Retirement. Old age, sickness… and sex

I am a 65 year old male, recently retired from 40 years in IT, happily married for 25 years, except for one thing. I have had ED since our relationship started, and she does want alternatives to plain intercourse, including those that focus on her. We have talked about it, and her response is No. The ED is because of diabetes and neuropathy, and cannot be treated with a pill. Yet we have a great relationship otherwise.
This is the 500 lb gorilla in the room that we ignored for too long, as I was working and we were managing a household. I should have sought solutions much earlier.
At the same time, I have not felt well physically since I had COVID three years ago, and doctors have not come up with a diagnosis.
I am involved with Ukrainian learners online, and some are women. I am not attracted to them - except for my language teacher, who is 24. I know that it is not feeling well and not having answers that scare me, and that the sexual issues are a reflection of that. Also, there is no way that anything could happen with my teacher, since I am married (always faithful), on another continent, waaay too old - and she’s Gay. I recognize this from Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development - whenI was 24, in my first relationship, she was unfaithful. And I recognize traits in my teacher that remind me of my girlfriend 40 years ago. Unreolved issues of intimacy here coupled with a fear of old age and illness. Much confusion.

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I get it as a person who has been dealing with health issues myself for the past several years that have limited what I can do, even sexually. In my case rather than ED it is physical disability. I know it can be frustrating. I want you to know that you aren’t alone in dealing with something like this. Things can get confusing and pretty frustrating. I’ve personally found that communication with my wife has been vital in navigating these issues. Have you considered talking with her to a specialist? I am glad that you came here and I hope that you remember that you’re not alone.

Thank you for your reply and your compassionate words. I think it’s the shock of life moving faster and faster, and the regrets I have for things done or not done. I can’t be old! I was just 7… 15… 24! Where the f*** did Monday go, asks David Bowie at about the same age as I am now. I would like to go back and take the other road. But I can’t. This, though, is the common experience of homo sapiens approaching old age. I know this in my head. But my body says, “F***”, in all its various meanings. Thanks again for caring!

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