QUESTION: My boyfriend of six months is by far the best of my dates since splitting from my husband. But he's also a cleanliness fanatic, who winces at the slightest sign of sweat.
If I suggest making love, he immediately asks if I have showered - and if I haven't within the hour, he sends me off to wash. He also wants us both to shower straight after sex, too, rather than cuddle.
He won't kiss me without checking I've brushed my teeth. This makes me feel like a health hazard, rather than a sexy woman. What should I do?
ANSWER: Your letter reminds me of Sondra Locke's claim that her ex, Clint Eastwood, was in the habit of asking, “Sweetie, did you floss?”, as a prelude to sex.
Hardly the stuff of a Shakespeare sonnet: “Shall I compare thee to a summer's day - but only when you've de-plaqued with some Oral B tape?”
Most of us yearn for a degree of spontaneity in our love lives: some notion that we're so downright attractive that nothing - not even perspiration or a bit of spinach stuck in your teeth - will stand between your lover and lust sated.
There's no doubt that standards of personal hygiene can prove divisive. Some people feel that anything less than three showers a day is downright unsavoury, others that they're doing well if they have two hot baths a week.
But generally I think we can agree that a decent standard of cleanliness is the courtesy you pay your loved one. Sluicing of intimate areas and a burst on the toothbrush is a good and polite idea if you want to make love, particularly as we get older - we middle-aged folk aren't as fresh as our grown-up children.
However, I object to Sanitation Patrol partners, who order you out of bed, like a wealthy housewife chiding her cleaner for a spot of dust under the mantelpiece. That's downright rude, and would put any lover off their stride.
The same with the “No kisses without Colgate” rule. And I agree it's a bit clinical being ordered off for a wash-down after the clinch. It's such a rich pleasure to lie in your beloved's arms after sex.
You clearly need to tell your new man that he's eradicating your joie de vivre with constant demands to wash. However, if by nature he's overly fastidious (have you considered he might have a form of OCD?) it would be hard to change him.
As ever, compromise is the key. Perhaps you could use a joint shower, or bath, as a form of foreplay? Or relax in a tub together after sex with a drink?
At the moment, washing is an accusation and chore, when it could be a sensual part of lovemaking.
If your boyfriend proves too pernickety to alter his behaviour, then I suggest you start the search for an earthier lover. There's nothing better than a man who sniffs the nape of your neck with relish. - Daily Mail