Sex & Relationships

Ask Joan: Online Dating Minefield vs. Paid Escorts

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A reader writes:

At 65, I am getting over yet another failed relationship due to my lady friend’s drinking. I have been in five relationships since my divorce 25 years ago, three lasting more than 5 years. Nearly all ended because of my frustration with my partner’s lack of sexual attentiveness due to alcoholism.

It took me three years to realize my last partner had a serious drinking problem. What can I say, I was blinded by love. The number of wine bottles in her recycle container revealed that she was putting away a bottle every night. We talked about it, but she was high, and talking didn’t do much good.

“I’m too afraid of finding out —again! — that I’m involved with an alcoholic or someone with intimacy issues or both.”

Love making was infrequent and unfulfilling. Sex with an intoxicated woman is completely one sided. Usually it is impossible to pleasure her, and she has no interest in pleasuring me. I asked one woman if she would skip drinking before lovemaking. She said she thought I would enjoy it more if she was drunk.

Maybe I should give up on relationships? I’m too afraid of finding out —again! — that I’m involved with an alcoholic or someone with intimacy issues or both. I miss the intimacy, but I wonder if I ever really experienced it. Mostly I learned to be comfortable on the cold side of the bed. I never want to invest emotionally in a sexless relationship again.

“My present solution to the sexual issue is the employment of fairly expensive escorts.”

My present solution to the sexual issue is the employment of fairly expensive escorts. Escorts are real people. They come into your life and are gone in an hour or two. They are really very nice women, and I can have wonderful sex. I can ask for what I want — like oral sex — without worrying that she will lose interest halfway through. If I ask her to go slower or faster, she won’t take direction as a criticism.

However, while physically pleasurable, there is no romantic or emotional connection. No afterglow. No gazing into the night sky, drained of self, ready to be filled with new hopes and expectations. I long to have day turn into evening wrapped around a woman, tasting her sweat, looking into her eyes, feeling her breath on my skin. Sharing thoughts and dreams.

I don’t drink regularly myself. I might go weeks between drinks. Yet almost all my relationships, including my marriage, ended because of booze and lack of sex. I can’t risk wasting the rest of my life on someone else’s behavioral issues.

In my online profile, I make it plain that in addition to my interest in museums, hikes, and travel, I seek a mutually gratifying sexual relationship with a woman without a drinking problem. I doubt I will get any responses. But I might get lucky.

  • Dating Minefield


Joan replies:

Do more older women have a drinking problem than I realize? Or are you just unlucky in your choices? Maybe both. I understand why you’re skittish about putting yourself out there again, given your pattern of attracting women who hide their alcohol dependence and are also unenthusiastic sexual partners.

Rewrite your Online Profile

Consider rewriting your dating profile. Instead of asking for someone “without a drinking problem” — since, as you’ve seen, problem drinkers don’t acknowledge this — try opening with something like “Seeking non-drinker” or “Let’s explore how much fun we can have without alcohol.”

Women reading your profile might wonder if you’re a teetotaler for religious reasons or an alcoholic in recovery. Once you meet, you can explain your run of bad luck with women with drinking problems, and your wish to meet women for whom alcohol holds no appeal.

“You’re walking a tightrope here — if you’re too overtly sexual, you’ll sound like a creep and risk scaring her away.”

I’d steer you away from “I am seeking a mutually gratifying sexual relationship” if you’re using a mainstream dating site, as opposed to a hook-up site. Be a little more subtle and address her directly, e.g. “You’re open to finding a close connection with the right man” or “Let’s get to know each other, and if we click, we’ll welcome the sensual magic.” You’re walking a tightrope here — if you’re too overtly sexual, you’ll sound like a creep and risk scaring her away. Even desirous women worry about their personal safety when deciding whether to meet a new man. It’s best not to say directly, “Reply if you love giving and receiving sexual pleasure,” much as you might like to!

Paying a Sex Worker

Many men of our age engage with sex workers for the reasons you state: uncomplicated, satisfying sex of the kind you want, the way you want it, with a woman who transacts to please you. By getting your needs met this way, you’re less likely to jump into the next wrong relationship out of frustration or desperation.

Your beautifully worded paragraph about your longing for romantic and emotional connection makes me think that you’re not ready to give up. I hope you find a relationship that will work out better — with exciting sex and no drunkenness.

Resources about alcohol and older women


Send Joan your questions by emailing her at All information is confidential. Joan can only answer questions that are chosen for publication from readers age 60+.

