I can't bear sex with the light on
Q MY boyfriend has started asking me to turn the light on when we're having sex. I've always been self-conscious about my body and feel much more comfortable having sex in the dark.
One night, he got really annoyed and went and got the emergency torch from the boot of his car and crawled under the duvet with it until I screamed so loudly he had to stop. I also refuse to kick the duvet off when we're having sex in the morning. I've tried to compromise by lighting a candle in the bedroom, but he said it was like having sex with my shadow.
I also think I won't be relaxed enough with the light on to have an orgasm and this will spoil sex for me.
A This is obviously a deeply personal matter, but one that is beginning to take its toll on your relationship. Men, by their very nature, are visual creatures, and it is understandable that he gets more turned on by seeing your naked body during sex.
This is perfectly normal. It seems to me that your issue stems from a lack of body confidence and a concern about what he might think of you.
Please try not to worry as he's with you because he likes you just the way you are. My advice is to really look at the reasons why you feel this way and work on changing your mindset.
Speak to your boyfriend about your worries as he will help to reassure you. It would be hugely liberating for you to change your attitude and learn to love yourself.
Q I am 14 and always seem to disappoint my mum. When we're out and meet people she'll say something like, "You'll have to excuse my daughter, she got dressed in a hurry." I love hoodies and she hates them.
Or if anything about school comes up (I'm fairly average in all my subjects) she'll say something like, "I'm glad I work so hard to pay your fees as you're clearly gaining so much academically."
Recently, she said she must have done something wrong in a previous life to end up with a daughter who is going to bake cupcakes for a living. I love baking and think I'm okay at it, but she says anyone with an hour to spare and half a brain can bake a cake. How can I get her to like me?
A It is crucial for you to resolve these issues with your mum as quickly as possible, because you cannot continue to live your life trying to please another person. It must be so disheartening to feel that you continually let her down. I understand that she wants the best for you and your future, but you're also a unique individual who deserves to be happy and to express your personality and creativity as you wish.
While it's important to do your best in school, you should do it for you and not your mother.
I advise you to speak to her and explain that you want to live your life without feeling that you're trying to do it all to please her, and that her constant judgmental comments are getting you down.
Q My sister asked me to go to a weight-loss class with her for moral support. I've lost half a stone and she's gained three pounds. She is a secret eater and every time I look under her bed I find empty biscuit and crisps packets, which she swears she knows nothing about.
Now she wants me to have liposuction with her for moral support. I'm tempted as there is some fat on my thighs which isn't budging.
The thing is, I've only got one sister and I want what's best for her and I don't think she'll ever lose weight if she doesn't find out why she eats so much.
When I suggest therapy she goes bonkers and says she is 20 not 12 and I can't tell her what to do.
A You're absolutely right to offer your support to her and to figure out what is driving her desire to eat in secret. It is pretty clear that she is eating those forbidden foods that cause her to gain weight, yet she is also in denial about her situation.
I would urge you to ensure she avoids a procedure as drastic as lipo, because it doesn't tackle the real issue here. While she may not be open to therapy right now, my advice is to really encourage her to deeply consider why she eats like this.
It may be boredom, or something that was said or done to her in her sensitive teenage years. Approach this topic with her in a non-judgmental and supportive manner.
I hope she will figure out a lot about herself and her triggers to enable her to change her relationship with food.