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 protected].
I am 64 and have been married for 40-plus years. My husband and I haven’t had a sex life for years. We don’t even cuddle or kiss. We live like brother and sister in separate bedrooms. Our last physical intimacy was maybe 20 years ago. We never talked about it – it just happened. I remember just once trying to talk to him about our relationship, and he shut the conversation down. I never had an orgasm with my husband and was okay with the lack of sex. I didn’t miss it, because I didn’t know what sexual pleasure was.
Then I got to know a man – online only – who became a close cyber friend. I met him in a chat room for seniors (not a specific “sex” chat room). Our friendship developed until we became intimate online – by intimate I mean just words on our screens. He helped me feel sexy and more comfortable with my body.
Before my cyber friend encouraged me, I never used to explore or touch myself at all, but with his prompting, I started to discover how pleasurable it was to have sex with myself. Now I love touching myself, especially alone in the shower or even walking around the house naked when I’m alone. I love making my nipples hard and I’ve discovered my clitoris.
Lately I’ve been trying to stimulate myself to orgasm. I’m not sure if I’ve ever really had an orgasm and now I wonder if it may be too late. Touching myself does feel nice, but I don’t have a lot of sensation, probably due to age and lack of use.
Can you help me with other ideas for stimulating myself? I’ve only been using my fingers and I’d like to try a vibrator – frankly, my arm and fingers get tired! I think I’d find it embarrassing going into a sex shop. Do vibrators inhibit the sensation you want to feel or enhance it?
Is it possible to masturbate too much? I feel like I want to hop into bed sometimes in the middle of the day and do it. Is it possible to become addicted? —Self-Pleasurer
I’m delighted that you’re discovering the joys of sex with yourself. Call it masturbation, solo sex, self-pleasuring – it is real sex: sex with ourselves.
Don’t be embarrassed about not knowing for so long how to achieve sexual pleasure. Our generation of men and women weren’t exposed in our sexually formative years to information about the clitoris – what it is, what it’s for (it’s the only organ in the body designed exclusively for sexual pleasure!) and how best to stimulate it. As women, we certainly were not taught that masturbation is the best way to discover what stimulates us and brings us to orgasm. Despite our upbringing, many of us figured this out along the way by touching ourselves or having a partner touch us in just the right way – but there are many who don’t learn the delights of self-pleasuring until later in life. Good for you for enjoying masturbation now. It’s the perfect solution for those of us who are unpartnered or in a non-sexual relationship like yours.
How do you decide if your self-pleasuring habit is an unhealthy compulsion Does it interfere with your daily life, activities, responsibilities, or relationships? Are you taking risks in order to masturbate? Do you continue to the point of inflicting pain? You don’t indicate that any of these are true – and if they’re not, you don’t need to worry. Desiring sexual stimulation and release is part of being human.
How can you deal with decreased sensation? Women our age commonly experience decreased sensation. It can be difficult to get enough stimulation to reach orgasm. Yes, vibrators are a tremendous help – a well-chosen vibrator gives us the intense stimulation that we need for reaching orgasm. And no, vibrators don’t decrease sensation – they increase it! There are even waterproof vibrators available, since you enjoy masturbation in the shower. (See my “A Senior’s Guide to Vibrators” on Senior Planet for help choosing your first one.)
How do you handle the awkwardness of sex toy shopping? If you have a good, woman-friendly sexuality shop near you, don’t be shy about visiting it. The staff is trained to help you feel comfortable, answer your questions and suggest the right product for your needs. Alternatively, I recommend several online retailers on my blog, www.nakedatourage.com, but there’s no substitute for being able to see and hold a vibrator and feel the vibrations to help you figure out which one you might like.
Although I’m tempted to encourage you to try to re-open the conversation about physical intimacy with your husband, it’s clear that after 20 years, it’s unlikely that the two of you will come together sexually unless you (a) decide it’s a priority; and (b) have some sessions with a good couple’s counselor or sex therapist. You have what’s called a “companionate marriage.” Many people are content this way and don’t feel that anything is broken that needs fixing.
So continue to enjoy yourself, incorporate a vibrator when you’re ready and celebrate your capacity for sexual pleasure! —Joan
- Would you like to see more questions and answers? See all of Joan’s advice in Sex At Our Age.
- Send Joan your questions by emailing [email protected]. All information is confidential.
Joan Price is the author of the new “Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50: How to Maintain – or Regain! – a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life”; the award-winning self-help book “Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex”; and the sexy memoir, “Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty.” Visit Joan’s blog, “Naked at Our Age,” and her Facebook page.