"The idea of taking my clothes off in front of somebody new just fills me with dread."
A GrammaSutrian writes:
Dear Gramma Sutra:
About three years ago, not long after my husband died, I lost all interest in sex. We'd had a pretty good marriage, and a pretty good sex life. But when my husband died, sex no longer played a role in my life. I just wasn't interested. Until now.
I've met a new man who lives two blocks over. We met at our senior center. He's shown interest in me that way. But after all this time I just don't feel comfortable about sex anymore. I feel like I've aged a hundred years over the past three. My husband and I were together for more than 40 years. He saw me age. The idea of taking my clothes off in front of somebody new just fills me with dread.
Can you help me? My daughters are too embarrassed to talk about this with me. Should I just stay friends with this gentleman or should I risk taking the plunge? I don't want to ruin the good friendship we've developed over the past few months.
Mabel (from Cincinatti)
And Gramma Sutra responds:
We know exactly what you feel. When you get to be our age, it's rare if you haven't lost someone you loved really deeply -- whether you were married or not.
We know how frightening it is to get out of your comfort zone. But we're sure that one of the reasons your husband loved you so much all those years was because you were able to stretch yourself, to change and adapt over time and to unforeseen circumstances, and still be true to your love for him.
We're sure he would have wanted you to be happy, but that doesn't mean you have to rush into anything that makes you afraid. Uncomfortable, sure. But afraid -- hell, no!
Remember: Your new gentleman friend is probably worrying about all the same things you're fretting about! Take it slowly, is our advice, Mabel, but take it. Don't let this new chance for happiness pass you by. Start with kissing and hand-holding. Dress up for a night on the town. Go dancing, if you do. (It will help limber you up! Click here for illustrations of Sexercises, and here for more on entertaining and setting the mood.)
Whatever's worth having is worth waiting for. If the moment presents itself, you'll know...and I'm sure that you'll know what to do.
Please keep in touch,