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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
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
- “Alcohol and the Aging Process,” WebMD, 2021
- “More Older Women Hitting the Bottle Hard,” HealthDay, 2017
- “Use and Misuse of Alcohol Among Older Women,” Frederic C. Blow, Ph.D., and Kristen Lawton Barry, Ph.D., National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2017
Send Joan your questions by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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