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I’m 62, happily married… and I’ve never had an orgasm

Dear Jane, 

I’m 62 years old and have been happily married for 41 years. My marriage has been filled with many wonderful experiences and I count myself lucky that I am still as much in love with my husband today as I was when we met. 

Even the intimate side of our relationship has remained consistent over the years. 

But… I’ve never had a real orgasm. I know that sex isn’t just about that climactic moment, but I can’t help but feel as though I’m missing out on something? 

As I get older, I’ve learned to appreciate the things I do have in life rather than regretting what I’m lacking in so it seems silly that I’m even bringing it up. Especially given that – after 41 years – I wouldn’t even know how to address the subject with my husband. 

Perhaps I’m just one of those people who can’t experience that sensation? Should I just give up without trying… or is it worth throwing a potential bomb into my marriage for the sake of something I don’t really know that I’m missing?

From, Unlucky in Lust

Dear Jane, I’m 62 years old and have been happily married for 41 years… but I’ve never had an orgasm and don’t know how to tell my husband

Dear Unlucky in Lust,

I love the positivity you show, that your lack of orgasm isn’t a deal breaker, and that you are still curious about having the big O.

International best-selling author offers sage advice on readers' most burning issues in her weekly Dear Jane agony aunt column

International best-selling author offers sage advice on readers’ most burning issues in her weekly Dear Jane agony aunt column

It sounds as if you have a healthy and wonderful relationship, so I think it unlikely that bringing it up with your husband will be the bomb you fear it is. 

First off, this is far more common than you think – in fact, only 10 per cent of women find it easy to orgasm. If we rule out issues like hormones, medications that may be interfering with your ability to orgasm, depression, we can start to talk about discovering your erogenous zones. Not your husband, but you. 

You haven’t said whether you are able to orgasm by yourself, and I would suggest that’s the place to start. Know your erogenous zones, Unlucky. If you don’t masturbate, now is the time to start, when you are completely relaxed, with the time to discover what you like. 

Find out what gives you pleasure, before sharing it with your husband. There are also medications that can help with women who aren’t able to orgasm. 

Some anti-depressants like Wellbutrin can be effective, as can a topical cream, known as ‘Scream Cream’, which is a cream made by a compound pharmacy that is said to be excellent. Finally, you might want to consider going to see a professional sex therapist.

But if these don’t work, remember that there is nothing wrong with you – and you are not alone. A healthy and happy sex life can be a wonderful part of a long-term relationship, but perhaps more important than orgasm is the shared intimacy. 

Wishing you huge luck, and off to order some scream cream…

Dear Jane,

My parents recently asked me to move back in with them so that I can help care for them as they get older. They’re both in their 70s, my dad is facing some health issues, and my mom is struggling to cope with looking after the two of them by herself. Which I totally understand. 

But I’m 41 years old, I’ve built a life for myself in Chicago, have a (fairly!) successful corporate career and feel like all of that will be ruined if I move back to the suburbs to essentially become a full-time career. 

They insist that I can continue working from home, and keep telling me that it will ‘only be for a few years’ which makes me feel awful. 

I would hate more than anything to think that I’d given up the chance to spend their final years by their sides and I feel so selfish prioritizing my own life over their comfort. 

But every time I think about what they’re asking me to do I’m left feeling furious. Then guilty. Then furious again. Help me break this vicious cycle and tell me what to do?

From, Rebel Child

Dear Jane’s Sunday Service

Parenting is such a tricky business, but one of the worst things I see is parents who make their children responsible for their emotional wellbeing. 

I have known so many adult children who are enmeshed with their parents, whose parents call them up crying on a regular basis, whose parents guilt and shame them into staying by their side, long after the children should be living independent lives. 

Often the parent is too old to change that behavior, but a child setting loving but firm boundaries and putting themselves first, is the key to healing.

Dear Rebel Child, 

Oh, how I feel for you. I think it’s horrifically unfair that your parents have asked this of you, and I wonder if they would have asked the same thing were you married and involved with your own family. 

Either way, it is not right for them to ask you to give up your life, whether it’s for a few months, or many years. And, it may well be that in attempting to address a problem they are clearly having, they are going straight to what is to them a logical solution. 

Happily, there are many ways to skin this particular cat, none of which should involve you giving up your own life and wellbeing.

Start by having a clear conversation about what they need help with. Once you define the actual problems they are having, it may well be that you can identify local resources and/or social workers who can ease their problems. My suspicion is that your parents are adept in emotionally manipulating you, and none of these feelings are new to you. 

Of course you feel furious and guilty, but trust me, it would be much worse if you were to give up your life for them. 

I am unequivocal in telling you that you cannot give up your life for them. What you must do however, is sit with them and figure out a way to get them more help and make them more comfortable. Whether it’s organizing a part-time caregiver, agreeing to go and see them once a week, or however much feels comfortable for you, there are a myriad of resources that can help them. 

We love our parents, we owe them, but we do not owe them our lives. Stay strong, Rebel Child. Do what you can, but make sure it is on your terms rather than theirs.