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January 16, 2024

How my Sexual “Failure” as an Older Man helped me Discover what it means to Truly Make Love.

Having been single for a few years, I recently met a lovely woman, and after a few enjoyable dates we decided to spend the night together.

It was a really good experience in every way except for one: when it felt right for me to take the next step in our lovemaking, I discovered that I wasn’t physically up to it!

In the past, like most men, I’d had times of not being able to handle my business sexually, usually because of some reason that became obvious with hindsight, like having had too much to drink, feeling tired, or trying to have sex with someone I wasn’t really attracted to. But on this occasion, none of these things were true.

And yet, my body’s response, which had always come automatically in the past, just wasn’t happening.

I then did the one thing most likely to ensure that the problem grew bigger (even if I didn’t!): I starting to feel anxious about it. And then, I tried to “fix” it.

Most men know that, unlike most things in life, trying harder doesn’t help to make anything else harder, at least in this case. In the past, it used to happen as if by magic; I had no problem pulling a metaphorical rabbit out of the sex hat.

But suddenly, that hat was empty. Where had my rabbit gone?

A bit of background. I recently celebrated my 73rd birthday, I stopped drinking a year ago, and this was the first time I could remember being in bed with a new partner without having a fortifying glass or two. Luckily, my partner is of a similar age to me (another new experience) and she was kind and patient, saying she didn’t find it at all surprising that we might have some difficulties in the sex department.

I also feel a sense of connectedness and closeness with this woman that I’ve never really felt before. So I stopped worrying that I might never be able to have sex again. Instead, I decided to look for a potentially positive side to what had happened.

Maybe this was a chance for me to find out more about the workings of my heart, and to explore any hidden anxieties I might have about sex and intimacy. I quickly discovered that once I stopped thinking about lovemaking as something I should “achieve” by penetration, there were many ways for us to feel delightfully physically connected. I even found out that, with plenty of lubricant and some slight contortions, I was able to be inside her without a full woody.

I also realised that in past relationships I’d often had a buried anxiety about whether the sex would go well or not. Somewhere in my mind, I was afraid that if I didn’t do a “good job” in the bedroom, I’d be rejected in favour of someone with better credentials. And sometimes my pride at performing sexually displaced the all-important feelings of emotional intimacy and connection—my attitude toward sex had gotten in the way of my ability to be intimate.

I’d become so used to this somewhat separated stance in my love life that I didn’t even notice it, and I began to feel grateful to my current difficulties for making me aware of it. I learned that I could choose to make a better connection between my heart and my body, and that allowed me to feel more emotionally present with my partner when we were together, in a way that was new for me.

I will get a medical check-up, to be sure that my E.D. isn’t the result of a condition that needs some attention. And I might try one of those little blue pills to see if it makes a difference. But in the meantime, I’m much more relaxed when I’m in bed with my partner, and she says it works for her too, not caring so much what does or doesn’t happen. We are freer than ever to experience and appreciate everything that we find mutually enjoyable.

By following my heart and surrendering to whatever comes up (or doesn’t!) I feel more closely connected to her, and I think that maybe I’ve discovered for the first time what “making love” with someone really feels like.

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