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Should she tell her boyfriend that she's inexperienced?

Q: I'm 23 years old, female and primarily heterosexual. I've never even been in a relationship. I'm starting to date a man who is a bit older and far more experienced than I am. I am very smitten and want to have sex with him, but I'm terrified that he'll notice that I hardly even know how to kiss.

Should I tell him about my ineptitude in advance? (I'm willing to take constructive criticism.) I'd like to be honest with him, but he has expressed concern about our age disparity, and I don't want to reinforce that sentiment.

A: There's the story of the Victorian mother who on her daughter's wedding night said this about having sex: "Lie back and think of England." As a female, you are in the enviable position of not having to perform. Let yourself enjoy what is happening, and let him lead. Since you are a virgin, he may discover that — but not necessarily, because young women are so physically active these days that many break their hymen before ever having intercourse.

Keep in mind that he had sex with younger women when he was younger, so nothing that happens should surprise him. If having intercourse is very painful because your hymen is intact, tell him. But there's no guarantee that you'll run into any big problems, so don't anticipate them. Remember, having sex comes naturally. There's a good chance that you won't be able to have an orgasm. If you're nervous, that can happen, plus most women can't have an orgasm from intercourse alone — though if he is a good lover he'll try to give you an orgasm in other ways.

But again, if he's experienced, he'll have encountered women who can't have an orgasm every time and will know that things probably will get better. I would recommend reading a book on sex, like my "Sex for Dummies," just so you have a good idea of what is supposed to happen.

Q: I have had a romantic relationship with one of my close male friends for about two years now. (We've never made it official.) He recently told me he has decided to be abstinent, not for religious reasons, but because he "doesn't have time" for sex. What man doesn't make time for sex? I'm confused and hurt, because he is my only sexual partner to date.

A: I completely understand your confusion, and I don't have an answer. I, like you, don't buy his excuse of not having enough time, but I can't tell you exactly what is going on here, based on so little information. I think you have to tell yourself that this situation is not tenable. You have to risk losing him by forcing the issue. I'm not saying you should force him to have sex, but rather sit down and have him explain to you what this relationship means to him.

If he won't commit — and that includes being your sexual partner — then it's time for you to move on. It's sad, but there's no reason to remain in a relationship that is becoming less and less the type of relationship that you are seeking for yourself.

Q: My fiance and I have been together for almost five years. I am 30, he is 42. In the past month, he was diagnosed with kidney failure. He is now doing dialysis three days a week, and he has lost vision in his left eye due to the hypertension that caused the renal failure. On top of that, I take him to all of his medical appointments, and he was recently hospitalized again due to internal bleeding. Also, we have three small children to add to the mix.

With everything that is going on, he still tries to have sex with me on the days when he feels good and has lots of energy. I try to have sex, but with everything we have going on, I have no desire. We tried to have sex recently, but I just couldn't get into it. I told him, "Let's try some foreplay," but he said he wanted to try to do it before he lost his erection. Since he has been sick, he feels that he is half the man he was.

What can we do to rekindle the flame we once had?

A: There is a French saying that says "appetite comes from eating." In other words, sometimes you're not hungry, but when you sit down to eat and taste the first mouthful, you become hungry. So with regard to sex, if your husband says he wants to have sex, go ahead. If you're not aroused, use some lubricant. If he has an orgasm before you are ready, then have him give you an orgasm using his fingers or engage in oral sex, or even use a vibrator. If you give up on sex, then it will be much harder to re-establish your sexual relationship. But if you keep it active, by whatever means, then when things settle down, you won't be starting from scratch.

Dr. Ruth Westheimer is the author of "Dr. Ruth's Sex After 50" (Quill Driver Books) and "Sex for Dummies" (IDG Books). Have a question for Dr. Ruth? Write to her at

Distributed by King Features Syndicate

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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