On the surface, they live in long-term relationships and mostly shrug when the issue of a sex life comes up. But in confidential conversations, they reveal their innermost dreams: sex with several people, sex with men, and they'd like a hot affair with an attractive colleague.
In addition, most men want their permanent partner to take the initiative more often. "I dream that a horny woman will tear off my pants", admits Stephen, aged 45. So meet three forty-year-old Swedish men who tell us how they really want sex.
The man is usually described as being the norm, and this also applies to sexuality. The popular myth tells us that middle-aged men are the people with complete control over their sexuality, and who live as they wish. In fact, they often repress their sexual dreams is much less well known.
Many middle-aged men can testify that they do not at all have the sex life they want. On several online forums, men complain about how they live in almost sexless relationships. Over the years, I have received many letters from men telling me about their innermost sexual desires, and that they are rather pessimistic about ever being able to live them out.
Some blame the increasing sexual awareness of women for male sexuality almost becoming shameful. Others say that they have lost touch with their horniness, that they are so focused on giving pleasure to their partners that they have lost the ability to achieve their own pleasure. But everyone has a similar dream: to meet women who surrender themselves to passion and who affirm their desire without looking at gender roles and conventions.
A middle-aged Swedish man can be expected to occasionally suffer from a debilitating condition and be prescribed some erection-supporting pills for it. Still, otherwise, he is expected to remain silent just as if in good health.
Perhaps this is part of men's traditional reluctance to talk too much about emotions and embarrassing problems. Men still keep up appearances, at least when it comes to sex. Women rely on female friends to a much greater extent and discuss even the most intimate subjects (including their partners), while men jog or drink a beer in front of the television while repressing their problems and frustration.
In a survey conducted by the Swedish magazine Tara a few years ago, half of the 300 women surveyed thought that men's prime was between 40 and 50 years. Perhaps a somewhat surprising result when younger men's qualities as lovers are often emphasized. But a middle-aged man tends to have more experience and at the same time is not as eager, a combination that is appreciated by many women.
Contrary to what many might think, men do not enter menopause like women, male sexual ability and desire do not decrease as he becomes middle-aged. Admittedly, there is a small decrease in the male sex hormone testosterone in many men aged 35-40, but there is no pre-programmed drop. If the man remains physically active and exercises regularly, he maintains his sex hormones better.
An active sex life also contributes to testosterone still being produced, and its decline is suppressed. So the same goes for men as for women: use it or lose it. Lack of testosterone is evident from the body. Muscles turn into fat, which settles around the abdomen. But this damage can be repaired in many cases. If the man diets and starts exercising, testosterone production increases and fat turns back into muscle.
Testosterone is a hormone that is surrounded by many myths, such as that it can lead to increased aggression. In reality, the opposite can be true - too low levels can lead to irritation and a shorter fuse. Another myth is that testosterone greatly increases your sex drive and sexual ability. Relatively little testosterone is actually needed to maintain healthy sexual function - high levels do not have a greater effect.
Can one then say that men were deprived of their true sexuality on the altar of heterosexuality? The heterosexual pair relationship is based on fidelity and monogamy, something that many men, but even women, consider to be suffocating and depressing. But having both worlds, a secure and comforting relationship and at the same time, rich sex life is often something that does not work in practice.
"I've been married to an amazing woman for almost 15 years. We are very good friends, and we also have two children together. I enjoy my life for the most part, but the problem with sex is something that scares me... It's something I can't talk to my wife about, I feel too much shame. It is mostly during the last two or three years that my fantasy of having sex with another man has grown strong. Maybe because I'm approaching 50 and it's starting to feel like "now or never"... In a society where infidelity and bisexual relationships had become more acceptable, I'd probably have acted on this long ago, but social conventions have restrained me. What would people say if they found out? If my soon-to-be teenage children found out?
I don't want to be unfaithful, and I have never been, but when I masturbate this is what I think about, what it would feel like to get oral sex from another man and to have anal sex ... that's another thing I can't ask my wife, our sex life is conventional without any deviancy, and she made it clear at the start of our relationship that the ass is not there intended for sex...
I once made an effort to touch her there, hoping that she would what I wanted. Still, she grew angry and rejected me, a little disgusted and upset, and I can't make any new approach in that area if you know what I mean.
"My sex life is on the backburner! Right now, I'm single, but in my last relationship, it was anything but lively. She was more interested in going for massages and to the hairdresser and spending time with her girlfriends drinking wine… I felt that sex came a long way down on her list of priorities. She blamed everything on headaches and her periods and god knows what else.
I have always dreamed of the totally sexually acting out woman but didn't meet as many as I would have liked. A horny woman who tears my pants off, if you know what I mean! A woman who likes to give head and does not wrinkle her nose to swallow semen, a woman who likes to have sex longer, and takes the initiative herself.
When my relationships started to slow down, I fantasized about a passionate lover but understood that that rarely works out, because their emotions are always part of it, either from my or her side. I have admittedly been unfaithful, both one night stands but also some longer affairs, and that's a real turn-on in the beginning, with the secrecy and the clandestine dates and the horny text messages ... it's exciting in itself, to know that you will soon be sleeping together. If it worked out, I would like to have several women at the same time, the dream is to meet for sex, meet and lie around filthy for a few hours or meet for lunch and then wham, bam, thank you, ma'am.
I have looked around some adult websites but have not found what I am looking for, actually met a woman from a sex site but when we met she was considerably less attractive than in the photos that she posted, so I just paid our drinks and made some excuse. Now I have started dating via different dating apps, have met two girls that way, but again it did not really turn out like what I wanted, but never say never.
"You can summarize my true sexuality as wanting much more of everything. I get the feeling when I meet my friends that most of them are not fully satisfied ... Apparently, you have sex about once a week when you have been together for about five years, or barely that often. Perhaps 3-4 times a month, it's like living in celibacy, if you ask me.
I would love to see my girlfriend being pounded by another guy, and also have another girl in bed myself, or why not get to know like-minded couples ... but my fiancée isn't interested. Maybe it won't last between us in the long run. We have sex a couple of times a week, but she refuses to do anal. Then she is pretty practical, wants to lie on her back and have penetrative sex, she's not very interested in oral sex and blames it on fatigue and stress, but damn!, when I am tired and stressed out sex what relaxes me!
I fantasize about going to a swingers' club too, I would love to see my girlfriend get off on being caressed by others, but she is a little shy and does not want to. I am eager to try a lot of new things, some dominance and submission, bought a sex book for her, but she thought it was too much. She started talking about how no one should have sex against her will, and I agree with that, but I meant more playing, that both partners would get turned on from being tied up and so on ... but abuse doesn't interest me.
I tried Viagra to see if the condition lasted longer, and it was damn effective. You could probably say that I am sexually frustrated, though I realize that I am still doing OK. At least I get to have sex every week, even if it doesn't always turn me completely on.