I’m very lucky in that I find it almost easier to climax as I get older
Tim and I were at it all the time in our 20s, but these days sex is less frenetic. When we met, I was eager to impress in bed. I used to suck my tummy in while simultaneously trying to hoist my breasts up, which involved some complex manoeuvring. At 53, my approach to intimacy is more lighthearted. I would never dream of striking a pose during sex. Tim is well acquainted with my flabby bits.
In the past decade, Tim’s desire for sex has tailed off a bit, which I have had to adapt to. He also finds it harder to have an orgasm. That has always been the case for him but it has become a little more pronounced with age. Recently, there was a period of about eight months when Tim went off sex completely. I wasn’t offended: he was on medication where one of the side-effects was a loss of libido, so it was difficult to take it personally.
He was very loving and attentive to me throughout that time, in non-sexual ways. So it never felt like his dip in desire created a distance between us. But there were a few instances where I initiated and felt as if I was forcing him into it, which was uncomfortable.
I do still find it strange to go to sleep next to Tim every single night and just sleep, but I’m acclimatising
During that fallow period, we were forced to have a few honest conversations about how we could adapt our sex life to suit Tim’s reduced libido. Together, we decided to save sex for the weekend mornings, when we both have more focus. I do still find it strange to go to sleep next to Tim every single night and just sleep, but I’m acclimatising – lazy morning sex definitely has its charms.
We have also become a little more open-minded about what we count as sex. It doesn’t have to culminate in Tim having an orgasm in order to feel complete. I’m very lucky in that I find it almost easier to climax as I get older, but Tim never makes me feel guilty about that. If anything, we are more truthful about what really gives us pleasure than we used to be. Tim recently told me that I’m not very good at giving hand-jobs. The magic of being in a relationship with someone for 30 years is that you can receive that kind of criticism and feel zero shame.
The experience of climaxing can make me feel out of control
There are lots of jokes about men who climax too quickly, but I tend to have the opposite problem. I find it difficult to allow myself to be vulnerable enough to let the orgasm take my body over. The experience of climaxing can make me feel out of control, and sometimes I fear that level of exposure. It’s not a constant issue. A lot of the time Jade and I will have sex and we both have an orgasm. But there are occasions where I mentally block myself from getting there. Then I start to get self-conscious that I am taking too long, and that Jade might be getting bored, and once my mind starts to whir around in circles like that, an orgasm becomes even more unlikely.
I don’t expect to be able to read Jade’s mind during sex, and vice versa
I’m getting better at telling Jade when an orgasm doesn’t feel possible. One reward of getting older is that I am more outspoken. I don’t expect to be able to read Jade’s mind during sex, and vice versa. I talk to her while we are in bed and we give each other feedback. Jade will ask me how close I am and if the answer is “nowhere near”, she isn’t offended. She’ll sail on through and have her orgasm. Knowing she isn’t waiting takes the pressure off me.
A couple of years ago we went through a difficult period, because I lost interest in sex. It was a side-effect of some pills I was taking, but even though I had a rational explanation it was still a horrible time. I felt so bad for Jade, having to live like a nun. My libido has come back now – although I’m not raring to go in quite the same way as I was at 27.
I retired early, a few months ago, and since then we have started planning luxurious afternoons in bed together. It’s great to be able to really focus in bed, without any sneaky to-do lists cropping up in my mind to steal my attention. I feel like this is a new phase for us. I wasn’t expecting retirement to be an aphrodisiac.