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Sex after divorce

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The end of a relationship is always very painful; it doesn’t matter who initiated it, had an affair, fell out of love or drifted apart.

Divorce can take a major toll on your self-esteem; and often there is a grieving process, with periods of anger and disappointment. A natural reaction is to hide away for a while, which in many cases is probably a good thing to do.

But as time passes it’s tempting to go back into the dating scene – after all, sex makes us feel wanted, accepted and reassured. Lately I’ve spoken to several clients who started dating again after a divorce or separation. One of them, in her early 40s, believes sex after divorce is much better, because for her sex had become a chore. She married quite young and now wants to have some new sexual experiences.

Another client in her 50s was very embarrassed when she came to see me. She told me she had never had an orgasm, and she wanted to find out what it was all about before she planned to have sex again with a new partner. She had married in her early 20s and had expected her husband to give her one when they had sex.

She is not the only one; some women have no problem having an orgasm on their own, but not with their partners and are therefore often faking it. They were very surprised to find out that only 20 to 25 per cent of women can orgasm by just having penetrative sex. Often men don’t know this either.

For men, dating again is also not that easy. One of my clients, aged 48, was for many years in an almost sexless marriage; he had planned to leave his wife after his youngest child had finished school and he did. He didn’t expect it to be difficult, but after meeting a compatible woman on line he lost his erection when they had sex the first time and was so embarrassed that he stopped seeing her.

He tried again with another woman, but with the same result, which is why he came to see me. He had lost his confidence and acquired performance anxiety. Losing his erection was enough to raise doubt in his mind and, anticipating problems about his performance became a self-fulfilling fear. After some psycho-sexual education he is fine now.

If a man has no physical sexual dysfunction, and if the problem is performance anxiety, I often suggest he uses Viagra or Cialis for a while to get his confidence back. Some months ago the patent for Viagra ran out and it is cheap enough now that most men can afford it, which is especially good news for older men, who may need it more often.

With divorce rates on the rise, it’s quite popular now for men and women to look for love on line. Many, who have been in long, monogamous relationships, are looking for more casual sexual encounters before committing themselves again. However, long periods of sexual monogamy have left them unfamiliar with today’s safe-sex practices. In the past, most women were on the pill and condoms were hardly ever used.

I can’t believe how many men and women tell me they have unprotected sex with people they have just met. They are still under the impression that you only use a condom to prevent pregnancies. One client who had a great time with several new partners ended up with an STI and was very embarrassed when his GP told him. They were such nice women, he said, and they probably were, but this can easily happen by having unprotected sex.

When you have sex with different people, safe sex is the name of the game and you should have an honest discussion with a new partner. It’s much easier to negotiate the use of a condom before you both are carried away in the heat of the moment ripping each other’s clothes off.

Two years ago Family Planning NSW with the support of RSVP, Fairfax Media’s dating site, launched a safe sex media campaign aimed at older people, featuring a video that’s still very relevant for both young and old Australians – divorced or not.

Be smart and responsible; the best rule to follow is “no condom – no sex” until you and your new partner decide to be exclusive!

11 comments so far

  • My marriage self-destructed 10 days ago, so I have just started the grieving process. This article is a gentle help for my future thank you, though I am scared shitless about going back to the dating seen at 53.

    Commenter
    Michael
    Location
    Mt Waverley
    Date and time
    August 05, 2014, 10:01AM
    • Michael, one of my male friends is 54 and started dating on-line he could not believe how many women contacted him. It's much easier for men in their fifties to find new partners then for women in that age bracket. Just don't start too early.

      Commenter
      Els
      Date and time
      August 05, 2014, 10:51AM
    • Michael, I know your pain, I went through the same thing this time last year. It hurts like hell, bu it does get better.
      The best piece of advice I can give you is not to rush into anything. I took some time out to put myself back together played the field for a bit, and now I'm in a serious commited relationship and couldn't be happier.

      And remember the old adage: The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else!!

      Commenter
      Barney
      Location
      The Real World
      Date and time
      August 05, 2014, 12:08PM
    • ohh this is click bait at it's very worst.

      I clicked on the article to see when I was going to hook up with my ex for some divorce sex.

      Commenter
      markymark
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      August 05, 2014, 1:47PM
    • Michael, most of us have been where you find yourself now. You WILL get through it, and you WILL have fun again. After this, you will be able to take whatever life dishes out and just brush it off. Just dont rush and make stupid decisions with the ladies.

      Commenter
      The Voice
      Location
      Newcastle
      Date and time
      August 05, 2014, 2:02PM
  • My partner does not believe that only 20 to 25 per cent of women can orgasm by just having penetrative sex. Most of his girlfriends did, he insists, so is it really true?

    Commenter
    Anonymous
    Date and time
    August 05, 2014, 10:10AM
    • Well, he is contradicting both Masters and Johnson and Kinsey, the rated sex researchers whose files on people and practices (not to mention in some cases their own experiences.....) run into thousands if not tens of thousands. I have experienced a great many women who love penetrative sex and love men to orgasm inside but cannot get there themselves without fingers, tongue or toys. This includes a couple who are multi-orgasmic and serially orgasmic.

      God and/or natural selection was very unkind to women, by making it likely the man would come first and then having to perhaps wait for further attention (or finish the job themselves.....). Thereby, increasing odds of conception and propogartion of species.

      Commenter
      Mark II
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      August 05, 2014, 11:06AM
  • The article should also state the need to get tested if you happen to give in to your carnal urgings and neglect the safety first mantra we all know is the right way to go. Have been divorced for some time and now in a great relationship but I have I had some of the best sex of my life or what! And I still am by the way! Fifties and fabulous!

    Commenter
    seen it coming
    Location
    edge of the fire
    Date and time
    August 05, 2014, 1:25PM
    • Yes, good point. Some STI's like Chlamydia are dormant and you wouldn't know if you have one.

      Commenter
      Mal
      Date and time
      August 05, 2014, 2:07PM
  • In the dim dark olden days of the 70's there was no internet and sites - and after a divorce the main aim was to reestablish some confidence and have an ego stroke. I did hook up with my ex after we were back on talking terms and had a one night stand for old times sake and went to to discover a new life after the divorce. Today I get propositioned on Skype by Generals and other men trolling for a contact - and with all the dating sites life is so much easier for women to vet their suitors..

    Commenter
    norma jean
    Date and time
    August 05, 2014, 4:12PM

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