My partner has no interest in sex at all, whereas I probably have an overactive sex drive, so we don’t currently feel very compatible. Whenever I try to talk about it, he shrugs it off and says he’s tired or has things to do. Please help! Emma, via email
It’s time to summon your inner Miss Marple. And no, I’m not suggesting a dress-as-an-OAP sex game. I’m recommending a question-based investigation that’ll uncover your partner’s problems. You say he won’t talk about sex, but it doesn’t matter. When a man goes off intercourse, the problem isn’t sex – it’s him. Your bloke’s either overwhelmed by stress because of his work, finances or family, or he’s having second thoughts about your relationship. So ask him what’s wrong with him. If he’s stressed, you need to take some weight off his shoulders asap. And if he’s having second thoughts about your relationship, you need to discuss his issues, or simply swap him for someone who can satisfy you sexually.
I’ve been going out with my boyfriend for a year but I kissed someone else on a night out recently. I was drunk but that’s no excuse, and I’m not sure whether I can live with the guilt. I want to admit to it but I’m worried it’ll end my relationship. The kiss meant nothing to me and it’s certainly not worth splitting up over. What should I do? Kate, via email
It’s “hands up, I did wrong” time. Boyfriends can tell when their girlfriends are lying, so if you try to cover up this indiscretion, your man will sense a problem and not rest until he discovers the truth, then dump you for being deceitful. So, come clean immediately. Will he be hurt and angry? Absolutely. He’ll shout and scream. But here’s the good news: nearly all men have done something stupid when drunk. Behind the raised voice, there’s a good chance he’ll believe you. Hopefully, once he’s sure you’ve learned your lesson, he’ll open his arms and invite you back in.
People eating on public transport makes me feel physically sick. Am I alone in this, or can I ask them to put their stinky food away? Deborah, via email
Eating anything more than a boiled sweet on the bus is positively barbarian. Solid food (if you will insist on living that way) is best enjoyed in private. Anyone who orders fajitas or something similarly disgusting on a date immediately repulses me. Eating is like kissing or plucking your lady moustache: it’s a painful, messy business that no one else needs to see. Let alone on a moving vehicle full of strangers. Obviously, I wouldn’t dream of taking public transport, not even in my worst civilian nightmares (apparently black cabs “don’t count”). But I have heard tales of fried chicken, tuna sandwiches and even an egg being eaten on the tube. It’s morally imperative that you tell these eaters to desist.
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I’m looking into different ways to open up my own gym. I’ve asked the Prince’s Trust for help, but are there any other places I could try? Stephanie, via email
Dear Dr Hilary
I’ve had shingles five times and it’s really getting me down as it’s so painful. I know it is incurable but is there anything I can do to strengthen my immune system to help? Donna, via email
Shingles is a reactivation of the virus that causes chicken pox. Once you’ve had the illness, the virus lies dormant in the body, and sometimes, often years later, it can travel back down a nerve, causing a rash in the area of skin supplied by that nerve. The reactivations often occur when your immune system is weakened by stress or illness. A blood test can help identify if you have an immune disorder and then your GP can prescribe anti-viral tablets to help reduce the severity and duration of a shingles attack. As you have recurrent incidents, you may also benefit from a vaccination which will also help to reduce the pain and discomfort at each episode.
Dear Dr Hilary
I’ve been suffering from anxiety and panic attacks for seven years. I take citalopram drops in the morning, which have helped control them in the past, but I’ve been through a bad break-up and my attacks are now more frequent and intense. What can I do? Bess, via email
Panic attacks can be very distressing, but you can overcome them. Symptoms include chest pain, dizziness and feelings of terror, and they are caused by an overactive nervous system. Citalopram balances the chemicals in your brain which can ease anxiety, and it seems this was working until recent problems made things worse. Try to identify times when attacks are likely to happen and find a coping strategy. Talking to your GP about counselling or other therapies should help too. In the meantime, avoid stimulants such as caffeine, and learn some relaxation exercises at a yoga class.
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