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 email@example.com
Our marriage needs help. Our sex life is in a slump and we can’t talk about it. We married four months ago, after being together for a year and a half. My husband and I have a great relationship and can talk about everything — except our sex life.
It takes me so long to have an orgasm that he feels like he’s not doing it for me. In the middle of trying to make it happen, he gets angry, stops, and storms out of the room. I’m left lying there, feeling guilty about hurting him. If I could talk to him about it and give him some ideas about what would help me orgasm, I think it would help. But he’s not talking and he won’t listen when I try. We are at each other’s throats over this.
We really do love each other and want this marriage to last the rest of our lives, but we have to fix our bedroom life. Could you please advise me about what I can do to make our marriage great again?
- Can’t Talk about Sex
Joan Price Responds
Your slow arousal is not the problem – it’s normal. As we age, we get aroused more slowly. We need to be relaxed and allow time to get warmed up emotionally and physically. There’s no way you can ease into the sensations of sex if you’re tense and worried about not being fast enough and anticipating the moment that your husband will get angry and stop. You are not the problem here. Your husband’s anger is the problem.
You’re probably right that he’s frustrated and feeling inadequate about pleasing you, but he’s creating the opposite of what you both want by storming off and not talking. He needs to understand his own feelings and yours, and how his actions are sabotaging your marriage. I strongly urge you to ask him to get counseling. If he’s stomping off in the middle of sex four months into your marriage, he has problems that won’t be resolved without help.
You’re right that this rip in your marriage can’t be repaired without the two of you talking about your sex life. You’re the one who knows what you need to feel pleasure and reach orgasm. If he won’t let you tell him, how can he learn about your sexual responses? Again, since he’s so angry, I recommend counseling to help you talk to each other. A good couples counselor would help your husband with his anger and insecurity and teach you both communication strategies.
Meanwhile, try these tips to get the conversation started:
- Set up a neutral, relaxed time – not during sex – to open the conversation.
- Explain to your husband that slow arousal is natural as we age.
- Say something like, “I need a lot of warm-up and certain kinds of touch to become aroused. Let me tell you what I need.”
- Offer to show him how you pleasure yourself, if you feel comfortable doing that.
- Acknowledge that you understand his frustration, but shaming you is counterproductive and wrong, and will only make things worse.
- Invite him to join you in sensual activities that are pleasurable without being goal-oriented, such as massage and touching that gives pleasure without aiming for orgasm.
- If your sex life now is mostly or exclusively intercourse, engage him in new ways of enjoying sex without penetration. Show him this article and consider watching my webinar “Great Sex without Penetration”
- Assure him that you know you both want the intimacy of a loving sexual relationship, and the best way to get past this impasse by seeing a counselor.
I hope that the two of you will be able to overcome this problem by talking together and working with a counselor. I wish you honest and loving communication and mutual sexual pleasure.
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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.