08/04/2014 07:13 am ET Updated Oct 04, 2014

Casual Sex After 50?

Casual Sex or No Sex?
I know a few boomer women who have given up sex. Their primary reason is that they're not in relationships and they're not interested in casual sex. While most of these women would like to become sexual again, they prefer to wait for the in-love version. Alternatively, several women over 50 have written fresh, honest articles in Huff/Post recently about preferring casual sex to waiting for love. I agree that absent a loving partner casual sex is preferable to none. But both attitudes deserve respect.

Shifting Attitudes
The articles about casual sex are a leap forward for women, and the lack of many judgmental comments from men points to shifting attitudes about women's sexuality. The historic double standard that promiscuous men were manly, and promiscuous women were tramps or worse, appears to finally be dying. This shift represents a cultural moral sea change. Boomer women no longer feel any need to defend their sexuality. Some self-appointed morality police attach sexual labels to women who engage in casual sex, but no one has moral authority over anyone's sexuality.

An Unsatisfying Cycle
I'd never been celibate for any significant period and I practiced casual sex between long-term relationships for decades. And like the women who wrote about their casual sex experiences, I practiced it with partners who were amenable to a relationship, albeit one lacking emotional intimacy. But absent an emotional connection the sexual excitement wore off when the newness faded, and I ended up where I'd started, seeking another partner.

Suddenly, what felt like a personal tragedy struck. My sexual top gear went missing. I wanted it back but didn't have a clue where it was. I'd been meeting with a group of guys for more than a decade, and while we had an ongoing dialogue about relationships, sexual issues hadn't been brought up much. Frankly, this isn't something most boomer guys are keen to share.

But I was growing increasingly anxious, so I brought up my missing top gear. A fellow my age said he'd been married for thirty-years, and that he and his wife were still having hot sex three or four times a week. I was in awe, envious, and angry with myself for not knowing what he apparently did.

You Gotta Be Kidding
I asked his secret. "My wife and I have been working to deepen the emotional intimacy between us since we met, and our deepened intimacy is what's kept our sexual relationship hot for three decades." His answer confounded me because deepened intimacy in a relationship wasn't even on my radar screen.

While I knew he wasn't an anomaly, I didn't have a clue how to include emotional intimacy in a relationship. I had a few other friends in long-term relationships still enjoying great sex, but I also knew men no longer having any sex with their partners, because in their words, "it was predictable and boring." What was glaringly noticeable was that none of these men were in what anyone might consider a loving relationship. They required a steady flow of new women for stimulation, their marital status notwithstanding. I began to fear becoming a guy like them, chasing his libido in circles, and trying but never achieving real satisfaction.

Trust Is #1.
After decades of casual sex I wanted love on a level deeper than just physical, but I discovered that meant embracing trust, which isn't something I'd ever felt for any woman. Like a lot of guys I had trust issues with women, and I began working on mine, talking about them with my friends. Tracing the roots of my trust issues was the beginning of letting them go. I was a slow learner, but when I met my partner I knew in my heart she was trustworthy and I gladly let go of my old trust demons.

The quality of our sexual relationship has kept pace with the increased trust between us. Not surprisingly it was this deepened emotional intimacy that brought my missing top gear back. Trusting my partner has also allowed me to relax into our relationship, which means not having to think about the next one. My trust demons surface occasionally, and when they do I work through them.

Casual sex? Sure, I agree with the women who wrote about it favorably. It's good in a pinch. But the best sex imaginable isn't casual, and it never was.

Readers can contact Ken through his website, and Facebook.

Ken's new book, The Boomer Guide to Finding True Love Online will be available this fall in print and eBook.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

Things I Know About Women Now That I'm Post50