Virginia Ironside: Dilemmas

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Dear Virginia, I'm worried because I'm not that interested in sex. At school I felt left out – friends boasted about girls, but it all seemed to pass me by. I'm now 36, and although I enjoy seeing pretty women, I just don't have much of a reaction. I have had sex, it's just that I didn't rate it a lot. I can't go to my doctor. What's wrong with me?

Yours sincerely, Simon

I love that phrase "I can't go to my doctor"! Does it mean that there is a large metal obstruction in the road which means it is simply impossible for you to physically get to the doctor? Or is it that he or she would turn you away with a rasping laugh, and then proceed to tell everyone in surgery about your problem?

Of course not. It's because you are simply too shy. Your doctor, on the other hand, has heard your problem so many times that when he doesn't look up from his notepad it won't be out of embarrassment but boredom with hearing the same old thing again and again. Go to see him or her and explain exactly what's up and he will probably either prescribe you something or send you to see a sex therapist or simply explain, as I would, that some people have lower sex drives than others.

Of course you find your situation a bore in a world where people are apparently having sex day and night, but "apparently" is the word. I'd say people generally have a lot less sex than you'd think. And a lot of them enjoy it far less than you'd imagine, too. Most people have sporadic sex lives, and get reasonable enjoyment out of it, and now and again it's a chore and now and again it's wonderful. Once you stop comparing yourself with others you'll feel a lot better.

And let's say your sex drive is rather low. Why not try to find a woman who's got a sex drive at the same level as yours? There are dozens of them about. What makes a relationship a problem is when one has a raging sex drive and one has a minimal one. But two people with rather low sex-drives can have a perfectly happy time together.

If you think I'm trivialising your problem – which I hope you don't – then I'm only trying to emphasise that yes, you may be slightly below average in the sex-drive stakes, but you're not vastly below average. And go to see your doctor. If nothing else, make an appointment, telling yourself that you needn't follow it up. Just lifting the receiver is half the battle.







Accept yourself

You sound a reasonably happy man who has a low sex drive. Nothing wrong with that unless you want to change it. So first decide if it's women you want relationships with – might a friendship with a man be more enthralling? Then understand that your main sex organ is your brain. So do you ever look at magazines or watch turn-on movies? If that isn't a great idea then just accept that you don't have a huge sex drive and have a look at your life and find the enthusiasms that you have got, or new ones you might develop.

Julia

By email







I was like you

I read Simon's dilemma with sadness that he is feeling bad about himself, and regret about the same feelings in myself years ago. I was married for 20 years, and have four (grown-up) children. So sex, obviously, was part of my married life. But then my wife left me, and I brought up the children on my own. During this period, I just got on with my life. I had numerous opportunities to have sexual relationships, but I refused them all. Not because I was in mourning for marriage (I still have a friendly relationship with my first wife). But because, and I suspect this is Simon's "problem", I hadn't met the right person yet. If and when you do, then all your concerns will be solved in the twinkling of an eye. You are just like me, and every other decent bloke on this planet. Don't worry about it. If it happens, it happens (and yes, eventually, it did happen to me). And, being the decent-sounding bloke you are, it will.

Jimmy Bates

Ledbury, Herefordshire

Next week's dilemma

Dear Virginia, Although I'm divorced from my first husband, I still really love and get on with his mother, my mother-in-law – and this is putting me in a difficult situation. She has always been incredibly kind and helpful and although she didn't take sides when we split up, she never blamed me for what happened. I've since married again, and I'm very happy, but I don't get on nearly as well with my new mother-in-law as with my old one, who I still enjoy chatting to on the phone and regularly meet for coffee etc. I know my new mother-in-law is jealous, and my husband isn't very pleased, but what can I do?

Yours sincerely, Maddy

What would you advise Maddy to do? Email your dilemmas and comments to dilemmas @independent.co.uk, or go to independent.co.uk/dilemmas. Anyone whose advice is quoted will receive a £25 voucer from the wine website NakedWines ( Nakedwines.com)

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