I Haven’t Had Sex for 18 Years – What Should I Tell Him?

In this week’s LOVELife…I take a call from a brave woman named Rhonda who is getting back into the dating game after an 18-year hiatus from sex. How should she bring up this tricky subject to the new men she’s meeting? You may be surprised at my answer…

9 Texts No Man Can Resist

14 Responses to I Haven’t Had Sex for 18 Years – What Should I Tell Him?

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  1. Tim says:

    I am in the same situation as Rhonda except I am a man in his mid 40s. I stopped having sex in my late 20s. Still not sure really why. Only started again in the last year but only with prostitutes so far which is not satisfying as I am more interested in affection, intimacy and being wanted to be honest than the sex itself which I don’t really enjoy all that much physically even if I enjoy it emotionally.

    Heartbroken though that I have missed out on the intimacy, affection and relationships I should have had in my prime of manhood though. Can never get that back. Difficult too because mentally in sex terms I feel I am still back in my late 20s/early 30s and not really attracted to women my own age.

  2. Lonnie Maiava says:

    Those are yours alright! . We at least need to get these people stealing images to start blogging! They probably just did a image search and grabbed them. They look good though!

  3. Sarah says:

    You don’t know how much this has helped me.

    My rule was “you can’t be a good person if you have sex outside of a relationship situation.”

    But you’re right, it’s part of the human experience. :)

  4. Emily says:

    I have a question about sex!

    I am so impressed with Rhonda for bringing this up—it’s not an easy thing to admit that you haven’t had sex for a long time, when the prevailing attitude in many circles is that if you’re not having sex regularly then there must be something wrong with you. She really put herself out there, and I know many people will thank her for that.

    Since I saw the videos on “how many men have you slept with” and “what if I’m a virgin” a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about this topic—not specifically Rhonda’s situation, but the idea of how much sex we’ve had, and how much to say about it.

    I didn’t have sex (or anything in striking distance of it) with a guy till I was thirty—not for moral reasons, just kept chasing the wrong people and not finding any right ones. (The guy I found at thirty wasn’t exactly a right one either, but hey.) In my twenties I would find myself talking with people who complained that they were on death’s door because they hadn’t had sex in (horrified whisper) six months, or five weeks, or some other tiny fraction of my own count. I would offer sympathy but keep my mouth shut about myself for fear of giving them a heart attack.

    Matthew, you’ve advised us not to talk about how we’ve had bad luck in dating or similar things that make us sound unappealing; you’ve said that baggage is only as heavy as you make it; you’ve advocated the “less history, more mystery” approach; and you encouraged Rhonda to go out and be the sexual woman that she is without fear. I think that’s all GREAT advice. It’s easy to let our insecurities dominate other, more constructive motivations when feeling nervous, especially in dating situations, and it’s helpful to have decided how we actually WANT to be, vs. how our counterproductive reflexes might have it.

    Here’s my problem, though. Let’s say you’re a single person in your thirties, following Hussey advice, getting out there and meeting people, and it’s going great: you like someone, he likes you, you’ve reeled each other in—maybe you’ve even reached the “emotional hook point” as outlined in the Get The Guy book—and you end up in bed together. And then…it becomes uncomfortably obvious that you don’t really know what you’re doing.

    My experience has been that when you’re in your thirties and reasonably attractive, everyone you meet will expect you to have had considerable sexual experience, just from having stayed alive that long. (At least from the several long-term relationships you’ve presumably definitely had, a pretty girl like you.) In the book, this is plainly stated as one of the assets of being older. Maybe the guys you date fit that expectation or maybe not (I did read Stephen’s fine post on this topic), but you won’t know until the chips are down. And if you’ve shown all the right signs, being captivating and polished in other ways, the guy in your bed can be forgiven for being a little taken aback if you turn out to be in level 101, when he’d assumed you had a Master’s. So basically, if you haven’t given any indication of where you stand, you trade in the risk of looking pathetic initially for the risk of looking pathetic in flagrante.

    This is what came to mind when Rhonda talked about “warning” a guy. I know we don’t want to get all heavy and boring with explanations or excuses, but the awkward truth remains that a person can be as confident and sexy as you like, be completely on board with everything before the clothes come off, and still (if I may veer into the graphic), not be able to give a decent blow job. Or let’s say someone asks you what you like, and you have to think of something good to say instead of: “Well, I haven’t had enough sex to really know, and what I’ve had has been nothing to write home about, so your guess is as good as mine, I mean, heck, I’m not used to doing this with another person in the room.” So the idea of “less history, more mystery” can devolve into “how much can I successfully fake in order to preserve my confident and sexy mystique?”

    Without going into more detail about my own history, I’ll just say that I’ve found trial and error is not a piece of cake. It’s not always worth the trouble. And it’s a bit like trying to get a job—in order to get hired, you need experience, but you can’t get experience without getting hired first.

    Sex is supposedly the most natural, the most intimate, the most in-the-moment interaction, yet at the same time it’s a high-stakes performance, on which you may be judged. (Was it good for you? On the 6.0 scale, how passionate and uninhibited was that?) You’re supposed to communicate, but if you ask too many questions, you’re “overthinking it.” Being good in bed is a highly desired quality, though what that means in practice is not always specified. The idea to “go with the flow” is great, but it doesn’t mean the issue of pressure and judgment stops existing. People care about this stuff.

