No Interest in Sex
Q: I'm a 50-year-old man who hasn't been dating for 25 years. In all that time, I've been with exactly two women: my ex-wife and my ex-girlfriend. I'm starting to date again and given the problems with STDs, I don't think being promiscuous is a very good idea. But the truth is that I'm not really interested in having sex with women I don't have chemistry with. In my younger days, pre-HIV, I found out that having sex with women you don't care about, who don't much care about you, is not great. I've met some nice women, but the chemistry isn't there. Some seem interested in a fling, which I am not. Should I have my head examined? Either way, how does a guy explain that he's not interested in sex with a nice attractive gal? -- Jerry
Dr. Susan: Chemistry is unpredictable. Sometimes the feeling takes effect immediately, at other times it waits until you get physical with someone, and at another time it might not be felt until you know the woman quite well. Your plan to hold off on casual sex is indeed a wise one, Jerry. Flings were common 25 years ago, too. Believe me. Some participated, others didn't. In the here and now, you must do what's comfortable for you. So how do you explain? Honesty might work. "I'm enjoying your company but I don't like to jump into bed too soon. It tends to mess up a person's thinking. Let's get to know each other some more, okay?" If a particular woman wants to have a fling, just say, "No, thanks, I'm saving myself for true love." I don't think you need to have your head, or other parts, examined at this point. You're 50 and out of practice. And don't rule out a little kissing and other affectionate moves if you really like someone, even if you don't know yet if she's the one with the complete chemistry set.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.