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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
A member writes:
I am 70, divorced for almost 20 years. I have been dating a wonderful man for two years. We love each other, and we are very sexually active together, but I cannot reach an orgasm with him. I want this so much!
I always reached orgasm when my ex-husband and I had intercourse. I know that most women do not, but I had no problems. After we divorced, and I was on my own, I learned to masturbate and didn’t feel the need of a partner until I met this new man.
I find it strange that I can’t reach orgasm when my partner and I have sex, as my husband and I had no problems ever. I’d also love to climax together. There is nothing wrong with me “down there,” as I climax very easily in about two minutes when I masturbate.
I think I need to be more patient with myself when he tries to bring me to orgasm manually. I find it odd and I tend to get impatient. I very much desire my partner and have a very high libido, but there’s no resolution with him, only by myself. I believe this is a learned response after all these years of masturbating.
Do you have some suggestions that could help me and my partner get it together? He has no problems with his performance and is a very loving man. Please help, as my partner thinks he is not doing his job well if I do not climax with him. I do believe that the problem is with me.
— No Orgasm with Partner
You say the problem is with you, but there’s nothing wrong with you. Needing a certain kind of touch is normal and doesn’t need to be fixed. The problem is not that you don’t reach orgasm the way you used to—it’s that you are trying to recreate what used to work instead of finding new ways based on what works for you now.
As you noted, most women do not reach orgasm through intercourse. You were able to climax this way with your husband, but not with your current partner. There could be several reasons:
- When you were with your husband, you were much younger, and your hormones assisted you in reaching orgasm more than they do now.
- Reaching orgasm through intercourse can depend partly on the shape and angle of an individual penis. You and your husband might have been the right “fit.”
- Body build and sexual position can influence whether there is clitoral stimulation during intercourse.
- You’ve developed a masturbatory style that your brain and body respond to more than intercourse.
It’s marvelous that you can masturbate to orgasm in two minutes! Yes, it’s possible that during the years since your divorce, you taught yourself to reach orgasm only in a particular way, with a specific kind of touch.
But please don’t blame yourself for learning to give yourself two-minute orgasms. Teach your partner what you need. Instead of both of you trying to reach orgasm during intercourse, expand your sex play to include some of these steps:
- Show your partner how you please yourself. Masturbate to orgasm while he watches without participating.
- Masturbate to orgasm while your partner watches and holds you and/or masturbates.
- Put his hand over yours as you masturbate your favorite way. He’s learning the kind of touch, rhythm, and pace that you like best.
- When he pleasures you manually, relax into it, then take over with your own hand when you’re aroused but you don’t feel you’ll orgasm that way.
This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy intercourse—of course you can, with no pressure that it needs to lead to your orgasm. I suggest you have an orgasm in one of the ways listed above before intercourse, then you can both enjoy the ride without pressure.
Having simultaneous orgasms doesn’t need to be a goal. When you enjoy pleasuring each other, you can both focus on your orgasm, then both focus on his. That’s like having sex twice: double the pleasure!
If you do want to pursue reaching orgasm at the same time, or close to it, try using a clitoral vibrator or your own hand to assist during intercourse. If you can reach orgasm this way, he can hold off until he feels your orgasm start, then let go. This can be fun to try, but only if you don’t put any pressure on yourselves. You may orgasm together, or you may not, but it can be marvelous either way.
I hope you’ll show this to your partner, so he can start to unlearn his belief that he’s not “doing his job well” if you don’t reach orgasm during intercourse or during his manual stimulation of you. Sex should be mutual play and joy, not “a job.”
You have a wonderful man and you’re in love—how lucky you are! Treasure each other, and don’t let old expectations interfere with the joy you can give and receive. I wish you the best.
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Joan Price is the author of several books including “The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50” and the award-winning self-help book “Naked at Our Age.” Visit Joan’s blog, “Naked at Our Age” and her Facebook page. For senior sex news, tips, event and webinar announcements, and special offers, join Joan’s mailing list. View Joan’s new free webinar, “Safer Sex for Seniors.”