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Our marriage of 39 years has never been stronger. I love my wife almost more than life itself and she says she feels the same way about me. I just turned 70. She is 65. The issue is that, despite my “equipment” being so far out of warranty that it would be easier to raise Lazarus, (Viagra doesn’t work for me) my libido is at a lifetime high. My wife says that though she wants to do whatever makes me happy, even gentle foreplay hurts her enough that it takes her days to recover. We can’t afford hormonal therapy for her, even if she would consider it. So the next best option is for me to lose interest. I am seeing a Veteran’s Administration therapist, but despite progress in other areas, he hasn’t offered any suggestions so far about taming my sex drive. What might you suggest?

Dr. Melanie Davis, PhD says: Congratulations on having a healthy libido and a partner with whom you share love and sexual interest. There’s no reason to “kill” your libido; however, you and your wife do need to reconsider how to put it to use. The nerves that power erections are different than the nerves that power orgasm, so it’s quite possible to have a satisfying orgasm without an erection. Your penis isn’t broken; it just functions differently than it used to. Some men find it exciting to explore new ways of getting turned on. Sensual massage,body rubbing, oral sex, pornographic videos…there are a lot of options.
It may also possible for your wife to enjoy sexual contact by exploring types of touch that feel good for her. The first step is to get her vulvar (external) tissues back in shape. SaferSex4Seniors.org contributor Judith Hersh, MD, FACOG says, “She probably just needs a little topical estrogen, gently rubbing a pea-sized amount daily into the skin of the vulva and just inside the opening of the vagina. One tube should last 6 months to a year; her gynecologist may even have samples so it isn’t cost prohibitive.” She can also use coconut oil on the external tissues as a daily moisturizer and as a lubricant during sexual contact.
For your wife’s comfort, it’s essential that she learn what feels arousing and pleasurable to her. She can explore this in private and then tell or show you what feels good, or you can explore together. It often takes older women a minimum of 20-30 minutes to feel aroused, and it can take up to an hour for all of the tissues to fully engorge for maximum pleasure.This doesn’t mean rubbing on her genitals for a long time — it may mean cuddling, kissing, body rubbing, massage, and, when she’s ready, direct contact. Take it slow, and let her guide the kind of touch you provide.

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