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Why Am I Afraid to Have Sex?

Dr. Olson,

I’m in my mid-60s, and I’ve been out since my mid-20s. I’ve never been in a long-term relationship. In fact, I’ve had relatively little sexual activity during my life, but not for lack of desire. 

In looking over the occasions when I have had sex, I can’t think of one that was a positive experience. I’m fearful, anxious, and self-conscious to the point that I (and probably the other guy) do not have a good time. 

I’m grateful that I’ve never had erectile dysfunction, but I typically stay hard for a long time without having an orgasm. 

The first time I had sex, I caught gonorrhea. Another time, I had a panic attack the day after sex because I was so scared of having been exposed to HIV, but I wasn’t. 

I want to have an enduring, romantic, and monogamous relationship with another man. For me, that means I have to first establish a substantial emotional connection so that I can feel “safe” enough to have sex with a guy.

But how realistic is that at my age and with my sexual history?

I’ll answer your last question first: you are never too old to have sex. Men can remain sexually active well into late life, and your life expectancy is at least fifteen years, possibly much longer. Your age and sexual history should not discourage you from seeking a satisfying sexual relationship with a partner. So let’s talk about your other concerns. 

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First Visit to Clothing Optional Resort

Dr. Olson,

I’m very new to all of this.  In fact, I’ve never been with a man sexually, although I’ve thought about it for a long time.  I find myself vacillating between excitement and nervousness over the anticipation.  I made eye contact with someone at the gym today but wasn’t sure what to do next.  I’m considering a weekend at a clothing optional resort, hoping to explore the gay community a bit more. I’m looking for one that isn’t too seedy but one where I can have some good conversations with other like-minded men.

Of course, you’re nervous as well as excited. All very normal.  Cruising goes on everywhere.  Eyes meet, when a glance is held for a bit longer than the look between heterosexual men.  It’s the initial communication of some interest. Once you’re aware of it, you become a participant without even intending to.  It’s a learned response, and once learned, it never goes away. All it means is that you’ve developed some comfort in looking at another man.  Heterosexual men are usually uncomfortable with it and will look away quickly. Continue reading

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