Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
Jan. 31 2002 3:04 PM

Freeloaders, "Frigerati," and the Sex-Free Zone

Get "Dear Prudence" delivered to your inbox each week; click hereto sign up.Please send your questions for publication to prudence@slate.com. (Questions may be edited.)

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Dear Prudence,

I'm 19, and I've known my wife (she's 22) for two and a half years, and we were married a week ago. We can't afford a honeymoon at the moment, so it's just business as usual. We haven't ever had sex, as she never appeared interested. When we talked about it, she said she wanted to wait until we were married. I agreed and never pressured her for sex. But getting closer to the wedding date, she started joking that we wouldn't be having sex even after we were married. And then the jokes turned into reality: She doesn't want to have sex with me at all. And it doesn't look like she will want to anytime soon. Of course, I will stay with her regardless and would never pressure her or make her feel guilty ... I love her more than anything, and I respect her too much. I don't see the point in having sex with someone if they don't want to be doing it. But I can't really understand why she has no interest in sex. She says she finds me attractive, but it's hard to keep believing it. What's your take on my situation?

—Rather Disappointed

Dear Rath,

Your, uh, marriage sounds like a roommate arrangement in a monastery. This woman is clearly one of the frigerati and is in need of psychiatric help. However ... when you say that you "respect her too much" to make an issue of the no-sex clause in your marriage, this suggests that perhaps both of you should get into counseling. You are not a bad person or a sex maniac to want and expect a physical relationship. It is a part of marriage. Pardon the pun, but there is a screw loose in this situation, and Prudie hopes you and the virgin bride will get some professional help sooner rather than later.

—Prudie, amazedly

Dear Ms. Prudence,

I am under 28, and my guy is 22, and we have been seeing each other for about seven months now. In my mind I know the truth, but confirmation is needed. When we go out, I pay. When it's a holiday, he doesn't call. The last time we made love was two months ago. We were scheduled to attend a concert, and he promised to pay for everything—then he indicates he's strapped for cash. My issue is, when should this get cut off? I feel a little used. Financially, I am more able to provide for things, but the level of interest on his part has waned, though he won't let go totally. I need to put a stop to his using me and say goodbye. But how?

—GLAMA GAL

Dear GLAM,

Has someone shot you with a tranquilizer dart? What can possibly be keeping you from unloading this inattentive freeloader who is, essentially, inhabiting a sex-free zone? The thing to say is: "Goodbye." Both of you are far too young for two month intervals between intimate encounters—particularly since one of you is remarking on the absence. The strapped-for-cash business is the kiss of death, and the fact that you feel used says it all.

—Prudie, certainly

Dear Prudence,

I have no idea of your position on smokers, but here goes anyway. I am a smoker. I am a very careful and considerate one, or I try to be. I don't smoke in the presence of nonsmokers, even in my own home. I stand far from the door if I am outside of an establishment smoking and hold my breath if anyone happens to walk by. I do not throw cigarette butts on the ground. You get the idea. My problem is, there seems to be a group of nonsmokers who just cannot leave it alone. Some think they are helpful, and some are just plain mean. I am aware of every single bad result of my habit and will quit when I get the nerve up and would heartily appreciate not being nagged by perfect strangers. As for the rude ones, I have had people walk halfway across a park to berate me for smoking; people have twice approached me when I wasn't smoking to tell me that I stunk of cigarette smoke. None of these people did I know. Tell me, is it open season on smokers, where all manners are tossed by the wayside?

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