Sex and Relationships

Updated on: Tuesday, December 14, 2021, 06:07 PM IST

Sex and The City: Intimacy woes in old age


I am a 60-year-old woman and have had a healthy sexual relationship with my husband for many years. I have now reached a stage in my life where I would like to enjoy warm companionship without sex, as my body is changing with age. However, I find my husband unable to accept this. Of late, he has started avoiding spending time with me and prefers endlessly chatting with his women mentees or watching YouTube videos of young actresses. I would have had no issue with this had he not eroded our conversational space and had he kept the warmth and affection between us alive. I feel sad and lonely and find myself in a lose-lose situation. Either I have to do without companionship or then put myself in physical pain by forcing myself to get intimate when my body is clearly disallowing it. I had always thought we would age gracefully as a couple and thought my husband viewed me as more than a body. I am deeply disillusioned and sad. Please advise.

Ans. For the warmth and affection to stay alive between you two, it is important that you both co-participate in several activities that serve to strengthen and fortify the friendship that you have built your lives together on. How is that friendship doing? Your bodily changes are a function of the wears and tears of time that do a number on every aspect of human functioning. Through life’s many travails and travels, it is incumbent upon all thinking individuals to find new ways to stay interesting to themselves.

The people we choose to share our lives with constantly evolve in unpredictable ways. Through this process of change the companionship and camaraderie you’ll make, the steps you’ll take feel less heavy. Life can often become mundane and repetitive. New areas of interest, shared projects and key disciplines could be mastered to inject a couplehood with some much-needed chutzpah and mirth. It is unfortunate that your husband doesn’t seek joy in the conversational space that you would like to exist between you two. This is probably because his sexual needs are not being met. This may be compounding the frustration he feels with you and more so with the situation at hand. Human beings must find a way to address their needs in efficient, safe and effective ways. If you are going through physical pain while having sex, you can visit a gynaecologist to explore if there’s something you are struggling with in addition to what you are already experiencing.

It is also important to communicate your sadness to your husband and the fact that you feel lonely too. If he cares about how you feel, he will take an active interest in facilitating and fostering a sensitive and nurturing atmosphere between you’ll. If you feel like your thoughts and feelings are falling on deaf ears, then maybe a visit to a marriage counsellor may help open up the discussion on feelings, comfort, boundaries, love and companionship.

There is no ‘winning formula’ to marriage and yet there’s a ‘winner’s attitude’ that can help a marriage deal with life’s many disturbances and distractions. Proactively seeking the timely intervention of a mediator or infusing a debate with clarity and option-based solutions is the sensible way forward to most problems. Understandably, some revelations can feel more emotional than others. His penchant for younger women is a marker of his sexual appetite and he can not be forced to not have sexual feelings at gunpoint.

You are more than a body. You are ‘somebody’. You have dreams and you have the right to be held in regard and seen with care. It is possible that he may be self-pleasuring himself at the sight of these other women as well. How does that make you feel? Whatever you feel, it’s important for you to express those feelings clearly and without judgement towards yourself. Martyrdom and suffering is not the path to betterment.

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Published on: Sunday, December 12, 2021, 08:04 AM IST