Reprinted with permission form Manopause: Your Guide to Surviving His Changing Life, by Lisa Friedman Bloch and Kathy Kirtland Silverman. Click here to buy the book.
Sex with a manopause man can be ripe, rich, full-flavored, sweet, juicy and pure. At midlife, the luckiest and most open-minded men are able to realize that while being locked in armor may protect them, going through life inside your own self-imposed barricade also blocks you from giving and receiving, both emotionally and sexually.
When a man matures, and reluctantly recognizes his fragile edges, he is less likely to see women as objects, and more likely to acknowledge them as people, much like himself. It’s then that he can learn to give of himself sexually in the best sense.
Usually the more powerful partner is the one who initiates sex. And traditionally, that is the man. But as a man ages and he begins to doubt himself, his partner may feel she needs to be more assertive about what she wants sexually. Dealing with this shift can be tricky. Even if your man has started to reevaluate other rules about sex, this change may be hard for him to accept because in his mind, the implications are vast.
He might be thinking that if he gives up control on the sexual front, it’s a step toward having you try to run other parts of his life. Worse yet, he could believe that he’s forfeiting your respect altogether. If he believes he’s falling short in the bedroom, your man may fear that you will look for sex elsewhere, causing his anxieties to grow.
But changes in the sexual balance of power are not always a negative. One of the great lessons of midlife is flexibility. As the genders’ hormone levels change, the entire canvas of a loving sexual relationship can change with them. No longer should it be set in stone that sex has to be a certain way. This can be a door into a new level of intimacy. You can teach your manopause man to receive, as well as to give. You can help him understand that it is not necessary to be an alpha male in the outside world in order to have a sensual experience in the bedroom.
If you have reassured your partner that you value him and his feelings, he can learn to take turns with you in initiating and guiding your sexual relationship. And when a man no longer perceives sex as merely evidence of his power, both partners gain the freedom to take it to deeper levels.
CONNECTING BY COMMUNICATING
Generally, women want to feel close and intimate in order to give themselves over to sex, and one way to do that is by having open and meaningful communication. Men, on the other hand, think sex is intimacy, the only sort of intimacy they’re traditionally encouraged to enjoy. They would rather express connection through their bodies than their words.
So encourage your man to express what he wants. For example, most men are notoriously reluctant to tell women what turns them on. They are just plain embarrassed. And in their defense, some women do not want to hear it. Don’t be one of them. When is the last time you asked your manopause man what he would like you to do to him? Remember, his tastes may be changing as he mellows. Don’t be surprised if you have to coax this information from him.