From wife-swapping to Greek gods — your Deidre queries from '80s & '90s

I KNEW I’d landed a brilliant job when I was appointed The Sun’s agony aunt in 1980 but of course I had no idea I’d still be here 40 years later.

It’s the most amazing privilege to be trusted with so many readers’ problems and dilemmas.

I’ve had between six and seven million letters, emails, messages and calls to my helplines, all responded to individually with the help of my brilliant counselling team.

Here is a selection from over the decades, and I’ve updated a few answers where necessary so contacts are correct . . . 

The 80s

Wife-swap with pub pair put me off sex

DEAR DEIDRE:  EVER since I persuaded my wife to join me in wife- swapping I’ve been unable to make love to her properly.

It started when we met this couple in a pub. Once we got to know them, we gradually realised they were into wife-swapping.

I was interested and started to persuade my wife to join in.

We visited them at home, had some drinks — lots — then started to play around. At first I found it a real turn-on, but then they suggested we strip.

Seeing the other man with my wife seemed to affect me so I could not get properly aroused.

We later went to different rooms and my wife went off with the other husband.

I couldn’t manage to make love to his wife but my wife afterwards said she was completely satisfied — they made love several times.

That was nearly a year ago and I’ve only managed to make love with my wife once since — and that wasn’t very good.

I’ve seen our doctor and he says the problem is mental.

I am frightened my wife will start forcing me into wife-swapping so she can get satisfaction.

A note from Deidre

WIFE-SWAPPING was seen as pretty racy in the Eighties.

I remember Sun sub-editors querying if it was too shocking for me to include in my column — until I pointed out some of our readers were clearly less inhibited.

Eventually, it was so common a problem sent in to me I wrote a leaflet on Swinging And Swapping.

DEIDRE SAYS: Have you talked to your wife about your anxieties?

If she only joined in reluctantly, there may have been some bluff in her claiming to have had a wonderful time.

I suspect she will be relieved to know that you want to rebuild your sex life.

My leaflet on Solving Erection Problems explains self-help to restore your confidence.

Fling with coalman

DEAR DEIDRE:  I‘M sure my wife is having an affair with the coalman. I keep finding black handprints all over the house on Tuesdays.

I’m 33, we have been married 15 years and have three children.

I first noticed a handprint beside the bed in the front bedroom. I thought it odd.

The next week I noticed a big thumbprint on the bathroom door. More prints in my son’s bedroom looked like a couple had made love on the carpet.

My wife laughed when I told her, and said not to be silly.

We haven’t made love much recently and things have been hard because I was out of work for three years.

Now I’ll have to take a Tuesday off and catch them.

Do you think my wife would throw everything away for half an hour with the coalman?

A note from Deidre

FORTY years ago a glowing coal fire was commonly seen as the heart of the home, and the coalman was a common sight in our streets.

Now, house coal is being banned.

DEIDRE SAYS: With three children, your house would be odd if it didn’t have fingerprints.

Being unemployed has taken a toll on your confidence – but gifts and outings don’t have to be expensive to show they are heartfelt.

Don’t risk your job to spy on your wife.

Ask her why your sex life is flagging – there may be other reasons.

Family at odds on politics

DEAR DEIDRE:  I’M torn between the two people I love most.

I am Protestant and live in Belfast. My dad was a policeman and murdered by the IRA four years ago.

My boyfriend is Catholic.

When I told my mum we wanted to marry she threw him out.

She said it was his kind that killed my dad.

I’m 20 and very close to my mum.

I couldn’t bear it if she turned against me.

A note from Deidre

THE TROUBLES in Northern Ireland, between mainly Catholic Nationalists and mainly Protestant Unionists, lasted from about 1968 until 1998.

Around 3,600 people died and more than 30,000 more were wounded.

DEIDRE SAYS: Like many others, you have both suffered terribly in a troubled and torn society.

Your mum is probably still not over your dad’s death.

When you said you wanted to marry a Catholic, her grief poured out.

If you reassure her she will never lose your love, she may accept your marriage.

Contact the Northern Ireland Mixed Marriage Association for help (

Oh for romps in car

DEAR DEIDRE:  OUR relationship was going well until my fiancé bought his new car.

We used to make love three or four times a week, usually in his old banger.

But he rarely wants to make love in his new motor, as he says it will ruin the upholstery.

I’m 20, he’s 25. I’m beginning to think he would rather be out in his car all the time instead of with me.

I asked him if he cared for me or his car.

He said: “Both, though you come first.”

Now I feel as though I am not good enough for him.

He pushes me away if I cuddle up to him to make love.

I’ve threatened to finish with him because of it but I love him too much and we are getting married in six months.

A note from Deidre

NOBODY young had a halfway decent car until the Eighties brought increased affluence — but many parents still wouldn’t accept an unmarried couple having sex under their roof.

DEIDRE SAYS: What bothers me is that neither of you has found ways round the problem.

How about loose seat covers or somewhere indoors?

I suspect the car is a red herring.

Leave that out of your discussions and start talking about the way your engagement is going.

Your relationship is more important than any car.

Football focus

DEAR DEIDRE:  MY boyfriend’s only real passion in life is football.

When we were making love the other night, he suddenly remembered he was missing a game and switched on the telly.

Then he made me move so he could see the match and still make love to me.

At that point, I simply gave up.

I faked an orgasm to make him hurry up and get it over with.

I’m 20 and have been with my boyfriend for a year.

I love him but am fed up because football rules our lives.

Is it unfair to make him choose between me and football?

A note from Deidre

SOME things never change . . . 


DEIDRE SAYS: It’s daft to regard football as a rival.

Tell him, straight, he can’t have you both at the same time.

Kick him out of bed if he does it again, and find yourself an equally engrossing hobby.

