I’m 43 and in love with a woman who shys away from sex whenever she can. She is better if we do something that doesn’t involve looking at or touching with hands, when i look in her eyes andrub my thigh against her, but she still has a hard time with that. She says she is aroused she just is nervous.

I want to help her, and I want to have sex, make love, more than once a year with her. We can be naked and touch each other above the belt and she has offered to pleasure me, I have declined because I want to pleasure her as much as I want pleasure myself. I love her so much. how can I help?

A: I’m sure this is painful for you both. She doesn’t like disappointing you. You don’t like feeling frustrated that you can’t enjoy the intimacy of sex with her.

What you didn’t mention is whether your lover ever had a traumatic sexual experience. Often the root of such “shyness” is a bad experience (maybe more than one bad experience). Another possible explanation is discomfort with her sexuality. She may experience your requests for intimacy as demands she quite literally can’t “hand-le”.

In either case, the issue isn’t about your relationship. It’s about hurt, confusion, shame or pain. If that is the situation, you’ll need to take a huge step back and help her through it. This may include finding a therapist to help the two of you become comfortable expressing your love sexually. Your caring and patience may be what will help her start to enjoy this important and tender expression of love.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie