DC widow blog writer Marjorie Brimley walks away from camera in field holding hands with husband Shawn
Ask A Widow

Ask a Widow: Yes, It’s Okay to Want to Have Sex Again

WARNING: If you are squeamish about sex OR if you are my father, you may want to stop reading right now.

Because I’m going to talk to you about sex. Not just about desire or dating, but actually about sex. And I’m not going to discuss the sex that you once had. I’m going to talk to you, my widowed friend, about wanting to have sex again. Even when you are grieving.

Last week, I asked my readers to let me know the questions they had about widowhood and grieving. Many people wrote me, and the overwhelming topic was sex. A composite of the most common note went something like this:

My husband died a few months (or years) ago. I cry most days when I think of him, and sometimes I feel like I’m barely holding it together. But….I have started to notice other men. Not just a little bit, either. It’s like my entire body is on fire when I get the smallest glimpse of a decent-looking man. I would really like to have sex again, but I have so many conflicting emotions and I don’t know how to tell anyone I feel this way. Is this normal?

Okay, I’d like to reiterate here that I am not a therapist. But I am going to say this anyway: DESIRING SEX IS COMPLETELY NORMAL. Even if you are a widow.

Maybe your husband died suddenly, and you spent the first few months after his death reeling from the shock, unable to imagine wanting sex again. Or maybe your husband died slowly, and the caregiving and daily stressors for months or years meant that your desire for sex was so low that it took a long time to return. Maybe you’re still in the place where you think you’ll never want to have sex again. That may be where you will stay. And that’s okay.

But for many of us, the desire to have sex again returns. The day I woke up and realized I physically desired another man, I cried a lot. The day I acted on that desire, I cried a lot more.

But do you know what I also felt? Relief.

It’s really surprising – shocking even – to want to have sex with someone who isn’t your husband. And yet, the desire for sex is a normal human emotion. After Shawn died, I felt numb. I had this vivid moment about four months after Shawn died when all of my girlfriends were talking about an attractive man in our midst and I couldn’t appreciate him like they could. It was like looking at a painting. But then, one random day on vacation a little over six month after Shawn died, I started talking to an attractive man at the pool. Like a light switch, I felt desire sweep over my body.

I didn’t have sex with that man. What I felt in that moment was terrifying to me, and I kept it a secret for many weeks. When I told my sister, she reassured me that it was completely normal for me to feel this way (she had some choice words for anyone who would shame me for feeling this way, because she’s awesome.) When I finally told my friends, they did the same and tried to encourage me to start dating. But I couldn’t say it on this blog and I couldn’t tell anyone outside my inner circle. Just the mere statement, “I feel something towards men again” was something I could barely utter out loud for months.

But really, when I look back a year ago, I can’t believe I was so hard on myself. Of course I desired men again. Of course I wanted to have sex again.

I am a widow, not a monk.

Desiring sex is completely normal, even if you are a widow. But you know what? I need to add something to that statement. Desiring sex is completely normal. Especially if you are a widow.

If you’re a widow, it’s likely that you haven’t been sexually touched in months or years. You haven’t put your lips on someone else’s for as long as you can remember. You haven’t felt the pull towards another human being in a long, long, time.

So of course you want to have sex! That’s what good sex is all about – desire, connection, and appreciation for another human being. Yes, it can also be about love, but it doesn’t have to be.

There are a lot of other things I should probably discuss, such as the emotions that surround a first post-widowed sexual experience and the way that society views widows who want to have sex again. But that will have to wait for another time, because this post is about one thing. It’s about me telling you this:

It is normal to want to have sex again.

It is normal to want to have sex again even if your husband just died a month ago. It is normal to want to have sex again even if you haven’t felt that desire for years. It is normal to want to have sex again even if you still wear your wedding ring. It is normal to want to have sex again even if you only once believed in sex within marriage. It is normal to want to have sex again even if you dream of your late husband every single night.


And for those of you who need to hear it, it’s also okay to act on that desire. Yes, you are a widow. But you are also someone who deserves to fully live in this world.

**This column is merely my point of view and is for informational purposes only. I am not a therapist or medical professional, and thus my thoughts should not be a substitute for advice from these professionals. Please get immediate help if you feel like harming yourself. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.


  • Jennifer Davison-Navarro

    I have felt a lot of shame and embarrassment for thinking about having sex again. I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to dating, let alone initiating sex with a man. It seems so complicated; I have three small children as well and the thought of how complicated it can all be is exhausting. How do I keep my Mom Life and dating life separate? I’d have to leave my house to meet someone I would even consider to sleep with. It’s confusing and hard. Have you ever introduced your kids to someone you have dated??

    • Marjorie

      I get that. And no – I haven’t dated anyone seriously enough for that to happen, and it’s hard to imagine that part of dating, honestly. But I hope it will someday. I think the kid issue is a WHOLE other topic (maybe I’ll cover that here someday!) but it’s a really tough one. I hope this post can at least curb a bit of the shame and embarrassment around sex that many widows feel, because it’s not something that I’d wish on anyone!

