I’ve wondered before if we can categorize the people in our lives into two buckets… those still seeking ‘firsts’ and those accumulating ‘lasts’.
While I would like to consider myself in the ‘firsts’ camp – recently did my first ever surfing vacation; not long ago had my first sunset to sun-up sexual marathon (well, my second, but my first in many, many… many years) – I’m of an era where I know quite a few people who are on the precipice or who have recently tumbled into the the ‘lasts’ camp.
But last night surprised me. I was out for a beer with one of my favorite male friends. He’s a little older than me but in excellent health and generally a young-at-heart person. So, it surprised me somewhat when he asked, “do you ever think, when you’re having sex, that this might be your last time?”
I almost spit out my beer. Granted I’m a middle-aged guy, but I’m 100% positive I have a very long sexual agenda in front of me. If I get quantifiable about it… I’m gonna guess I have at least 5-10 thousand left in me… and at least half of those will be with a partner while having sex. So, no, I’m not thinking of my last time just yet.
But it’s interesting that he is. That when he has sex, he thinks that maybe, at least one of these times, that might be it. I honestly didn’t know that ever went through anyone’s head. But, I then considered his situation. He is in a relationship that is more companionate than intimate; they have some common interests, raise their daughter together, and have a large network of friends who they hang out with constantly… but they are not hot and heavy… and I’m not sure how much they actually like each other, to be honest. And him, he’s a super charismatic and good-looking guy, but he’s confided in me before that his sex drive has been in constant decline since his mid forties (he’s 51 now).
So, on the rarified occasion that he and his wife have sex… it may very well be the last time. And he was strangely at peace with this. It actually led to an interesting conversation about (i) the importance or unimportance of sex in a relationship; and (ii) whether his diminished sex drive was only because the prospect of sex with his wife seems unappealing and remote and whether a different partner might re-ignite things.
On the former – the importance of sex – he has come to the realization that long term relationships are complex, have many elements that help them to work (or not work) and that, while good sex is awfully nice to have, a good relationship can endure without it. As much as I love sex, I agree with him on this point, as long as both in the couple feel this way.
And on the latter point – is it his sex drive that is diminishing or the desire for sex with his wife that is in decline – he was very honest. As I’m sure is true of many men in long term monogamous relationships, he certainly saw the (high) possibility that a different set of sexual experiences and partners could be what’s needed to bring his libido back to life. Which led to a slightly awkward conversation on open marriages and swinging (which he suspects I’m into but have not told him about) and whether that might be just the fix he needs.
But back to the point; isn’t it slightly depressing to be considering what may be your last time having sex? Well, it is to me… fortunately, I have earmarked that conversation to sometime well into the 2040s… or maybe even the 2050’s or 60’s, modern medicine willing.