By Ian Denchasy
Viagra commercials notwithstanding, are couples in their 50’s still having sex and, indeed, still sexy? I’d love to take the advertising route and paint a picture of hot and horny passion, still-optimal sexual function downstairs, and a wife heating up my libido like in our dating days; however, the truth may dismally disappoint. Sorry, dear readers, but sex in our 50’s is nothing like it was 30, 20, or even 10 years ago. Menopause, erectile dysfunction, stress, raising a kid, and financial issues have all conspired to turn our marriage from hot, to…
No, things aren’t dead in the bed. It’s just that after almost 30 years of marriage we’ve had to confront a few realities that, unsurprisingly, intrude on those steamy stories.
Let’s (Not) Get Physical
Let’s start here, shall we? Being 52, I’m still in pretty decent shape. In fact, most people mistake me for being in my 40’s, or at least a guy who’s held up pretty well into middle age. I still go to the gym almost every day and can still surf and play a mean game of tennis or basketball. Too bad I don’t play these sports anymore due to hurting for days afterward. When it comes to sex, getting into all those crazy sex positions is damned near impossible! Being tall (with a short wife) makes things even more difficult. Most times, I have to stand, with my wife positioned at the edge of the bed at a certain height, to make love without pain – and even then my ankles are aching, afterward. Missionary position is a similar tradeoff; I love everything about it but my knees and back definitely do not.
ED – Yeah, It’s Real
I’ve been to the doctor for physicals, had my blood tested, and his finger up my bum and I get the all-clear. My cholesterol is low, I eat pretty healthy, I just can’t hold a decently hard erection for more than a few minutes. This pretty much eliminates sex with my wife on top and half the time I’m far less hard by about the five minute mark of intercourse. My doctor, in his deadpan delivery, chalks it up to age, a lousy vasectomy surgery, and just the fact that testosterone levels drop and we ain’t as young as we used to be. He offers a prescription for ED pills, which I accept. On the plus side, the pills work on the infrequent occasions we have sex.
Hitting 50 didn’t push me into the arms of a young cheerleader or have me plunking down a pile of money on a Corvette, but it did bring me face to face with a wife who didn’t seem to want sex any longer. Welcome to the wonderful world of menopause, when a woman’s body decides it’s time to shut down the baby factory and screw up her sex drive (and put her into all sorts of crazy mood swings). Dealing with menopause is not only a drag on our sex life (thankfully, it seems to be ending as of this writing), but is one of those conditions with no definitive beginning or end. My wife went months without a period and, after we figured she was done with menopause, she (of course) got her period.
The Kid and Money
For you non-parents out there, this pairing may seem a tad odd. Let me assure you, it isn’t. Perhaps you’re fortunate to be wealthy and have the kind of income to raise a child(ren), pay a mortgage, own cars, feed yourselves, and still have tons of cash to spend on sex toys, lingerie, romantic dinners and trips away. We don’t. That’s not to say we don’t enjoy a great lifestyle, but disposable income, with a college age teen ready to swallow it up, is not in abundance. The financial pressures can sometimes reduce our libidos to ashes and the stress associated with work and money can test even the strongest couplings.
Let’s face it, there are just certain times our hearts just aren’t into it. Think about it like this: have you ever watched a cooking show, and the television celebrity chef prepares a dynamite dish that would be awesome to make at home? Hell, they even point you to the recipe online and you click on over, anxious to put that dish on your table for your family. Then reality slaps you in the face with 20 different ingredients you don’t have (and will never use again outside this one dish) and it’s going to take three hours of prep time and another two to cook in cookware you don’t own (I’ll leave the nightmarish cleanup alone). In the end, tuna casserole or a five dollar Costco chicken will do just fine.
When I look at my wife, she still is as radiant and sexy as the first day I laid eyes on her way back in 1988. However, she’s been going through menopause, has body issues (she just seems to ignore my compliments as if I’m some sort of crazy person), hates having sex if anyone is in the house or within earshot (gawd forbid the neighbors know a married couple is having sex), and thinks the best time of the day to offer up eroticism is after midnight – when I’m asleep. Honestly, I’d just rather skip the food channel and eat mac and cheese, i.e. masturbate. It’s sex on my schedule, with someone I love, and needs little to no effort to prep, cook, and eat.
With all these inhibiting factors, we still manage to maintain a frequency of once or twice per week, with varying degrees of temperature. I do take an ED pill on occasion to help with “performance,” and Alicia is getting a bit hornier as menopause fades and her hormones regain balance. I have to say that, even given my physical limitations, the sore knees and ankles are an acceptable price to pay for the reward of my wife’s body and connecting with her.
And 60 is still a good eight years off…