Intimacy

I’m 64, and my partner is 57. She’s Chinese, and I’m European. We’re not married, but we’ve been together for 8 years. We were quite adventurous, sexually, during our first 5 years together. But after my partner went through menopause, she seems to have lost interest in sex and started to say no to most of my requests in bed. Our love life became increasingly sporadic and, to be honest, somewhat boring to me (and probably to her too). For over a year now, we’ve had no sex at all. There’s deep friendship and affection between us, but I see no way to rekindle any passion. Trouble is, I miss having sex and have even visited escorts on occasion. I’ve also noticed signs of interest from several older ladies I’d find quite desirable. But I just can’t stand drama and conflict and don’t want to get emotionally entangled with anyone else, unless I first make a clear break with my partner. The idea breaking up with her—and cutting loose from my emotional moorings at 64—causes me a lot of guilt and anxiety. What do you advise? – At A Crossroads

Dear At A Crossroads,

It’s wonderful that after 8 years in your romantic relationship (or perhaps because of it) you and your partner have a deep friendship and affection for each other. In most successful relationships I’ve seen, it’s the mutual love and respect in couples that gives rise to a deep level of understanding between the individuals.

It appears that you understand that your partner undergoing menopause may contribute to her lack of interest in sex. You see, menopausal and post-menopausal women experience a loss of estrogen and testosterone, which lead to changes in their body, sexual drive, and mood. These women may not be easily aroused, and they may be less sensitive to being touched (for the purpose of sex). Simply put, in my counselling practice, I’ve heard women describe menopause as the “death of womanhood.” This “death” refers not only to the waning of their libido but to their absence as a lover in their partner’s life.

I believe that your sex life with your partner can be revived by helping her feel like a woman. Put sex on the back-burner for now, and, instead, woo her. Whether she’s Chinese, European, Indian, etc., all women love to be courted – to still feel, after many years with their partner, wanted and desired by them for who they are as a complete person and their love-interest.

There are many ways to show interest in your partner and spice up your relationship so that both of your needs for intimacy are met. Try to seduce her the way you used to when you first began dating. Take her to your then favorite restaurant and share what you ate the first time you went there. Dance the night away at the nightclub you both used to enjoy. Feel each other’s pulse while holding hands in silence as you walk barefoot on your favorite beach.

On weekdays, instead of coming home and immediately sifting through the mail or checking your email, give your partner a hug and then sit down with her and share both the happy incidents and disappointments of your day. Encourage her to share with you the events of her day, and listen attentively while she does this.

One of the best ways to help a woman feel like a woman is to share your core feelings with her. I recommend that you and your partner take turns telling each other what, or who, in your past has given you the most happiness, fear, anger, guilt, sadness, emptiness, passion, and so on. For example, you could begin by asking your lady: “What is the one thing in your life that makes you, or has made you, happy?” After she responds, ask her: “When was the last time you experienced this feeling?” The same two questions could then be applied to the other feelings on the list. Sharing your experiences and then discussing your feelings about them will help you and your partner rebuild intimacy with each other. Once regained, emotional intimacy will, understandably, lead to the intimacy of a more sexual nature, something you are craving.

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