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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Like many others, I never thought I'd be writing to you. My husband and I have been married for 20 years. About two years ago, he started getting very bullheaded and selfish -- even the people at work mentioned it.

Our sex life was always OK until about two months ago, when he bought a video camcorder and announced that he wanted to videotape us having sex! Abby, I have never been a prude, but that's where I draw the line. I tried to talk him out of it, but he said he would not have sex with me again unless it was on film.

I asked him to go to counseling with me. He refused -- saying I was the one with the problem. I asked him to have a medical checkup. He refused. I tried to tell him how degrading it would be for me, etc., but to no avail. He has been badgering me every night for two months!

I am at my wit's end. I am sick to death of his badgering, and I don't know what to do. I've even thought of divorcing him, but I still love him, and we are just approaching the time when we could travel and enjoy life. I'm signing my real name, city and state, but please don't use them in your column, as I would be very distressed if anyone we knew found out about this. -- LIVING A NIGHTMARE

DEAR LIVING: You surely know that your husband is a sick man. You absolutely must get him to a doctor for a psychiatric evaluation. Please don't treat this as anything other than a potentially life-threatening illness. Your husband's behavior could be symptomatic of a brain disorder (possibly a tumor). You must talk to your family physician about your husband's sudden personality change. And please write again and give me a progress report.

DEAR ABBY: Maybe you can shed some light on a problem that has been bothering me. Can you tell me why my husband, who is nearly 70 (but in excellent health), has in recent years become more and more "allergic" to soap and water?

Many of my friends of approximately the same age have confided to me that they have the same problem with their husbands. Is there a psychological or physiological explanation for this behavior -- or is it just another way men have of aggravating their wives? -- COLUMBUS, GA.

DEAR COLUMBUS: I have heard this complaint before, but it applies to women as well as men. There is no single explanation, but I offer the following: As a person ages, one's senses -- hearing and sight -- grow dull, so why not the sense of smell as well?

Some older people may find it difficult or inconvenient to bathe daily. It's also possible that they do not change their undergarments daily. Arthritis might also make it painful to wash themselves thoroughly.

CONFIDENTIAL TO "GOT IT BAD IN HARTFORD, CONN." Please send "Mr. Wonderful" on his way. There is no situation as hopeless as a single woman who's got it bad for a married man who never had it so good.

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