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The question: I'm 59, and ending a 36-year-marriage. A few years ago, I fell in love with a 36-year-old mother of two, who also wanted out of her marriage. With her, I experience sexual and emotional intimacy that I had only imagined could exist. We have no boundaries, just a mutual desire to please and to be pleased. But while I can maintain an erection for hours, I can't orgasm with her (not a problem when I masturbate). My partner is naturally very lubricated; could that be an issue? The urologist says my health is fine. Thoughts?

The answer:

Dear No Boundaries,

You are a fortunate man. You are also a man in transition. This state comes with its share of unpredictability.

Your doctor has confirmed your good health. Your relationship is an erotic fairy tale. So what could be the subtext here? Let us immediately do away with the question of your partner's lubrication. While lubrication is not exclusively a sign of arousal, it is certainly a fair indication of it.

In fact, I will venture your quandary is not of a physical nature at all. That your parts perform as you would expect them to when you are alone supports this deduction. As psychologist and sex therapist Laurie Betito asks: "[I] he ambivalent? Does her young age make him feel like she could leave him for a younger guy at any time and therefore he does not allow himself complete vulnerability with her?"

Whether Dr. Betito's reading of your inner life is accurate or not, she does make the crucial point: Is there a mental barb holding you back? Ask yourself: Is there any insecurity or hesitation on my part?

Then: Broaden your approach to satisfaction. Do not make congress the centrepiece of your sex life. Reach your bliss in other ways. Revisit those bases you thought you had left behind in high school. Teach your paramour the way of your hand. Orgasm requires surrender. The more you anticipate, worry, zero in and chase down, the more elusive it will become. Remember, while having no boundaries can be freeing, having no goals can be even more so.

Claudia Dey is the author of How to Be a Bush Pilot: A Field Guide to Getting Luckier (

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