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Am I doing it wrong?

Dear Annie: I am 46 years old and have one problem. I hate sex.

Everyone, including my boyfriend of seven years, thinks there’s something wrong with me. I’m sure there is, but I have hated having sex since I was first intimate. I can’t believe he has stayed with me this long.

I don’t like to be touched by anyone. As soon as someone gets close, I move away so they don’t accidentally brush against me. I force myself to have sex with my boyfriend and pretend I enjoy it because I know it’s not fair to deny him. But the whole time we are being intimate, I’m thinking, “Is this ever going to end?” What is wrong with me?

— Maryland Miss

Dear Maryland: Sex should be a pleasurable activity. There are people who are disinterested or ambivalent about sex. But someone who dislikes being touched may have psychological issues that were not resolved or sensory issues that were never addressed. We commend you for being willing to work on this. Please talk to your doctor and also contact AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists) at aasect.org. They may be able to guide you toward a healthier, happier outlook.

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Dear Annie: I am a first-time grandma to a beautiful baby girl. We live in the same town. I offered to be the caregiver at their home, but my daughter-in-law prefers to take the baby with her on a 50-mile round-trip to a daycare near her job. I was devastated by that decision, but accepted it.

What I’m having trouble understanding is how often I see the baby. During my few short visits, I have not felt comfortable in their home. I communicate with my son because my daughter-in-law seems very standoffish. I told my son I don’t wish to be a burden on their household routine, but twice I made arrangements to see the baby only to be told on the day of that visit that I had to leave after 30 minutes. The last visit was five weeks ago.

I phoned my son and begged to see the baby more often. He agreed at the time that once a week (depending on their schedule) was not unreasonable. I set up an hour visit for this week, and when I arrived at their door, they were preparing to leave the house. My visit, which meant so much to me, was totally forgotten.

My son and his wife have known each other only 13 months. Between the pregnancy, the marriage, the birth and moving into their home, I know it’s been stressful, so I’ve tried to be patient. What is a reasonable expectation for visiting the new baby?

— Want To Know My Granddaughter

Dear Want: There is no definitive timetable for visiting. It depends on the flexibility and schedules of those involved, as well as the willingness of the participants. Your daughter-in-law apparently is not keen on having you around, and your son is caught in the middle. Don’t push. Instead, make it your goal to become closer to your daughter-in-law. Be her friend. Call her. Ask how she’s doing. Let her know you value her and think she’s a good wife and mother. See whether you can arrange an excursion to the mall or a concert — whatever interests her. If you can help her to be more comfortable around you, the visits will likely increase.

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Dear Annie: Please tell “Need Help,” the teenager who has mood swings, that most teachers check their email throughout the summer and during school vacations. No matter when it is, most of us are just an email away. We still care about our students, regardless of whether it’s summertime, winter vacation or spring break. That letter broke my heart. It sounds like a student I had this year. I hope he emails me.

— Teacher in Louisville, Ky.

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Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

— Creators Syndicate Inc.

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