couple outdoors

My fiance’ is 48, and I’m 39. In the beginning of our relationship we never used to have a problem with him getting an erection, or keeping one. Someone told me that if he really wants to get an erection he can. Is that true? I’m starting to feel like he is not attracted to me. He told me he has poor blood circulation, and the blood doesn’t flow properly in his penis area. In the winter time his fingertips get so cold he can barely use his hands. Is he telling me the truth, or is my friend right when he said my fiance’ can perform if he wanted to. I think he is not attracted to me any more, and he wants to have sexual relations with some one else. Please help, I am on the verge of tears. I miss our regular sex life.


  • Michael Castleman says:

    So a friend told you, “If he really wants to get an erection, he can.” Excuse me, but your friend knows NOTHING about the changes in men’s sexuality that occur around age 50. Please please stop listening to this clueless friend.

    Your fiance is 48 so he’s right on the cusp of the major sexual change that happens to men around 50, the change from youth’s firm, reliable erections that can rise from fantasy alone, to middle-age erections that are less firm, less reliable, and require direct stimulation (stroking by hand, oral sex, etc.) to rise at all.

    Does your fiance smoke cigarettes? Have diabetes? Heart disease? High blood pressure? Obesity? Or any neurological condition? If so, it’s possible that he has erectile dysfunction (ED). Men with ED have great difficulty raising erections or can’t at all, even from extended masturbation. I suggest you ask your fiance if he can raise an erection from masturbation. If not, then he probably has ED, which is a medical condition, and has nothing at all to do with his feelings for your and his commitment to you. If he has ED, he can be madly in love with you and totally committed to you–and still not be able to raise an erection.

    If your fiance can raise an erection from masturbation, then he doesn’t have ED, but rather “erection dissatisfaction,” the upset (sometimes anguish) caused by the change from youth’s reliable erections to the iffy erections of middle age. This passage gets very little press, so few people have any perspective on it. Many men think (mistakenly): My erections aren’t what they used to be, therefore I must have ED. Some of these guys opt for erection drugs, which often help. Others give up on sex thinking: I guess I’m too old for it anymore. You say you “miss your regular sex life,” so I’m inferring that your fiance may have decided that sex is over for him.

    It isn’t. When there’s a will, there’s a way. Even men with severe ED can enjoy a satisfying sex life, if they let go of the idea that sex requires an erection. It doesn’t. In fact, men can have great orgasms WITHOUT erections.

    Here’s what I suggest: Ask your fiance if he still cares for you and wants to proceed with the wedding. If he says yes, please please believe him. Then tell him that you miss sex. Tell him you understand that he’s passing through the trying transition from reliable erections to iffy stiffies. Reassure him that this is normal, and that with a few adjustments, you can still have an enjoyable sex life together. I also urge both of you to read the articles that deal with this: Erection Myths and the Truth About Erections, Weak Erections Or Erectile Dysfunction?, ED Causes, ED Treatments, the , Healthy Lifestyle Preserves Sexual Function in Men Over 40, and Great Sex Without Intercourse. It’s quite possible that the information might reassure him that he can still enjoy sex–he CAN.

    If the articles don’t provide sufficient resolution, then I would urge you to consult a sex therapist, ideally, as a couple, but if he won’t go, then go by yourself. Sex therapists enjoy considerable success helping couples with issues like yours. I bet that a few months of weekly sessions would really help. 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, and please stop listening to your friend.

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