When I was 25, the default position of my sexual switch was “on.” Everything worked—had a mind of its own, in fact—and with a little help from Sister Huberta, my 83-year-old fourth-grade teacher, whose face is responsible for my success at delaying dozens of ejaculations, I usually performed to women’s satisfaction.
At 52, though everything still works, I have long, Socratic debates with myself on the relative net good of watching Person of Interest versus making a move on my wife. Thanks to my waning testosterone, as well as lack of time and the heavy weight of ennui and life pressures (during sex I have found myself thinking of the termites eating my house), lust now feels as outdated as an Agatha Christie plot. Instead of picturing Sister Huberta to slow things down, I have to envision a squad of wardrobe-malfunctioning NFL cheerleaders to start things up.
That would be OK, except I am plagued by nostalgia. I remember impossibly suave seductions, all-night performances, tremulous orgasms. Even if my memory of my accomplishments is less than 100 percent accurate, I am pretty sure that the surging urgency I recall was real. I felt virile, alive and filled with possibility.
The source of those feelings was undoubtedly hormonal, but they were also fueled by the expressions in women’s eyes. I may not have been desired as often as I choose to remember, but there were definitely moments—the sly gaze, the naughty smile, the whispered erotic suggestion. That’s what I long for most now, and why my performance today depends so wholly on hers.
Brian Alexander is the co-author of The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex and the Science of Attraction. Click here to buy.
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