Guest blog: Exploring kink in my fifties

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

One of the things that blogging is good for, I think, is showing people a far broader range of stories and journeys than you’d get if you relied solely on mainstream media for your messaging around sex. People with lived experience can join discussions to give you tips based on what has worked for them. Recently I wrote about the film Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, and the powerful message it gave about sexuality – you are never too late to start exploring and enjoying your body. In response to my piece, the fabulous @BibulousOne (who writes beautifully here – Pain As Pleasure) got in touch offering to share his thoughts as an older man who began his own sexual adventures later in life, and I’m so grateful to him for being willing to share what led him to start exploring kink in his fifties, as well as a few useful lessons for the rest of us no matter what our age…

Exploring kink in my fifties (and beyond!)

After a long absence from writing about sex and sensuality, I have been brought back to it by the movie Good Luck to You Leo Grande and Girl On The Net’s post about it. In the film, Emma Thompson’s character Nancy employs a young, male sex worker to help explore the kind of sex that life has failed to offer her. This resonated strongly with me as I too found myself meeting sex workers in later life and, with them, exploring my own sexuality.

I had spent around 30 years in two failed marriages and my partners had left me or were in the process of doing so. In the movie, Nancy describes how she was married to a man who “climbed on top, shagged her, came and had done with it.” I feel guilty admitting that I could have been her husband. For much of my life, I too was a man who just climbed on top, shagged her, came and had done with it. It’s taken me a lot of work to understand what was missing in me, and so was missing in what I brought to those two relationships. Not knowing how to ask for what I wanted, not knowing how to ask them what they wanted; no wonder the physical and emotional parts of both marriages withered.

Frustrated, I started to explore my long-buried kinks with a professional dominatrix in sessions full of extremes of submission, pain and pleasure. That led to meetings with a submissive escort for sessions of both kinky and vanilla sex. It was with these patient, skilled and adventurous sex workers that I started to discover and develop confidence in my own sexuality and the expression of it, just as Nancy does in the film. I was able to explore my kinks away from a society that would have judged them harshly and, in doing so, lost my fear of intimacy. These discoveries enabled me to develop a meaningful relationship away from sex work that was full of the intimacy and connection that had been absent from my marriages.

So, having come late in life to the joys of kinky sex and the ecstatic delight of shared intimacy, I’m not ready to hang up my hat just because my age now starts with a 6.

What about my body?

The societal pressure on women to conform to fixed ideas of perfection in looks and physical shape is huge. The hot older man (Clooney, Gere, Cruise et al) is a cinema trope almost universally denied to hot older women.

Despite this inequality in our favour, many of us older men still fail to see ourselves as desirable. Men’s bodies age too and there is, in media and advertising, a growing prevalence of “perfect” male bodies: chiselled, V shaped, strong of jaw and about 25. Most older men can’t achieve these ideals, but I’m not sure they’re that important in the real world (i.e anywhere outside of Love Island). Sure, it’s good to be clean, smell nice and think about what you wear. However, you could be the most finely honed hunk in beautiful tailoring, but if you send unrequested dick picks to a woman, she’s still going to think you’re a twat. Actually, you’ll still be a twat.

So, my one insight on desirability for the older guy (or anyone really) is this: focus on who you are rather than what you are. If you’re fundamentally a decent human being, you can make someone laugh and they feel comfortable with you, if you do little things that show you value them, and if you listen to them – and I mean really fucking listen to them – that will be attractive.

But… *whispers*…it doesn’t all work like it used to

This is one area where physical changes in older age have particular implications for cisgender men. I suspect that performance anxiety causes many of us to shy away from sex at an age when we would still very much enjoy it. It would be nice to think we could normalise the discussion about erectile dysfunction and remove some of the stigma, but I’m not holding my breath! However, I was having the best sex of my life as a late fifties/early sixties man prone to erectile dysfunction.

There’s a lot of help available and, in many cases, the widely known pills will do the job. Other things can work too. An early mistress gave me a spiky strap that wrapped round my cock and balls and the feeling of tightness, combined with a little spiky pain, pressed all my buttons. [Note from GOTN – I can’t find these available online but here’s a similar spiked cock ring from site sponsor Meo]. But most other cock rings and constriction devices work in the same way, at least for me. Don’t be afraid either to buy sex toys for your own use, or to improvise (if you know what you’re doing and can do it safely!). It really doesn’t have to be embarrassing.

But what about when the pills and the toys don’t work? Or they get left in the wrong bag? The potential failure modes are legion: failure to be hard enough, coming too early, not coming at all. Gaah! There are so many ways it could go wrong!

“Man meets women, man fucks woman, man orgasms,” seems to be the script for 90% of all porn. In advancing years we can’t always follow that script and it’s hard to avoid a sense of disappointment and frustration when things don’t work as they once did. A blogger called Zebra Rose wrote this in a comment to a blog post I wrote about different types of sex:

“Men are so socialized to believe that the intersection of their sexuality and their masculinity rests entirely on the hardness of their dick and how much jizz they can spew, but that’s all bullshit.”

While this may not be news to everyone I suspect that, even for the more sexually adventurous male, potential degradation of the ability to achieve penetrative sex is deeply troubling. However, here are other ways to think about it….

What are you looking for from sex?

What are you looking for from sex? If it’s validation of your continuing virility then, as you get older, only a creeping sense of disappointment awaits. The pills will delay it for a while, but not indefinitely. However, suppose what you were looking for was connection, intimacy and pleasure. Then as you and your partner(s) bring more experience and knowledge to the table (or bed – though tables are good too) each of those three things can develop and deepen.

There is a whole world of fun to be had in bed that doesn’t require an erect penis. If penetration is important to your partner, you can play with one of their sex toys, explore how they like it, add in other sensations, use a vibrator. Just don’t let it become mechanical or perfunctory. This isn’t a poor second best, it’s still you fucking, making love or anything in between. Look into their eyes, communicate the intensity you’re finding in that moment, share in the pleasure. Porn (and a lot of sex toy advertising) tends to show toys as tools for one person to enjoy, but it’s wonderful to use them as a couple.

There are so many ways to share sensations, so many different parts of your partner’s body and yours to explore, that it really would be a shame just to focus on penetration and make that the sole measure of success. It’s thrilling and fantastically rewarding to explore what really makes someone’s body hum. And it’s completely fucking amazing to have someone find that out about you.

This way might lie those goals of connection, intimacy and pleasure for both of you.

Perhaps the key when you get a bit older is to enjoy the sex you’re having, whatever form that takes, rather than worry about the sex some stud is simulating for a porn film. If you do so, you’ll almost certainly be having more fun than he is!


Note: this post contains links to products to illustrate the ones discussed in the piece. It is not a sponsored post, but if you buy through these links you’re helping to support this site. 

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