Ok, so I know many of the people reading this are going to judge me and HATE me and I'm sorry for offending you, but I am only on here to look for guidance and advice.I am a 40 year-old married white male who has been married to my wife for 12 years (together for 16) and have always been faithful to her but circumstances have forced me to look for a woman on the side. When I first met my wife, she had a voracious appetite for sex and since my drive was also strong we had an amazing sex life right from the beginning of our relationship.For 50-plus types unwilling to walk — possibly rewalk — the path that leads to romance, rings and relocation, the prospect of a "friend with benefits" is looking less and less like a millennial indulgence.After all, it gets awfully lonely waiting around for "the one." Perhaps you've decided that what you need at this point in your life is someone to talk to and laugh with — someone with whom you can share the sheets, but not the tax refund.The next morning (or even that night) come the recriminations: Was it wrong to give that person the sexual green light when you had no intention of rekindling the emotional side of the relationship?Marilyn, a 57-year-old single colleague of mine, recently reconnected with someone she had worked with many years ago. "No," Marilyn said with a laugh, "it's better than that: I'm in like with him — and that's exactly where I want to be." She further confided that they planned to make their reunions "a regular thing — if four times a year can be called 'regular.' But I think that's about all I really want." Marilyn's casual approach to maintaining a friendship with benefits typifies the mindset of older folks who have reconciled themselves to having "great fun" even if it's "just one of those things." And episodic pleasure-seeking may be more common than you think: In The Normal Bar, a book I wrote last year with Chrisanna Northrup and James Witte, we reported that 61 percent of female survey respondents who had partners fantasized about someone they had met.Sixty-something sexologist Joan Price, for one, endorses "gray hookups," but with a couple of strong caveats: The people involved must be emotionally capable of handling their status as noncommitted bed partners, and they must protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases.In a national study conducted in 2012, the Center for Sexual Health Promotion found sex partners over 50 twice as likely to use a condom when they regarded a sexual encounter as casual rather than as part of an ongoing relationship.
Although my frustration with this situation has been getting greater and greater, I still have decided to stay in the marriage (at least for now) because I love my wife and believe that marriage is meant to be a life-long commitment.
A few weeks later, she joined him for "a wonderful weekend" in his home state. (For men, the figure was 90 percent.) And should they be propositioned by someone they found attractive, 48 percent of the women (and 69 percent of the men) said they would be tempted to have sex outside the relationship.
Indeed, many surrendered to that lure in actuality: 36 percent of female respondents (but, surprisingly, just 21 percent of the men) had spent a night with an old flame, typically at a class reunion.
Over the course of our marriage, I've seen her interest in sex decline gradually to the point where she doesn't even have an interest anymore.
I treat her very well, provide most of the financial responsibility of our household, and make sure that I continue to take her out on dates, buy small gifts for her, bring her flowers, etc.