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.
A reader asks:
I am 70 and have had no sex for the last 30 years, not even with myself. Recently I met a gentleman online who has spurred feelings through my body that I can’t remember ever having! It’s been so many years — where do I start? We are planning to meet soon, but my fears might stop me from seeing him.
Lately I feel physical changes in my body, like I want to be touched. I have never masturbated, but after talking with my gentleman, I catch myself touching my body and fantasizing being held and kissed.
My only sexual activity 30 years ago was with my husband, and it was just okay. I rarely had orgasms. Maybe that is how I was able to turn off those feelings and not miss sex until this new man came into my life. I considered buying a vibrator, but there are so many different ones that I really don’t know how to choose. I did buy a small vibrator but didn’t get as much pleasure as I expected.
I know the gentleman is sexually active and I’m scared that sex with him will be painful. I consulted my physician, who prescribed an estrogen vaginal cream, but Medicare doesn’t cover it and I can’t afford the $400/month supply. I contacted the manufacturer, which does have programs available, but I’m not eligible because I’m on Medicare!
My body says it wants sex, but I have all these fears:
- I’ll be embarrassed by my lack of experience.
- Sex will be extremely painful.
- Will I be able to please him?
- What if the sexual feelings don’t come back after 30 years of inactivity?
- Will I be able to have orgasms?
I feel like I’m behaving like a 12-year-old. I keep avoiding meeting this gentleman who excites me so much, but I can’t keep that up for much longer!
— Start Where?
First, good for you for wanting to overcome your fears to experience sex and intimacy again, consulting your doctor, and reaching out to the pharmaceutical company. You’re clearly a pro-active person, and I applaud that. Did you tell your doctor that you can’t afford to fill the prescription? What a vicious cycle that is!
In preparation, I strongly suggest you read my book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50: How to Maintain – or Regain! – a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life. It includes a 22-page chapter titled “Sex with a New Partner” which would be very helpful to you. You’ll also learn about sex toys, lubricants, sexual pain, and how to communicate with your partner.
Your fears are causing anxiety. By this age, we all have our histories — there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Getting to know another person sexually takes time. It’s unlikely to happen magically the first time you’re together. Honesty and patience are the best solutions for a couple that wants to become intimate.
You asked where to start:
- Purchase high-quality sexual lubricant, preferably from a local or online sex toy shop, not a drugstore. Buy a few samples to discover what you like. Learn more about lubricants in “Senior’s Guide to Lubrication.”
- Touch yourself. Explore how to give yourself pleasurable sensations. Don’t worry about orgasm, just pleasure. Revel in your fantasies about what you’d like your new lover to do for you.
- Once you feel comfortable giving yourself sexual pleasure, explore how to take those sensations to orgasm.
- If you have trouble reaching orgasm, experiment with clitoral vibrators. One unsatisfying vibrator experience just means you didn’t have the right one for your needs. Read my “Senior’s Guide to Vibrators” and the vibrator reviews on my blog. If you live near a woman-friendly, education-based sex toy shop, visit and ask questions.
- Practice vaginal insertion with your own fingers or a slim, insertable sex toy (dildo), always with lubricant. If this is painful, ask your doctor for help locating a medical specialist in vaginal pain, such as a pelvic floor therapist.
- Prepare for your date by learning about safer sex and purchasing barrier protection. (Don’t assume he’ll have these on hand.) View my free video here.
- Be honest with your new lover before any sexual interaction. Tell him about your fears. Discuss your expectations and misgivings and ask about his.
- Be honest during your time in bed. Tell him what does and doesn’t feel good during sex. Ask him what feels good to him. Explore slowly, without goals.
Most important: just because you’ve agreed to meet and get sexual, this doesn’t mean it all has to happen at once. Agree that your first time(s) won’t go straight to intercourse. Explore each other with your hands. Learn what kinds of touch the other likes. Get used to each other’s vocalizations and body signals that indicate what feels good and what doesn’t. Realize that you don’t know each other at all yet. You’ve had exciting, sexy talk, but that doesn’t mean that you’re ready to put all the fantasies into play. Avoid putting pressure on yourself.
Enjoy this exciting time of getting to know a new lover!
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 the award-winning “Naked at Our Age” and her newest, “Sex after Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality after Losing Your Beloved,” coming August 2019. Visit Joan’s website, blog “Naked at Our Age,” and Facebook page. For senior sex news, tips, event and webinar announcements, and special offers, subscribe to Joan’s free newsletter.