by Shamus MacDuff
My first dry orgasm surprised me. I was reveling in the myriad delightful sensations of my orgasm, when my partner observed that there was no semen. Really? It felt the same as other orgasms with ejaculation. This struck me as unusual or even unnatural. My partner reassured me that a “dry orgasm in men” was normal – the first I’d heard that term! I didn’t know then that ejaculation is unnecessary to experience orgasm.
“Ejaculation is an event that takes place in the penis,” explains Dr. Andrew Siegel. “Orgasm occurs in the brain.” Occasional orgasms without ejaculation — “dry orgasms” — are common as we age, and in most cases are no cause for alarm. A dry orgasm occurs when a penis owner reaches sexual climax without ejaculation — no fluid emerges from the penis.
As penis owners, we’re used to sexual climax involving these components:
- Emission (secretions deposited into the urethra)
- Ejaculation (contractions of the pelvic floor muscles that push the seminal fluid out the urethra in an explosive eruption)
- Orgasm (the intense emotional feelings that accompany the physical act of ejaculation)
Many of us are surprised and worried the first time we have a dry orgasm. Thankfully, in most cases, there’s nothing to fret about. It is quite common to climax and ejaculate “wetly” in some sexual encounters, and to orgasm “dryly” on other occasions.
Like me, most penis owners experience intense pleasure when orgasming, whether it’s wet or dry. Dry orgasms happen normally from time to time. Their frequency increases with age, as they accompany other age-related changes. Michael Castleman, sex journalist for 46 years and author of Sizzling Sex for Life: How to Maximize Erotic Pleasure at Any Age, explains,
“Menopausal women notice vaginal dryness and atrophy. Men notice that the volume of fluid in their ejaculations gradually declines, and in some men over 70, more or less disappears.”
With aging, the prostate gland enlarges. The pelvic floor muscles also weaken, diminishing the power of ejaculation. These are normal age changes and may contribute to dry orgasms. There’s usually no reason for worry about the occasional dry orgasm. However, if you begin to experience dry orgasms regularly, consult a doctor to find out what might be causing this.
Some medical conditions may contribute to frequent dry orgasms, such as surgery to remove the prostate as a treatment for prostate cancer. As Michael Castleman notes, “Afterwards, they still come, but any seminal fluid spurts not out of the penis, but backwards into the bladder, where it mixes with urine and leaves the body during urination.”
Medical causes for dry orgasms include
- Removal of the prostate and seminal glands
- Laser prostate surgery
- Radiotherapy to treat prostate cancer
- Operations for testicular and bladder cancer
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord injuries
- Some drugs, such as Flomax to control urinary problems and various blood pressure and psychiatric medications
- Severe emotional stress and other situational psychological issues
All of us experience changes in our sexual selves as we age. We take longer to reach an erection (here’s where sex toys and lubricants can assist!), and our erections are not as firm or reliable as they once were. Our refractory period after ejaculation increases, and the amount of ejaculate we produce decreases. On occasion, we don’t produce seminal fluid, and we experience a dry orgasm.
All of this is simply a normal part of growing older and no cause for upset. I find that when my own dry orgasms occur, they are every bit as powerful and satisfying as their juicier and more frequent counterparts. I wish you the same. And, if you’re still worried, consider this comment from Michael Castleman:
“Dry orgasm has advantages. No wet spot. Women who never liked semen in their mouths and/or swallowing can provide fellatio more happily. And older men can self-sex with less messy evidence to dispose of. The key thing is to alert older men that this happens, that it’s normal and no big deal.”
I invite you to comment and share your own experience with dry orgasms.
- “Ejaculation: What to Expect As You Age,” New Jersey Urology
- “Is It Normal, Doc? Five Changes All Men Experience as They Age,” Tower Urology
- “Should Men Worry About Dry Orgasms?” Sexual Medicine Society of North America
- “Dry Orgasm: Why It Happens and What You Can Do,” Healthline
— Shamus MacDuff, age 77, has been writing for this blog since 2017, when he wrote the popular post, “Sex without Penetration: A Man’s View.” Since then, he has become my reviewer of sex toys for penis owners. Read Shamus MacDuff’s other posts.
Note from Joan: Shamus MacDuff is the pseudonym of a 75-year-old retired university professor and author. Other than his name, he promises that everything he says about himself is true. His first guest post, “Great Sex Without Penetration: A Man’s View,” attracted so many readers and such positive response that when he offers additional posts, I quickly agree.
In the locker room at my gym, I overheard a 40-something guy complain to his buddy that his girlfriend insisted on using “a damned vibrator” that, in his view, kept “getting in the way of real sex.” I was tempted to interrupt and share a different story. I assert that more guys need to learn about the joys of sex toys, especially vibrators.
While a few vibrators are targeted specifically to provide stimulus and response to penises, a great many more kinds of sex toys exist. Most of these are designed especially (but not exclusively!) for clitorises and vaginas. It’s time to examine what these toys have to offer to penis owners, and to help guys like the fellow at my gym break out of the “penile colony” and begin to enjoy the myriad pleasures of a variety of sex toys.
