Surviving your midlife crisis
Dear Dr Nekia,
Is midlife crisis a real thing? For example, when someone wants to explore new relationships when nothing is wrong with the marriage they have. Does it have something to do with looking for validation from others outside the home? Or insecurities?
Dear Midlife Crisis,
When we are young, we are busy looking to the future. When we are middle-aged, we focus on settling down and building security. As we get older we begin to question our choices and think more about how much time we have left. If we are satisfied with our choices and progress in life we are more likely to be at peace with ageing. However, if we feel that life has passed us by, we are more likely to become anxious about the time that we have left. It is this anxiety and fear that we call a midlife crisis. Our fear can lead to us doing all sorts of things to convince ourselves that we are not as old as we truly are.
Whether young, middle-aged or old, when males feel insecure or inadequate, they tend to act out by seeking approval and acceptance from women; the more women that show attention the more they believe it validates their self-worth. There are a few other things that you will see males typically do in crisis: they will put great effort into acquiring new things — cars, boats, houses, etc — and they will spend more time on their appearance, all in an attempt to reinvent themselves. Make no mistake about it, however, they are simply masking a battle with inadequacy, failure or doubt.
Women have their way of dealing as well. We also make changes to our appearance to make us feel good about ourselves but most of us lean more towards establishing roots — seeking out companionship, deeper relationships with family and grandchildren, and humanitarian efforts.
There are some of us who will become more independent and self-centred, but these are usually women who feel that they have sacrificed and given so much of themselves over the years that now is the time for them to do what they want to do. Anyone in midlife crisis is facing an identity crisis and, whether male or female, this can cause them to seek attention outside of their primary relationship. I would like to say it has nothing to do with the relationship itself, but that would not entirely be true. If the couple has not aged and grown together, then individuals in crisis are more prone to seek outside validation and fulfilment of any voids. It is very easy for couples to grow apart and enter into a stage of being comfortable and complacent. We must learn to invest more, to not let life get in the way of our unions, in order to prevent this from happening. It is one thing to have a functioning marriage or relationship, but a whole other thing to have a truly intimate one. Never make the mistake of believing functioning equals happiness. Should one or both partners of a union that is simply functioning enter into a state of midlife crisis, infidelity, divorce and separation become very real possibilities. Do not underestimate the importance of the happiness of the relationship that you are in.
Dear Dr Nekia,
Every time that I have sex with my man I need to fantasise about someone else. I believe that you touched on this before, but really this is bad for me. I find him very attractive and I always want to be close to him or have sex with him but if I do not fantasise then I will not reach orgasm — no matter what he does. If I do fantasise, I’m there in five minutes. This cannot be normal and I am beginning to feel guilty about it. I don’t have to fantasise about a particular person, anyone I make up will do, even scenes I remember from porn. How can I get this to stop?
I Need To Fantasise
Dear I Need To Fantasise,
It is quite clear that you are not that into your man sexually, the question remains why. Since you find him to be attractive and also have the desire to be close to him, we can eliminate the possibility of his appearance being of major concern. And since you are able to easily reach orgasm while fantasising, we can eliminate you having a personal barrier to climaxing. For some reason, you are not connecting with him once the act begins. Often the man’s technique and anatomy come into play here. If your man is not doing the right things or does not have the anatomy that pleases you, it will be very easy for you to get turned off.
In this case you will want go spend some time teaching him exactly what you like and learning how your bodies best move and fit together. Set aside a few sessions to have fun and explore. Another reason could be that you need more stimulation before penetration or oral sex. If you find it very easy and satisfying to fantasise, you will benefit more from longer foreplay. Slow down and let the anticipation build, touch and tease one another more. Do not rely on oral sex or the usual key points of foreplay. Begin in the kitchen while making dinner, or even earlier in the day by exchanging a sexy text. Remember that sex is mostly mental anyway, and from the sounds of it, you thrive off mental excitement. Use this to your advantage by turning yourself on to him mentally, far before anything physical begins to happen. You will also want to eliminate porn. It is a distraction that is causing you to disconnect from real life sex. You should not need to fantasise about anyone or anything that is not present with the two of you in that bed so eliminate all distractions. This will also include masturbation. We train our genitals to become aroused by our specific touch and to respond to our personal fantasies. When it comes to connecting with our partners, it can be quite difficult because we are used to our routine of self-stimulation and fantasy. Focus on your man long before physical touch, slow down foreplay to create a build-up of anticipation and more pleasure as you explore how your bodies work best together. If none of this improves the situation for you, then there may be a non-sexual reason for what’s going on. It is not uncommon for issues in other areas of our lives or in the relationship itself to creep into the bedroom.
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