Written by Dr Hilda
A friend and I recently celebrated the finalization of her divorce by signing her up with an online dating service. With champagne in hand, we wrote what we viewed as an intriguing profile with just the right amount of sexiness. She was not interested in another husband after ending her 25 year marriage. Her children are grown, independent, and don’t need a new dad. This time, she was looking for someone to date and share common interests. And, of course, he needed to have a job!
With champagne in hand, we charged through the profiles of eligible, middle aged men. The numbers were small, but she was able to find a few that she considered “wink-worthy.” It was fun to share this experience with my best friend and she even listened to my advice. So after her profile was completed and we had exhausted her wink limit, it was time to have a more serious conversation about online dating. I have recommended online dating to my patients for many years, and I have many success stories. But there are rules for what I call, “Safer-surfing” for women.
Choose a reputable site to set up your account. It may be free but that doesn’t mean that you should join. In fact, the sites that require a fee may provide more of the type of men you want to date (ones with jobs, for instance!)
Write an intriguing and accurate profile. It is important to use your real age, if you can remember it, and your real weight or size, not the one from before the birth of your children. Use a recent photo. I have used the same headshot for 8 years, but I am not looking for a new husband. It is best to be honest, as you hope he will be.
Set up a new email account to receive messages from men you meet on the site. Never give your personal email or, heaven forbid, your work email to someone you don’t know. You may find yourself in a situation where you have to delete an AOL account that you have had for 25 years! Or he is blowing up your work email, which is monitored, by the way.
Ask for his phone number. Until you feel comfortable with him, avoid giving him your personal cell number. Some women buy pay-by-the-month cell phones for this purpose. You know how difficult it is to change your phone number, much less alert the 300 people in your contact list of your new digits.
Google him! It’s amazing what you can find out about someone with a simple Google search. If you have ever watched the television show, “Catfish,” you know that you can google his cell number, name and even his photo. Yes, I am telling you to play detective before your first date. Hell, I’d also google his place of employment and look for his name somewhere on the website.
Use Skype or FaceTime to have your initial conversations. Now I may be going a bit overboard with this one. I look 10 years older and 20 pounds heavier on Skype! But some women have found this to be helpful in ruling men out before the first date.
Meet in a public place the first time. You don’t know this person, remember. Meet at a coffee shop or a restaurant bar for a drink. That way, you limit the amount of time you have to spend with him if you don’t find him attractive and you can feel safer.
Limit the amount of alcohol you consume. I know you are middle-aged, and I am treating you like an adolescent. But I can’t tell you the number of middle-aged women I know who have regretted having sex with a man that they didn’t know, and didn’t like. Alcohol lowers your resistance and ability to make sound decisions. Accept drinks directly from a bartender or waiter and once you walk away from a drink, never go back to it.
No sex on the first date! I am not a prude, and I don’t agree with Steve Harvey’s 90-day rule, but I think you need to be more careful with online dating. If you haven’t dated or had sex in a long time, the temptation may be high. Resist! Have pocket-rocket fully charged for your return home, alone!
Buy a variety of condoms and carry at least 2 with you at all times. That way, if you simply can’t resist sex on that first date, you are prepared. We are adults so we can be honest and admit that you don’t always know when sex is going to happen. And I wouldn’t trust anyone to have a good fresh condom ready when the mood hits. That condom he is carrying around may be so old that it has left an impression in his wallet!
When I bring up the topic of condoms with middle-aged women, it is not uncommon to hear:
“I’m too old to get pregnant.”
“I’m too old to get an STD.”
“He says he can’t get an erection with a condom on.”
“I don’t like rubbers” (Yes some people still call them “rubbers!”)
Today’s condoms are not like your mother’s “rubbers.” They come in different sizes and not all men wear the Magnum size. Buy a variety to make sure you always have the right size. Condoms today are so thin that some feel like bare skin when placed on an erect penis. Some condoms are designed with a bulb-like tip to give extra stimulation to the head of the penis, increasing male, and female, pleasure.
You will also need a good water-based lubricant. Lubricants help decrease the risk of condom breakage. Vaseline and kitchen oils will break down the condom and potentially expose you to a sexually transmitted disease. Invest in a good lubricant like any of the KY brands or Astroglide, which you can find at your local pharmacy. You can buy a variety of lubricants online at adult sites like Babeland.com or Evesgarden.com. If you are several years past menopause and not using vaginal estrogen, look for lubricants that contain silicone. Lubricants containing silicone coat your vagina well and last longer.
Learn a sexy way of placing the condom on his penis. That’s right! You need to make sure it actually finds its way to his penis and in the right way. Girl, I could tell you stories!
You may not be able to get pregnant, but you can get a sexually transmitted infection at any age. Always, always, always use a condom until you both have been tested for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. You both need to be retested 3 months later and remain monogamous. No excuses!
Online dating can be a great way to meet interesting people. Be patient. Give it at least a year. You may meet a lot of frogs before you meet your near-prince but, hopefully, it will be an enjoyable experience.
In a future article, I will discuss what every Poised woman needs to know about sexually transmitted infections.