DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been married for quite a while, and our intimate life became monotonous and unimaginative a long time ago. Over the years I have suggested we try things like role-playing and other non-extreme variations during intimate times. My suggestions were met with rolling eyes and retorts like, "I'm your wife, not a hooker." I finally gave up and try to be content with what we have together.
Then one evening she surprised me and did one of the things I had suggested. It was very nice and she seemed to like it, too. I didn't know what to say to her. "Thank you" somehow seemed condescending. We have done nothing like it since.
I doubt if the answer is in the etiquette books. What should I have said to her to let her know how much I appreciated her loosening up and hope it will perhaps make her more comfortable spicing things up in the future? -- ETIQUETTE ADVOCATE IN SAN DIEGO
DEAR ADVOCATE: Praise is a powerful incentive. Flowers would have been nice. But since you didn't send any, try this: Invite your wife out to dinner at a nice restaurant. Tell her how surprised and delighted you were with the special surprise she gave you. A small gift to commemorate the occasion couldn't hurt either.
A satisfying sex life is all about communication, and if my mail is any indicator, if more wives were uninhibited in the bedroom, there would be a lot less business for the "professionals."