Joan Price has been Senior Planet’s “Sex at Our Age” columnist since 2014. She is the author of four self-help books about senior sex, including her award winners: “Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex” and “Sex after Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality after Losing Your Beloved.” Visit Joan’s website and blog for senior sex news, views, tips, and sex toy reviews from a senior perspective. Subscribe to Joan’s free, monthly newsletter


7 responses to “Ask Joan: Online Dating Minefield vs. Paid Escorts

  1. I wish I could meet the man who continues to meet alcoholic women. My present partner met me 5 years ago online and was put off by my statement that I did not drink. He suspected I had a previous problem with it but I have actually never had a hangover in my life. I will have the occasional beer or glass of wine but rarely go to the second; I find it does nothing for me. I’m already outgoing and socially comfortable and I’ve been able to have very nice uninhibited sex (long ago) without any help from drugs or alcohol. My man is very good to me and expresses appreciation for me in everything I do. He compliments me often about how good I look and has said things like I’m in the top 1% of women my age. BUT WE HAVE VERY LITTLE INTIMACY! We were both cautious in the beginning, both with too much history behind us and not wanting to screw up another one. We became good friends and never had sex for 4 months. I was proud of myself as that was the longest time ever for me. I thought our beginning sex was good; he expressed that he was very satisfied and pleasantly surprised at how good it felt and he had no performance issues. Due to the fact I lived with daughter and granddaughters in a small place just our schedules, very busy, we had infrequent sex after that. There were a couple of times in that early period that I went over to his place, we were alone, yet, he did nothing to initiate sex. I began helping him coach a girl’s softball team and continued for 2 years helping him! We would go out of town or get a hotel room about every 3 or 4 months. I would say in the past 3 years we have not had sex more than 10 times and I am concerned. Being post-menopausal, I got a prescription for vaginal estrogen cream to help thicken my vaginal lining. The doctor told me that both sex or using a vibrator would help and I told my boyfriend that. Since then, I can’t remember to use the cream because he seldom initiates sex. I’ve come to tears over this and he likes to say, “I’m old; I just don’t need sex as much.” I will let that go for awhile; I’m never horny but I feel like I’m starving for intimacy. We seldom argue until I bring up that I am feeling bad that he doesn’t seem interested. We’ve had plenty of nights with no one else in the house and he turns his way and I turn mine. He doesn’t pet me, stroke me or cuddle me. He is such a wonderful man in every other way; very intelligent and positive. He gives more affection to my cats than to me. About alcohol, he has stated, “You’re the only girlfriend I’ve ever had that doesn’t like to drink. I don’t like to drink alone.” So I try to drink with him and it just makes me sleepy; it does NOTHING positive for my libido. From all his stories, it seems he had quite a sexual past and some crazy sex. I am thinking that I’m just too straight; I want sex combined with love. I am wondering if at 67 years old, I should put myself out there. I don’t want to! The last time we had sex, it was frustrating because we don’t “practice” enough; it had been months and my vagina was too dry; I had a hard time getting “there” without the vibrator. After spending a lot of time down on him, I felt hurt it wasn’t returned which makes me think there’s something else wrong with me. This is affecting my self-esteem. It has made me very inhibited for fear of rejection.

      1. As a married man who’s wife has told him “you deserve more” and “you need to get a lover or hire an escort'” nether of which I really want to do!
        But I am so frustrated and lonely that I am considering it. Question is, where do you find these partners? Looks like to me you have lots of people who need to find each other. What sites do you suggest?
        Thank you

  2. Ever since I first heard Ms. Price on a podcast many years ago her wisdom and advice resonated with good common sense. Again, she is spot on with the advice she has given Mr. Dating Minefield. While alcohol is often referred to as a “social lubricant” drinking to excess to engage in sex , or on a regular basis, is indeed a problem. Even in our later years it’s important to be persistent, selective, and not settle when it comes to our own happiness.

  3. I feel for this guy in his string of bad luck linking up with women who have alcohol-related problems. I applaud Joan Price’s suggestion concerning how he might rephrase his dating profile to attract the sort of partner he seeks. I also applaud him for his willingness to have his sexual needs met by escorts, and his observation that they are “very nice women” (since they are too often denigrated in public discourse). Many of us men who are widowed or divorced late in life struggle to find a partner with whom we resonate, both sexually and in other important ways. “Dating Minefield” strikes me as a decent fellow who seeks a genuine, loving connection. Like Joan Price, I was taken by his expressed desire for not just a sexual, but a romantic and emotional connection, and I trust that with Joan’s typical sage advice he will find such a person.

    1. I too feel for this man. He comes across as a caring person with a lot to offer the right person. I hope he continues his search.

      I’m about to turn 67 and feel fortunate to have found the love of my life on an internet dating site a year ago: it’s a daunting process putting yourself out there on these sites but my experience was very positive.

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