Man Suffocating from Lack of Intimacy

By Joan Price | 18 January 2022

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Joan Price


Joan Price calls herself an advocate for ageless sexuality. She is the author of four books about sex and aging, including the award-winning Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex and her latest: Sex after Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality After Losing Your Beloved. Her award-winning blog has been offering senior sex news, views, and sex toy reviews since 2005. At age 76, Joan continues to talk out loud about senior sex—partnered or solo. She is the co-creator of “jessica drake’s Guide to Wicked Sex: Senior Sex”. Find Joan at

"I’m 68, married for 40 years. This week I told my wife I was suffocating from several years of a lack of intimacy. I said that she could not expect me to forget about my sexuality — that’s a normal part of a person. Expecting no intimacy was like asking me to stop breathing."

"I proposed that I change what I want, if she agrees to give in a bit, so that we can kiss and caress again. A little reluctantly, she accepted. I kissed her for a moment and caressed her legs. She let me, and I was so happy and moved. I told her that I loved her."

"The next day I gave her several fast kisses on the lips and she made a face of disgust. I touched her leg with my hand under the table and she complained."

"The next night I fell asleep before her, and when I woke up the next morning, she was glued to me. I was so happy that I wrote a poetic love letter describing the passion and desire I hoped she was feeling for me. I thought she would like what I wrote, but she was annoyed and said she was fed up with my complaints."

"I write to you as I try to find the moment to kiss and caress her. She’s busy with things all day and into the night, and she doesn’t like it if I wake her."

"There’s a lack of intimacy in my marriage, what should I do?"

Joan answers:

Just because you’ve been married for 40 years does not mean that the need for consent goes away. Instead of diving in for a kiss or leg caress, ask for consent first. I have a hunch that if you said, “You look so beautiful this morning — may I kiss you?” or “It would mean a lot to hug you for a few minutes — could we do that?” your wife might respond better.

But maybe not. You know from the response to your love letter that she’s defensive. Your first conversation about compromise was a good start, but now you need to have a dialogue that includes what she wants — not just what she doesn’t want — and what steps she’s willing to take towards more intimacy.

I can’t unravel your wife’s reasons or feelings, but it’s clear that the two of you need help communicating about this sensitive issue. You both interpret each other’s words and actions in a way the other did not intend. I strongly urge you to seek a sex-positive therapist or couple’s counselor to help you understand each other.

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