This is how we do it: ‘We schedule sex: every three days – to Madonna’s Hanky Panky’
Don and I love routine. We have had a pre-dinner drink at the exact same time – 6.20pm – almost every night of our 40-year marriage. Sex is also scheduled: we do it once every three days. I’ve made a playlist called Sexy, which I put on to set the mood. The songs, like our sex positions, rarely vary. We might start with a little foreplay, to the tune of Etta James’s I Just Want to Make Love to You, and finish in missionary, to Madonna’s Hanky Panky.
Don would ideally like to do it three times a day, like we did in our 20s; so doing it once every three days is our compromise. It’s not that I don’t desire Don: he still has the body of an athlete. But I have insecurities about my own body, so sex is not as straightforwardly pleasurable for me. I am muscular, with slim hips, and have always felt unfeminine. Sometimes I’m unable to orgasm because I become fixated on the marks childbirth has left on my body, or my lack of breasts. For most of our relationship, I’ve made sure every time we have sex I am covered by a sheet. When I feel particularly consumed with body worries, I try to get myself back into the mood by resorting to fantasy: while Don and I are having sex I’ll picture other women in my mind, with more perfect figures, to distract me from my own.
If we move swiftly through a series of tried-and-tested positions I stay focused on sensation, and don’t worry so much about the way I look. I think that’s partly why I like scheduling sex, and sticking to our routine. When I know exactly what to expect, I am less likely to become self-conscious. My favourite sort of sex is fast and furious.
Don is always very loving and reassuring. He is constantly complimenting my breasts and asking me to do strip-teases, although I usually only relent on anniversaries. Recently though, I’ve started doing things I didn’t think were possible for me. Last summer he did a bit of sunbathing in the garden, naked. I surprised myself by joining him. The other day I caught sight of my bottom in the mirror and thought: not bad for 64. There’s a kind of relief in getting older. To expect perfection at this age would be ridiculous. Letting go of some insecurity has made sex newly carefree: I’m still scheduling, but no longer hiding under the sheet.
Melissa and I sleep in separate bedrooms because we are light sleepers, but every morning she comes into my bed for a cuddle. The current rule is that once every three mornings that cuddle will turn sexual. I genuinely enjoy the excitement of counting down the days: I will often think to myself, “only two more sleeps before sex”.
What we actually do in bed is fairly unadventurous, but I love it. It’s easiest for Melissa to orgasm if she stimulates herself while we are having sex in the missionary position, so we always end up doing that. I enjoy performing oral sex on Melissa, and would like to bring her to orgasm that way, but she has never orgasmed orally. I deliberately don’t pressure her to try, because expectation tends to make her orgasm more elusive. Melissa actually orgasms more frequently now than she did when we were younger. We’ve had 40 years to try out all the positions, and work out what suits us.
Melissa has a great body, but I know she is insecure about it. She doesn’t like her breasts, and I try to reassure her by being very vocal about how much I love them. She used to hide her nakedness from me: she would always turn around any time she took her bra off. But I’ve noticed that since retirement she takes more pleasure in being naked. We both do. We spent the summer in the nude in the garden, which is something we never would have done in previous decades.
As a rule, I want to have sex more frequently than Melissa. That doesn’t upset me, because she tells me often how much she loves and desires me. Scheduling also ensures my higher libido isn’t a point of conflict between us: sex happens at a pre-agreed time, so it’s not as if I’m repeatedly asking for it and being turned down. There have of course been times when we were in the garden together and I caught sight of her naked body, and longed for spontaneous sex. But ultimately, I think our system works well. Counting down the days makes sex feel more special.
Would you and your partner like to share the story, anonymously, of your sex life?