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! If you’re over 60, submit your questions to this column by emailing Joan directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A reader asks:
My wife and I are 78 and have been married for 58 years. We have enjoyed a wonderful sex life. In order to orgasm, she needs a lot more stimulation than she used to, and I need a massive amount of friction. We use fingers, mouths, toys, mutual stimulation, and we both have orgasms all or most of the time.
My wife likes to have me ejaculate in her hand, which she uses to masturbate in front of me. She usually orgasms this way. She takes a very long time to get there. The only times that she does not reach orgasm is when she gets weary and stops because she’s out of energy. I suppose if she was 35 again, she would be able to take care of that easily.
The problem is that we would love to have intercourse and it has become almost impossible. I can’t always keep a firm erection. My wife had prolapse surgery two years ago, which tightened her up a lot, and my penis is of large girth. So with her prolapse surgery, tighter vagina, and my large girth and lack of ability to maintain an erection, actual intercourse seldom happens.
Very occasionally, when I have taken a Viagra and the moon and stars are aligned just right, we can accomplish insertion and maybe 5 or 10 minutes of intercourse. She has had maybe two orgasms this past year with my penis inserted and some accompanying finger stimulation. The Viagra gives me some side effects: stuffy nose, slight headaches, and not feeling well. Even though I cannot get enough stimulation to orgasm while inserted, I feel like a more complete person after I accomplish intercourse. It’s an emotional thing, I am sure.
If I had a skinnier, fully erect penis, I would be able to do a much better job for her than I can now. I really miss being able to have sexual intercourse to orgasm. It is like we can really get into each other when we have intercourse, with me getting her off with the help of my finger and penis at the same time. She misses it, too. Do you have any suggestions as to how we could improve our sex life?
—Really Wants Intercourse
You two are so lucky! You’ve been together 58 years, and you’re still having wonderful sex and frequent orgasms with a variety of loving, intimate, sexual pleasure-giving activities. The best advice I can give you is to celebrate the kind of sex you’re having now instead of wishing you could recreate the sex of half a lifetime ago or wishing you had different genitals.
You’ve said you both have orgasms almost every time with the ways you’ve modified your sexual interaction. Yet you miss intercourse, which rarely happens and isn’t satisfying when it does. Do you really want a stuffy nose, headache, and feeling unwell along with the frustration of the goal of intercourse, when it doesn’t work for you anymore? I think you analyzed it correctly — “it’s an emotional thing.”
You both need more stimulation than you used to — that’s normal. Less firm and less dependable erections are also normal. In your case, intercourse is impossible unless you take a pill with unpleasant side effects, and it rarely works anyway because of her medical issues and yours. As you’ve discovered yourself, you can still have great sex and regular orgasms with the many other ways to enjoy sex and intimacy as a couple.
I encourage you to stop seeing intercourse as a goal and welcome it as an occasional option when the stars and moon are aligned, as you say. Please talk to your doctor about your Viagra side effects and whether you should stop using it.
Here are some new ways you can address the issues you raised:
1. Your wife sometimes gets fatigued before she reaches orgasm. A well-chosen vibrator will help her speed up her orgasms. I’ve reviewed more than a hundred on my blog; here’s the link.
2. You need more friction to orgasm. There are marvelous sex toys for penises that will make it easier for you or your wife to give you the friction you need, such as the Manta from Fun Factory. Or intense vibration could substitute for friction with the Jett or the Pulse, both from Hot Octopuss.
3. To recapture the connection of intercourse, try a harness with a slim dildo. There are many styles. The Deuce Harness from SpareParts, for example, has two holes, one for the dildo of your choice and one for your penis (which does not need to be erect). You wear the harness and use the dildo to penetrate your wife while your penis also touches her. Since you wear this hands-free, you can use your finger to stimulate her clitoris in the way she likes.
If you live close to a woman-friendly, progressive sex toy shop, plan a visit so you can see, touch, and ask about the kinds of products I’m recommending. They can enhance your sexual experience by giving you added sensation and a range of new possibilities.
Send Joan your questions by emailing email@example.com. All information is confidential. Joan can only answer questions that are chosen for publication from readers age 60+
Joan Price is the author of several self-help books about senior sex including the award-winning “Naked at Our Age” and her newest, “Sex after Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality after Losing Your Beloved,” coming August 2019. Visit Joan’s website, blog “Naked at Our Age,” and Facebook page. For senior sex news, tips, event and webinar announcements, and special offers, subscribe to Joan’s free newsletter.