Dear Abby: Dating experience suffers in sex-obsessed culture

Published 9:29 am Saturday, May 1, 2021

DEAR ABBY: I am a 48-year-old woman, divorced for 10 years. During that time, I have been in two serious relationships. I’m no prude, but it seems like everyone I date, and who my friends and I talk to, and articles I see are all about sex, having sex, rushing to sex. It’s like there’s no emphasis on actually getting to know a person anymore.

I’d like to believe that sex is something people who are already emotionally intimate can share. But by the third date, sex is not only expected but considered “normal.” When I say that it’s too soon for me, I’m not called back for another date. If I do go forward with sex, I feel compromised and cheapened when the “relationship” ends. These men didn’t take the time to actually know ME.

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Please understand. I’m mature enough to handle this, but I’m deterred from dating because of it. Are there any men out there who want a connection that isn’t just physical? — NOT CONNECTING IN MISSOURI

DEAR NOT CONNECTING: Yes, there are. But in our hookup culture, it may take time to find them. I agree that we live in a sex-obsessed society, as we are constantly reminded in print, television, film and online media. Many men in your age group avoid emotional intimacy because they have been divorced and don’t want to quickly jump back into a committed relationship.

It’s possible you might have better luck if you join activity groups in which the members have common interests besides running right off to the bedroom. You should never allow yourself to be coerced into doing anything you don’t feel ready for. Unlike what some people may believe, sex does not automatically go with the dinner.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been together for 10 years and were legally married a year ago. Our wedding was last-minute because my mother asked us to move the date up and make it happen fast. We obliged because she was very sick at the time, and we put the wedding together in nine days. The ceremony was beautiful. My mother passed away days later. It is obvious to me now that she knew she was terminal; however, I did not.

Since the date of her death is so close to our anniversary, it’s a very emotional and hard time for me. I would prefer to celebrate on a different day, perhaps the anniversary of our first date. My husband tells me that while he understands it’s hard for me, the date of our legal ceremony is important to him and worthy of celebration. I just don’t feel much like celebrating. Although I know it’s not fair to him, all I want to do is mourn the loss of my mother. How should I handle this? — BITTERSWEET MEMORIES IN FLORIDA

DEAR BITTERSWEET: A compromise is in order. Explain again to your husband that because you lost your mother only a year ago, and this will be the first anniversary after her death, you would prefer to either forgo a celebration this year or celebrate on a different date. Assure him that your sadness will lessen eventually, and when it does, you will be fine celebrating your wedding anniversary with him in the future.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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