Few would dare to admit they feel vulnerable, or unloved in their own bed, and that they don't understand why their spouse no longer desires them. Sometimes, just a few simple words can entirely change your attitude - and I felt mine, feisty feminist that I am, shift at the sad question from one male diarist: 'What happened to this lover I married? ' It's been too easy for me to counsel women to have sex only when, where and how they want it, regardless of their partner's feelings.The sudden awareness that, often, this isn't just about thoughtless men expecting sex on tap has made me far more aware that, as women, we use sex to punish, to withhold and to send coded 'You're not getting it right' messages instead of communicating our true feelings.

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Maybe growing up in the Seventies, with a mum who read Spare Rib, subconsciously convinced me that men were the new second sex - that they'd had their own way in bed for thousands of years and that now women should set the pace.

And, yes, most sexual abuse is still perpetrated by men.

The husband lamenting his lost 'lover' had decided that rather than pester his wife for sex and be met with egocrushing refusal yet again, he'd wait until she felt like initiating it.

He's been waiting eight years so far - but he loves her too much to leave.

I've written the answer to this a thousand times - get a babysitter, book a hotel room, buy some new underwear - basically, remind yourself that you're sexy.

And as sex writers seldom get any reports on whether their advice worked, it's easy to assume that the world is full of relieved couples rekindling their dormant passion over bottles of pricey room service wine. Australian sex therapist Bettina Arndt persuaded 98 couples to reveal all in personal diaries kept over the course of a year.But The Sex Diaries reveals a much more tender, intimate truth about men in relationships.Men who aren't, in fact, surfing internet porn every night, or resentfully putting up with the middleaged wife while they fantasise about the hot 21-year-old next door.Writing for women - and talking to them during radio phone-ins and at events - it's often tempting to dismiss their pestering partners as sexually voracious testosterone-driven factories.My past, attempted- ego-boosting advice to women has tended towards the 'He's lucky to have you, he should be grateful for anything he can get' variety.It comes as a poignant surprise, in fact, to discover that the majority are still deeply in love with their wives; they just want the chance to be physically closer to her, and to feel loved and accepted in return, despite their balding heads or round tummies.