I’m a 46-year-old woman who just started seeing a 55-year-old man. He’s always telling me how excited I get him, how he’s your typical horny male, and how I’m asking for trouble if we make out at the door after lunch. Frankly, he seems all talk. For example, on our much anticipated weekend away in San Francisco, we had two hours to kill at the hotel before dinner. He suggested window shopping. I suggested we “make out on the bed.” (I wanted to say “have wild sex.”) We kissed, and when things started heating up, he said we should head out. When we returned, he said, “So, should we get to it then?” It was so crass, I suggested a movie. He seemed relieved, and we watched “Juno.” Afterward, we started fooling around, but it was bland — as was sex the next morning. I’m frustrated but hoping things will improve over time. Am I too focused on sex? I should say something, but it’s so awkward, and I don’t want to hurt his feelings.
Here you are on a weekend getaway with a guy you just started seeing, and all he can think to do is get away from the bed: “Shall we totter down to Neiman Marcus and stare at the displays?” Now, there is that chance he’s freezing up out of performance anxiety or because he sees sleeping together as an I.O.U. for commitment. But more than likely, his favorite sex positions are spooning, snoring, and doggie-style — as in, rolling over and playing dead.
This sort of bedroom bait-and-switch — the dud billing himself as a dynamo — is pretty common with older guys who are embarrassed that they don’t want sex like they used to. Perhaps this guy’s had a drop in his testosterone level (as men do, usually after 40), or perhaps there never was much “T” to go around. What’s especially worrisome is that this a brand new relationship — the time when you should be having trouble making it out of the elevator with clothes on. “In The Truth About Love,” Dr. Patricia Love explains, “During infatuation, with the help of PEA (phenethylamine), dopamine, and norepinephrine, the person with the low sex drive (the low-T person) experiences a surge in sexual desire.” Uh-oh. What’s he experiencing, a surge in window shopping?
As for whether you’re “too focused on sex,” you are what you are — probably too focused on it to be satisfied with a guy who’d rather watch “Juno” than...you know...but who finally blurts out, “So, should we get to it then?” What, clean the hog pen? Yeah, let’s get this chore over with. You can hint a guy into expressing himself more appealingly, but what matters is whether that’s how he really feels: if he’d really rather be napping.
You hear people say stuff like, “Sex is best in the context of a loving relationship.” No, sex is best when the two people having it are sexually compatible. You can ask a guy to do more of what you like, but you can’t get him to be more of what you like. Go ahead, hang around a little longer, maybe try initiating, and see whether he’s just a bit slow to come out of hibernation. Ultimately, the person in need of your honesty is you: whether the man for you is one who’s always got Mr. Happy at the ready, or whether you can make do with a guy who should probably pet-name his entire sex drive Nuclear Winter.