Boyfriend's physical limitations pose obstacle to new love

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Q: I am a 55-year-old divorced woman in a serious relationship with a great guy. He is widowed and has been single for 15 years. He and I have a great friendship and a loving relationship. There is one problem: He is a diabetic and has erectile dysfunction due to neuropathy. Other than that, he is the best guy I have ever met. I have fallen in love with this man and want to have a future with him. I need some ideas that do not include surgery for him.

A: I'm assuming that he has seen his doctor and has been told that pills like Viagra aren't appropriate for him. If that's so, then you have two choices. The first is to have him pleasure you using his tongue, his fingers or a vibrator; you don't need to be able to have intercourse in order to have a satisfying sex life. Or, if you absolutely need to feel his penis inside you, then he could get a penile implant. This does involve surgery, but it is a relatively minor surgery.

Q: I'm 21 and have never really dated. Up until a few months ago, I had very little interest in anything related to love and sex. Now, however, I find myself getting interested, but I'm realizing how little experience I have. Am I just maturing at a slower rate than normal? Will my desires and reactions become more intense? Are there other ways I can experiment without having a boyfriend? I'm becoming anxious that now that I want an intense (both physical and emotional) relationship, I am too naive and unpracticed to get one.

A: There are many women who don't feel very aroused unless they have a significant other, so don't worry about your lack of sexual feelings yet. Yes, you may be maturing at a slower rate, but you are changing, so just let things come naturally. Had you forced yourself to have a boyfriend earlier, the relationship might have been damaging. So just go about the process of meeting some young men. I promise that if you and a young man hit it off, everything will fall into place naturally.

Q: I'm currently dating a man who is 14 years older than I am. I really do like him, and we have great chemistry. He also has a 14-year-old daughter he has raised on his own as a single father. I met him at my job. I'm willing to take the relationship further, but I don't like his financial situation, and I want him to pursue his dream of becoming a nurse. Additionally, my mother is highly against this relationship because of his age. Can this relationship work? Is there something wrong with us being together because of our age?

A: Can this relationship work? It could, but the age difference will add complications. For example, he has a child, and he might not want a baby at his age, but you might. The list of other potential pitfalls is long, but just as I can't say it will work, I also can't say it won't.

In the end, it's your life, so the gamble also is yours. Just don't assume that this relationship is likely to be as problem-free as one with someone closer to your age, because the difference in your ages definitely will have some negative aspects, some of which may be predictable — which is why your mother is concerned — and some which may not be.

Q: My husband used to watch porn on occasion, and his favorites were things like threesomes and foursomes and switching partners and things like that. One day I asked him if he wanted to do those things for real, and he said no, that they are just nice on paper and not something he wanted to do, but the way he said it made it sound like he definitely would consider switching partners if he could. Does wanting to do those things mean a person would? Is it OK to like the idea of doing things like that? Should I be worried? For the record, we have a great relationship and would never cheat on each other.

A: Have you ever watched a movie and in one scene the star went out and bought an expensive gown, spent hours in a salon being pampered and then donned fabulous jewels to go out to some event, and then you said yourself, "I wish I could do that"? Movies make us dream; that's part of their appeal. And though maybe you can't fly like Superman, you could join a threesome or could blow a portion of your life's savings on one night out, but most of us don't. We enjoy watching the movie, and may enjoy putting ourselves in the movie in our minds, but it doesn't mean that we're going to actually do the things we enjoyed watching. So just accept what your husband said and stop worrying.

"Sex for Dummies" (IDG Books) is among Dr. Ruth Westheimer's books. Write to her at drruth.com.

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