I’m in my 20s and my partner is only 30, but after a year together our sex life is, in my estimation, non-existent.  We live together and he’s had a lot of stress recently, which has led to no sex or affection.  We have sex once every week or two and it’s making me want to explode.  In every sense of the word.

Part of the problem is that since we met my partner has gained about 20 pounds and feels bad about himself.  He told me he feels unattractive so he doesn’t want to have sex.  This has lead to not only our not having sex but also a complete loss of interest in being affectionate toward me.

I feel unattractive, lonely, not to mention horny as hell.  I feel like I’ve changed everything I am to comfort him, and the only thing I ask from him is to be more affectionate.  When I bring it up we end up fighting about it.  I feel like a stranger in my own home.

We are monogamous so having sex with someone else –INCLUDING YOU, WOODY—is not an option so don’t go there.  Plus, I want to work on fixing the problem.  What should I do?  Help!

—  Ready to pop

Dear Ready:

The reason he’s not being affectionate with you is because he’s having an affair with me.  Congratulations, you have been publicly “wooded.”

Just kidding.  I would never have an affair with a guy who was twenty pounds overweight unless he was catering it.

I hate your question because the answer always makes me sound so f–king human.  And there’s just no money in humanity.

Anyway, here’s what you need to do:  Back off.  You’ve tried the direct route and it didn’t work.  There’s only one way to get hugs and blow jobs on demand:  My patented “Get Your Way with Woody’s Way”.  But it’s so much harder to get a gun these days so that’s not really an option.

Instead of criticizing him for not being affectionate, invite him into it.  Learn to be affectionate without expecting an immediate response.  Start slowly.  If he comes home stressed out, give him a back rub.  But don’t kiss him or use it as a passageway to sex.  Otherwise, he’ll see it as a manipulative ploy.  Give him a neck rub then get him a drink.

The few times that he is affectionate toward you, don’t ask for more; express your pleasure with it.  Softly whispering “I really love it when we do this” is a lot more effective than yelling, “Why can’t you do this more often!?”

He’s clearly going through a stressful time (is he reading a backlog of these columns?  That usually sets people on edge).  Figure out what the stressors are.  Ask him what’s going on at work, in his family.  Be supportive.  “How can I help you through this?” is the most loving response you can make.

Well, other than “F–k that ass, yeah!”   But really, that’s another column.

Being supportive means listening without judgment and offering concrete help (“I know it’s your week to do the dishes but I’m going to do them so you can have some down time”).

Reassure him of your support.  That might entail putting your needs in check for a little while.  Telling someone, “You can lean on me” isn’t very effective if you follow it up with “as long you’re affectionate and keep me well-f–ked.”

If you come at him like a problem he’s going to put his defenses up.  If you come at him like a solution his shields will come down.  Along with his pants.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  You’ve got a lot of work to do.