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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve been dating a man for six weeks. We have gone out about seven times. We’ve been doing a lot of kissing and holding hands and just general touching. The other night I lay in bed with him and we petted with our clothes on. At this point I’m okay with petting, but I don’t feel comfortable getting naked and doing more. Does that make me a tease? He doesn’t push me, but he wants more.
I have a very high libido and want sex very much physically, but I’m not ready emotionally. First, I am very scared of having sex with someone who might have a sexually transmitted disease. I’ve never had one and don’t want one. So I would need to be sure the man was disease free before I would exchange any fluids, either through intercourse or fellatio.
Also, he mentioned early on that he doesn’t always have an erection. I’m confused about what he might request from me. I don’t want him to ask me to spend ages masturbating him or giving him oral sex to get him aroused.
I want to feel more secure with him so I’ll feel ready for sex – I’m in the process of recovering from a two-year relationship with a man who was not emotionally available, so I’m a little scared. —Ambivalent About Sex
As I say often, sex is never just about sex, and many components are contributing to your ambivalence: You’re concerned about rushing too fast, exposing yourself to STDs and not knowing how to please him; you’re not sure you would enjoy doing what he needs you to do and worry that the relationship won’t work out. That’s a lot to handle! It makes sense that you’re ambivalent.
Wanting physical affection but not intercourse does not make you a tease. There are plenty of ways to enjoy each other sensually and sexually without intercourse, as you’re discovering. (Of course we know this from our teenage years!) How to deal with his expectations? Voice your concerns. Tell him that you enjoy the sensuality of what you’ve been doing, but you’re not ready to take it further and can’t predict when or if you will be. Then get to know each other.
Meanwhile, a few things to think about: It sounds like he has hinted at his sexual needs but you haven’t ask him to clarify them. It’s common for older men to need more touching and other kinds of sexual stimulation. Their erections and orgasms often require more attention from a partner. You say you don’t want to do prolonged manual or oral sex for him, but what if that’s what he needs?
If the idea of pleasuring him however he needs to be pleasured turns you off, maybe he’s not the partner you want. Be honest with yourself. If we feel connected to a partner, we want to give pleasure as well as receive it.
Or are you reluctant because you fear you can’t satisfy him? Ask him to guide you through it or let you watch while he masturbates – that can be exciting for both of you. When you’re ready, explore sex toys that can stimulate him. He may already have a favorite. (See my blog’s reviews of sex toys for male bodies here.)
How do you know that he has no STDs? You don’t. Please heed the advice I gave here and use condoms for penetrative sex and fellatio every time. If, three to six months later, the two of you are in a committed, sexually exclusive relationship, both of you should get tested and decide whether it’s appropriate to go condom-free.
You have plenty to think about and talk about before you decide whether to take sex further with this partner. Best wishes to you! —Joan
Send Joan your questions by emailing email@example.com. All information is confidential.
Joan Price is the author of the award-winning self-help book “Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex” and of “Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty.” Visit Joan’s blog, “Naked at Our Age.”