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.
“The first time a man experiences problems with his erection after years of normal function it can be like a punch in the gut. For most men, their sexual performance is a matter of pride. Men equate their erections with masculinity—their manhood.”
– Michael Bates, MD
Are you wondering how to deal with erectile dysfunction in a relationship? I write frequently about erectile difficulties, because this is an issue that my readers and audiences ask me about all the time. You can find plenty about staying sexual despite erectile dysfunction in my books, articles, and webinars. But I realize that a woman writing about erections may not strike you as having the same credibility as the same information coming from a man, especially a man with a medical degree.
Michael Bates, MD, is a retired OB/GYN physician who, with his wife Carolina, directs the website X’s and O’s, a resource center and retailer for folks over 50. In “How To Help Your Partner With Erectile Dysfunction (ED),” Dr. Bates suggests these steps for supporting a partner with ED and figuring out what options will help you remain a sexually vibrant couple:
- Communicate. Start an honest conversation about the change in your sexual pattern as a couple.
- Go to his doctor together to determine the cause of his ED. Run the tests to discover or rule out medical conditions that can cause erection problems. Discuss his medications that may have sexual side effects.
- Learn about medical options: medications, suppositories, injections, pumps, implants.
- Try non-medical solutions, such as vibrators and penis rings.
- Explore non-penetrative ways to arouse and satisfy each other, aka “outercourse.” *
Read Dr. Bates’s article here.
Visit X’s and O’s.
* My most popular workshop and webinar is “Great Sex without Penetration,” which helps you enjoy hot sex without PIV (penis-in-vagina). As a special gift for reading this far, email me and ask how to view this 90-minute webinar for just $35 instead of $55.
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!
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. Give ‘em a try—you won’t be disappointed!
[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.