Healthy Aging

Why Older Woman May Have Trouble Climaxing—and What You Can Do

sex-at-our-age-senior-woman-topless

Want to learn more about senior sex and relationships?  Subscribe now (do it here) and don’t miss a thing. Every month  award-winning senior sexpert Joan Price answers your questions about everything from loss of desire to solo sex and partner issues. To send your questions directly to Joan, email sexpert@seniorplanet.org. Senior Planet also offers feature articles on technology tips, plus free online classes (learn more here) on everything from how to Zoom to on-line banking  and more.  Subscribers receive The Weekly Orbit, our newsletter with features about personal finance, health and fitness, technology tips, an online book club, sex and relationships and more! 

 

A reader writes:

My partner and I are in our early 70s. We’ve been together for several months and enjoy sex two or three times a week. He doesn’t have a large penis, but that doesn’t matter, because I get great pleasure from the way it touches my g-spot. I enjoy sex with him a lot, even though I don’t climax—although he thinks I do. In fact, he thinks I have multiple vaginal orgasms because of the pleasure he sees me experiencing.

Still, I am concerned that I almost never climax at all. Even with my vibrator that used to bring me there in under a minute, it now takes a very long time, and sometimes I can’t do it at all.

This change came on gradually. I’d been using the vibrator often, but nowadays not so much, because my boyfriend hates vibrators and doesn’t want me to use one. He wants to make sure I reached orgasms with him, not with my sex toy.

Why can’t I climax anymore? Did I zap my clitoris to death with my vibrator? Or could he have flattened my clitoris area by trying to get the deepest penetration? He’s not really hurting me, but his weight on me makes it hard to breathe while he’s trying to penetrate deeply, and I have told him this. He really likes it when I straddle him, and I enjoy that, too. But if it takes too long, it’s a killer on my knees, so we change positions at that point.

Is it something wrong with me? I have not asked my doctor. I would be too embarrassed, especially at my age. So I’m asking you!  —Can’t Climax

Joan Price responds

You’re concerned that you’re having trouble reaching orgasm alone with your vibrator, when it used to happen easily. There might be a medical problem that you need to investigate. Just in case, please swallow the embarrassment and ask your doctor to run tests to see if something is going on that is interfering with your ability to reach orgasm. This might be an urgent matter, such as heart disease or diabetes, or a medication issue that can be adjusted.

That said, as we age, many of us experience increasing difficulty achieving orgasm. Our hormones are not the reliable helpers they used to be. Our body aches, other medical conditions, medications and anxiety about not reaching orgasm contribute to the problem. Trouble breathing when your partner is on top and knee pain when you’re on top don’t help, either! Plus 75 percent of women of all ages do not reach orgasm solely through penetration, so you’re not alone there.

The point is that as we get older, most of us need extra clitoral stimulation. That’s what vibrators do superbly—and intercourse does not do at all. Their sole function is to make it easier to reach orgasm. Why would your partner want to deny you that? I know that many men in heterosexual relationships are anxious about their partners using vibrators: What if she prefers it to me? Shouldn’t she have an orgasm the “natural” way? Maybe you could show him the blog post I wrote about that: “Senior Sex & Vibrators: Myths & Facts.”

Your partner wants to help you climax, so please stop faking orgasms! Since he thinks he’s doing that already, he has no incentive to try other methods that might work for you, such as more oral and manual sex and incorporating a vibrator into your lovemaking together. If you add a vibrator for clitoral stimulation during intercourse with your partner, you may find that you’re able to orgasm that way. But don’t put pressure on yourself. Anxiety is an orgasm-killer.

Your relationship is still pretty new, so get your communication on track. Say your version of something like this:

“I love the way you pleasure me when you’re inside me. You give me so much joy that way! This is really hard for me to say: I’m getting pleasure, but not orgasms. The only way I reach orgasm is with my vibrator. You’ve been so anti-vibrator that I didn’t know how to tell you that it’s the only way I’ll reach orgasm, and even that’s not reliable. I’m embarrassed that I haven’t been fully honest about it, but I want to be honest now. Can we please explore how to enjoy my vibrator together?”

