DEAR ABBY: I'm in my 60s, fit, sexually able and I desire physical relations. My wife, because of health issues, is no longer interested in sex. In fact, it would be at least mildly painful to her.

I recently met a lady my age who is in the same predicament. She has a sexual appetite; her husband does not. She hinted she would be interested in being "friends with benefits." I didn't pursue the hint because it caught me by surprise and I wasn't quick-witted enough to follow up on it at the time.

I am wondering if such a relationship is acceptable with today's mores and the circumstances. No, I won't discuss this with my wife. It would only hurt her feelings and strain our relationship. Should I pursue the hint? -- FOLLOW UP ON THE HINT

DEAR FOLLOW UP: I would not advise pursuing the "hint" -- which appears to me to be more of a full frontal assault -- without thinking very carefully. The problem with adulterous relationships is that more often than not, the spouse catches on. If you think that by not talking this out with your wife you will be sparing her feelings, you are wrong. When, not if, she finds out, she will be devastated.

As women age their bodies change, and sex can become painful. But that can be remediated in many cases with prescription and other medications. It's possible they could help your wife. Of course, that's not going to happen unless she talks with her OB/GYN about the problem. And that won't happen unless you talk to her.

DEAR ABBY: I was unhappily married years ago and conceived a child by an ex-boyfriend. My son is now 31. I divorced my husband 28 years ago. He knew the baby was not his, but claimed him as his own son. He refused to do a DNA test when we were going through the divorce. He died a few years ago.

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I am in contact with my son's biological father. They look identical, and my grandson looks just like his father and grandfather.

My guilt is consuming me. I want to tell my son that even though the dad he knew all his life is gone, he still has a chance to get to know another father who is his blood. On the other hand, I don't want to ruin my relationship with my son and grandchildren, whom I love very much. How can I tell the truth without hurting my son and our relationship? -- RIGHTING A WRONG

DEAR RIGHTING: Better late than never. Your son needs to know that the man who raised him and claimed him as his own was not his biological father so that he can have a complete medical history. If the birth father wasn't interested in knowing or supporting his son, he sounds more like a sperm donor than a "blood" relative to me. Do not be surprised if your son isn't interested in knowing more about his birth father than the information I suggested.

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