For starters, most women cannot orgasm through penetrative vaginal sex alone, requiring arousal and stimulation of the clitoris. Vibrators are designed to provide exactly that stimulation, and it’s little wonder that women find them so desirable. If your partner loves her vibrator, that does not mean she doesn’t also love your touch. Rather, it indicates that she’s found the perfect combination of a partner and a vibrator to bring her to orgasm. Guys are not in competition with vibrators—they are our accomplices in giving joy and pleasure to our partners, a fact that the fellow in my gym had yet to understand. But there’s much more to this than meets the eye (or the clitoris), so let’s explore further.
It happens that vibrators work wonderfully on our male parts, too. During partner sex (of whatever form it takes), encourage your partner to apply her vibrator to your frenulum, your perineum, your nipples, or any other “turn on” spots that give you a happy buzz. A happy buzz is just what vibrators provide, often in a variety of patterns and speeds. You are sure to find several that will bring you to ecstasy more quickly than you thought possible. Once you do, you’ll then be vying with your partner for who gets “first dibs” on using the vibrator of choice. The fun and games during your partnered sex will be greatly enhanced for you both!
Give ‘em a try—you won’t be disappointed!
My partner introduced me to several delightful vibrators, and now these toys have also become a great addition to my solo sex practice. While the ones designed specifically for penises are very effective, I have found that many others, produced originally with vulvas in mind, are hugely satisfying during masturbation. Playing with vibrators almost certainly will convince you that they are our friends—true orgasm enhancement tools for guys as well as gals.
That conversation I overheard at my gym saddens me, because the speaker was clearly a prisoner of “the penile colony”—a believer that the only real sex is penis-in-vagina (PIV), with an unfortunate primary focus on his own pleasure rather than on increasing hers. Vibrators offer fun and innovative ways to break out of that unhappy mental prison, allowing us guys to recognize and experience the full panoply of delights that sex toys can provide to penises as well as clitorises.
[Read other posts by Shamus MacDuff here.]
The day after my first “Great Sex Without Penetration” webinar, I received this email from an attendee:
“How is it possible for a 69-year-old woman and a 72-year-old man to enjoy 3 continuous hours of non-stop sex and joyful lovemaking, and then fall contentedly to sleep? And pick right up in the morning, seemingly where we left off? Use Joan’s “sex without penetration” method, and leave out any and all expectations! Really. I owe you a big time testimonial!”
Sex without Penetration
Like most heterosexual males who learned about sex via Playboy, locker room talk, and pornography, I grew up thinking that “real sex” involved putting my penis in a woman’s vagina and thrusting in and out until I ejaculated. Oh, how wrong I was!
Widowed at age 73 after two long marriages, I was very fortunate to meet a wonderful, sex-positive woman via an online dating site. We clicked almost instantly and soon became lovers.
Thankfully, by then I had taken Joan Price’s webinar, “Great Sex Without Penetration.” It taught me that loving, happy, joyous sex is much more than the classic sexual intercourse — putting penis-in-vagina (PIV: a term I learned from the webinar) — which I had thought defined sex. The webinar also surprised me with the fact that very few women achieve orgasms that way.
When this new woman and I were first exploring each other, open and caring communications about sex without penetration aided us in learning how to please each other and reach a crescendo of sexual joy.
My patient lover explained to me exactly how to bring her to orgasm, which had everything to do with clitoral stimulation and nothing to do with intercourse. Since the webinar emphasized the central importance of good communication toward achieving mutual pleasure and orgasm, I was grateful for my lover’s guidance.
Exploring each other without the goal of PIV also let us enjoy excitement and orgasms without any performance anxiety about whether my erection would be hard enough or last long enough. That didn’t matter!
I’ve discovered that giving a woman pleasure via cunnilingus and touching is highly arousing for me. giving me more excitement and pleasure than PIV. My lover equally enjoys pleasing me with fellatio, stroking, and sex toys. Another of Joan’s webinars, “Sex Toys for Seniors,” introduced me to the variety of sex toys and the many fun ways that they can be employed. I’m sure that other men will find, as I have, that these toys heighten sexual pleasure without penetration — for us as well as for our partners!
So, listen up, guys: if you’re an older man in search of mutual pleasure and sexual fulfillment, sex without penetration is the way to go!
Note from Joan: If you’d like to take one of my workshops live or virtually, see my upcoming schedule here. But you don’t have to wait for me to come to a city near you — recordings of my webinars are available now.
12/18/16 update: Read about the new Pulse III on my 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for Seniors!
6/30/15 update: There is an even newer version of this product — The Pulse II — which David Pittle reviewed. See his update below. Enjoy!
Presenting… The Pulse, a pulsing, oscillating, amazing vibrator for penises that does not require an erection for his pleasure!
That’s right — unlike other vibrating “sleeves,” the penis does not have to be hard to start enjoying it. Spread open the flexible flaps, rest your penis in it, turn it on, and enjoy the sensations.
The fabulous folks at Smitten Kitten first showed me this vibrator, praising its qualities. The Pulse penis vibrator works for men of all ages, and it’s especially splendid for pleasuring an older man. If you get erections erratically, this toy will make you hard. If erections are not in the picture, you’ll still feel tremendous sexual pleasure.
