This past Monday, I posted a question from Distressed Elder Seeking Direction:
Hi Dan Savage. I am 78. Wife passed on sex for last 15-18 years. It is driving me crazy. I don't want a divorce but I would really like some sexual companionship. How might I go about it? Suggetions?
Since everyone knows what I'm going to tell him—see here—I asked for thoughts from my readers. Here's what you sent in:
Hire sex workers in their 40's or offer an extra $50 to sex workers in their early 20's.
Cheating on someone to save a marriage is like slipping a vegan animal based products to solve a dietary deficiency. I don't see anything immoral about animal products, and it might even help my partner, but that's not my call. Doing something your partner doesn't want, even if it does help them, is patronizing. A partnership is one of equals built on respect and honesty. His wife deserves the truth and the ability to make an informed choice.
IMHO one of the most important things gay men have brought to the institution of marriage, or just relationships in general, is that many recognize the difference between sexual fidelity and loyalty. That difference is the crux of his problem and only DESD can know if monogamy is an essential component of loyalty for him. Since he plans to fool around on the side it won't be an issue for his spouse. The fact that he is asking for help finding a bit on the side would suggest he has already turned the corner on the issue.
DESD, assuming your wife is a similar age as you, your wife appears to have decided that sex was no longer going to be part of her life after age 58. I'm sorry that you allowed so many good years to go by without sex, but I wouldn't wait much longer to discretely enjoy what you want, whether with a professional or a with woman near your own age who might be in a similar boat. Our bodies betray us with remarkable speed as we age, and what you're healthy enough to enjoy now, you may not be in a year.
I find that people at this age can become much more pragmatic. It's just a dick and a vagina and sex isn't love, commitment, caring, and all the other things that make long term marriages work. 15 years is a long time tho—I suspect LW may find his ability to have sex disappointing enough that hiring a sex worker won't slake his needs.
Agree with the "have a talk first" crowd. If neither party wants a divorce, they will find a way to work it out one way or another, whether that means revisiting their own sexual relationship, opening up the relationship, or doing a DADT thing. If one or the other decides they want a divorce based on no marital sex or outside sex or any other reason, life is short, get divorced.
Dan, must you get into ageism like so many in the world? I'm 79 and still going strong, and I'll bet his wife probably got sucked in by the propaganda that a woman is half dead after menopause. This is no different from insisting that men will always be unable to "get it up" after 60. Utter nonsense—it's 90% belief system as your writer has not adopted the negative story.I live in Mexico where everyone at any age enjoys sex, and if they don't, it's for other reasons than this ageist bullshit. He and she need to talk a lot, and of course, if she's not unhappy about it, go ahead. But let's find HER a great lover!!! She may find HIM a turn-off!! (Yes, I'm a psychotherapist!)
And, finally, in regards to the subject of unwanted nipple play that came up on a recent Savage Lovecast...
I just listened to Lovecast Episode 554 and I have to say I'm disappointed in the advice that you have to the woman who hadn't told her fiancé of five years that nipple play hurts her and she doesn't enjoy it.
First off, I'm surprised that you didn't speak to the enormous pressure women are under to grin and bear it, to not advocate for their own pleasure and boundaries, to put the pleasure of their male partners before their own, even if it's to their detriment. While I do agree that her fiancé has a right to be upset by this revelation, if he is indeed not an asshole, what he should be mostly mad at is a culture that created this fear and anxiety in the woman he loves about being assertive about what does and doesn't work for her sexually, and he should express that he understands that to her. To be clear, I don't think what she did was right, but I do understand, as a woman, why she felt she couldn't and shouldn't say anything.
I also do have to wonder if there is something about the way he touches them that could change to accommodate her sensitivity and possibly even bring her pleasure. Is he able to just place his hand over her breast and keep it still without it hurting her? Can he lightly kiss her nipples or brush the tip of his nose over them? Can he blow on them, or use something soft like a feather or a cotton ball? I have a feeling that, assuming her fiancé is around the same age (25) and that they've have been together since they were both roughly 20, he may not have learned a more subtle, less porn like and finger dependent approach to nipple play.
Finally, can she touch her own nipples without any pain? If so, maybe she could show him what feels good, or at least isn't painful. Or he could just watch her play with her nipples without him touching them. Is it painful when she does non sexual things like wearing a bra or a tight tank top? Because if those types of soft touch cause her pain in her nipples, it may not just be a sensitivity issue; she may have clogged or inflamed milk ducts, which can happen to women who have never had children if they have a hormonal imbalance and she could be treated for that.
Nipple play may still not be her favorite thing after all this and may not always be on the menu, if at all. And I do agree that they should focus on her other erogenous zones now as well. But maybe there is a way to go back to square one with both of them approaching her nipples and nipple play in general differently.
Looking forward to seeing you in Chicago next week!
Needed Interjection, Pal