Me and my boyfriend of two years used to have sex every time we saw each other, but now he’s got a new job and works six days a week, and I’m lucky if I get even a quick bit of action before he falls asleep. I’ve tried sexy lingerie and being spontaneous, but nothing seems to work! Do you have any suggestions? Jessica, via email
I have suggestions galore, but none of them will help, because nothing will change until your man’s workload lessens. So how long is he going to have to work like a slave and how important is this new job to him? If he thinks things will calm down in a month and it’s his dream occupation, then patiently count the days to Project Sexathon. And if he can’t see an end and it’s just a job, suggest he chucks it and seeks something better. He won’t resign, or it’s been a month and nothing’s changed? Tell him you love him, but you also need to see him, so you’re giving him a choice: work fewer hours or receive your boyfriend P45.
I’m a woman in my late 20s and for the last five years I’ve been attracted to other women. I’ve had two boyfriends before but probably wasn’t in love with them. Nothing has ever happened between me and another woman and I’m wondering if I should try it out so I know for sure, but I’m scared about what this would mean. Please help. Name withheld, via email
You might be a lesbian. You could be bisexual. Or you might not have found the right man yet. I don’t know and you won’t either unless you take a chance. I don’t mean you should lunge at the first woman you meet. Join a dating site, say you’re interested in men and women and look for someone you fancy. Then ask them out. If they say no, move on. And if they say yes, meet up. Work out whether you like their brain as much as their body. If you don’t, ditch them. If you do, keep seeing them. And if it turns out you are a lesbian – who cares? It’s a sexual orientation, not a deadly condition.
Having invented a product, I now want to find out about getting a prototype made and marketing my idea. I know funding is available from the Government but I don’t know who the best innovative companies are to approach. Do you have any advice? Claire, via email
If possible you should try to make a handmade prototype. This will ensure that the product will function as planned. Alternatively, you might find that creating a 3D model using computer aided design (CAD) would be sufficient. CAD models can sometimes be enough to secure funding from investors. In terms of government funding, visit Gov.uk for details, as well as expert advice and support.
I’m in year 11 at school and I’d love to be a learning mentor in a secondary school. How do I pursue this career? Name withheld, via email
You should discuss this with your careers advisor at school. They will be able to offer specific advice about this role and may also be able to help set up a work placement for you when the time is right. You could also volunteer to help out at after-school clubs, Brownies or sports clubs. The National Careers Service also offers detailed information on the skills and qualifications you would need to pursue a career in your desired role. Visit Nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk for details.
Dear Dr Hilary
Every night I lie in bed for hours and just can’t get to sleep. When I finally drop off, I wake up a couple of hours later. Recently, I’ve been having vivid, violent nightmares, so when I wake up, I’m sweating and my heart is racing. I’ve tried sleeping tablets, but they made me feel drowsy the next day. Sabina, via email
You need to establish a strict sleep routine. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time even if you feel tired. Never nap and avoid alcohol and stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and eating within two hours of bedtime. Exercise during the day to tire you out and eradicate the stress hormones that can cause nightmares. Try to resolve any problems making you anxious, and have a relaxing bath and a hot milky drink before bed to enourage sleep. An occasional non-addictive antihistamine sleeping pill, such as Nytol, is helpful, but don’t take sedatives every night or for more than a few days.
Dear Dr Hilary
My calf muscle has felt really tender for the past eight weeks. It doesn’t look bruised but it feels like it is, and it’s a bit puffy. I’m sure it’s not a pulled muscle as I don’t really exercise. Manish, via email
You need to see your GP urgently to rule out a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot in the major vein inside your leg. This would explain the bruised feeling and the slight swelling you describe. Being overweight, not exercising and, for women, being on the pill all make you more vulnerable to DVT. You need to check this out urgently because if a blood clot is present, it can break off and start to move upwards towards your lungs, causing more serious problems. Don’t delay any longer and visit your GP straight away.
My teenage stepdaughter is really badly behaved. How can I put my foot down and still make her like me? Sandra, via email
The key to stepchildren is to treat them just as you would your own kin. In my case that means being as cold as an ice cube and praying they leave home as soon as possible. But it sounds like this brat needs an intervention. There’s absolutely nothing worse for a teenage girl than a mum who thinks she’s down with the kids. So start going with her to gigs, tagging along to parties and stalking whoever her beau du jour is (I hear that Harry Styles is quite a goer). You’ll soon find that she’d rather stay locked in a darkened room weeping than go anywhere with you. So you see, maximum evil stepmother effect, minimum effort. And no poisoned apples required.