Of course I had to get some men of our age to test the Pulse for us. You can imagine how easy it was to get three volunteers! These men all live in different places, and I wanted to give them each plenty of time to play and experiment, so I arranged with Hot Octopuss, the British manufacturer of the Pulse, to send one product, and the dear folks at Smitten Kitten sent two more.
Here’s what my Pulse-pleasured guys told me:
I’m a man, almost 58, who has had a number of sexual issues going back more than 8 years. Most of my issues — temporary impotence, lack of sensation, pain with orgasm — are because I’m a prostate cancer survivor who was treated surgically. Recently I’ve been able to resolve many of these issues.
Given my past challenges, I’ve haven’t taken a lot of time to explore penile sex toys beyond cock rings and therapeutic penis pumps. I wasn’t sure what a toy could do for me anyway. But that changed with the Pulse! While not a traditional sleeve toy, it does deliver vibratory sensations to the penis. It has a number of speeds and intensities that are easily set by a lighted button.
It has a unique feature where some of the vibrations are concentrated in a circular section that delivers an extra boost to the highly sensitive underside of the head of the penis. For me, it’s been a great erection builder. I’ve enjoyed taking the time to play and experiment with the various settings of intensity.
Because I still have some limited sensation, I’ve not been able to reach orgasm using the Pulse exclusively. But it is a very pleasurable toy and has warmed me up to some very nice plateaus. It’s made of hard plastic and high-grade non-toxic silicone. It can be used with or without lubricant, but is more effective as a “stroker” toy when used with lubricant. It’s easily cleaned with a damp cloth.
The Pulse is one toy that’s worth the money! It has easy-to-use controls, fits nicely in the hand and has a coin-like, raised bump inside at just the right place. It feels wonderful!
On the low setting, with a little water-based lube, this thing got me hard in no time. And this was after I’d had sex and a great orgasm earlier in the day. I’m over 50, so that’s saying a lot. The next day, this thing had me orgasming in minutes.
Watch out if you get lube on the hand you’re holding it with though — it can get slippery. It performs well, but does take a couple minutes to clean due to the ribs inside. A quick wipe with soap and water does the trick — it can’t be submerged.
This is the only criticism I have: It comes with a USB charger cord but without an adapter to plug into a wall outlet. Fortunately I had one, and you can pick one up cheap.
David M. Pittle, Ph.D (age 70+):
Most men’s sex toys seem to be some form of sleeve to simulate a vagina. The Pulse is different. Like the sleeves, it is a tube for the penis to enter, but it is open at the top with wings that bend out, so the penis can be simply laid into the tube on top of the strongest point of vibration. This creates the greatest sensations on the most sensitive part of the penis, the frenulum.
This is an amazingly versatile sex toy. My experience with it was “five stars.” That puts it right up there with the Hitachi Magic Wand.
I was skeptical about the battery because battery toys that are powerful run down fairly rapidly. Ten or fifteen minutes of use and they need recharging. Not the case with the Pulse. In a tribute to battery engineers, the Pulse ran for four sessions of 15 to 20 minutes and was still going strong.
This is a great product. The only criticism I have is that it can’t be immersed in water. The water will get into the battery compartment. That is somewhat minor, but given the price, a waterproof charging system would have been nice.
Update: David received a sample of the new Pulse II Solo and had this to add:
There is a new king in town: The Pulse II Solo. First, the new model’s vibrations are not only stronger, but also feel more effective and include programmed patterns. Second, the vibrations come from a piston mechanism designed for penile stimulation. Third, it works longer per charge. There are many other improvements, but these are the most apparent.
The Pulse II Solo maintains the open top with expanding wings. A flaccid penis can easily be inserted. As it responds to the vibratory stimulation, it becomes as hard as it can and continues to increase sensitivity. As this happens, those wings spread to accommodate the growth in girth.
The vibratory plate, located under the penis glans at its most sensitive area, is large enough to continue to make contact during the expansion. There are many nerve endings at the base of the penis. The Pulse II Solo is able to simultaneously excite these nerves without losing touch with the nerves in the glans.
As you can tell, I was excited by the original Pulse, but I’m an out and out fan of the Pulse II. It is without doubt the best vibrator sex toy for men with erectile challenges that I have seen. As a sex therapist often dealing with older men with erectile dysfunction, this is very important to me. I will certainly be recommending this product.
I applaud the Hot Octopuss company which has taken pro-sex political stances and is promoting improved sex for seniors. Their blog entry, “Coming Of Age: Over-55s Most Sexually Satisfied” is worth reading.
In my case, not so. The inside part that holds the penis is comfortable and stimulating for him, but the outside part that supposedly can stimulate the clitoris is mostly hard plastic and doesn’t vibrate much, not the least bit sexy for me. Of course, your experience may vary, and another woman reported getting plenty of pleasure from it. [Note: This comment was based on testing the original Pulse. I’ll update it when I’ve tested the Pulse II Duo, which I understand is greatly improved.]
My recommendation is to let the man use this on his own — he’ll love it, and he deserves a superb sex toy of his own!
Check out Shamus McDuff’s review of the Pocket Pulse.