    I have been focusing (very happily) on priorities other than dating lately, but when I ride once more unto the breach, it would be nice to improve on things. Since saying goodbye to my thirties a few months ago, I seem to have developed a more sanguine, who-gives-a-****-what-people-think attitude in general, but this quandary persists. And even the great wisdom that comes with age has its limits. ;)

    So, my question is: do you have any tips for how to handle the Moment of Truth? Maybe a clever little aphorism to dispel awkwardness? Or some kind of Jedi mind trick that functions as efficiently as your wave-over thing, but the message is “I’m so cute right now that even as you become aware of my incompetence, you will find me delightful”?

    I don’t know if you read these comments or if you answer questions from them, but…uh, apparently I wrote this anyway.

    I KNOW there are other people out there with the same question; we just tend to keep a low profile. And we promise to remain boring cowards until you enlighten us with some rockin’ advice.

    Yours affectionately,

    Emily

  5. linda says:

    thats why had sex with my x so I can move on, 15 years of holding it back not having sex. I went on 6 date and got dumped for not having sex with them.it took me a year to have sex with my x. now he’s in my head and he said me to move on 4 times and he been ringing me,texting asking me to go away with him go on a work do. I seeing him more.in his sleep he said he twice I love you . I didnt say a thing . I have said it but hes not said a thing back. we argue about not getting back together , do I go away to york with him or not. I am stress with it now

  6. Kathryn says:

    How lovely did Rhonda sound, so warm and fun. I now understand when we talk about energy. I talked to a guy recently and it turned out we went to the same Uni and I said we must be a similar age, must of been there at the same time. Turns out we were, but he looked completely shocked. He said he thought I was ten years younger and it was my energy made him think so. I knew he wasn’t being smarmy and meant it but I didn’t understand until now.
    Which makes me very glad as my favourite actor has been seen going out with probably the most famous Russian supermodel. I was saying, you see Matt is wrong, looks matter. Having a smoking hot body matters! We just have to be the best version of ourselves, although I am now madly working out. And I can’t actually believe she likes the theatre, lol. xx

  7. Kat says:

    Hi Matt, I was in a similar cituation. I was alone for 13 days mostly due to fear of being rejected. I put myself out there last year and got rejected and hurt. I had a great first date last week and was beginning to get hopeful again. Last night he texted me an inappropriate picture (fill fronta variety). I’ve asserted my standards with him. I said that i was interested in a relationship and was willing to move past the picture incident. I said i wanted to take it slow. He seemed okay. Today he showed up for our date cold and distant. We spent some time in awkwardness. I pressed him for a reason why he was ingnoring me. I got only “okay” and “fine” in response. Eventually, he said that we should part ways and left. I feel defeated by the whole daying process. I have very few friends and family. It’s hard for me to meet people. Online dating seemed like a good solution. However, I failed miserably

    • Jill says:

      Hi Kat, I hope you don’t mind me replying but I couldn’t help but notice you gave him the benefit of the doubt and I think that’s awesome however he sounds like he only wants one thing and I promise there are better guys out there. Try going and doing things you love where you might have the opportunity to meet guys who share your interests. I know it’s hard but I hope this helped at least a little. Hugs!!

      • Kat says:

        Tnanks Jill! He apologized and I’m giving him another try since I’m not seeing anybody else at the moment. I’m proceeding with caution.

        • Irene says:

          It would be better to end it, you have given him the benefit of the doubt that he really didn’t deserve. I would move one now it’s like you forcing him to date the inappropriate picture actually sealed it.

  8. Kasandra says:

    Hi Matt, wow! U give really good wise advice! Sometimes when I read your tips, I find that it all gets too much. But hearing the audio interview is really easy to understand. U bring a warm, non-judgmental energy to the call :-P and the lady seems warm and fun! And it definitely changed my perspective too! They don’t need to know when the last time u had it. It’s just that we feel insecure and that it’s a badge of shame based on when the last time was. But if we were to move away from that mindset, it all dissolves. Have a great New York stay~~~

  9. Judith says:

    Hej everyone,

    Such a great video, Matt the way you can make people feel comfortable with themselves is fantastic, you gave such a great advice! And big kudos for Rhonda for being so brave and open!

    I’ve been following the blog for a while, it’s given me great insight to things and I am so thankful for all the work you put into helping women feel good about themselves!

    Interestingly, the reason that made me comment is because I have a great friend who is in the “I’m just staying away from relationships and sex for good” phase (which is frustrating because I think we could be a really good match but he is afraid to even give it a try, and his rather flirty-fun way makes it difficult to keep him in the “we’re just friends” box) so I guess I just want to wish Rhonda the best of luck!
    /Judith

  10. Jennifer Smith says:

    I totally agree that it’s no big deal, Matthew. One could also say it’s no one’s business but Rhonda’s. I’m glad that you also encouraged her and said that you want to hear from more people like her. Way to go!

    She may not just be afraid of rejection, but also be wary of her judgment in choosing an intimate partner. I was with a guy in my 20s who did a fair bit of damage in a short time. It took me a while to get past that, and he certainly wasn’t the first guy to hurt me, but he was the worst.

    So, I don’t think rejection is always the fear to deal with. Sometimes one needs time to dig out what doesn’t benefit themselves, put a light on it and deal with it. Then try again. :) Rhonda was married and so had invested a lot of herself in that relationship. So, if she wants more than a date here & there, it will take more work.

  11. Vavavoom says:

    First comment YAY!!
    Loved your advice and that her being celebate for 18 years was no biggie, gave me a lot of faith of forgiveness about my own flaws… made me wanna call you for advice some time shoulld I need it. I would have been so scared to reveal what she did… happy with your respons…. weight liftted off my shoulders on her behalf if that makes sense. good job.

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