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How to Have Satisfying Sex When Your Man Uses Viagra

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 sexpert@seniorplanet.org.

My husband and I are at a sexual impasse. I used to really enjoy sex with him – he was attentive to my pleasure and took time getting me aroused. Now, even though he has erectile dysfunction, he’s constantly pressuring me for sex. He takes Viagra – I call it the “penis pill” — and once he has his erection, he wants to put it to good use immediately, whether I’m ready or not! All his focus is on that hard penis — he seldom takes the time or makes the effort to excite me.

I try to tell him what I need and remind him of the ways he teased and aroused me when we were first married, but it’s like he forgets or doesn’t care as soon as his penis says “go.” Sometimes I avoid sex because I know if we get started, it will last an uncomfortably long time and I won’t even get any pleasure.

I’ve tried my hardest to be sympathetic and encouraging, but our sex life feels like a burden. If he would spend time helping me get in the mood, I’d love to have more sex. In fact, I’d be happy with better sex less often, with more foreplay and less intercourse. But the way it is now, it’s like he goes from zero to a hundred in a flash, and I go from zero to zero. He thinks it’s all about what his pill-enhanced penis can do. What can I do? —Unexcited

Joan Price Responds

You’re in a frustrating but not unusual situation. Your husband takes the “penis pill” and wants to complete the act – his act, not yours. Not only is it not pleasurable for you, it’s downright uncomfortable.

I wish I could communicate this to your husband and to all men who think that erection pills are the be-all and end-all of satisfying sex: All they do is help the penis achieve an erection. They do not get a partner aroused or give her an orgasm. In fact, a partner may feel, as you do, that the penis owner is only focused on the almighty erection to the exclusion of what she needs for intimacy, arousal and orgasm.

A while ago on Senior Planet, I responded to a man who took Viagra and still had trouble reaching orgasm. I told him, “Just because your erection is ready doesn’t mean that you are ready. You still need erotic stimulation – physical and mental – and at our age, that may take more than it once did.” This is even truer for the partner of a man who takes a sexual performance pill. Just because his erection is ready doesn’t mean that you – his partner – are ready. It doesn’t mean that he’s really ready, either. If he’s just taking an erection pill, it might take him what seems like forever to reach orgasm.

You say you’ve tried to talk to him about this. Have you told him clearly and firmly (pun unintended) that you need sex to be between two of you – meaning you and him, not him and his erection? Talk to him during a time when you’re not having sex. Explain that you’re frustrated and alienated by his lack of attention to your needs.

Try this: tell him that for the next month, you’d like to have frequent sex — but without the pill. “But I won’t have an erection!” he may object. That’s fine. There are plenty of ways to have loving, satisfying sex without an erection, concentrating on giving each other sensual, erotic pleasure. That’s what you need from him now – connection and focusing on your pleasure again. Once he starts experiencing your pleasure, I bet he’ll realize how much he (as well as you) enjoys and values this intimate connection.

I hope a month of frequent pill-free sex will get you back on track as a couple, enjoying pleasure together and taking the focus away from the penis’s ability to “perform.” Then you can invite him to take the pill sometimes (not every time) as long as he doesn’t neglect your pleasure. —Joan

Would you like to see more questions and answers? See all of Joan’s advice in Sex @ Our Age.

joan-priceSend Joan your questions by emailing sexpert@seniorplanet.org. 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.

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2 comments
  • Dawn
    REPLY

    My husband is not yet interested in taking Viagra, and is never in the mood. He thinks it’s fine for a couple in their 50s to stop having sex & I’m devastated! Can you please explain further what can be done to enjoy intimacy without actual penetration? We have enjoyed sex for 25 years & I’m definitely not ready to just give up on this because of his change in libido. Please help!!

  • David M. Pittle, Ph.D.
    REPLY

    Excellent response. It is an adaptation of the Sensate Focus exercise that many of us prescribe. It frequently leads to more and better sex experiences for both partners. I hope that “Unexcited” will undertake this, but do it with mutual focus. Her husband may discover that he has more erotogenic areas than just his penis.
    Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, the “penis pills” are a good first try for erectile dysfunction. They do help about 50% of men get an erection. Many of those who don’t gain the benefit simply expect the pill to obviate the need for foreplay and sexual emotions and sensations.
    Part of “Unexcited’s” problem stems from the abject lack of sexual knowledge and skills of the average American man. (It is even worse in many other cultures.)

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