Q: I've been in a relationship with my girlfriend for five years. She's been telling me she's 54 the whole time. But that's not why I'm writing. Our sex life was pretty good, but about six months ago she began avoiding oral sex. The rest of our sex life is fine, but I want it back. What do you suggest?
Your girlfriend has been 54 for five years? Dude, you've got bigger problems than her not going downtown, as they say. You need to talk to her. First about being honest with each other and secondly about matters below the belt. Also, never pressure a partner to do something she's obviously avoiding.
And in the spirit of the holidays, ask yourself if you give as much as you hope to receive. You know what I mean.
Steve: The reluctance of couples to talk about sex, especially when there's a sudden change, always amazes me. If your girlfriend came home wearing a cat on her head, would you mention it? Ask her why she stopped and then discuss a solution or compromise. I bet you can work something out.
Q: I come from a large family. I found out more than 15 years ago that my older brother was molesting my younger brother while I slept in the same bedroom. Now I suffer horrendous guilt that I did not know what was occurring. My therapist advised me to confront my older brother, which I did via e-mail several weeks ago. I never dreamt that I would become a pariah in my family. My younger brother, an alcoholic, told me I should have minded my own business and left all that junk in the past. The older brother, I was told, is traumatized by this. My psychologist said what he is doing is a classic example of "the perpetrator making himself the victim." What do you make of this? In families where there is molestation, it is common for everyone to be in denial. Your psychologist is right: exposing this to the sunshine of truth is the first step in healing. You must work to overcome your guilt, because you did nothing wrong. I hope the rest of your family also gets counseling.
Mia: Hurray for being brave enough to break the cycle of silence. Your relatives don't appreciate what you've done yet, but you absolutely did the right thing. Continue therapy so you can finally forgive yourself.