(For more about how to tell the truth after you’ve been faking orgasm, see my piece on seniorplanet.org, “How to Tell the Truth About Faking Orgasms.”)

There are also some things you can do yourself to decrease arousal time and increase your chance of orgasm:

  • Enjoy frequent solo sessions with your vibrator. The more orgasms you have, the easier it will be to have more.
  • Exercise before sex (solo or partnered) to bring blood flow to the genitals.
  • Avoid eating before sex, because that sends the blood flow to the digestive system.

I’ve given you a lot of things to think about. I hope you’ll get back to us and let us know how it went. I wish you the best.—Joan


Send Joan your questions by emailing sexpert@seniorplanet.org. All information is confidential.

joan-priceJoan Price is the author of “The 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. For interesting senior sex news, views, practical tips, announcements about events and webinars, and special offers, join Joan’s mailing list.

COMMENTS

40 responses to “Why Older Woman May Have Trouble Climaxing—and What You Can Do

  1. I’m in total agreement about the ejaculation level dropping as you get older. And the pre – sex you give a lady with cuddling, spooning and eating – That’s a fantastic start. You can even use your mouth after being “in” for a while. I’m 66, and having no girlfriend have to masturbate to ease the pressure. Oh well..
    But this does seem like a great site to talk about it!!!

  2. I am 59 years old. I lost my husband & sex partner in June 2021. I am now with a very active sexual male partner who gives me pleasure in so many ways. I do have orgasisms but they are not easily achieved as in younger times with my previous husband. Could there be a reason for this? Could my grief be keeping me from achieving these orgasisms?

  3. It’s sad that this article missed key information. It seems there are so many women suffering. Ladies, two books I would whole-heartily recommend will improve if not transform your sex life.
    1. Women’s Anatomy of Arousal, by Shari Winston. It will teach you about your body, I was blown away at 52, as a college educated, sexually adventurous women–I could not believe I was so ignorant about my whole sexual self. This book was a revelation. Mind blowing, and it also helped me overcome negative self-talk and for the first time, I was relaxed and fully enjoying my husband. Game changer.
    2. Vagina, by Naomi Wolf. This book is a different beast entirely from Winston’s book, but it was also a game changer. Wolf dives heavy into the latest science (reprinted in 2013), but she gave me even more information and knowledge to complement Winston’s gifts to me….It’s well written, chock full of information not told to women…
    There is a lot of information out there. Start researching.

  4. I’m a 68 yr old male from 08060 area. Due to ED I managed to engage in
    oral service to couple of senior female friends and all three almost always
    experienced climax after receiving oral sex. However, one of my friends
    past away and the other two have moved to Fla. No current luck in meeting any similar senior ladies, so do I give up or keep looking ? Thank You

    1. Hi John,

      Have you ever tried a prostate massager? I am a woman, so I cannot comment on its usefulness personally, but I have seen how it’s helped men in my life that I personally know who have had health issues. Go to Aneros’ website and read the forums (find the link is at the bottom of their homepage). It can greatly help your ED without any side effects or “timing” to manage (or expensive drugs), and it’s very good for overall prostate health (no prostate enlargement or prostate cancer if you start a regular regimen)…Best of luck to you, and thanks from all the women out there for being a generous and engaged lover of women.

  5. The ONLY orgasms I have ever had were in my sleep. This has been going on for 40 years and I just go along with the program even though I am a sexy woman and love having sex. Not sure why this is happening, but I do love it when it does! Just wish I could have one when I am with my husband. We don’t have sex that often anymore, and we used to be that couple who couldn’t keep their hands off of each other. I hate faking it, and have tried EVERYthing. I don’t think he knows because I make sure he comes. I just always wanted to come with him when I was awake. Suggestions?

    1. Maria,

      I sounds like relaxation is what you need. Also, are you getting the full 20-30 minutes or more of physical attention from your husband prior to the start of actual penetrative intercourse? Get Shari Winston’s book: Women’s Anatomy of Arousal. It will show you all your erectile tissue (which is why you need the 20-30 minutes), but more importantly to help you with your husband, Winston will show you how to breathe to relax, feel more sensation and be in touch better with his sexual energy and your own. It was transforming for me. …Using Winston’s breathing, I actually had an energy release that was like a whole-body orgasm and like nothing I had every had where yellow electricity in my brain was visible. It blew me away. Good luck.

