistently get berated publicly (jokingly, of course) by our husbands for having low libidos. We have all been married for 15-plus years, and the irony is we’d love to be intimate with our husbands, but they have killed it for us.

Would a smart lover pick his teeth, his nose, or his toenails in front of his partner and expect that to turn her on? Since when do weekends mean they don’t have to shower? Add enormous weight gain from gluttonous meals and boozy behavior after nightly cocktails, and you have the perfect storm.

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We love and respect our husbands, but are we turned on? Sadly, no. We’d give anything to not see what we see.

A. The simple version of what’s going on is revealed in the male/female divide of how each gender tends to view marriage. For men, being happily married means they can go native. Your husbands know you love them. The ability to relax their grooming routine is evidence that they are secure in their relationships.

Women, on the other hand, feel cherished when they see their partners making an effort. This makes them feel secure. Also, less grossed-out.

But please remember that your husbands are not Christian Grey. They will not sweep you up into a world of erotic intrigue, though it would be nice if they’d clip their toenails elsewhere.

You have ever so indelicately thrown down the gauntlet, and so I will add one item to your list of turnoffs: publicly berating/joking about something as intimate and important as your private sexual life. I can only assume that your collective husbands are bantering about this as a (pathetic) way to try to communicate with you.

Surely you could gently mention some of the things you state here to your husbands (in private). Both sides must concede that intimacy always starts with good, honest, and respectful communication.

Q. My sister-in-law has cancer. She has less than four months to live. My wife spent a lot of time with her sister over the holidays including Christmas. We had a brief breakfast of baked goods together and opened gifts, and then she took off to see her sister, leaving my son and me alone on Christmas Day.

Do I have a right to be a little miffed about being left alone on Christmas Day? This is not the first time my wife has left me alone. She has left me twice on Thanksgiving Day to sing with a women’s group at Carnegie Hall.

A. You do not have permission to be miffed about your wife spending time with her dying sister on Christmas. You do get to weigh in on the Thanksgiving trips. You seem to have blended all of these left-alone days together, and that’s not fair to your wife.

Q. Your letter from “B” about her jealous boyfriend really sent shivers up my spine. This boyfriend broke up with her because he was jealous of the fact that she tutored a male colleague during lunch hour.

This reminded me of my former boyfriend. His control started by being jealous about my friendships with men, moved on to jealousy over my friendships with women, and ultimately ended when he assaulted me.

I’m so grateful this relationship is over.

A. Your story may help other people. Thank you.

Send questions to askamy@
tribune.com
or to Ask Amy,
Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435
N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.
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