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by Abigail Van Buren

Just Saying No to Sex Is One Wife's Constant Credo

DEAR ABBY: Your series of columns on "Just Say No" amazed me. I was not aware that there was a shortage of ways to say it.

Any woman over 35 will be able to come up with at least a couple of hundred, since she uses at least one every day. My wife, who shut off intimacy 10 years ago, can furnish you with at least 1,000 suggestions.

Some of her favorites are: It's too late; it's too early; we'll wake the kids; the kids aren't asleep yet; I'm too tired; you're too tired; we just did; I've got a headache, a stomachache, a toothache, a backache ... whatever. I ate too much; I'm hungry; I drank too much; I didn't drink enough; it's too cold; it's too warm; I have to get up early; my legs are sore; my arms are sore; I just had my hair done; I should wash my hair; the bed's too hard; the bed's too soft; let's wait until next weekend; let's wait until next month; let's wait until next year.

I was told that a recent survey concerning sex showed that 90 percent of women over 35 in the USA have no interest in sex, while 96 percent of the men do, and that includes guys over 60.

So we can just forget all this nonsense about females not knowing how to say "No." It's pretty obvious that all of them are experts -- so much so that the majority of the male population over 40 is mired in chastity, thanks to a sexless majority of women. Sign me ... JUST SAY NO, MY FOOT

DEAR JUST: I am inclined to be suspicious when it comes to sex surveys. Those who do often say they don't. And those who don't sometimes say they do.

DEAR ABBY: The letter in your column from "Caring Grandparents, Nashua, N.H." made me sick to my stomach. They described how their son-in-law would play "tickle-tickle" constantly with their 3-month-old granddaughter.

I was once married to a tickler who used to constantly torture our infant daughter (and me) with tickling games. Unfortunately, I found out that while I was away at work, this sicko was "tickling" my daughter in inappropriate places. She told me when she was a toddler. I confronted him and threw him out immediately. Later during the child abuse investigation, he flunked a lie detector test.

Now after much counseling, my 11-year-old and I have learned that tickling can be a form of abuse and often masks a child abuser in the making.

Be aware: An innocent "game" could be masking something far more harmful that may cause repercussions through the victim's life. -- VICTORIA IN L.A.

DEAR VICTORIA: You are to be applauded for listening to your child and taking appropriate steps to protect her.

As I pointed out in my answer to "Caring Grandparents," pediatric specialists say that excessive tickling often results in inappropriate stimulation, and should be discouraged.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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