DEAR ABBY: I am a beautiful woman in my early 30s. My husband, "Brad," is a handsome man in his late 20s. We both dress stylishly, exercise regularly and eat healthy food. We turn heads when we walk into the room. We have been married for nearly five years and are devoted to each other. We prosper in all areas except in the bedroom.
Brad seems to have no interest in sex at all. None. Zip! Our honeymoon was nothing short of amazing. We waited until after our wedding to consummate our union. Now we make love about every six weeks, if that. This is not enough for me. I gently told him that I "need more," and asked, "Is it me?" Brad says it's not me and that he feels guilty. He apologized for hurting my feelings and blames his lack of interest on being "tired." (Brad does not work long hours.)
I have tried clearing our social calendar and doing all the household chores. I suggested he go to sleep earlier in the evening and take naps whenever he needs to. I have even tried being assertive in my Victoria's Secret lingerie. Nothing has worked. Help! -- GOING WITHOUT IN THE SOUTHWEST
DEAR GOING WITHOUT: This is a question that needs to be honestly explored both separately and together. The first step is to schedule an appointment for both of you with your physician.
Not all men have raging sex drives. Your husband may need his testosterone levels checked, or he may suffer from performance anxiety -- or have other issues. Your problem will not be resolved until you are both able to pinpoint exactly what the problem is. Please don't wait any longer.
DEAR ABBY: Four years ago, I hired a woman to help me with household chores I could no longer handle. (I am 83 and in poor health.) "Nelly" came for two hours every other week and was a great help. She started out at $10 an hour, and last year she requested her hourly rate be raised to $12.50. I obliged.
During Nelly's visits, I learned about her family: a "macho" husband who showed her little respect; a daughter with a jailbird boyfriend and a pack of kids; and several brothers who cheated her out of her inheritance from her parents.
I liked Nelly and I felt sorry enough for her to consider leaving her a bequest in my will. It was my way of saying thank you beyond what I paid her.
A few weeks ago, I noticed some jewelry and $150 in cash were missing from my bureau. Among the missing items were two rings that had been given to me by my late husband. They were of great sentimental value to me.
No one other than Nelly and I had been in my bedroom. I suppose the temptation was too much. Finally I asked her if she'd seen the missing items. She claimed she hadn't. However, the next evening she called and said that her husband no longer wanted her to work for me because she was "needed at home."
Should I confront her and demand that my jewelry and money be returned? Nelly cleans for other folks I know, and perhaps they need to be warned. -- PUZZLED AND ANGRY IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR PUZZLED AND ANGRY: Do not confront Nelly -- and do not do anything that would spread rumors. DO call the police and report the missing items. Tell them who was in your home at the time the items went missing and let them investigate. It's their job.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600