I am a 72-year-old man and I find that I don’t really enjoy sexual intercourse any more, to the point that I think it would be easier and more worthwhile to be celibate. I enjoy closeness and intimacy but that tends to land me in bed, and afterwards I become depressed for days. The “climax” is a downer, as is my girlfriend’s reaction. She is also 72 and has no comprehension or tolerance of how it is for me. She is convinced that it is “her fault”, and accuses me of squandering my sexual energy on masturbation, watching pornography, or having another woman on the side – none of which are anywhere near the truth. These accusations are so relentless and so degrading that I have given up trying to defend myself or change her thinking.
I liken it to eating fish’n’chips. Every now and then I get a craving for them but afterwards regret it. Is there something wrong with me? Is this a result of the vasectomy that I had all those years ago? Please tell me what you think. Sorry to say I recognise your fish’n’chips analogy. It does usefully remind us that the need to alter sexual practices to suit ageing bodies is as important as altering diet. But yuck, what a horrible situation you two have got yourselves in emotionally. Few penises would function under that kind of tension! I’m not clear: what results in you feeling depressed? Is it physical pain from the actions of intercourse or is it your emotional disappointment and distress? And if the latter, is that because your orgasm is only a mild sensation with a wee dribble of ejaculate or do you lose your erection or not come… or are you referring to your reaction to your partner’s attack?
Bodily pain during or after intercourse suggests the need for a change of position, well-placed pillows for support, timely painkillers or the recognition that intercourse is out but there are many ways to still give each other intense pleasure.
It’s hard to avoid partners blaming themselves if there’s a functioning problem, because intimacy takes us into our vulnerability – but that’s neither helpful nor accurate, nor will this be a post-vasectomy issue. Read this together, agree to stop the attacks and retreats into misery and begin a project of bringing back kindness and love.