Is there such a thing as too much sex?

I'm having ecstatic, unlimited sex in the Dominican Republic, but I'm getting bored with life.

Published September 8, 2005 9:36PM (EDT)

Dear Cary,

Am I ruined?

I am a 54-year-old widower, not impoverished, and in good health. I don't smoke, drink or take drugs.

For the last 18 months I have been making monthly trips to the Dominican Republic where I have a stunningly beautiful girlfriend 20 years my junior, whom I support financially, along with her mother and her two kids. She is a simple but goodhearted woman and I am very fond of her and her family.

But in my time down there I have also had sex with 50 or more beautiful young women, some of them 30 or more years my junior. I have had sex with two girls at a time, with as many as five women in one day, etc., etc. And it has been great. I feel loved and cherished, and I get lots and lots of practice at conversational Spanish, a language that I only took up when all this started and in which I am beginning to develop some fluency.

Of course it is prostitution, because money or gifts always changes hands, and I am not quite so stupid as to believe that they (or even my very beautiful girlfriend, or "novia") would entertain me without fiscal gain. But then again, it is not what people usually think of as impersonal prostitute sex. It is often wild, passionate, thrilling, fun and actually as good, no, better than sex with a regular girlfriend.

So my sexual fantasies are all fulfilled.

Of course, all of this makes it quite impossible for me to have any kind of relationship with any woman that our U.S. society would consider eligible. (I have been turned down for dates by 45-year-old women on the grounds of my advanced age.)

But what bothers me now is that I find I can't get interested in movies or literature and I can't even watch TV at all, because so much of the ability to enjoy popular entertainment seems to depend on unfulfilled sexual yearnings. "Wuthering Heights," "Anna Karenina," "Madame Bovary," they all fall flat for me, and frankly I am getting tired of life, except when I am down in the Dominican Republic.

I suppose you can say that I have all the symptoms of sex addiction, except that I am rapidly getting bored with unlimited ecstatic sex (after all, I am 54), and I am starting to wind down on the sex, preferring to just lie back and get an occasional blow job for entertainment.

Am I ruined? Have I eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? Is this a Faustian bargain, that you get all the sex you want in exchange for terminal ennui?


Dear J,

I'm glad to hear that your conversational Spanish is going well. There's no better way to learn a language than from native speakers.

Perhaps after some more practice you will begin to be able to read novels and poetry in Spanish. Why not try to learn some Neruda and some Garcia-Lorca? Surely some of these women would be willing to read you a few verses. Perhaps the poetry would have the effect of reawakening your dulled or exhausted aesthetic sense.

It's not surprising, after all, that you have grown tired of conventional narrative fiction and television drama. But deeper questions naturally arise. Whenever a human being finds an activity that is so absorbing that it alters the balance of one's energy for life, or changes one so profoundly that one loses the ability to enjoy things one used to enjoy, it's got to mean something. But what? What might it mean? Does it mean, for instance, that you have always been a man of great hungers and have finally been able to satisfy them? Or did your hungers arise unexpectedly, with sudden force? Were you faithful to your wife, or have there always been other women? How did she die? How long ago? And what role does your age play in this -- are you, for instance, at all concerned about growing older and losing sexual potency? Could that be a secret driving force for this rather prodigious exhibition of yours?

And apart from all that, if we were sitting together talking, say in a shady cafe with a beach breeze blowing, and you had mentioned this fear of yours, I would probably want to ask you, seriously, what is your real concern? Do you actually care if you are a sex addict or not? Do you really care that you seem to have lost your taste for melodrama? Or is there some other fear that haunts you? I ask because on the one hand it must be something quite serious or you wouldn't have written; yet on the other hand you present it in a somewhat distanced way, not as though you have a great and troubling personal concern but more as if you had an intense curiosity about some species of fish you'd seen while diving at Playa Dorada.

So if you are truly interested in answering your own questions -- and you, after all, are the only one who can answer them -- then I would begin by asking what role this current sexual regime plays in your life as a whole, and in particular, how it relates to your wife's death. How was the sex with your wife, if you don't mind my asking? Were you satisfied, or were you always longing to one day begin such a vast priapic enterprise as you have now undertaken? If you did long to be free of your wife for all those years, then how did you feel once she died? Perhaps you felt a combination of grief and relief. Did you perhaps feel some sense of guilt? Forgive me if I offend; I only mean to suggest that you examine the area surrounding the subject. It's none of my business, strictly speaking, but it is very much yours.

It is interesting, actually, what you say about our enjoyment of popular arts depending on unfulfilled sexual longings. It might be that you simply need some stronger stuff. Poetry, like sex, can be both intense and inexhaustibly attractive. It, too, can also drive you mad.

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