This is a really embarrassing thing to ask, but my friend Sarah says the first time you go to bed with a man and he takes his clothes off, it is considered good manners to say something appreciative about his organ, and that if you don't he will think you rude. I feel incredibly embarrassed about my liaisons in the past as I had no idea about this point of etiquette. Is it true? And if so, what should I say?

Ruth, Guernsey

Uncle Ony: You write, Ruth, as if the sexual act were a social or sporting event, governed by rules and edicts of etiquette, which raises serious questions about your own sexual confidence. It will "turn a man on" to know that you appreciate his manhood. But why must the incentive to show this come from outside norms? I suggest a course of therapy to unleash your real sexual instincts as opposed to received sociosexual mores. If you would like to write to me enclosed an SAE and photograph, I may be able to fit you in for a course.

Auntie Ag: Oh don't be silly, darling. Saying things like that at an early stage will only go to a man's head and make him arrogant and insufferable. Be sparing with your compliments until you're absolutely sure he deserves them: a chap must earn his ego-boosts.

A man I have been keen on for ages has taken me out twice and now he's asked me to come to a cocktail party hosted by his boss. I have got myself into a complete state about what to wear, been shopping four times, bought two outfits which I don't feel confident about, and feel like cancelling. What shall I do?

Ursula, Harrogate.

Uncle Ony: This is extraordinary behaviour, Ursula, belying a deep insecurity and sense of personal inadequacy which - no matter how many shopping trips you make and how much you spend, you will never mask with garments. Instead of shopping, sit quietly at home with a soothing drink - perhaps a herbal tea of some kind - and a relaxation tape, and peacefully list all the reasons why this man would want you to be at his side at this event. I'm sure you will find none of them have anything to do with what you will happen to be wearing!

Auntie Ag: I completely understand, darling. We've all been there. You want to look gorgeous and perfect for the occasion but you want that so much that shopping becomes a nightmare of mental paralysis and bizarre taste aberrations. If you're not careful you'll obsess so much you'll lose all track of reality and turn up in an off-the-shoulder puff-skirted ball gown and a tiara. The answer lies in your own wardrobe. Somewhere in there is the perfect outfit which can be relied upon not to burst, ride up or show your spare tyre, and allow your glittering personality to come to the fore. All you need to find it is one evening, a nice bottle of wine, and a friend with good taste and lots of patience.

I have not had a boyfriend for a long time, and told myself this was because I was too fat. I set myself a target of losing a stone and no longer being ashamed of my body and then everything would be all right. I lost 6 lbs and was enjoying the project but then suddenly I met this fantastic boy. We have been seeing each other for a few weeks and he wants us to start sleeping together but I have still only lost 9lbs and want him to wait until I have finished improving my body in case it puts him off. He says I am mad. What should I do?

Tabetha, Lewes.

Uncle Ony: Again and again with my young female patients I come across a deep-seated sense of inadequacy, a conviction that if one lacks the body of a supermodel then one neither deserves sexual pleasure nor has the power to give it to another. It is not thinness which arouses a man, Tabetha, but the fleshly curves of a woman, their softness, roundness, their abundance, their womanliness, their welcoming, yielding ...

Auntie Ag: (Ony: take a shower.) Ugh. Don't men always come along just when you're not looking for them! But inadvertently, Ursula, you've been smart. There's everything to be said for driving a man into a frenzy of desire by making him wait, as long as he doesn't as it were, boil over. Hold him off as long as you can then when you sense he's ready to burst, capitulate, putting all thoughts of target weights firmly out of your head. By that time, I promise you, a few extra pounds are the last thing he'll be thinking about.

My boyfriend, who is always going on about what is and isn't hip has taken to picking his nose in the car in front of other drivers. I ask him not to as I find it embarrassing but he says it's now a cool thing to do, in a hip, post-modern sort of way, rather like having the likes of Tom Jones on the Jonathan Ross show used to be. I have no idea what he is talking about.

Uncle Ony: I applaud your boyfriend's approach: bringing a normal, common human response to the pressures of urban life into the open, and embracing it. It speaks of an unusual healthy, stable approach to the self within the social context. Rather than worrying about what others think, I suggest you congratulate yourself on your good fortune at spending time with such an admirable and original young fellow.

Auntie Ag: He sounds a bit of a prat to me.