The Myth of the Sexual Peak

by An Ordinary Man (the novel)

He would never apologize for needing her physically and he would never risk being scorned on account of that need.

The flip side of forsaking all others is that you do not forsake me. I do not pursue other opportunities because you are my opportunity, not because I have lost interest in those opportunities. I give up the thrill of the chase and the excitement of new skin because you know my desires and have promised to accommodate them. … Liz was wrong; it was in fact a quid pro quo, a contract, and if you breach your end of it, why wouldn’t I breach mine? This may come as a shock, honey, but I am as much a slave to my libido as you are to it, even more so. It’s not a switch I can simply turn on and off. I get hungry and tired at inconvenient times, too, and there’s not much I can do about that, either. How many times do you get to say no, and why do you even want to say no in the first place? You didn’t have to accept the ring.

Tough talk, but he felt his blood freezing in his coronary arteries as he considered his newly-understood future. He was celibate and possibly having a heart attack. At forty-two. Reaching for his phone, he waited to see if any other symptoms appeared that would warrant calling an ambulance.

According to an article in the New York Daily News, it is a myth that men enjoy their sexual peak at an early age. The article quotes Dr. Hilda Hutcherson, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center, as saying “If you are looking for great sex, then ages 35-45 would be the best time [for a man].”  But by that age, a lot of men seem to find themselves trapped in increasingly sexless marriages, just like Richard Wilson, in An Ordinary Man.