March 19, 2024

From “Having Sex” to “Making Love”: An Older Man’s Journey of Self-Discovery in Bed. {Adult}

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As I wrote in a recent column here, after “doing sex” in mostly the same way for the past 60 years, I found that my erections were becoming a lot less predictable.

But I’m happy to share with you that after getting over my initial worry and disappointment, I’m discovering a wonderful new world of connection, love, and enjoyment with my partner. It really has been a blessing in disguise.

After a couple of false starts, I realized that for me to feel at ease with the situation, it was important that my partner and I talked openly about how “sleeping together” was going be different from what we were both probably used to. We agreed to have no goal or expectations for our lovemaking other than to feel close and  connected. We realised that neither of us were interested in penetration without emotional intimacy anyway, so now we see it as just an option that might happen. And although it’s lovely when it does, it’s by no means the most important part of our lovemaking. Orgasm is only the icing on the cake—and sometimes we don’t even want that extra sweetness.

For this to work out, I’ve needed to forget everything I thought I knew about “doing it.” Now, I simply try to be in the moment when we’re in bed together, with no thoughts of what’s supposed to happen next—letting go of control and trusting that the spirit in me knows what to do. It’s taking practice, and like when I learned to ride a bike, I can get distracted and “fall off” from being fully present. Then I simply stop, take several breaths, and start again. This way, even tiny touches start to feel marvellous, and because it’s impossible for me to “fail” with this new way of making love, there is no pressure to “perform,” which means I can immerse myself in the pleasure of the moment.

An important part of this has been making sure we’re not tired or stressed when we make love, so we go to bed any time of the day when we know we can be totally relaxed. We’ll touch ourselves and each other sexually if that feels right and we share what we like. I’ve explained to my partner that I need some hand action to get hard now, but I’ve also learned to enter her with a “soft-on.” Even if I’m hard, I may lose it now that I’m taking my time and not rushing to finish, but I don’t worry because I know it’ll come back—or if not it doesn’t really matter to either of us.

Sometimes we just look into each other’s eyes and share our breath for as long as it takes for us to sense our boundaries melting. This seems to have a lot in common with what I’ve read about the Tantric approach to intimacy. It’s a powerful sensation, although it was a bit scary at first because I felt more vulnerable than before. But I’m learning to feel more comfortable with this new level of openness and energised by the deeper intimacy that takes us over.

It’s taking me a while to change a lifetime’s habits in bed. But when my partner says what we’re doing works perfectly for her, that helps me to dive confidently into our shared pool of intimacy without worrying whether I’ll float. And the stance I’m learning of being fully present with “how things are” rather than preconceived ideas about how things should be is helping me accept and enjoy the rest of my life more too.


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