DEAR SUSAN: I wonder what "wholesome and appropriate" sexual outlets are for the reader who is asking on the "Single File" blog. I don't think this is something someone else can dictate. You have to judge by what you think is appropriate and wholesome, to live by your own code of right and wrong. I know there are people who say that between consenting adults, a one-night stand would meet their criteria for "wholesome and appropriate." That's their choice. But not mine -- and I wouldn't feel comfortable being part of one, no matter how strong my need for sex.

From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: Aye, there's the rub. Sexuality, the most personal and subjective of issues, can be decided only by the individual; under which conditions (and with whom) an individual's erotic energy should be shared is totally an individual decision. For as insightful and helpful as my readers' remarks on the subject are -- I find them startlingly clear and thoughtful -- it's not their body being shared.

Which, of course, brings us back to the person asking for advice and his quest for a wholesome and appropriate sexual outlet. And because there's no way to respond except to offer opinions, the individual doing the asking is, in the final analysis, the one and only decider. Seeing as trial and error on the subject of sex is laden with emotion and has the potential of being hurtful to individuals involved, it seems to me that trial and error is not a viable way to research one's sexuality.

The best advice I can give this person is to interview therapists until finding one who is comfortable to be with. The therapist can be a guide to find the answers -- on the journey within, where they are waiting to be discovered. It's not the quickest or cheapest trip, but it is a game changer. Actually, it's a life changer.

DEAR SUSAN: Attractive people come in varied shapes and sizes. For me, age 42, that means women in their mid-40s attract me as much as the ones in their mid-20s. To be honest, I'd like to date all age groups. Do you think the 25-30 age group is realistic for me?

From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: From the little you've told me about yourself, dipping your toe into the 25-30 water sounds OK ... for now. Clearly, you're looking at the snow maidens longingly, so there's no reason not to try them on for size. That's what dating is for -- dabbling. Meet women of all ages and stages. Buzz the flowers to your heart's content. And while you're buzzing, you'll probably learn lots about women, about the dating game and, most importantly, about this fellow you live with night and day -- yourself. That kind of education can only come from being in the thick of things, from meeting all sizes and shapes of women as you date different generations of the other gender. Put yourself on the firing line, my friend, and enjoy the ride.

But I suspect you'll end up with a woman close to your own age, someone who remembers the same love songs, is good to talk to, feels like a friend. It's then that the really crucial numbers will kick in -- the speed limit that will keep you sane and realistic.

Take your time. Dig into any relationship that has promise, friend, gently and with patience. Let down your guard for a special person, and be with her in a calm, unhurried relationship. When it's the real thing, true and deep, time only makes it stronger. Love is a numbers game; obey the speed limit.

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