Love and Relationships

[Two Pronged] My husband still wants sex, but I’m 62 and have vaginal dryness

Margarita Holmes, Jeremy Baer

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[Two Pronged] My husband still wants sex, but I’m 62 and have vaginal dryness
'I suffer so much guilt, and this has caused insecurity and depression on my part'

Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.

Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives.

Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.

Dear Dr. Holmes and Mr. Baer,

My husband is still sexually active. How can I give justice to his needs? I am already 62. Thanks for entertaining my question.


Dear Susan:

Thank you very much for your message. May we ask a few questions, because we want to make sure we know enough to be of help to you? For example, what do you mean by “giving justice to his needs?” Has he ever expressed anything to make you feel you are not enough for him?

Have you spoken about your sex lives with each other? When did you start feeling this way? I am so sorry that you feel this way at the moment and I’ll do my best to help you

— MG Holmes and JAF Baer

Dear Doc and Sir:

Since I am already 62, there is already dryness. Whenever he wants to have sex I could feel the pain, which stops me from having sex with him. I still have a sexual urge but my vagina feels so much pain. What will I do? I love my husband very much. I know he understands this but I suffer so much guilt, and this has caused insecurity and depression on my part. Thanks for entertaining my questions, Doc! 


Dear Susan:

Thank you for your letter.  Sites such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Mayo Clinic have basic information on vaginal dryness, which will give you a useful start to resolving your problem

A quick internet search will also reveal that there are pills, gels, suppositories, and countless other “remedies” which purport to help. 

However, a visit to your gynecologist is probably the best way to identity your precise problem and get the treatment you require.

On the home front, despite your husband’s understanding, you say you feel guilt, insecurity, and depression. This is a normal response because you have probably spent your entire marriage “giving justice to his needs” and quite reasonably hoped to continue doing so. You must also feel frustrated because he is not the only one whose sexual needs are in play here.

Keep the dialogue open with your husband while you are addressing the medical issues so that the two of you can make this a journey together. If he already understands the problem, he should be happy to give you the support and affection you need to assuage these negative feelings until you are both back meeting each others’ sexual needs in the bedroom (and elsewhere).

All the best,
JAF Baer

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Dear Susan:

Thank you very much for your letter. Mr. Baer has mentioned the natural physiological and biological reasons that may affect one’s sexual responses. He also moved on to the possible contribution your relationship and psychology may have to your dryness.

I hope I can widen the perspective a bit more by talking about other changes that have happened or, perhaps even more importantly could happen, to make your sex lives more “compatible.”

If I understood you correctly, dearest Susan, the problem on your part is not so much the dryness, but more the pain when penetration is attempted, which is why sexual intercourse has ceased between you.

There are so many things one could say about this, but for today’s column, let me limit myself to two:

  1.  “Coitus interruptus” need not mean “Sexus Interruptus.” Sex does not need to end in intercourse. In fact, intercourse does not need to be part of your sexual repertoire at all! The best kind of sex there can be is one with no definitive goal/end in mind. Good sex is more process, not product. If sex were a mere product, how would we define success? Would it be if male ejaculation and/or female orgasm occurred? Not too inspiring, right? Do you think not only you, but also your husband thinks this way, Susan? Could this be where part of your problem lies? Because you have a pre-conceived notion of how sex “ought to be?”  

Many couples in their 60s, 70s, 80s still have rewarding sex lives. But this can happen once they appreciate that sex is what happens when they interact with each other, as they touch, smell, see, hear their partners and each other. Thus, holding hands, looking at each other across the room, looking forward to being together at last at the end of the day, maybe just kissing, maybe “fooling around,” maybe intercourse. As long as they appreciate each other, including each others’ bodies, who is to say one behavior is better/more advanced than the other? 

  1. In my experience, the above acceptance happens much more quickly when the couple not only accepts, but fully embraces, that “then was then, and now is now.” Sure, one might have been able to go four, five rounds a night six days of the week, and sure one could do all sorts of positions much more easily, and all that was sure as hell fun. Lots of fun! BUT there are also pleasures one experiences now that one might have had difficulty experiencing then: the joy of a quiet evening along with one’s partner, sex that is more a matter of quality than quantity, etc. This is not mere pampalubag-loob (consolation prize), but part of the rewards of being older, if you would only let it. 

Maybe your husband feels the same way, maybe he doesn’t. (What about you, Susan?) Perhaps the best thing is to share what each of you feels and together, so that hopefully, you can forge a sex-and-love-life that resonates with both your needs and your dreams. 

All the best,
MG Holmes 


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