Bring it to Barb


Dear Barb,

Since my husband has retired, he has become far more interested in using his extra time wanting to be intimate with me. Why has this suddenly become so important? We have a great marriage (35 years) and sex has been a normal part of our relationship. I don’t like to refuse his advances, but when I am busy doing daily activities, it is difficult for me because I love him. Should I be worried? Will he cheat on me if I don’t comply with his increased desires?



Dear Worried,

Why has intimacy suddenly become so important? One reason is that he now has time! If he is newly retired, this extra time is a freedom worth celebrating and what better way for your husband to celebrate than with sex. 

One main reason that sex is important to men any age is because it is the language men use to express their tender, loving, vulnerable side. It’s their language. We women think of sex as being primarily a physical need for a man, but it isn’t. One of a man’s deepest emotional needs is to feel that his wife desires him and wants him. If he sees that his wife wants and desires him, it gives him a sense of well-being in all other facets of his life. If he see’s his wife take a long breath, a big sigh, and say, “Okay, fine, let’s get this over with,” then it becomes confusing to him thinking she doesn’t desire him. He thinks she doesn’t really care about him. It’s like a punch to the gut! 

Women don’t realize how important it is to be purposeful about developing new habits of showing our men enthusiastically that we desire them. It can be just a simple sticky note on the bathroom mirror, in a drawer, or attached to the refrigerator. Try a special dinner or gift or a back rub, shoulder rub, foot rub, even a shower together. There is no one “right amount” of sex that men need, but the one constant is his emotional need to feel that you desire himso then he can relax. 

I will add, however, that just like anything else that releases feel-good dopamine through the body, sex can become an addiction for both men and women. 

Since you asked about the worry of cheating when you don’t accommodate his desires as he wishes, I can share the most common reasons why men do cheat. To top the list is lack of intimacy. Men have admitted that it is the #1 reason why they seek another woman (or man) on the side, which is anything from kissing to more sexual activity. 

How you look is a disgusting reason, but unfortunately it is a common reason why men cheat. We may not look as fabulous as we once did, but we’re all going to get less attractive as we age. If you’ve selected a spouse who is more focused on your looks rather than your personality, this could create a disadvantage for you as you age. 

Finally, if you find that your man is immature, it’s likely that he possesses the capability to cheat. Most infidelity comes down to this reason alone. Cheating, in and of itself, is an immature act no matter the reason. 

Statistically, baby boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, experienced a triple divorce rate over their parents’ generation. If a couple hasn’t addressed their marital issues prior to retiring, they will surely confront them after. Worry less and maybe play more!

Barb Rock is a mental health counselor and the published author of “Run Your Own Race: Happiness after 50.” Send any questions related to mental health, relationships or life issues to her at

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