Ask Joan: Needs an RSP

Every month in Sex at Our Age, award-winning senior sexpert Joan Price answers your questions about everything from loss of desire to solo sex and partner issues. Nothing is out of bounds! If you’re over 60, submit your questions to this column by emailing Joan directly at sexpert@seniorplanet.org

A reader asks: 

I would like to find a recreational sex partner (RSP), but don´t know where to start looking. Sex is no longer a part of my marriage. Solo sex brings me relief but not enough satisfaction. What I miss most is the joy and excitement I get from bringing my wife to an orgasm.

My wife and I, in our seventies, live in Western Europe. We’ve been happy together for 48 years. She recently told me she has lost her enthusiasm for sex and is no longer interested. We discussed the matter openly and honestly. I love her and have the greatest respect for her, so I agreed that sex would cease in our marriage. I continue to show her affection. 

The RSP relationship I seek should be like that of tennis or golf partners. We get together for a couple of hours weekly to share pleasurable physical activity for our mutual enjoyment. Then we return to our regular lives until the next encounter. 

I seek a lady who is happy with her life apart from missing regular sex with someone she trusts. I don’t want an affair, a lover, or one-night stands. A “recreational sex partner,” as I see it, is a “friend with benefits” minus the friendship — I don’t need a friend. An RSP is someone to share the fun of sex — no more, no less. There is no prospect of an RSP turning into a romantic relationship, and no social activities are involved. 

I haven’t told my wife about my wish — why cause possible friction about a situation that might never arise? My reasons for not bringing this up:

  1. I am only mildly optimistic about finding an RSP. However, the idea that I might find such a lady is a coping mechanism to help me make up for the sex I miss in my marriage.
  2. Even if I found an RSP, I do not know whether I could or would take up the lady’s offer.
  3. I don’t know if my wife would accept me having intimate, physical contact with another lady. 

  Seeking RSP

Joan replies:

Your first decision is whether you’ll be satisfied with the fantasy of having an RSP — as you indicate in the first two reasons you haven’t told your wife — or if you really need to make it a reality. If you do want to have sex with a person outside your marriage, please continue your conversation with your wife. You say you discussed the change in your marriage “openly and honestly.” However, it sounds like one question was never brought up: “If we’re not sharing sex together, dear wife, what is our agreement about how I can get my own needs met?” As you’ve explained, it’s not just the sexual release you crave —you want to be able to give sexual pleasure to a partner. 

You don’t share the reasons that your wife wants to be done with sex. Is it the kind of sex you’re having that she doesn’t enjoy anymore? Would she enjoy a different kind of sexual expression? Would she be willing to participate as you masturbated, either watching or assisting? Or is she saying, “Been there, done that, no more sex”? 

Whatever her reasons, you say you accept them because you respect her. But I entreat you to respect her enough to get her permission before breaking your monogamy agreement. Maybe you already had that in mind, but for all the other readers here, be as honest as she was about what you want from your sex life going forward.

You asked how to find an RSP. The easiest way to find a willing sex partner who is not at risk of getting emotionally involved with you or wanting more of your time is to hire a sex worker for exactly the transaction you desire. You don’t specify in which Western European country you live, but sex work may be legal in your country. 

If you want a no-strings-attached (NSA) arrangement with a woman with similar needs and circumstances as yours, yes, that’s possible. There are widows and women in sexless marriages who are happy with their lives except for the lack of partner sex who want just what you do. The dating apps are a way to find them. Be clear and ethical about what you’re asking for and what boundaries need to be in place. It will take time and effort to find the person who ticks off the right boxes and with whom there’s chemistry. But yes, many people find RSPs this way.   

You say you don’t want a FWB, but it seems to me that a basis in friendship would be helpful. You need to be able to trust this person and she needs to trust you, so why not be her friend? You don’t have to socialize or buy each other birthday presents, but a foundation of caring about a person strikes me as a decent requirement for a sexual relationship. 

Readers: Have you successfully negotiated a relationship with a recreational sex partner? How did it work for you? Please comment!

A Message from Joan:

I receive many more questions than I can answer. To help yours get chosen, know this:

  • I select questions solely from readers age 60+.
  • If I already answered a similar question, yours is less likely to be chosen, so do a search for your topic first.
  • When you submit a question, describe your problem, how it affects you, what you’d like to know. Your story will be edited.
  • For medical advice, consult your doctor. Change doctors if you’re not satisfied or if you’re treated dismissively.
  • I select questions for publication only. For a private answer, request a consultation. Most questions about sex and aging are answered in my books and webinars.

Send Joan your questions by emailing sexpert@seniorplanet.org. All information is confidential. Joan can only answer questions that are chosen for publication from readers age 60+

Joan Price is the author of several self-help books about senior sex including her newest, “Sex after Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality after Losing Your Beloved,” and the award-winning “Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex.” Visit Joan’s website and blog and her Facebook page. For senior sex news and tips, subscribe to Joan’s free newsletter.

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