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’m 64 and my husband of seven years is 66. We had a pretty good sex life in the past. Recently, though, my formerly dapper, self-confident husband grew a long beard and bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He has problems retaining a hard-on and has low ejaculation. Now he wants to spice up our marriage with kinky sex. For example, he wants me to take a dominant boyfriend to teach me – in a submissive role – how to be more hot.
I don’t mind the kink part so much, but last night when I got home, he said he had a surprise waiting for me: I found sex toys on the bed. While this could have been fun, I had a huge work deadline and it was bad timing for me. I asked if we could maybe do a quickie version of what he had planned.
He shocked me by saying, “Get on the bed and watch the clock for 15 minutes, and we’ll just have straight sex.” Of course that’s not enough time for me to get aroused, and he knew that. But he went ahead and pumped away without any concern for me. It was all over in 15 minutes.
I feel sick, mad, and dismayed. I tried to speak with him about it, but he laughed at me and never said he was sorry. I feel so used.
How can you reason with an unreasonable man when his expectations aren’t met the way he planned? Is this what I have to look forward to as we get older? This is quite the scary and helpless place to be in. – Not Hot Enough for Hubby
There’s a lot going on here. I always say that sex is never really just about sex, and your situation illustrates that.
Your husband is probably upset about his undependable erections and reduced ejaculate. These are normal parts of aging and don’t need to interfere with sexual enjoyment and the sensations of orgasm. These changes are difficult emotionally, though. Your husband may feel less manly and more vulnerable, so he covers it up with bravado, a rougher appearance and a motorcycle. He may also feel that it’s time to let out a part of his sexuality that he has covered up: his kinky side.
Many couples, including older ones, find that adding a little kink – like blindfolds or consensual, light spanking – spices up things in the bedroom. Some go for major kink, like getting the spouse involved in a dom/sub outside relationship, as your husband is suggesting.
You said the kink itself isn’t the big problem, but I wonder how much he involves you in making decisions about how to heat up your sex life. From what you say, he decides what you’ll do and tells you – and it doesn’t sound as if you like it that way.
I felt uneasy reading that your husband thought you needed a dominant partner to teach you how to be “hot,” when you didn’t mention that this notion turns you on or that you enjoy the submissive role. If you do, terrific – but if this is something your husband is forcing on you as his fantasy, not yours, please speak up for yourself. There are alternatives: You might both enjoy watching dom/sub porn, for example, rather than having to take on that role yourself with a third person, if you don’t want that.
There’s nothing sexy about being told that you’re not hot enough. And it’s not sexy to feel used, scared and helpless. Your husband needs to understand that a change in your sex life should be consensual, after discussion and sharing of fantasies. This is the most urgent issue to address, far more important than whether you bring more kink into your bedroom.
If you do agree on mutually acceptable ways to spice up your marriage and it includes kink, a good resource for you and your husband (and other interested readers) is “The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge,” ed. Tristan Taormino. I suggest you flag chapters that particularly interest you, read them together and discuss how a particular type of kink might play out in your relationship. Talk it out, fantasize together, then role play a light version of the kinky play – just the two of you at first – and discuss how the scene felt before you decide your next step.
Though it might seem exciting to bring other partners into your marriage, take each step slowly. Discuss rules, boundaries and how to handle it if one of you doesn’t like the scene after all. Be sure that you’re planning your next step together, so you don’t feel railroaded.
If you can’t discuss your concerns about feeling used and scared or agree about how to spice up the marriage, a sex therapist could help you with this. It sounds like the two of you – like most of us! – would benefit from learning better communications skills for talking about sexuality. You can find certified sex therapists in your area at www.aasect.org.
Communication, consent, compassion, and caring – these are most important as you go forward together. Best wishes to you, and please let us know how you do. . – 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.”