Q. I have not had sex in 17 years and am about to turn 60. I am entering a great relationship though and am really worried. I used to have GREAT sex when younger, never any problems whatsoever. What can I do? Advice welcome. Thanks
A. Oh my love. I cannot think of anything more terrifying than opening up your chest. Or your legs.
That’s just how it goes.
Of course, one should not avoid this terror. In fact, I would suggest you embrace it. Run towards it at fast as you can and with all your gusto and strength, as if the very painful impact of slamming face first into the most solid wall that exists will only be of the greatest benefit to your life. Certainly one could think of wiser, more effective methods, more rational methods, one’s that do not peg you as “over-emotional” or “needy” or “neurotic.” But these states of being? They mean nothing. Do not let them carry themselves behind you when you move forward.
I can’t recommend much in the realm of advice that concerns not being nervous. I am all too nervous myself when it comes to the complete and utter changes that take you so fiercely by surprise that you wonder why it was you decided at 60 that you would live out the rest of your life a very certain way. Or that you were meant to be a certain way. That doors had all together shut closed.
But here you are, entering a relationship with someone, entering intimacy with someone. How radical is that? You have found someone to swap fluids and body parts with. It’s definitely easy for the most part, but when it actually means something? It’s far better.
It is at this point that we can go two ways. On one path, I can recommend to you the different ways in which you allow your body to relax and adapt, to re-learn what it means to physically be with someone. I could tell you about vibrators and toys and lubes and all the things under the sun that I know you know and probably have no uncertain unfamiliarity with. The different ways in which you can retrain your bodies response to touch, including your own, as a precursor for showing your body that it is all ready to go at any point, any day.
Or, I could just tell you to show up.
Yes. Just show up.
I know, that seems devastatingly overwrought and general, but don’t mistake honesty in simplicity. It is there for a reason. It is there because it can speak truth. And the truth of your matter, my sweet pea? The truth is, you can prepare all day long, as if you were in some orgasm bootcamp, which, while sounding incredibly delightful, can only train you for one thing — to have orgasms. Again, please do not think I am discounting the ever amazing training for orgasms. Hardly. However, this does not solve your actual dilemma. It just gives you a way to deal with it.
Dealing is good. Understanding is better.
So, what do you do?
You practice your orgasms, yes. But you also come to the table with all your wants and needs, with your hang ups, your fears, your little ticks and hatreds of whatever body part it is, and you fucking own it.
Fucking own it even though it is fucking hard.
Bring your whole self to the relationship, the sex, the moments in between that will later define the bulk of your memory. You take a deep breath before you lie down naked with someone, ready to fuck their brains out because that’s what people who like each other should do, and you think, it’s gonna be okay, it’s gonna be okay. I’m okay.
Because you are okay. Because that’s what this is about. Not experience. Not lack of. It’s about you, being okay.
And my love, you are okay.
You are okay because you were okay before you decided to enter this, and you will be okay during, and you will be okay if there is an after. You are okay. You are okay because there is no prerequisite, because you are with someone who wants to have sex with you (and, as a side-note, is also probably equally as nervous and is with their own hang-ups, so remember to come out of your on shell to check on theirs). So just do it.
Be brave enough to just show up.
If you are brave, I will be brave. We can all be brave together and go after our heart’s wants because we deserve absolutely nothing less. The sex or what you think is the lack of your sex resume will come later. That isn’t the point. The point is you going into it fully, whole-heartedly, and with one thing in mind: Show up and be brave.
All the other shit be damned. Frankly it won’t matter because at the end of the day, all you are really able to control in this big ass chaotic thing of a universe, is your own gumption and courageousness to seek out the types of intimacy you want to have.
Do not ever let anyone make you think or feel different.
Especially if that anyone is the nagging, nay saying voice of yourself.
That voice is there to syke you out. To put you back where you can be comfortably alone. To where you are able to risk nothing and gain nothing in return. That voice is there to tell you when you are feeling most vulnerable that you are not worthy or this won’t work or one of the thousand of other tricks that your brain likes to play when shit gets kind of real.
So show up. It is your only given, your only remedy. Show up despite the fact there are no guarantees and there are no promises. Show up even if it means looking inexperienced or goofy or having to re-open your chest after having it sutured closed for so very long, and re-opening it makes you feel a fear that is so guttural and gravity defying, that it can leave you weak in the knees. Show up because you care and if anyone ever dares to make you feel bad for caring, you can know right then and there to leave that person in the dust because people who make you feel bad for caring are not the type of people you need in your life. Show up not for just you, but for the other person, who you must never shift your baggage to, because if they are brave enough to do the same awkward and beautiful missteps of this beginning, than you must be equally able to do so because that is what they deserve.
Just show up.
Because in the end, it’s the only thing you can do. Everything else will just have to come after.
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