Happy older couple

I have been involved with my partner now for nearly five years. When we first slept together she told me that she was still a virgin at the age of 43. This shocked me, but we share many interests and generally get on fine. I thought I could make the relationship work. She has lived for years on her own, so when I moved in she had a great deal of culture shock.

My problem is that she can never relax. She is a very driven classical musicians who comes from a very high achieving family but as an outsider ever so slightly dysfunctional.

We are taking a break from each other at the moment, I want it to work, but she has a real problem with intimacy. The strangest thing is that when we are standing in line at the store or in a cafe, she is all huggy and kissy, but when it comes to the bedroom, she says she is too tired. When we did make time to go to bed, the sex is always a one-way street, a lot of me stroking, caressing, and playing with her genitals, which brings her to orgasm, but she has real trouble  being intimate with me.

I have put up with this for many years but I feel that this relationship is one step forwards and then two steps back. When I leave,  she says she doesn’t want me to go, but when I have been away for a couple of days, it takes a couple of hours for her to calm down. She has had mild mental heath problems in the past. I’m getting tired of this “50 first dates” feeling, when we have been apart for a few days, it’s wearing me down. And her problem with intimacy with my genitalia just makes it worse, she won’t talk about it, I think she needs to see a therapist, sorry that was a long one.


  • Michael Castleman says:

    Sorry you’re having this maddening problem. I agree with you. She does seem to have trouble with intimacy, after all, she was a virgin until age 43 and you’re the first guy she’s ever lived with. It’s important to distinguish between two types of intimacy, emotional and sexual. Emotional intimacy involves self-revelation, sharing one’s deeply personal information, thoughts, and feelings. Sexual intimacy involves comfort with the other person in bed. It sounds to me like you guys have issues both types of intimacy. Her emotional distance gives you that “50 first dates” feeling, and her sexual discomfort keeps you from getting your erotic needs met.

    Meanwhile, it sounds like she has complicated personal background issues: her driven family, her history of mental health issues, and what you call her inability to relax, which suggests that she may be an anxious, uptight person.

    I believe that many sexual issues can be resolved with information and self-help, which is why I offer 88 articles on this site. But I’m afraid that your situation is more complicated, and that the two of you would be better served by professional therapy. Now, you could see a couple counselor, but because you seem particularly troubled by the sexual component of your situation, I suggest that you two consider consulting a sex therapist. Sex therapists are psychotherapists who have additional training in sexuality issues. Studies show that after a few months of weekly sex therapy, two-thirds of couples report real benefit. If you’re unfamiliar with sex therapy, read the article An Intimate Look at Sex Therapy. To find a sex therapist near you, visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, or the American Board of Sexology. Good luck!

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