We're bringing you advice from sexologist Dr. Carol Queen
Q: I am in my 40s and I’ve had a full hysterectomy. I have very spontaneous sex for pleasure with no strings attached and usually with guys who are my age. I realize age might create some physical changes or challenges when having sex, but I’m baffled by how many guys I encounter try to have sex while still soft—just fumbling around while everything is like mush. I’ve tried everything: fighting gravity (standing up), tons of magic potion (coconut oil), going fast, going slow. What’s with being in our 40s? –Sick of Softies
Carol Queen: I’m reading two separate dilemmas here. There’s the “bodies-change-with-age” issue, which all of us will have to learn more about if we’re lucky enough to live that long, and a separate but linked issue, namely, “This is what sex means to me.” I think to you, sex means fucking. That can be a delightful sexual variation, and I’m all in favor of it, as long as everyone in the bed wants that to happen.
It’s well understood in the sex therapy world that some guys find erections to be less reliable as they age. And while not all folks with penises begin experiencing that as early as their 40s, it’s not unusual. There are a variety of reasons, from hormone shifts to emotional elements like body image or post-divorce trauma, for instance. Then, there are the lifestyle factors. There’d be way fewer Viagra prescriptions issued if everyone would get some exercise, stop eating fatty food all the time, quit smoking, and slow down on the booze. If you’re meeting your boys in bars, that might be a built-in complication right there. Circulatory and neurological conditions (diabetes is both at once), depression, and the medications that treat these conditions, all can interfere with erections.
We sex-positive cheerleaders have been telling guys for years not to freak out when they don’t get hard right away. So it stands to reason that anyone seeking to have sex with them shouldn’t either. I’m concerned that you’re experiencing partners’ best efforts at foreplay and alternative sex acts as “fumbling around,” and I wonder if you can either appreciate these sensations in a different way or guide partners to things you like better. Instead of feeling you up, say, tell them that it’s OK to go inside. Fingers are a fine sexual appendage and get you closer to your ideal state. Ask, too, if there’s anything special that gets him going. Foreplay isn’t a one-way street, and there may be specific things that will get some of these fellows more turned on. If you find that communicating clearly with someone about what gives you (and them) pleasure doesn’t work, consider switching to the next guy on the list. You could also try looking for younger partners.
Keep a stash of disposable cock rings around for your Mr. Right Now. A stretchy ring, pulled over not just the shaft but also below the balls, helps keep blood that flows into the penis from flowing right back out. And while it’s not guaranteed to give somebody an erection, it can play a role and be fun to put on.
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Carol Queen’s latest book (written with Shar Rednour) is The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2019 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!
Header Image courtesy of Annie Spratt via Unspashed
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