Partial fluid saturation affects absorption and dispersion in sandstones. The proposed theoretical model describes acoustic relaxation due to local fluid flow. Previously proposed models of local flow were based on microgeometries not representative of sedimentary rocks; they were unable to describe the behavior of partially saturated sandstones. The new model is based upon observed microstructures in sandstones. A fraction of the grain contacts in sandstones are permeated by sheet-like gaps. The incomplete solid-solid contact allows an interconnected fluid film to exist between the grain surfaces. The model consists of a narrow gap connected to a finite annular pore. An acoustic stress wave drives the film out of the narrow contact region and into the adjacent pore. The viscous flow results in a dissipation of energy. The model predicts the real and imaginary parts of the complex frame moduli as a function of frequency and fluid saturation. The predictions agree well with experimental results.