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Bed lieutenant

I'm 34; my husband of a year is 28. We didn't live together or have sex before marrying because I have a child and didn't feel this was appropriate behavior to model. We did discuss sex to figure out whether we'd be sexually compatible. He was fairly inexperienced, but sex is now all he wants and talks about, and he's constantly groping me. I enjoy sex and am fine having it every other day, but it's starting to seem like the only way he can relate to me. I'd appreciate occasionally hearing I look nice without him adding that he'd like to have sex with me right then and there.

Yesterday, I even feigned illness so he'd give me a break. He said he hoped I'd feel better soon — then blurted out what he'd do to me when I did! No matter how gently I ask him to back off a bit, he gets hurt and says he doesn't understand what he's doing wrong. He's very good to me, tries to make me happy, and even sits through the ballet with me, although I'm sure he loathes it. I'd just like to give him a hug without it turning into sex. — Getting Way Too Lucky

The guy really knows how to romance a woman — the kind you pull out of a bag and inflate.

Good thing you two "discussed" sex before signing a contract to spend the rest of your lives together: "Orgasms? All for 'em!" "Wow ... me, too!" Consider yourself lucky that you aren't even more sexually incompatible.

As for your reason for abstaining, that sex before marriage isn't "appropriate behavior to model" for your kid, come on. What happens in Motel 6 stays in Motel 6 — providing you don't sit Junior down for a little chat about your sex life: "Mommy always stops at third base so you won't drop out of school and end up turning tricks for crack."

It seems your husband's never had to finesse sex out of a woman and sees no reason to start trying now. This isn't to say he's a bad guy. After all, he goes to the ballet with you, which suggests he's either trying really hard to please or he never quite recovered from that head injury.

Like many men, he makes the mistake of only hugging, kissing and touching when he wants some. But, like many women, you need to feel connected emotionally to feel good about going at it. No, you two didn't have sex before marriage, but you're not likely to continue having it long afterward if he keeps confusing seduction with feeling up livestock at auction — grabbing your udders to see if you're a good milker.

It's up to you to get through to him. But, don't wait until a moment of conflict, like when you get sick and he feels bad, then makes you feel worse when he expresses it: "Oh, please don't die and leave me here all horny."

Take him out to dinner — someplace with a big long table between you. Don't criticize him; as you've seen, it's a poor motivator for him and probably most men. Praise him for all the ways he's great in bed, and tell him the little things he could do to turn you on even more. Keep telling him until he finally gets it — that when you daydream about the way he makes you feel, it's best that it doesn't have a whole lot in common with walking past a construction site in a really short skirt on your way to be groped on the subway.

Wood if he could

You helped me exit a bad relationship with an extremely sexy but not-so-nice woman. I've started dating a very nice woman, but she's about 40 pounds overweight, and I'm not getting aroused. We've tried sleeping together several times, but I cannot stay ... well, you know, serviceable. Where do I go from here? — Limp

Your body is trying to tell you something: "I don't care how sweet she is compared to the last girl, we're not going in there." And don't think you're doing her any favors, either.

There are those men who are hot for the meatier ladies. She might be in the company of one of them if she wasn't waiting around for your limp biscuit to rise. What is this, penance for dating a woman you actually found attractive, at least on the outside? We all have minimum standards for looks, personality and character, and it's kindest to refrain from getting involved with anyone who doesn't meet yours. As much as you might want to want fat and sassy, if you're hot for "welcome to the dark side" with a figure like a paper cut, all you're ever going to be screaming in bed is "I swear this never happens."

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail adviceamy@aol.com. Read her blog and more at advicegoddess.com).

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