Dear Wayne and Wanda,
I'm in my early 30s, and I have never been married. For a while now I have been looking for a serious relationship. I have done a lot of dating and am ready to move forward in life with someone I can make a life with. Because I work a lot, and sometimes have odd hours, I thought online dating would be a good way to find someone.
A few months ago, I met this guy -- we'll call him Jack. Jack is handsome, funny and has a stable job that he seems to like. We laugh a lot when we are together, and he's a good listener and always seems to ask a lot of questions about my day and my job. He seems to really want to get to know me better.
The problem is the sex. It doesn't really happen. I mean, it has happened, but it is not a regular thing. When it does happen it's fine, but I feel like I'm always the one who initiates it. I never really thought about whether I was a really sexual person or not, but I guess I am, because once a week isn't enough.
Why doesn't he want to do it more? Isn't that pretty abnormal for a 30-year-old guy? And how do I bring this up without hurting his feelings?
Sexless and sad
Wanda: Congratulations: You have connected with a man who is destined to be a really good friend. This is not a bad thing. Friendships are important. Friends are people with whom we can laugh, connect and share trust and adventures. The thing that separates our buddies from our bed buddies is, well, the bed. Without the sex, without the intimacy, without the physical affection, you're just spending time with another pal.
Yes, it is abnormal for a 30-year-old guy to come off so lukewarm. And your description of the sex as "fine" -- really, fine? You can do better. If your starting point three months in is occasional sex that's "fine," I hate to sound pessimistic, but it's likely all downhill from here. Intense chemistry will not sprout up overnight, and without an uncomfortable conversation, your established pattern of intimacy likely won't change.
Sex is important in a relationship. In last week's column, we talked about researchers' shared findings on the benefits of a healthy sex life, from a better immune system to less stress to a general level of heightened happiness.
Jack sounds like a nice guy. Do yourselves both a favor and be the one to admit this relationship isn't everything you both need.
Wayne: Wanda is correct in noting the important role that sex and intimacy play in a relationship. But she missed the complexity of this poor women's dilemma: Is she better off (Occasionally) Sexless and Sad ... or Sexless, Sad and Single like she was a few months ago?
You deserve to have it all, of course -- a perfect relationship in which you are emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and physically satisfied at all times.
That's the dream, but it's rarely reality. Relationships take effort, even the great ones, and communication is just as important as intimacy in a relationship's success, if not more so.
That means uncomfortable conversations about sex, religion, families, finances and just about any subject two people can have differences on.
If he's truly great in all those other categories, and you're truly ready for a partnership and long-term relationship, step up and have a sex talk.
Maybe he has some terrible hang-ups, maybe he has a low libido from too many Big Macs, or maybe he's just not into you. You'll never know until you talk to him.
You've worked hard to find a good guy.
Don't throw away a potential partner just because you're worried about making him feel awkward.
If he can't handle the chat, or can't handle sex, you'll know it's time to move on.
• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and believes in retail therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.