Q: I have recently started to have a physical relationship with a more mature woman. She happens to be 12 years my senior. I normally use lubricant because she is normally dry, regardless of how much foreplay we engage in. She has approached me about engaging in a small orgy. We were wondering if there would be any issues with a few men?
It’s completely normal for women to need lubricant for sex as they age. A woman can be extremely aroused and still not lubricate the way she used to. You’re right to use lubricant, as you’ve discovered already. Prolonged intercourse – whether with one man or “a few” – will require frequent application of lubricant.
Besides the dryness, though, she may find the group sex she’s considering physically uncomfortable sooner than she expects because of the thinning of her vaginal walls. If you plan to go ahead with this scene, be sure everyone understands that not every sex act has to culminate in intercourse, and make sure the other men involved agree not to push that part of it.
For everyone’s health and safety, be sure that condoms and dental dams (or the female condom, which works for both uses) are within easy reach and used with every interaction. Don’t forego this because the other men insist that they are “safe.” Your sexual health and your partner’s are your own responsibility. (Please read the FAQ, “Six Basic Facts Seniors Need to Know about STIs”)
I can’t tell from your question whether your partner has had sex with multiple partners before and wants to do it again, or whether this is a fantasy of hers that you’d like to help her indulge. Don’t go into it lightly. Talk a lot first. Try roleplaying, just the two of you, pretending you have a third (or fourth) by “talking dirty” about what you’re fantasizing is going on. That may help you each understand what you’re imagining and wanting from expanding your relationship.
I could write pages about the issues to think about and talk about, how to negotiate what’s okay and what’s off limits, how to choose and invite new partners, how to test your fantasy in stages, how to make sure your partner (or any of you) can stop or leave if it doesn’t turn out to be right after all, how to care for each other afterwards.
As you see, I’m not moralizing – if you both really want this and it fits with your own beliefs, go into it thoughtfully and with plenty of dialogue and preparation.
If I’ve left you worried, frightened, or dismayed, then maybe this would be too big a step for your relationship to handle.
This question and my response were first published on the Safer Sex for Seniors website where this question was originally submitted — direct link to this Q &A here. Here’s what I wrote about this site when it first went live.
I’d love to know what my readers think about this topic and my response. Please comment!
Robert and I had rituals, made-up words, silly secrets, and special games that warmed us with laughter, kept our intimacy strong, and made us feel like we were making love all day long. Silly things, sometimes – like “Panda.”
For both of those challenges, it’s crucial to use a good, slippery lubricant. Even if you think you’re wet enough, your natural lubrication has changed – it’s thinner and less protective for your more delicate tissues. So experiment with a slick lube that feels good and doesn’t dry out or get tacky quickly. Personally, I love both Liquid Silk, which feels most like natural lubrication and stays moist through prolonged sex, and Eros, which is very slippery and comfortable.
Have you ever consulted your doctor about your changing sexual responsiveness or about reclaiming your sexuality when you have a medical condition that makes sex more difficult?
What happened when you asked your doctor for advice about sex? How did he or she respond? Did you get the information you needed? And for the benefit of the medical professionals reading this — how would you have liked your doctor to respond to questions about sex? What advice would you give professionals about how and when to talk to their older patients about their sexuality?
I am planning to write a magazine article about this topic, so please feel free to comment here or email me and let me know if you’d be willing to be interviewed.
As background, I wrote the post that follows in March 2006, and I’d like to revive it now that I have many more readers. I invite your comments.
[post originally dated 3/29/06:]
I’ve been speaking to groups in the midwest and the San Francisco Bay Area, and corresponding with readers who send me emails. Over and over, this comment comes up: older-age sexuality is a huge gap in the education of medical professionals.
I keep meeting doctors, nurses, therapists, and alternative practitioners who are hungry for information for their patients and clients — and often for themselves. One woman’s eyes got teary when she said, “I’ve been so lonely wishing I could talk to someone about this.”
I’ve heard from women who have read my book and ask, “Why didn’t my doctor ever tell me that I have to ‘use it or lose it’?” These are usually older women who are not in relationships right now and didn’t realize the importance of internal massage, regular orgasms, and Kegels to keep their vaginas tuned up and healthy, or penetation in the future might be painful. (For more information about what to do, read Vaginal Rejuvenation & Health from A Woman’s Touch, a wonderful sexuality resource center which I had the pleasure of visiting in Madison and Milwaukee.)
I’m also talking to many women over sixty who didn’t know that lubricants and sex toys can enhance their sexual pleasure — solo or with a partner — by heightening arousal and speeding up orgasm. They thought that slow arousal and difficulty reaching orgasm were a part of aging that they had to accept. I’m distressed that many doctors tell women this — often without running tests to see whether hormone levels or other conditions which may be treated might be affecting sexual response.
I’m not dumping on doctors, just on their training. I’ve been thrilled by the response of medical professionals to my book. One Santa Rosa, CA gynecologist bought 14 copies of my book for her patients — and then, after she had given them all away, she bought 10 more!
Several readers have written in about their medical challenges since this post originally appeared. To read more on this topic, check on “medical attitudes towards sex and aging” or “cancer” in the “labels” column to the right, and you’ll see other related posts.