As a 60 year old female I have little need of male enhancement products. With a name like Walker I am often mistaken for a man. This recent onslaught of spam emails, as noted in the image, really drove home our cultural bias towards intercourse.

 

“Be the MAN you always wanted to be, Walkerthornton”

“Life’s tough, make IT tougher, harder, longer, Walkerthornton”

“Give your girl a beautiful present, Walkerthornton!!”

We’re still stuck on that myth, the presumption that all a man needs is a rock-hard penis and the chance to have vigorous intercourse. Is that enough? Aren’t we shortchanging men by not talking about their emotional needs?

What a burden that must be for men, at any age. Young men experience insecurities about size and their ability to perform. Men over 50 may worry about their ability to maintain an erection—suddenly size isn’t really the issue. 

Here’s the thing: Most women aren’t all that hung up on erections. Or size. 

It’s nice to finally see an emphasis on male sexual health in the media. Not just in talking about size, skill, or the overhyped marketing ploys around low testosterone. We are starting to see research on the health benefits of having sex—a greater sense of well-being, lessening of physical pain and longevity. Traditionally we haven’t talked about men’s sexuality in that light. The focus has been on increased stamina, larger penises, and longer lasting, dependable erections without understanding that those things are only a small part of men’s sexual health. 

As we have discussions about the effects of aging on sexuality, it becomes important to talk about the emotional reasons men (and women) want to have sex. Is it possible that low libido in older men is tied, in part, to concerns about aging in light of the belief that the penis is the primary source of pride and pleasure? If intercourse is considered the main sex act and you’re worried about your erection then it would understandably lead to a lower libido. Whereas if your view of sex encompasses a range of activities and focuses on the overall sensuousness of intimacy with a partner there are more possibilities and less chance of “failure”, therefore sex is going to bring pleasure with, or without, penetration. 

My most recent partner had occasional erectile issues, which turned out to be a wonderful way for us to expand our definition of intimacy and pleasure. Instead of being always focused on the penetrative act, and worrying that it might not happen, we found a range of ways to satisfy each other.  

The art of seduction, the quest to please and arouse, takes on a greater focus when sexual activity becomes more than just putting Object A in Slot B. You slow down, you focus on the whole body, and you become attuned to each other’s needs. Communication is essential to sex, by talking about what feels good and what you want to experience a couple can reach new levels of intimacy. When men talk about their, and their partner’s, needs sex is enhanced and the capacity for pleasure is expanded.  Having sex becomes more than just a couple of thrusts—but only if we redefine ‘sex’. The focus shifts to intimacy and mutual pleasure. What used to take 10 minutes can now last for an hour or hours—pleasure is defined by more than just a climax. The whole body experiences pleasure.  

These spammers and marketing folks have missed the boat in pushing the ‘make it harder’ angle. What we really want isn’t an ingredient you can put in a pill and sell.  Aging requires us to shift our perspective and gently let go of things that might have seemed important when we were in our 20s. We don’t have to let go of the notion of satisfying, even vigorous, sex, we just need to reframe our idea of what constitutes a pleasurable moment. With that perspective, older men will find that sex takes on a whole new wonderfully delicious dimension

You might enjoy How Sex Change for Men After 50 by Michael Castleman. 

 

Walker Thornton is a writer, sex educator and public speaker, with a Masters in Educational Psychology and over 10 years experience in the field of sexual violence against women. She is a strong advocate for midlife women’s sexuality, encouraging women to ‘step into their desire’. Kinkly.com ranked her blog, WalkerThornton.com, #17 in their top 100 Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2013. Walker is the Sexual Health columnist for Midlife Boulevard and writes about sex and the older adult for Kinkly.com. You can connect with her on her website (www.walkerthornton.com ), Facebook (https://facebook.com/AWomansPage )  Twitter  (http://twitter.com/WalkerThornton)  and Google+ (https://plus.google.com/u/0/+WalkerThornton/posts ).