An elderly man's sexual needs

Q: I AM 74 and my wife is 68. We have been married for 48 years and our six children are married, have kids and are independent. My wife had fibroids and had her uterus removed when she was 42.

For the past 25 years I have had difficulty getting her to bed. She simply does not want sex. To make matters worse, she had a prolapse about four years ago. I have asked her to go for an operation but she declined. She refuses to be touched, hugged or kissed, let alone have sex.

She is not educated, is stubborn and has not heeded the advice of three of our children. They told her that sex is normal and what she was doing was wrong. She is occupied with 3Ts (travel, TV and telephone) most of the time. She considers sex dirty and against spirituality.

I do about two hours of exercise every day, am robust and healthy. Since my community forbids polygamy, I suggested having a relationship. My wife was furious and she got into a trance. She said she hated me intently. It is a dog in the manger situation.

I am financially independent and still working. I just want to have a normal healthy life. My close friend, 85, is perfectly happy with his 78-year-old wife who satisfies him sexually. He is very attached to her and looks after her like a baby. On the contrary I experience a cold and distant relationship with my wife. My dear wife is not aware that sex is necessary for the psychological and physical health of a marriage.

Despite all this I still love my wife. For some 25 years I worked 13 hours a day to support my large family. I was mostly outside the home and she almost single-handedly brought them up. I looked after our children's intellectual development. Most of them are highly educated and lead comfortable lives.

I can only have sex with someone I love, not with prostitutes. Dear Thelma, I do not know what advice and suggestion you can give. I share my experience with all our readers as a social responsibility. I believe there are numerous cases out there such as mine where elderly women deny sex to their loyal husbands due to lack of awareness and education. I believe that as long as a man is still capable sexually, the wife must honour her marital commitment. I need a way out of my predicament.

At Wits' End

Thelma says

Thelma says: 

AT 68, most women do not have the urge to have sex. You cannot hope to change your wife if she has been off sex for the past 25 years and it is really tough for you to hope for more.

Perhaps you could seek sex counselling with your wife but I doubt that she will agree. If she is religious and believes that sex is dirty, how can you convince her otherwise? You love her as your wife and the mother of your children. Could you not be happy continuing the way things are? She does not like to hug, kiss or be physically close so it is truly a difficult situation even for experts!

If you are hoping for your wife to agree to you having sex with another woman, you need to seek her blessing. But no woman is prepared to share her man, not least a religious person who believes in the purity and sanctity of marriage.

You are also a father of grown children, a grandfather too. They will look at you as the patriarch they respect and hope to emulate. So how do you explain your sexuality and desire?

Frankly, I hope that readers have a better solution. You have little option except to live with the situation or get another woman!