• Nothing in the litany of indignities trumpeted by middle-age is quite as emasculating as the dreaded loss of libido. (MOODBOARD)Source: MOODBOARD
How did getting it on come to seem like a chore, asks middle-aged dad, Ian Rose. Is testosterone to blame, or is it all in the mind?
By
Ian Rose

19 Jan 2017 - 12:23 PM  UPDATED 19 Jan 2017 - 1:05 PM

There’s a lot that sucks about the slow, steady descent into middle-aged geezerdom and the physical decline that accompanies it. 

It creeps up on you. Like Trump’s ascension, you can deny that it’s happening all you like, but nothing will make it go away. 

Little by little, the nude reflection softens and sags, pecs morph into moobs and the pre-bedtime pee grows into a lengthy and irksome ‘will-he/wont he’ psychodrama.

Reading text-messages involves squinting at a phone held at arms length, which can create tensions on a peak-hour train. Bits of you begin to creak and crunch, and sitting down or getting up without vocalising the effort grows into a distant memory.

Dont even talk to me about feet.

But nothing in the litany of indignities trumpeted by middle-age is quite as emasculating as the dreaded loss of libido.

Because men are meant to be all about the sex, to have one thing on their minds, to think with their penises, right? It just doesnt seem manly to not be in the mood, no matter how tough things have been at work lately.

But nothing in the litany of indignities trumpeted by middle-age is quite as emasculating as the dreaded loss of libido.

And it doesnt help when rock icons like Mick Jagger are still spawning offspring at the age of 73. (Of course, Jagger has always seemed to personify libido, prowling and preening across the stage, squawking on about satisfaction, so his immunity to its decline hardly comes as a surprise).

This April, Ill be turning 48 - if a morose and weary shuffle can be described as a turn. And it hurts to say it, but the mercury in my thermometer is hitting hot to trotever more rarely these days.

Its likely my testosterone levels have been on the wane for a while.

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I still remember a friend, back when we were both in our early thirties, explaining her preference for younger lovers. It came down to the relative angles of tumescence achieved by the 20, 30 and 40-year-old erection. She used a zucchini for her demonstration.

There was something so sad about the incremental droop of that once proud squash she held in her hands, and its image has remained with me, indeed can invade my thoughts at inopportune moments. 

Parenting is to a sex life as poison ivy to a picnic.

Apart from the biology excuse, there are personal circumstances. I’ve been in a monogamous relationship with a person I love dearly for over a dozen years. We have two crazed children, aged five and seven, who fill our lives with noise, drudgery, household wreckage and the occasional, fleeting moment of rapture.

Parenting is to a sex life as poison ivy to a picnic.

And then there’s the ennui, that overwhelming sense of having been there and done that after thirty years of sexual activity. (Naturally, there’s plenty I’ve never done, but attempting anything new these days is frankly out of the question).

My partner is five years younger than me, and three weeks without sex is a less reasonable amount of time for her than it is for me. Sometimes we argue about just how long it’s been. I’ve taken to marking the calendar when we’ve done it as proof of how recently it happened, should that ever become a point of contention.

Most of the libido is in the mind...I can channel my inner Mick Jagger, defy my advancing years and reclaim my mojo.

Good grief, what’s happened to me? I’m deeply attracted to my partner, having sex with her is not a chore, it’s about as much fun as can be had around here, why am I making excuses?

I think it’s time to arrest the decline. Most of the libido is in the mind. And in my mind’s eye, I don’t have to be a slouching, paunchy dad with more hair in his ears than on the top of his head; I can be a strutting, snake-hipped rock god, I can channel my inner Mick Jagger, defy my advancing years and reclaim my mojo.

You can’t always get what you want. But there’s no harm in trying.


SBS explores diversity in a bold and original way with a new commissioned weekly series, Undressed.

Undressed airs on Mondays from 16 January at 9:30pm on SBS. The first four episodes are available to watch now on SBS On Demand. Join the conversation: #Undressed  

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