Every month in Sex at Our Age, award-winning senior sexpert Joan Price answers your questions about everything from loss of desire to solo sex and partner issues. Nothing is out of bounds! To send your questions directly to Joan, email email@example.com.
It’s just come to my understanding that men my age are having trouble getting erections, so they are sabotaging relationships in order to get out of having to discuss the problem. This explains why my last two “relationships” were glacially paced and full of misleading communication – and never got out of the gates when it came to any sort of physicality. I have been extremely frustrated as a result.
Guy #1: I spent more and more time with this gentleman. It was clear he was interested in me and I made sure that there were opportunities for him to make sexual advances, but when there was a chance to get closer physically, he didn’t do anything. We never even kissed. Finally I asked him point blank what his intentions were, and he balked. He explained that I would be better off keeping him in the friend zone, that his “part that knew how to love” was probably broken and had been for a long time.
I assumed he was talking about his head or his heart and tried to figure it out by asking questions, but he didn’t give any real answers, just excuses. I thought he was trying to get rid of me without revealing what the problem was. Now I realize that what was “broken” was probably his boy parts.
Guy #2: This old friend seemed to up his game, to where we were going out and doing things together on a regular basis. He kept complimenting me and winking at me over dinner. One night we kissed on the mouth instead of the cheek – but not open-mouthed. And he didn’t pick up on any of the opportunities I was leaving for him. We had one more date, and after that he didn’t call for a month. I finally told him I was moving our status back to friendship. He was fine with it and said he had been waiting for me to call it.
Then a platonic male friend told me that at our age, erectile dysfunction is a problem, which is why these things happened to me. His take on the situation opened my eyes. I think men avoid moving relationships into sex because of ED. They don’t want to risk having to “perform” and then explain why they’re having trouble. What a shame. There are so many ways to be intimate without needing an erection.
Why did these men even begin a relationship? The way they wasted my time made me pretty angry. And now I’m concerned about future dating, because I am wondering if a lot of men do this. I am an attractive woman with a very high sex drive. Do you have any advice for me? —Frustrated Dater
Ah, dating is so complicated at our age! We’re finally at the point of knowing what we want, so why is it so darned hard to get it?
It’s possible that your friend was right about why your last two relationships didn’t turn sexual. Most men are wary of divulging an erectile dysfunction or undependable erection problem to someone who might or might not become an intimate partner, and they may go slowly or avoid sex altogether.
But that’s not the only possible reason for your frustrating dating experiences. Here are some others:
- Many men want to develop a relationship more slowly than they did when they were testosterone-fueled and eager – even impatient – for sex. As one of my male friends told me, “Now that my hormones aren’t driving me, I don’t want to rush to have sex. Let’s get to know each other first and see if we develop an emotional bond.” It’s possible that the men you were dating were exploring and in no hurry.
- Some men don’t like the “hints” and “opportunities” method of getting sex started. They prefer a woman to communicate honestly (but not to be confrontational!) instead of her leaving it up to the man to make the moves. Although it can be scary to say something like, “I feel attracted to you but I can’t tell whether you feel the same way about me,” being direct can lead to exactly the information you need.
- You might have misread the cues, imagining that you were becoming a couple when in fact they just wanted to enjoy activities together on a friendship basis.
- Maybe they were simply enjoying getting to know you, but felt pressured to become your boyfriend and sex partner without feeling the same about you. Just because we want to have sex with someone doesn’t mean they want to have sex with us. If they don’t, it doesn’t mean we’re deficient – we need to learn not to take it so personally. We can be attractive and sexy, but not the right match for a potential partner.
I hope you’ll get past the anger. These men did not lead you on or deceive you, or use you in any way. They did not waste your time. They enjoyed your company and you enjoyed theirs. They let you get to know them. They helped you fine-tune what you’re looking for. They let you “practice” dating.
As sex columnist Dan Savage says, “Every relationship fails – until one doesn’t.” You just got closer by two to finding the relationship that will be right for you – and for him.
Send Joan your questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All information is confidential.
Joan Price is the author of the new “Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50: How to Maintain – or Regain! – a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life”; the award-winning self-help book “Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex”; and the sexy memoir, “Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty.” Visit Joan’s blog, “Naked at Our Age,” and her Facebook page.