My wife and I have been together almost 40 years. Age, changing bodies and surviving prostate cancer have forced us to change and reconsider old sexual practices. We need to learn some new ways to express ourselves sexually, because the ways we counted on either don’t work or aren’t possible anymore. We used to enjoy long sessions that included oral, touching and intercourse in various positions, but now discomfort and irritation cuts intercourse short for her. She rides me (“cowgirl”) for a short time but doesn’t enjoy penetrative sex for any extended period. And I often have trouble feeling the sensations needed to maintain a level of arousal that would take me to orgasm. My orgasms come usually from masturbation. I help with her orgasms through oral and/or mutual masturbation.
For a couple of years after my prostate surgery, I was essentially impotent. Although I now have erections, there’s a change in genital sensitivity and sensation. She’s also dealt with the physical, hormonal, and emotional transitions that accompanied menopause. We feel stuck because what we do isn’t very satisfying, especially compared to the past. Added to that, our lives are busy with work and family obligations, and we only seem to be able to make time for sex twice a month if we’re lucky.
How can we explore new sexual pathways and adventures with so many physical and scheduling challenges? I’m more willing to be adventurous than she is. There is very little that I wouldn’t be willing to discuss, if not try. I wish we had more time, opportunity, and resources to let loose and play. What advice would you offer us and other couples in this situation? —Sexually Stuck
You and your wife are wise to recognize that enhancing your sex life will benefit your relationship. After 40 years together, it takes effort and commitment to make sex a priority and to look for new ways that will work in place of the old ways that don’t. Prioritizing sex will make you feel more intimate, decrease stress and put joy into lives filled with the challenges of aging and medical issues.
I encourage you to find ways to make time for sex at least once a week, preferably more often. Make a regular date for sex during the time of day that you feel most frisky. Sex at night can be sweet and put you to sleep nicely, but most of us oldsters are not as sexually responsive when we’re tired or after eating dinner. Daytime works better. How about setting the alarm earlier on workdays or making sure you carve out some sexy time every weekend morning or afternoon?
If you say there’s no time for weekly sex with the time you both need to reach orgasm, realize that sexual arousal and play can start before you actually come together. Remember how exciting it was, in your youth, to plan and fantasize about an upcoming sexual encounter? You can do that today. Instead of waiting for the right time to magically happen, put your sex dates on the calendar and let your imagination run for days in advance. Planning and anticipating will get you mentally aroused, and by the time you’re actually kissing and touching, physical arousal will happen more quickly. So will orgasm. Try adding “mental foreplay” to even your busiest days with these suggestions — or whatever works for you. As you get ready for your day, make eye contact, smile, kiss when you pass each other. Say “I love you” often – not in a perfunctory way, but deeply and sincerely. When you’re wishing there was time for sex, leave a sexy note instead. Read a few pages of erotica on your own when you have some minutes. “Ageless Erotica“ offers stories written solely by authors over 50 and features characters over 50. If you don’t care about the age of the characters, I recommend the anthologies edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel.
You can also give your weekly sex date a boost by exercising before sex. If you have an exercise routine that you can do together, such as a 20-minute brisk walk or bike ride around the neighborhood, even better. Exercise increases blood flow all through the body, including to the genitals. The increased blood flow will help you get aroused faster once you turn your attention to sex, and orgasms will happen more easily.
You say you’d like to be more adventuresome, and your wife is less interested. Your most powerful sex organ is your brain. Your fantasies, erotic reading and video viewing can be as wild and kinky as you want when you’re masturbating. You may find that a certain fantasy gets you more quickly to orgasm – there’s nothing wrong with turning on that fantasy when you’re making love with your wife. (If you worry that she would find your fantasies shocking or distasteful, keep them to yourself.)
Since you both realize that masturbation gets you to orgasm, instead of branding this as inadequate sex, enjoy it together. I always recommend sex toys because they make arousal and orgasm so much easier, so bring your favorite sex toys into the scene. Since you require extra stimulation, a penis vibrator such as the Pulse will give you the sensation you need. (For more about sex toys, see “A Senior’s Guide to Vibrators” on Senior Planet and read my reviews from a senior perspective at nakedatourage.com.)
Partner sex is much more than intercourse, as you’ve discovered. Keep the momentum going by getting each other almost to orgasm before you get to intercourse. Enjoy penetrative sex for a while, then go back to mutual or solo masturbation — whatever works best at the moment.
If your wife will play along, try creating adventure by telling each other a fantasy, then verbally roleplaying one of those fantasies. The power of your words and thoughts can make you feel that you’re doing something risky, kinky and exciting.
The more often you experience arousal and orgasm, the more easily you’ll get there – and the more intimate you and your wife will feel. —Joan
Would you like to see more questions and answers? See all of Joan’s advice in Sex @ Our Age.
Send Joan your questions by emailing [email protected]. All information is confidential.