older man, younger woman

My husband is significantly older than I am. I still desire sex. What are suggestions for a mutually happy intimate life with functional issues?


  • Michael Castleman says:

    The large majority of older men develop two sexual issues. They lose the ability to raise erections (even with drugs), and they have increasing difficulty becoming sexually aroused. These two problems often produce a third—lost desire. From your question, it sounds like this is what’s happening in your marriage.

    It’s possible your husband is absolutely finished with sex, which leaves you with hard choices. You might revert to your hand or a vibrator to satisfy yourself. You might stay in the marriage, but enjoy partner sex outside it. Or you might leave the marriage and look for new love.

    On the other hand, many if not most older couples continue to enjoy loving, exciting, satisfying partner sex. They almost always do this by eliminating vaginal intercourse and focusing on what sexologists call “outercourse,” all the other ways to enjoy partner lovemaking: kissing, hugging, cuddling, mutual whole-body massage, hand jobs, oral sex, and perhaps some anal play, toys, and kink.

    Unless two spouses mutually agree to terminate partner lovemaking, marriage implies a sexual relationship. If you want partner lovemaking, you have every right to request it, and in my humble opinion, your husband has a responsibility to at least try to be sexual with you. He might refuse, but I hope he’s willing to try.

    If so, then I’d suggest obtaining a copy of my book, Sizzling Sex for Life. It has an extensive chapter on sex for older adults. It also has chapters on erection problems, arousal/desire issues, and all the elements of outercourse. Sizzling Sex is available from this site, or from Amazon.

    If the book doesn’t resolve things, then I’d urge you and your husband to watch the movie, Hope Springs with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. Their situation is much like yours—with a happy ending. They rediscover partner lovemaking with the help of a sex therapist. If you consult a sex therapist, ideally you’d go together. But if your husband won’t go, then I’d urge you to go solo. That’s suboptimal, of course, but the therapist can still encourage you to vent and may be able to suggest coping strategies or ways to help your husband change his mind. If you’re unfamiliar with sex therapy, a chapter in Sizzling Sex discusses it.To find a sex therapist near you, visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.

    Yes, sex changes with age, and many men have real difficulty remaining sexual once their erections become iffy or lost. But many other older men are able to let go of intercourse and enjoy great sex by embracing outercourse. I hope your husband joins them.

    I wish you sizzling sex for life!

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