68 Year-Old Man Seeks Intimacy in Relationship. It makes for a pretty good headline doesn’t it? I ran across this man on an online dating site and decided to send him a quick note. The reply I got stated that he felt most women in their 50s and 60s didn’t like sex. He was looking for younger women.  

That’s one of my pet peeves…these guys who think that having a younger woman will make them feel or look younger. In this case I understood, but I also wondered if he was misinterpreting the signals he got from women. We don’t often talk about our sexual needs aloud and we certainly don’t broadcast them on a dating profile. And, I don’t know that it’s a good idea to talk about it on the first date, unless that’s the focus of your dating relationships. When women do talk about sex there is sure to be an outpouring of unwanted attention.  I wrote this man back and said that I considered sex an important component of any relationship and we should continue talking. 

What I discovered on the phone chat was that this man was older than 68 and his photo wasn’t current. I also quickly realized he was a widower who hasn’t gotten over his wife—mentioning her in every other sentence. He kept using the word ‘intimacy’ as a substitute for sex and gave me a rundown of all the other women he met before me and why they didn’t work out. As you might expect, nothing materialized but it makes for a nice lead in to my point. 

Why don’t we talk about our sexual needs and wants? 

When a man does talk about his sexuality on a dating profile it can reveal a lot about his outlook on sex.  Since I’m strictly heterosexual I don’t read women’s profiles but I imagine it holds true for women as well. There is a fine line between blurting out that one is horny or just looking for sex and indicating that sexual intimacy is a desired part of a relationship. When I read something like, “love to cuddle” I know that’s code for wanting sex. If a man writes about sex using words like tantra or emotional connections  or otherwise conveys a less explicit focus on sex, he’s conveying a slightly different message. It’s assumed, and expected, that most men want sex and even after 50 or 60 that desire is present. What about women? 

Read this next: Reframing Male Sexuality for Boomer Men

I’m reluctant to mention sex in a dating profile, even though a strong sexual connection is important to me. The problem is in how our culture views sex, in general, and women who are openly comfortable with their sexuality. It’s that double standard thing—men are expected to want sex, women aren’t. Older women are somewhat exempt, because we aren’t really considered sexy anymore. And, there you’re missing the boat gentlemen. 

My job as a writer and sex educator means that I talk about sex. Ask me what I do for a living and I’ll engage in a conversation with you and listen to your thoughts, concerns, questions and opinions. Most people quickly get past the initial shock and become pretty comfortable talking with me. The conversation is going to be matter-of-fact and without censure or shame. If asked, I will offer common sense ‘advice’ that is geared to your situation. 

This is what we should all be doing. Having easy and frank conversations about the things that really matter to us, particularly if we’re entering into new relationships. And, isn’t sex one of those things? Why can’t we discuss sex without sliding into the gutter? Let’s share the facts, acknowledge the challenges, and learn to feel comfortable talking about what we want. 

Soon, I hope, it will be much safer for women to talk about their sexuality. But for now, you may find us slightly guarded. I am an advocate for telling the truth about our wants and needs—at 60 I’ve given up games and coyness and prefer straight talk about sexuality. What about you?  

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 ).