#SexColumn: How sex changes as you age
If you had told me as little as two years ago that my libido was going to wane I would have laughed and told you that it could only happen to people who don’t enjoy sex.
Well, surprise surprise!
The loss started with a whisper, sex was still enjoyable but I had to fight to find the orgasm. Every distraction from a dog barking to a door banging made me lose focus. This was not something I was used to.
This is my business and so there had to be an external reason. Maybe I was having a bad day. Was it something I ate? Was I upset with my partner? Was I bored? I investigated each potential reason in great detail but the answer kept coming back to :this is what happens when you get old!“
I had a relatively easy menopause, except for a couple of hot flashes things proceeded swimmingly. I took the hormone replacement therapy route (I have no at risk history).
Despite this, suddenly sex became painful and it felt like my vagina was tearing every time I had sex.
Lubricant became my best friend. I use Pjur, either the Original Bodyglide, which is silicone based or Pjur Aqua, the water-based version. Liquid Gold! Neither go sticky nor do they dry out. Sex will not be had without them.
I also got a prescription for Premarin, a cream inserted into the vagina to help repair the thinning walls. I am advised that this cream is available over the counter and does not need a prescription.
With penetration made more comfortable I had to figure out what was going on with my head. My partner and I had long conversations about what was going on. Heads up to those wanting to have this conversation – it is no one’s fault and there should be no blaming.
This conversation should be had away from the bedroom. In my experience a car trip is the perfect place. I am extremely blessed that talking about sex is not uncomfortable with my partner. We agreed that he would not take anything personally and that I would be honest about what I wanted and how.
I have to admit that I have not been completely honest because how do you tell your partner when you know he is still raring to go that you’d rather make sandwiches for people you don’t like!
I have spent hours wondering if this is not one of those cultural conditioning things that says that old people don’t have sex anymore and that I, of all people, have bought into the narrative.
I know several older people (my age plus about 20) that are still having fantastic sex – or so they say. They seem to be intimate but who really knows what is happening behind closed doors.
I recently spoke to a doctor about my dilemma and she has said that this is all about hormones, an underlying medical condition or depression, and that with treatment it can be restored.
I know that during this time of Covid my anxiety levels have been through the roof. I have had nightmares and worry about things beyond my control. This has aggravated the situation but I am aware of it.
I have learnt to enjoy intimacy or sexual satisfaction without orgasm but it’s been a journey. It reminds me of a line from the movie Shirley Valentine, where Shirley talks about sex as going to the supermarket with a lot of pushing and shoving and very little coming out at the end.
That’s a bit how I felt about sex without orgasm.
I may also not be as receptive to seduction and foreplay as I used to be and my poor partner never knows if his advances are going to work or get shut down. To be honest, I don’t know either.
What worked yesterday may not be in the same manual today. I can say that seduction, for the moment, is slow and it has to be clever. It’s not crass and pornographic but who knows maybe tomorrow it can be.
I want my partner to read my mind (which I’ll admit I cannot read myself!). It’s confusing for both of us but what we are both doing, is talking about our needs.
I am going to seek medical intervention, alternative Chinese Medicine to start and then more mainstream if necessary because I cannot imagine sex being a chore for the rest of my life.
As usual I will share my experience so that if you are going through the same thing you will not feel alone.
I would love it if you would share your experience with me. Are you where I am now, did it pass, did you do something to help yourself, what worked and what didn’t?
Please email me on: [email protected] so that I don’t feel so alone.