  6. I’m 62 and in good health. I do not take any meds and exercise regularly. In the past 2-3 years my desire to orgasm has waned. When I do have the desire, I can orgasm but as one of your commenters said, it’s so vague it’s frustrating. Can’t really feel the contractions as intense any more. Sometimes can’t feel them at all and don’t know if I’m even having one. No more fireworks. I think its just the natural aging process. Which sucks.

    1. Sex, sexual excitement, desire and orgasm are all practice based, or rather, “exercise” based. Just like if you quit exercising, you cannot expect to jump back to where you are now with your fitness, and your fitness and overall health will wane, so does your sexual health. Commit to giving yourself orgasms—really good, deep, blended if you can, orgasms as many days a week as you exercise the rest of your body. You will need to restrengthen your neural pathways, and regenerate the blood flow and it will take time…

  7. im a 58 year old women and i love having sex with my husband but lately ive been having trouble having any orgasms. its stressing me out.ive also get very dry. we are taking care of that but i just cant have an orgasm.we would have sex every 2 to 3 days until this started.what can i do.

  8. I go to four gym classes a week (aerobic and yoga), and on the other days I go for brisk, half-hour walks. I think I’m in pretty good shape for an “old gal” of 75. I haven’t had a sexual partner for a couple of years. (Available guys of my age are usually married, but I wouldn’t go there……!) I was enjoying “selfy” orgasums up until two months ago.

    I just now realized that my “lack of functioning” might be the medication my doctor had reccomended for what (she claimed) was dementia. She had me go for a brain MRI, which came out negative!! So, of course, I was wondering what was going on here…..?? She explaned, through an email, that there might be other “mental things” going on. Well, I didn’t found out what those “other things” were about, because she soon left the clinic to go to some other residency.

    She left me with instructions to take Atorvastatin 40 MG (mornings) and Donepezil HCL 5 Mg (evenings). It didn’t ocur to me at the time, but now I’m wondering—could taking these medications have something to do with loss of arousal?

      1. I have always felt I have had high sex drive. Although could only get climax by by arousing myself without a partner. Climax was easy
        it is concerning me as a considerate partner 11 years younger then
        myself and very much in love. He has tried to help but because I would arouse my self with fantasies that gave me a climax. It dwindling off now
        which is frustrating. I am taking Atorvastatin also blood pressure tablets. I run regularly so not over weight and feel healthy. Is it the
        meds a pr

  9. I’m 65 and he is 35. He is larger then I’m use. At first it hurted but then I got use to it. But, as time moved on the pain became greater. And I found myself enjoying it but, also I would avoided getting started. Then one day I stop feeling anything. Now I have no desires. I love him, and loves me. He is faithful and it’s not fair for me to deny him sex. Can you tell me what’s wrong, and how I can fix it.

    1. You need 20-30 minutes of direct physical attention, to allow your erectile tissue to engorge. And that physical attention should NOT start internally, but start outward and be worked inward slowly. Hair, face, chest, arms, legs, lower back, etc, before anything explicitly sexual is touched….You never know, he might find you using toys very attractive, or if you think he might be threatened by it as some men are, then keep it to yourself. Anyway dear, you are beautiful, and deserve fulfilling sex, so go help yourself, dear Goddess and conquer!

    2. Get a Kindle and read TL Swan’s books, especially the Miles Club, The Stopover, The Takeover and The Casanova. Also her book, Dr Stanton. 50 Shades of Grey, if you can treat it as fun, will help with arousal too, I am 72 and due to dryness my sex drive waited. With new treatment, Mona Lisa, I am back.

  10. I’m having the beginnings of what I consider “low labido”. I’m 50 and have had a “pellet” called Biote inserted every 3 to 4 months. This primarily works to help with my crazy hormones. I was feeling very depressed and wasn’t able to get out of bed one day even though I didn’t know why. My doctor suggested the pellets. I’m reading all the responses and I feel that communication is key to a good relationship. Sex is always good, but the bond you form with your partner is so important. Cuddling, holding, kissing, fondling, flirting, sexting, are all part of foreplay. I think that what has worked for me is the communication between my partner and I. We can joke about us getting older and about having more difficulty climaxing.