The 90s

I blew marriage then Greek god went cold

DEAR DEIDRE:  I BLEW my marriage for a beach boy and I have been such a fool.

I saw myself as a Shirley Valentine and fell for a Greek guy on holiday. But my fling has cost me my husband and three kids.

I suppose I didn’t realise just how wonderful my hubby really was because things had been a bit tense between us and our sex life was non-existent.

So when three of my single friends asked me to go to Greece with them I jumped at the chance.

My husband gladly let me go. He said I needed the break and paid for my holiday. He even took a fortnight off work to look after the children.

Well, the inevitable happened. I met a local lad and had an affair with him. It seemed so romantic and wonderful.

I wrote home saying I was staying in Greece and not coming back. But gradually the discos, partying and lying on the beach got a bit boring.

At the end of the season my boyfriend made it obvious he didn’t want to know me. So I came home but my husband wouldn’t have me back and now I’m living alone.

I really regret not being more attentive to my husband and children. Deep down, I know now what a kind and loving man he is.

Is there any way I could win him back and explain how sorry I am for hurting him?

A note from Deidre

THE film Shirley Valentine, about a Brit housewife on holiday in Greece rebelling against her dreary life back home, came out in 1989 and was emblematic of middle-aged women’s hankering for romance.

DEIDRE SAYS: Your husband has had time to discover what hard work it is looking after three children.

He might now appreciate how you felt before you went off on your disastrous holiday.

Write to him explaining how sorry you are and you realise you had let your marriage get into a rut.

See if he will agree to a meeting – without the children – so you can have a long talk.

It is no good turning yourself into a doormat because you feel guilty. You did wrong but your husband shares some responsibility for your marriage.

Unless you both make an effort, trouble will erupt once more and the children will be hurt all over again.

But even if you two do not get back together, arrange to see your children.

It is very damaging for them not to see you regularly.

Not a whole lottery left

DEAR DEIDRE:  I SCOOPED £1.5million on the lottery last year. My husband married me for the money and now he’s almost spent the lot.

We met when we were young and had three children together.

We were too young, though, and he got violent when he was angry and cheated on me with his ex.

Our children were unhappy and I used to tell them that if ever I won the Lottery we would leave him. Then I really did win.

My mistake was thinking everything would be fine. He dumped his ex and within three weeks we were married. I was so thrilled until he took over the money.

He bought a £350,000 house, which I agreed to, but then started giving away huge sums. He gave £250,000 to a friend I barely know to set up his own business.

He gave his dad and his brother £100,000 each. And so it went on, with all his friends and relative getting gifts of money. He spent £250,000 on cars his family could show off in.

I could see it all dwindling away, so I set up accounts in my children’s names so they will have something for their future. But even the Mercedes I thought was mine was in his name too.

We’ve split up and he’s moved a new fiancée into my house. She is pregnant and goes round saying everything is hers now.

A solicitor is handling the divorce and trying to get my house back but I’ll have nothing left by the time it’s settled.

A note from Deidre

THE UK National Lottery was launched in 1994 and instantly sold millions of tickets each week, aided by our very own Mystic Meg.

DEIDRE SAYS: What a sad story. It must be worth trying mediation if you can get your husband to come along to talk.

Tell him you will both save a fortune in solicitors’ fees if you can sort this out peacefully and quickly.

Get details of how to arrange mediation from National Family Mediation (, 0300 4000 636).

She's mad for United man

DEAR DEIDRE:  MY girlfriend fantasises about one of the players for Manchester United while I am making love to her and it makes me feel so inferior.

We have always kept our own interests outside the relationship during the three years we have been together.

We have talked about getting married next spring when I will be 24 and she will be nearly 23. She loves football and has been a United fan since she was a child.

Lately she has taken a special interest in one particular player and has even written to him. She talks about him all the time and jokes about how she wishes I could be more like him.

She goes to all the home matches and when she comes home, we always end up in bed together.

Sometimes she even calls out his name. At first I just laughed it off but now it is causing problems in our sex life, which has always been varied and exciting up to now.

I have tried talking to her about it but she laughs and says I am being stupid. I don’t know what to do.

A note from Deidre

MAN UNITED were hugely successful across the Nineties after winning the league title in 1993, ending a 26-year drought.

David Beckham made his first-team debut in 1992 — a year before I received this letter.

DEIDRE SAYS: If she just laughs it off, then you haven’t got through to her just how hurtful you find it.

Point out to her that he might be great on the football pitch but you are the man who cares for her, is with her and makes love to her.

Say it’s not stupid to mind her regularly calling out another man’s name – and if she is not careful, she is going to find herself fantasising away all alone.

It does sound as though she feels she can get away with taking you for granted.

Don’t just sit at home while she goes to matches. Find a separate passion of your own so your relationship is more balanced.

Wildlife lacking at home

DEAR DEIDRE:  MY husband hangs on David Attenborough’s every word and knows everything there is to know about the sex lives of fruit flies or emperor penguins.

But when it comes to making love, he is a total damp squib.

Human biology holds no attractions for him.

He is 43 and I am 39. We’ve been married for 19 years and have two teenage children.

I feel we could have more fun together now but sex doesn’t interest him at all.

All we do is sit in front of the box.

I fear I’ll end up just watching TV until I’m too old to remember what sex is.

A note from Deidre

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH passed normal retirement age in the 1990s but continued making his globally successful Life series for TV with Life In The Freezer in 1993 and was well on his way to national-treasure status.

DEIDRE SAYS: Your husband was probably raised to be sensible and unemotional.

But hidden beneath is probably a terrific need for love – which might well have been denied him when small.

Talk to him about his interests then move on to your relationship and how it could be improved.

And remember, you share some responsibility for the deep-freeze you are in.

Thaw him out by giving him a kiss and cuddle whenever you feel like it.

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