Snoring is one of the most anti-social human habits, and one which embarrassed women sufferers are particularly reluctant to discuss.
I have a female beauty problem which I'm embarrassed about and ashamed of. It's got so bad that it's been (quite literally) keeping me awake at night.

I snore. Don't laugh - it's hell. Ranking up there with facial hair, flatulence and foot fungus, it's one of those tragic afflictions that some women do have - though they're supposed to happen only to men.

And when I say snore, I mean snore. No, not pretty snuffles, or a mere nocturnal wheeze. I snore like a bag of potatoes. Or a train - or a combine harvester. I snore like a horse, or a bear.

"Actually it's more like a pig," said one friend who had the misfortune to share a room with me on holiday. An old boyfriend of mine use to snore like a pig, and I know how that sounds; the bedclothes billowed. Is that really me? Apparently so.

Humiliating incidents are numerous. There's the time I woke up to find the hand of the lovely man I was sleeping with hovering above my nose? (In his much disturbed sleep, he was desperately trying to snuff me out.) Or was it the time I kept eight complete strangers awake, while moored to the banks of the Nile on a felucca? While the others managed to stuff cotton wool in their ears and hunker down to some kind of snatched shut- eye, the man I was sleeping next to (think young Robert de Niro) stayed up all night with his friend, laughing at me.

"Man, it was bad," he said the next morning, letting me in on the communal joke.

"How bad?" I asked.

"You scared away the fish," he said, smirking. Looking into his handsome green eyes, I felt every ounce of sexual attractiveness drain from my body.

Now I'm self-conscious about it, and it's started seriously to affect my life. Well, my love life. While I don't have a regular Mr Right, I'm still out there dating the Mr Maybes. And because of my problem, I've begun to get evasive about sex. I'm too shy and too proud to snore in front of a man. There are some things that men don't want to know women do - such as changing a tampon and shaving legs in the bath. Snoring like a pig is one of them. While Cinderella gets to turn into a pumpkin, there's no fairy tale around in which the pretty young waif (me), in her search for Prince Charming, turns into a hog. I feel like a freak: half woman, half sasquatch. A man may go to bed with me, someone he thinks is a perfectly normal-looking woman, then, during the night - shazam! - just as in some biblical movie, she brings the furniture down around the bed. It's awful.

In the past I've used all kinds of tricks to hide my secret: adopting "fake sleep" positions until the other person is asleep (and himself snoring), running away after sex, making the man leave, keeping him up all night, disappearing mysteriously into another room.

But the problem doesn't just crop up around sex and men. It's something I don't want anyone to witness - at any time. I won't even have an afternoon snooze on the sofa if I think there's anyone else around. So attuned am I to "it" now, that when I think I'm drifting off, even around family and friends, I can sometimes even hear myself slip into that first deep, resounding snore - and manage to wake myself up. Though this doesn't always work. I've often woken up to flatmates (and their friends) standing around laughing at me.

So for now I sleep only at night - and alone. There's no other solution. I could have surgery, but surgery is the reason why I snore so badly in the first place. Four past operations on my nose have left it in a bad way. And though none of my bed partners has ever complained (because so far they've been fooled), until I meet Mr Right - the man who is going to love me for who I am (Sasquatch Girl) - I'll sleep alone.