Senior Couple Having Argument At Home

I am a 70-year-old woman married to an 82-year-old man. Because of age and health problems, he cannot have intercourse, and shows no interest in any other forms of intimacy. I frequently have solo sex and he is aware of that. The problem is I feel so guilty and miss intimacy with a partner. Any suggestions? Sex outside of the marriage is not an option for me.


  • Michael Castleman says:

    At 82, it’s no surprise that your husband can’t raise erections. Erection drugs might help, by there’s no guarantee. They don’t work as well as the media hype, especially in men over 80.

    I’m very sorry to hear that your husband is not interested in the many wonderful non-intercourse sexual options (“outercourse”): kissing, hugging, mutual whole-body massage, oral sex, and perhaps some toys and anal play. Marriage implies a sexual relationship. It’s not fair for one person to unilaterally withdraw from lovemaking. Inability to have intercourse is one thing, but his total withdrawal from intimacy is quite another.

    It’s also fairly common. I bet you’ve discussed this issue, and that his intransigence eventually persuaded you to stop bringing it up. Maybe it’s time to try again. To start, I urge the two of you to watch the film, “Hope Springs” with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. It’s a sweet comedy about an older couple in a situation like yours. The comedy element may help your husband get through it.

    Beyond the movie, I suggest a brief course of sex therapy. If you’re unfamiliar with it, sex therapists are psychotherapists with extra training in sexual issues, who provide relationship therapy as well as science-based insights into sexual issues. Sex therapists do NOT have sex with you and do NOT watch you have sex. They rely on face-to-face conversations. They impart sex information and lovemaking insights, and often assign “homework.” Sex therapy typically lasts four to 12 months, depending on the relationship issues involved. Costs vary, but expect $200-300/hour. Some providers discount fees for those who can’t afford standard rates. For more, read my the chapter on sex therapy in my book, Sizzling Sex for Life. 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.

    If your partner won’t accompany you, I urge you to go by yourself. That’s suboptimal, of course, but the therapist may still be able to offer helpful suggestions, especially around overcoming the guilt you feel about self-sexing. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with solo sex at any age and in any relationship circumstances, especially yours.

    Best of luck resolving your issue one way or another. I wish you sizzling sex for life.
    More great, useful sex information from Michael Castleman, the world’s most popular sexuality writer.

    Sizzling Sex for Life

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