I am 74. My 2nd wife and I love each other very much. She is 71. We have been together for eight years. Both of us thoroughly enjoy and value our weekly love-making time in bed, but in the last couple of years, we have had many instances when I was able to masturbate her to orgasm, but was unable to have an orgasm of my own. It seems that I can often thrust endlessly without having any feeling that I was building toward orgasm. Doggy style seems to be the only way I am able to achieve orgasm, but that works less than half the time. My wife is happy to give me oral sex or masturbate me, but it doesn’t work. I am able to masturbate myself to orgasm with the help of sex videos, but even that isn’t quick or easy. I can’t help thinking that I wouldn’t be having this problem if my wife was 17 instead of 71, and had Jennifer Lopez’s body. We will continue to enjoy our intimacy regardless, but I wish my ability to orgasm with the woman I love would improve. Any ideas?
Dr. Connie Bowes says: Thank you for your very open and straightforward message, and congratulations on your very loving and intimate relationship. Despite your frustration around orgasm, it sounds like you and your wife enjoy your intimacy and both open to the many facets of physical pleasure, including oral sex, masturbation, videos, etc. You appear to have a sex positive attitude, which is also evidenced by your writing to gain more information and knowledge.
The physical changes that occur with male aging include decreased production of testosterone. This usually stabilizes around age 60, buy you may continue to feel the effects on your libido, your penile sensitivity, and your ability to orgasm as quickly or as often as you once did. Up to half of older men experience sexual problems related to enlargement of the prostate, and medications can play a role in arousal and orgasm as well. It is important to have a physical exam to learn whether any of these or other medical issues are affecting your sexual enjoyment.
You mention that you might not be having this problem if your wife were younger or had a different body. Our culture promotes sex and physical prowess as belonging to the young. As men age and continue to express interest in sexual activity, they may fear loss of potency and their ability to “satisfy” a partner. Examine the sexual scripts you have learned about what male sexuality means to you. Sometimes the problems may be more about expectations and relationships than about physical issues.
A good book written specifically for men is The New Male Sexuality by Bernard Zilbergeld (New York: Bantam, 2000). The author explores the concerns of men and addresses them with warmth and humor.
Sexuality is complex. There are physical elements, cognitive elements, and emotional/spiritual components. Age can blur the lines between these elements, leaving people perplexed, mystified and frustrated. On the physical side, you may want to explore drug remedies such as Viagra or Cialis; although you didn’t report erection difficulties, some of the newer drugs can enhance confidence and contribute to the ability to orgasm and the strength of an orgasm.
I would suggest some couples counseling sessions so you and your wife can openly discuss what is happening in your lovemaking. Sometimes underlying emotions need to get expressed openly in a safe, neutral environment (not the bedroom) so you can see how to remove any obstacles to the fulfilling sexuality that you both desire.
Your assumption that your inability to orgasm as you once did might be “cured” by a younger partner may be part of a sexual script that says the answer for your sexual pleasure is a hot, young and sexy female. While attraction and desire are ver important, you may be able to achieve the same goal by talking with your partner about your desires, fantasies, and by being open to sexual enhancements in your love making. Leave no stone unturned in your desire to have a more fulfilling sexual experience. As you seem open to experimentation in your love making already, there may be some new things that you can try, especially with the help of a caring and professional sex therapist.
You can find a certified sex therapist, counselor or educator in your area at www.AASECT.org, or you can contact me for a referral.
Dear Dr. Bowes,
Thank you for your very thoughtful and thorough reply to my message. It led me to do a bit of online research, which uncovered the Sexuality and Aging Consortium at Widener University. I’m not from the Philadelphia area, so I know very little about Widener, but the consortium initiative is impressive.
As I’m sure you ascertained from my message, my sexual problem is relatively minor. I would love to be able to report in 10 or 15 years that the problem hasn’t gone away and hasn’t gotten worse. If that were to happen, it would mean that I will have been a sexually very happy octogenarian.
Once again, thank you.