    1. maria, ask your husband/lover to be patient and gentle at the same time. spooning is one of the main ingredients to making love . but more so, to relaxing you.man can climax fast yet, needs to take the time to relax you and gently take the time to bring you to the point of climaxing or penetration.

      1. Bravo, Robert Freeman!!!! Robert is exactly right. Women need 20-30 minutes of sustained, and direct affection/attention before all their erectile tissue is fully engaged. Yes, women have a lot of erectile tissue (The clitoris is a huge structure, not just the little “button” which is visible, the meatus swells, the Skeen’s gland (or urethral sponge), the perineum sponge and also, the glorious vestibular bulbs. A man’s erectile tissue has valves that all open at the same time in him when he is aroused, which makes his arousal/erection quick….

    2. Depression meds cause sexual problems, like unable to reach climax. I am taking meds daily for depression. I schedule sex once a week with husband and don’t take my meds that day. Really helps. But u are taking meds differently. Maybe talk to doctor.

    1. I am having an affair with a younger man. My orgasm story sounds like the run I just read. I have few orgasms and it always requires a vibrator. I can come sometimes at home but with my husband and son here all the time it’s hard to be frequent. My husband is disabled and we haven’t had sex in years. Orgasm was difficult at 55 so I gave up and just catered to him.
      Tuan is getting rough. He hurts my parts. He jams his penis and wand in at the same time. I have already tried my own little vibrator but it doesn’t help so he gets rough. Perhaps this is why I don’t come. What once happened occasionally now not at all.
      We only have 50 minutes. I know all this is wrong .
      I want orgasms back for anxiety relief and pleasure.
      62 and fading fast.

      1. yes its wrong maybe you have feelings of guilt. i’m 73 and my girlfriend is 75 and we enjoy sex sometimes 7 days a week and cums 90 percent of the time.

  11. I slowly lost my sex drive and no longer have sex at all. However, once in awhile I have I desire to climate. I sometimes use a vibrator but I no longer have strong orgasms. Sometimes it is so mild it’s flrustating. Why has orgrass become so mild?

    1. Just like working out to get strong, defined abs or buttocks, you need to energize and exercise your PC, vaginal tissue, labia, clitoris all the lovely parts inside your vagina (A spot, O-Spot, G-spot, Cervix, and PS-spot). Not only are the tissues themselves at risk of atrophy, but the neural pathways linking your brain (and associate chemicals) to your body are at risk, and these pathways control your desire and response to the stimulation of these areas and can become weak or lost. Stretch your hips, lower back and abdomen, do Kegels daily, masturbate often touching all your parts, and have sex every opportunity you can. Buy toys—they are fabulous and fun. Treat yourself to what turns you on—just do it up. Every little bit helps.

  12. I am 53 and not 70, and I have not been unable to reach orgasm the last 3 or 4 weeks, and it use to be once or twice a week, may-be it is the Holidays, but I never use to have that problem, I do take blood pressure medicine, may-be that is it.

  13. I had a hysterectomy in 2009 because of uterine cancer. For awhile I have been doing well reaching an orgasm with my husband. The passed few years I have had problems reaching that. The last 3 or 4 times I have been unable to get there. We have read books, tried watching movies, using a vibrator but I still have issues. He uses Cialis because he has his issues. He two years ago had bladder cancer. I was instantly upset because I felt I gave him cancer. ( I Know not true) . I just felt that way. He is 69 and I am 66. We are running out of things to try and fix the situation. We can you suggest? I feel like I let him down because sometimes I try to wait for him to reach that point and then it’s hard for me. I’m not sure what’s happening. Need some help or at least advice.

Leave a Reply

Senior Planet’s comments are open for all readers/subscribers; we love hearing from you! However, some comments are not welcome here as violations of our Comment Policy. If you would like to express a comment about Senior Planet locations or programs, please contact supporters@seniorplanet.org. Want to continue the conversation? Start your own discussion on this topic on Senior Planet Community.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *