It Gets Better

Everybody deserves a rich sex life—not just the young . . .

by Robin Gorsline

I thought this would be a difficult post to write, especially because I am posting alone while Malachi has been away at a 5-day retreat for people into kinky sex. In some ways, that retreat, and the fact that my dear friend and 27-year-old co-editor has been enjoying it, caused me to think this writing would be all the more difficult.


However, as I finished it, I am not so sure. It’s been a great experience writing this. And more good news is that next week, you’ll hear only from him (while I attend a week-long church conference—and that fact makes the contrast even greater!).

My topic today: sex and aging. I thought that would be a downer. But the opposite is true.

My interest stems from my own experience of erectile dysfunction as well as shrinkage of my testicles and a noticeable decline in the frequency of ejaculations.  I know many older (and some younger) men share these or other symptoms.  I also have been experiencing significant lower back pain for some months and this has interfered at times with sexual activity. Menopause may set similar things in place for women.

Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy sex with Jonathan, in fact I want more. And I have been learning to enjoy self-pleasuring, too.

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And you should know that I am writing today not so much to talk about troubles but more importantly to encourage older people to claim our right–and I believe our responsibility as part of the family of God who gives us these wondrous creations and erotic energy—to enjoy our bodies and lots of good sex.

But I do believe that it is important to talk openly about how aging affects our ability to perform sexually—not only in the way we used to, but frankly, the way at least I, and I hope you, still want to perform.  Aging does not affect just me, or just men, of course.

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Women also can experience significant sexual changes as they age. These include decreased blood flow to genitals, lower levels of estrogen and testosterone, thinning of the vaginal lining, loss of vaginal elasticity and muscle tone, slower arousal, reduced vaginal lubrication and less expansion of the vagina, less blood congestion in the clitoris and lower vagina, and diminished clitoral sensitivity. You can learn much more about all this, as well as suggestions to improve sex life for older women here 

For all people, facing the effects of aging on our sex lives is critical. Every site I consulted, for all genders, points out that a decline in sexual activity, or a less satisfying sex life, is not automatically the effect of aging. The idea that old people don’t want or don’t have sex is false. But many have been, and are, convinced this is so.

My own experience is that six or so years ago, when my erections became less frequent, I began to think it would be only a matter of time until I would not want or have sex anymore. This was depressing. I think even Jonathan, who is 13 years younger than me, began to wonder.

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But after a couple of years of avoidance, I began to seek medical help. I started testosterone therapy (TRT) to raise my levels (see left), and used trials of Viagra and Cialis (the latter, used on a daily basis really helped but there were complications and I had to stop using it). A pump helped a little, as did injections before sex (but not very romantic!).

All this took place over several years. And although in some ways it does not seem successful, what I began feeling was energy about sex. I stopped being depressed and starting thinking about what could be done so my beloved and I could be intimate like we had been for many years. One thing one specialist said to me, as he held my small cock in his hand, “Ah, suffering from disuse.”

I asked him how he knew that and he pointed to the shape of the shaft, how it was larger at the base and then abruptly tapered off. He said, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”

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That was all I needed to begin masturbating more. I had stopped because I was frustrated by not ejaculating. Now, I learned I still enjoy it, and that actually seemed to help when Jonathan and I had sex. My erections were better.

Erections are not the only issue for me, and for many men. Aging can shrink your penis. And then, regular use of TRT usually leads to significant shrinkage of testicles, because they no longer have much to do. And a consequence of that is a significant reduction in the production of semen. That makes ejaculation less possible.  I am checking out alternative therapies to deal with this, and I having a great time talking with a therapist about my new sexual energy and how best to use it.

Dr. Ruth hlntv comToday, I feel more alive sexually than I ever have. Instead of taking it for granted—a quick jerk-off to relieve tension or after seeing someone sexy when I was younger, or just assuming I could become hard whenever I tried—I now cherish my body and my erotic feelings all the time and at a far deeper level.

I experience my body, my cock and more, often during morning meditation. I realize even in church, or other group, prayer, that my whole body is participating, not just my brain or my ears and mouth. I really yearn to hold hands or hug during prayer because I experience the human connection as a divine one, too.

And now that my body sags in places it never did before, and I feel more aches and pains from time to time, I have begun to undo my negative reaction, you might call it the “ick” or “yuck” factor, to the idea of my parents being sexual. I know they were at least once—after all, here I am—but I have this nagging feeling that it wasn’t very often. Part of the reason I think that is that they were so rarely physically affectionate with each other. That makes me sad. They deserved better.

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Everybody deserves a rich sex life—not just the young, but the middle-aged and the older and really elderly people.  I want Jonathan to be sucking me in the nursing home, and assuming I die first, I want someone else to be doing that for him until the very end.

I used to think Dr. Ruth was a bit nutty. Not anymore. She had the right idea.

Don’t take ideas of diminished sexual capacity due to aging lying down. After all many of us have been through in our lives—from joys to traumas and just plain hard work day in and day out—it is high time we had some really good sex!! And lots of it.

And one more thing: I think us older folks can lead the real sexual revolution, the one in which the world overcomes phobias and old teachings and misguided morality and really claims God’s way as the best way: make love, not war.

We Want to Hear from You! Help Make this a Conversation!

What do you think? Are you an older person seeking a better sex life? Do you think it is possible to be very active sexually as an older person? If you are younger, do you fear aging, thinking it will diminish your sexual pleasure? Or can you imagine your sex life getting better as you age? Please share your thoughts, your heart on these questions or anything else this blog raises for you (see “Leave a Comment” link on upper left, underneath categories and tags), or box below, or write Malachi and/or Robin at the emails listed above their pictures on the right.


4 thoughts on “It Gets Better”

  1. Can’t help replying to this. I turned 71 in May and am happier now than I have ever been. Certainly only a part of that, but a large part of it, is the way I have grown sexually. And I don’t intend to stop growing.

    When the decade of my forties was underway, I began to notice that I no longer bore the curse that had stymied my sex life in my twenties and thirties: premature ejaculation. I began noticing that my erections were not lasting as long; and, in retrospect I can say, I had the sense to know that that didn’t matter. As I later mused on it, I decided that I had no way of knowing how long my erections did or did not last since I was busy believing that they all had to end in ejaculation. Another development in that decade was a fuller, richer, masturbatory life.

    The next decade began as I was coming to terms with being something other than heterosexual. I initially called myself “bisexual,” thinking that that was the descriptor that best fit me. As the first few years after 49 began to come and pass, however, I realized more and more that it was men to whom I was attracted. I went through a period of time when my head wanted to do things that my penis pretty much refused to do. It took me years to get past a nervousness that would overpower me when I was in certain sexual situations.

    By the time I was 60, I had figured out what I liked, had stopped bothering myself so much about how I did and did not respond, and had grown used to a Viagra prescription that did not always, but often did override my hesitations and nervousness. What helped most was finding first one, then another, then another, and finally a lasting life partner with whom to have a wonderfully fulfilling sexual relationship.

    Nothing helped quite so much, however, as finding what I’ll call “the masturbating subculture” about four years ago. I began to learn about how much I didn’t know regarding my first and oldest sexual activity. I began to be aware of the vocabulary of “edging,” of postponing ejaculations, and, above all, of the bliss of entering higher states of consciousness through sexual arousal. None of this had ever even remotely been on my menu during youth, adolescence, young adulthood, or middle age. As I began to masturbate more and to come to terms with what I’d always known–that even in partnered sex masturbation was and remains my favorite form of sexual activity and expression–I began to enjoy myself sexually more and more. Then what initially was a genital experience became more and more a full body experience. Next, I discovered that all good sex, whether partnered or alone, was in fact masturbatory (for me). That led me to begin to open myself up to new experiences. Wave after wave of pleasure carries me forward into a truly new territory of sexual discovery.

    Of course, bodies do not escape entropy. I am sure, and am already beginning to find, that my body will break down and lose some of its functions over the years. Rather than despair about that, I am ready to take it on. I am willing to accept it. And, much as I would do if you told me that my diet had to change with the passing years, I am ready to express myself sexually in new and untried keys as the years roll on. I have no idea what that might mean. But, just as I am sure that I’ll breathe as long as I live, and eat as long as I live, I expect to be sexual in some form or other until I die. And should that prove not to be possible, well, so what? I will have enjoyed every nerve ending and erotic impulse for as long as I possibly could. What could be better?

  2. Frank, rich as always. So grateful to read, to feel, your joy and grace and strength in your journey of discovery, and to hear of your desire for the journey to continue to unfold. Amen, my brother!!!

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