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.
Normally, my Sex at Our Age column presents one detailed reader question and my detailed answer. In March 2019, I departed from my usual format in favor of a “lightning round” of a few short questions and answers: Quickies. These were popular with readers, so let’s do another round.
I Can’t stop!
Q1: I am 87, he is 73. I can’t stop thinking about having sex with him. Our sex is great, but I want more all the time. I feel embarrassed about how much I want to express my craving for him. What can I do about my preoccupation—more self-induced orgasms?
A: Please don’t shame yourself for your sex drive. “Self-induced orgasm,” as you put it (AKA masturbation) is a fine solution if you want more sex than your partner. But have you talked about it? He might be delighted to watch or assist as you give yourself additional orgasms. Instead of being embarrassed about your desire for sex, celebrate your capacity for sexual pleasure at 87.
Q2: I’m a 75-year-old man with diabetes and prostate cancer and no erections. I’ve been a widower eight years. Even though I can’t get an erection, I’m going crazy with desire and lust. Every now and then, I can orgasm with a vibrator and lot of pressure. Would it help me to talk with a sex therapist?
A: Certainly a sex therapist can help with any kind of problem regarding sex. Understand that you can achieve sexual arousal and intense orgasm without an erection. Most people don’t know that orgasms are possible even if the penis cannot become erect or ejaculate. For the kind of pressure that works for you, I suggest one of these vibrators that work when the penis is flaccid. (Links are to reviews on my blog by Shamus MacDuff, my 75-year-old reviewer of penis vibrators.)
Q3: I have herpes type 2, and I take valacyclovir daily. Using a condom turns my partner off, but it’s the only way to have safe sex with me. He loses his erection whenever I place a condom on him. I have a sinking feeling that he doesn’t care for intercourse, but I really want that. I don’t know if the idea of intercourse is what he doesn’t like, or the condom, or the fear of the disease. How can I talk to him about my need for intercourse without scaring him away?
A: It’s so hard when we can’t talk to a partner about our sexual needs and wishes, but we need to practice. Only he can tell you whether he’s not interested in intercourse, or anxious that his erection won’t be dependable, or concerned about your herpes. You might show him this column as a conversation starter. I applaud you for insisting on barrier protection. Try the “female condom,” which is worn vaginally and doesn’t require an erect penis. Please watch my free webinar, “Safer Sex for Seniors with Joan Price,” which demystifies safer sex and makes it fun — including how to put a condom on a soft penis using your mouth (yes, you read that right).
My husband won’t touch me
Q4: My husband, 63, rarely wants sex. I go away a lot, and he might not touch me for two weeks when I get back. I have never turned him down. If I make the first move, he pretends he is asleep. We have a king-size bed, and he hangs over his side in case I come near him. What is wrong with him?
A: Have you tried to talk to him? Try an opener such as, “Could we talk about why we’re not having sex anymore? I miss our intimacy. I want to understand your feelings about our relationship.” Avoid accusing him (e.g. “You never want sex with me — what’s wrong with you?”), rather invite him to express himself. It’s likely, though, that you’ll need a sex therapist or couples counselor to help you talk about this. The problem may be something deeper in your marriage. If he won’t go to a professional with you, it will still be helpful to go on your own.
A skin condition?
Q5: My pubic area is itchy all the time. I have no lice or fleas. I wake up scratching in the middle of the night and feel I need to scratch with a scrubbing brush. I went to a clinic because I had a sexual encounter a year ago. I thought that might have been the problem, but the clinic gave me the all clear.
A: Please, no scrubbing brush! This is a medical problem, and you need medical help to get the cause and treatment. It might be one of several skin conditions; reaction to an irritant such as soap or lubricant; a sexually transmitted infection that your clinic didn’t test for; or, rarely, a symptom of vulvar cancer. Describe your itching to your gynecologist and insist on running tests until you get a diagnosis.
Please comment below if you’d to see a collection of “quickies” again soon!
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 her newest, “Sex after Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality after Losing Your Beloved,” and the award-winning “Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex.” Visit Joan’s website and blog and her Facebook page. For senior sex news and tips, subscribe to Joan’s free newsletter.