Problems in Older Relationships 1- Sexual Anxiety

Elaine Sihera

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In time, sex with the same perrson inevitably loses some of its wild excitement, which should be expected and accepted, not taken as a sign of any loss of love. In long-term relationships, the emphasis gradually shifts to familiarity and ease with each other. Intense *** excitement is then gradually replaced by comfort and security, affection and touching. Many people often get ‘performance anxiety’ trying to push themselves to achieve multiple climaxes, or the simultaneous orgasms they used to have when they were younger. Then they become disappointed and feel inadequate when it doesn’t happen. But worry and anxiety are not a part of enjoyable sex. It becomes a chore then, something to be avoided.

Anxieties and distractions are actually intruders during love-making, draining the moment of its passion. Taking them to bed with you squeezes out your spouse and guarantees no enjoyment. Personal questions and concerns about the sex act deserve attention, but at a time and place where a useful answer can be available, not when both parties are trying to enjoy each other. Often anxiety is not caused by the quality of the sex, but by the quality of the actual relationship which reflects itself in the couple's sex life. Thus if there isn't openness, honesty or less inhibition, we cannot really be loving and tactile at such intimate moments. Expressiveness is the key to *** expression and when that's missing, it is difficult to enjoy the moment.

When we are older, sex is often sabotaged by anxieties. When men have trouble getting or keeping an erection, which can cause a lack of interest, there is likely to be a physical health factor or cause. If sex is not enjoyable, perhaps because a climax cannot be reached, the whole process might then be avoided. However, for most of the time, lack of interest from both partners is likely to be caused by psychological factors such as depression, money problems, being disturbed by the children, feeling tense, fear of pregnancy, stress at work, feeling unattractive, fear of intimacy, anger towards – or a power struggle with – a partner, old beliefs about sex being dirty, traumatic experiences, guilt about extramarital interests, a fear of not being able to perform *** or, most commonly, ‘feeling tired’ (Knox 1984; Masters, Johnson & Kolodny 1985).

All such anxieties limit the enjoyment of sex, even though good sex certainly increases the level of love and reduces the tension. It seems that couples who have a more equal relationship have the best *** satisfaction rating because there is less inhibition, less power play and more respect for each other. Overall, if we engage in *** intercourse with tenderness and enthusiasm, if it occurs in a comfortable setting and if both parties are unconcerned about pregnancy or guilt, it can be one of life’s greatest joys, a cherished memory and a fantastic way to bond with another human being.

Nevertheless, we need to bear in mind the many couples who love each other deeply and, for whatever reasons, enjoy each other’s companionship without having much interest in sex. They tend to be much older, have obviously lost the urge, perhaps have a disability or have been together for quite a long time.

ELAINE SIHERA (Ms Cyprah - and ) is an expert author, public speaker, media contributor and lifestyle columnist. The first Black graduate of the OU and a post-graduate of Cambridge University. Elaine is a CONFIDENCE guru and a Personal Empowerment, Relationships and Diversity Consultant. Author of: 10 Easy Steps to Growing Older Disgracefully; 10 Easy Steps to Finding Your Ideal Soulmate!; Money, Sex & Compromise and Managing the Diversity Maze, among others (available on as well as her personal website). Also the founder of the British Diversity Awards and the Windrush Men and Women of the Year Achievement Awards. She describes herself as, “Fit, Fabulous, Over-fifty and Ready to Fly!"


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