Dear Miriam,

My wife and I are in our 60s and have had a good sex life until COVID struck. My wife now suffers from depression and is on medication and has had counselling.

She has lost all interest in sex, which I can understand, but I really miss regular sex, and feel a lot is now missing.

Any suggestions?

Regular reader

Dear Regular reader,

Thank you for getting in touch. I am sorry to hear that your wife has been having such a difficult time since COVID, but I think that it is very positive that she is seeking counselling and medical support. Hopefully this will help her to find her way back to herself in time.

Because of the nature of your query, I felt it would be better to refer it to accredited psychosexual therapist, Eithne Bacuzzi, who is in private practice in Sandyford, Co Dublin. Eithne is a very experienced therapist in all matters related to relationships, but specialises in psychosexual therapy and works with individuals/couples who are facing challenges like the one you find yourself in.

Eithne can be contacted for appointments in her private practice on 087-902-9606. This is her advice: “It has always been a source of great sadness and loss when the sexual dynamic changes in a relationship. In sex therapy terms, we call it desire discrepancy.

“There can be a myriad of contributing factors to this such as illness, stress, body changes due to ageing, and many others. In your wife’s case, COVID seems to have had a profound effect on her mental health, and maybe she struggled with the imposed isolation and the absence of social situations.

“She is not alone. I am inundated with requests to visit my clinic with clients suffering the after-effects of that horrific time.

“Initially I hope that you can remain good communicators, and there often lies the key. Also, if the sexual relationship has ended either temporally or permanently, there is great value in remaining sensually, emotionally and physically connected. The “all or nothing approach” to sex never works. I mean the full penetrative sex versus total abstinence.

“You might make the suggestion to your wife about reconnecting with hugs and kissing, holding hands etc. Emotional and sensual connection is an essential ingredient in every relationship.

“There is nothing to be lost and everything to be gained by a new approach to the issue.

I wish you good luck,


Do I have to buy a wedding gift off the list?

Dear Miriam,

A nephew of mine is getting married later in the summer. When the invites arrived last week, however, there was a website you could go to that would bring you to a wedding gift list.

I would always give a generous gift when going to a wedding, that goes without saying. But I find the list a bit cheeky to be honest with you Miriam. It must be coming from the wife to be, judging by what’s on it.

My question is do I have to chose something from this list? What is the etiquette involved? Or can I give what I normally would?

Mary, Cork

Dear Mary,

Thanks for your email. Although popular internationally, I think in Ireland, wedding gift lists are still a bit divisive. On a practical level, there’s something to be said for them, as it means that the happy couple don’t end up with 10 toasters. But I think that a lot of wedding guests don’t like the inference of being “told” what to give or buy; even though I’m sure that there is no compulsion to do so.

I’m not sure what the exact etiquette is. Taking the emotion out of it, what is easiest for you to do? Is it more straight-forward to pick something from the list and know that you are getting something they want/will use/will enjoy? Or would you feel happier giving what you have planned?

Either way, I’m sure it will be appreciated. Enjoy the day out and best wishes to the happy couple.