Sex & Relationships

Ask Joan: Self-Conscious widow


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 Find more details on how Joan selects questions at the end of this article…and learn about Joan’s talk exclusively for Senior Planet members on 2/11. 

I am a 63-year-old widow of four years. I recently began online dating. I met a man and have a long-distance connection going. We are on opposite coasts. We really hit it off with the same interests. Right off the bat, he expressed that he has been waiting for someone with my knowledge, interests, and beauty.

He has made it clear he wants a relationship, and physicality is important. I also want a physical relationship — desire is very much a part of the picture. He makes me feel sexy, and I want that part of my life again. 

But I’m afraid and self-conscious. I know I have aged. Gravity has assaulted the fullness of my breasts. I know I am not picture-perfect, and I don’t want to be embarrassed by my body. I fear that he won’t like me.

He has been talking about meeting in person. What should I do?

  • Self-Conscious Widow

Joan replies:

When you say you “met a man,” you mean that you and he have been chatting online or by phone, but you’ve never actually met in person. You’ve developed a lively connection with interests in common and a shared need for a relationship. That’s great, but you don’t know each other. This long-distance connection can be exciting and hopeful, but you won’t know its real potential until you spend time in each other’s company. 

Yes, it’s possible that if you meet, he won’t like you. It’s equally possible that you won’t like him. First meetings seldom lead to full-blown relationships, whether you live on opposite coasts or a block apart. Shared interests are a great foundation for a friendship. A dating relationship requires so much more, including that elusive chemistry that might be missing for any number of reasons.  

You’ll never know whether something can blossom between the two of you if you don’t meet. Many women our age are, like you, self-conscious about their looks. I wrote about this in last month’s column. If you’ve been honest about your age and your life, he’s not expecting 20-year-old breasts or wrinkle-free skin. Please don’t put your sexuality on hold because you’re not “picture perfect.” None of us are. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t be intensely attracted to each other. Chemistry is not the domain of youth! You and your 63-year-old body deserve sexual pleasure and the attention of a lover who is attracted to you just the way you are.

He told you right away that he’s been waiting for someone like you, although you’ve never met. I worry that he’s emotionally invested in a fantasy of who you might be and what you might fill in his life, without knowing you. No one is anyone else’s ideal mate — there are always things to discover and work through. You really need to meet to see if this relationship has potential.

I suggest you share your fears. I’m not suggesting you list everything you perceive as a flaw, but it’s fine to say, “Can we share our worries about meeting in person? I’m worried that you’ve idealized me, and you won’t find my 63-year-old body attractive.” 

If one of you visits the other, plan for the visiting person to stay in a hotel, not in the other’s home. Yes, it adds cost to the trip, but you’ll need a refuge apart from each other, even if it goes well. And if it doesn’t go well, you’re not stuck. 

As a widow, you may feel especially vulnerable about dating again and getting into a new sexual relationship. You would find my newest book very helpful: Sex after Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality After Losing Your Beloved.    

A word of warning

I’d be remiss if I didn’t warn our readers that some scammers prey on lonely widows and widowers by courting them long-distance, often assuming someone else’s identity and photos, and fleecing them financially and emotionally. I hope that isn’t the case here, but readers with long-distance suitors need to be aware of these red flags:

  • They seem too good to be true. They pick up cues from you and play the role of your ideal mate.  
  • Whenever you try to meet in person, they have an excuse.
  • They send you photos but won’t do video calls. Common excuses: my webcam is broken, I’m in the military and not allowed to do video, etc. 
  • Their photos might be of someone else. Want to check this? See “How to Search by Image on Google.”
  • They make plans to meet and cancel at the last minute —flight cancelled, passport snafu, medical or family emergency, etc. 
  • They ask for money, escalating to large amounts. You’re promised repayment when the job pays, or insurance money settles, or an inheritance comes through. It never happens.

Never, never send money. At the first request, disengage quickly and report the person to the dating site where you found each other. Dating scams are so common that even the FTC has gotten involved — see “What You Need to Know About Romance Scams.”

Readers: Please share your experiences with long-distance connections that did or did not work out. We welcome your stories!

Want more Joan?

On February 11 Senior Planet will host an exclusive talk by Joan Price via Zoom as she debunks “Seven Myths about Sex and Aging.” Watch parties will be set up at these Senior Planet locations, click on the link for details (local time zones indicated): DenverNorth CountrySan AntonioPalo Alto, New York City, Montgomery County.

Can’t watch in person?  See the talk in real time (it won’t be archived) via live stream at our Youtube Channel here.


A Message from Joan:

I receive many more questions than I can answer. To help yours get chosen, know this:

  • I select questions solely from readers age 60+.
  • If I already answered a similar question, yours is less likely to be chosen, so do a search for your topic first.
  • When you submit a question, describe your problem, how it affects you, what you’d like to know. Your story will be edited.
  • For medical advice, consult your doctor. Change doctors if you’re not satisfied or if you’re treated dismissively.
  • I select questions for publication only. For a private answer, request a consultation. Most questions about sex and aging are answered in my books and webinars.

Send Joan your questions by emailing 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.


4 responses to “Ask Joan: Self-Conscious widow

  1. Thank you so much for the warning signs. Fantasy knows no age limit; It feels wonderful to be the focus of someone’s attention, and if you aren’t someone who would mislead other people it doesn’t occur to you someone else might be sizing you up for what’s in it for them. The first red flag in this situation is the distance.

  2. Great advice here. I am 74 and not self conscious possibly because I am a swimmer. Almost every day I am naked in the locker room taking a shower.
    When you lie down your breasts fall where they may.
    Seriously, who cares…we are baby boomers.

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