Sylvia*, 40, is a data scientist, and Sam*, 66, is a university professor. They live together in Las Vegas.
*Names have been changed for anonymity.
I met my husband, Sam, when I was 36 and he was 62. We were both married at the time, so the idea of us getting together was the last thing on my mind. But even when we started to develop feelings for each other, I wasn’t put off by his age.
We met at work, when I was hired to do some research at a university where he was a professor. We had a work relationship, but nothing beyond that. Still, we would talk a lot, and one day, it somehow came up in conversation that I had what I believed was a much higher-than-normal sex drive, and that every partner I'd ever had (including my then husband) struggled with it.
That was a huge moment for him, because he realised we had shared that same experience our whole lives. We’d both had partners who’d say we were ridiculous for wanting to have sex every day, or would get exasperated and ask what was wrong with us. We really connected and bonded over that—I felt like there was finally someone out there like me. We were both unhappy in our marriages, and that talk was the first time we recognised that we might be a good match for each other.
Flash forward to a few months later, after we'd both separated from our partners. We had started to date, and the first night I knew things were going to get intimate, I planned the whole thing out. I even booked a really nice hotel where we could lounge around and eat and drink together.
It never occurred to me that, as an older man, he might have erectile dysfunction. But he does, and that first night, we couldn’t have sex. Once it became clear the equipment was not going to function properly, we found other ways to be intimate. We took our time and gave each other massages and oral sex. It really didn’t bother me that we couldn’t have intercourse — it wasn’t my first time being with a guy who had that issue, and we talked about it and still had a really good time together. Ultimately, this wasn't a deal breaker, and we decided to get married less than a year later.
To deal with the challenges in bed, though, Sam went to his doctor and started taking Cialis [a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction]. He takes one nearly every day (unless I’m not around or I'm on my period and we’ve decided not to have sex). It’s not as aggressive as other drugs like Viagra—it more or less just helps an erection along instead of causing one right away—so we don’t have to strategically plan sex. It’s expensive ($250 to $300 a month), but it’s truly worth it for us right now. I’m glad it’s worked, because I would feel like I was missing out if we couldn’t regularly have sex.
Being with Sam also means that sometimes our energy levels are simply mismatched. He’s naturally more wiped out at the end of the day, and sometimes I’m totally ready for sex and he’s ready to pass out. We’ve worked on that by trying to have midday sex when we can.
Still, there have been a lot of benefits to being with an older man. It’s hard to say how much of our sex life is actually related to Sam being older, or just his body and personality. But he is a very patient lover, and I can tell that he’s always willing to keep going until I’m satisfied.
I think both of us are better at being upfront about what we want and need in the bedroom, and we’re not as self-conscious about our desires or bodies as we probably were when we were younger.
I’ve also heard that it takes older men longer to reach orgasm, and Sam’s no exception. Because of that, I can reach multiple orgasms when we’re having sex, and that’s really pleasurable and exciting for me. In past relationships, that had been an issue for him and his partners felt he took too long, but I love it.
Honestly, my sex life now is better than it’s ever been. But people do judge me for being with someone older. We get surprised looks if we kiss or hold hands in public. Living in Las Vegas, people often assume Sam has “rented a girlfriend,” and he feels like he has to explain our relationship to people.
I tell him it’s no one’s business, and he’s not obligated to justify our marriage to anyone. The hardest part about the age difference is knowing we don’t have as much time together as I want, but that makes me appreciate my time with Sam so much more. I value every moment with him.
Despite being 26 years apart, we’re better matched sexually than anyone else I’ve ever been with who was close to my age. Having someone who truly understands my wants and needs has made my sex life more than I’ve ever dreamed of. We both felt like we were settling before; now we’re happy and satisfied.