senior couple in bed

I have an unusual question. My wife and I have been married for over 30 years. Our sex life has been quite vanilla since we married. I have tried to ask about new things only to be shot down, turned down, and basically condemned for even suggesting. I do love my wife and do want to please her sexually. We haven’t had intercourse in a few years due to some erectile problems I have along with her post menopause. I love to please her orally and know that she likes it a lot. Me, on the other hand, I could care very little if at all about her reciprocating the pleasure. She now asks what she could do to please me. I am at a point where I don’t want her know what I would like. I am ashamed to let her know my thoughts and desires. Is it normal only to be concerned for her pleasure and not mine?


  • Michael Castleman says:

    In one way, you and your wife are totally normal and age-appropriate. With menopause making intercourse less comfortable for women, and aging taking a toll on men’s erections, many older couples stop having vaginal intercourse and move to sex based on genital hand massage, oral sex, and use of sex toys, most often vibrators.

    You ask if it’s normal to feel committed to her pleasure and to care little if any about your own. “Normal” has two connotations: typical and healthy. You situation is not typical, but its not UNhealthy. You could continue to live your life as you have—giving her oral, and not caring much if it’s reciprocated. But the fact that you’re asking your question suggests you’re dissatisfied and that you’d rather not continue living the sex life you’ve had.

    You also say that she won’t hear of anything that’s not vanilla. Your use of the term “vanilla,” your “shame” about sharing your real desires, and your wife’s “condemnation” of your suggestions make me think you’re into BDSM and she’s not. If you feel attracted to BDSM, either as dom or sub, there’s nothing wrong with that. Surveys suggest that some 2 to 4 percent of American adults like to play that way. There are BDSM clubs in every metropolitan area and across rural American. And sex research shows that people attracted to BDSM are psychologically healthy and typical of the population as a whole, except that they have this one little sexual kink. If I guessed correctly, you’re into exploring some BDSM and while your wife asks how she can please you, she’s not at all interested in providing the pleasure you want. Frustrating.

    In addition, you say you feel no desire for oral pleasure from her. I wonder if your not caring about your own pleasure has to do with the fact that there’s only one kind of pleasure you want, BDSM, and if she won’t provide it, you have no desire for anything else.

    Your situation is too complicated for me to provide useful advice. If you want to learn more about BDSM, there are a zillion Web sites, and you might read my article, A Loving Introduction to BDSM. To work out your feelings, I would urge you to consult a sex therapist, ideally with your wife, but it sounds like she might not consent, so if not, I’d urge you to see a sex therapist by yourself so you can explore your feelings and with the therapist’s help, work out a way to move forward. 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.

    And if you’d like to engage in more email correspondence with me, I’m happy to reply.

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