    • Dave

      I moved into a retirement community May 6th 2021. The place is full of widows. Many 70’s 80’s 90;s 100’s. One in particular Mabel age 93. Has taken a liking to me. I am 66. Her husband died in 1990. Has not had a physical relationship since then. She says she does not feel 93, So, we gave it a try, She liked it. Wants to do it again.

    • Iris Nasser

      I am so confused and scared. Thank you for writing this I feel guilty about my feelings and I never had these feelings before. I didn’t need to because he was here.
      It is not that long and I feel horrible that I’m now constantly thinking about that.

        • Tim

          My wife Mary died in September after being in declining health for quite a while. We hadn’t had sex in over a year and I was taking care of things myself so as not to cheat on her. And after she died, even while grieving, I would still take care of my sex drive myself. After a month and a half, I found a former co-worker online who was actually attracted to me when we worked together. We had a short fling and I did feel incredibly guilty after the first time. But she’s also a great friend who pulled me out of a suicidal funk I was in after Mary died. We still talk and now I tell her about and get advice about other women. Mary’s been gone four months, after a 25 year marriage and I do get flak from people who think it’s way too soon to date. But they don’t understand the depths I sunk to in my grief and now I feel attractive again and it’s really helping my self esteem that took a nosedive after losing Mary.

      • Kay

        I understand completely, it has been 10 weeks since my husband died suddenly. I miss him so much but have been missing sex for the last 4 weeks or so. It is more complicated bc an unmarried cousin of his lives with us. I have never had any attraction to him ever in any way but I can’t stop thinking about sex and it unfortunately involves him bc he is the closest male to me. I feel guilty for my mind going towards that; as I don’t want any relationship much less with him but can’t stop thinking about sex with him bc he is the closest thing to me. It’s Ike I think sex and my brain says there is a penis you can use to get off with. I feel awful.

        • M Brimley

          It’s all so so so complicated. I’d say this is such a complicated set of circumstances that it’s probably useful to talk to someone outside the situation about it. I don’t often recommend therapy (I had a very mixed record with it being helpful!) but since it’s all happening inside your house, I think it makes it easier to talk with someone outside your house. But it’s so tough, and I hate that you feel so awful. Hang in there. I know it will get better.

        • Margaret

          Kay, I feel the same way. My husband died suddenly the beginning of April. We were together for 30 years. He was the only man I have been with since we were together. All of a sudden I’m like a horn dog. I don’t where it’s coming from. My husband were intimate almost everyday if not twice a day. His brother texts me regularly to check on my son and I. Before I got married I always knew there was an attraction there. Well our late night texting turned to “Sexting”. Long elaborate fantasies. I see him at family functions and the sexual tension is off the charts. I think if anyone found out it would be bad, but part of me wants to act on it. He says I shouldn’t be ashamed because we’re both adults and can do what we want. I just don’t want it to turn into an emotional relationship. Friends with benefits. Oh I don’t know what to do. But he makes me feel alive again just by what he says to me I can only imagine if we actually touched in person.

          • M Brimley

            Gosh, I don’t quite know what to say in this exact situation, but I will say that feeling really sexual right after being widowed is not uncommon. I know many people who’ve faced a similar feeling. I might caution a bit against acting on those feelings with your brother-in-law at this stage, and give it a bit of time (for both you and him.) But either way, I feel for you. The early days are really hard.

      • Kakla

        My husband died on me suddenly and we had been happily married for over 30 years I felt guilty for having those feelings as well. I don’t know where this man came from but he was persistent very kind concerned how down and out I was and how alone I was. He was a very positive kind person and help me through some very dark scary moments of entering a world without my husband. It been a long time for me 5 years and when he touched me he asked if that was okay and I go it actually feels good we’ve been seeing each other no relationship actually but we’ve been seeing each other for 5 years it’s long distance sometimes we only see each other every other month sometimes it’s every other week each time is like a new venture ,, I felt guilty for a while for enjoying sex so much and then I felt guilty for the guy that I was with not wanting anymore from him but sex I didn’t think it was fair for him but somehow he still likes me he’s happy I’m happy I don’t know how to explain it but I too was scared and felt guilt I didn’t think it was fair to my husband or him the way I felt but I’m over that now it’s been over 10 years all I can say is I hope you find the right person that is his understanding is the one I found it can be very healthy and make you very happy. Good luck.

        • M Brimley

          Thank you for sharing! It can be really hard to wrap your head around a new relationship, as you noted, but I wish that I could take away the guilt you – or any widow – feels about finding someone new….or just wanting sex! I’m so glad you’ve finally settled into your new love. Best wishes!

      • Carrie

        My husband has been gone two years this month. I have went through what they call widow fire the burning desire of wanting sex so bad. Not sure if it’s because I don’t have it and I was so use to having it. But when I have the desire my husband comes to me in my dreams and sexually satisfies me. What could this mean what is happening how is this possible?

        • M Brimley

          The mind is a strange thing, but I think if you are feeling emotionally whole experiencing the world (and your husband) this way, there’s nothing wrong with it! And also, as I’ve said in this post and others, wanting sex is such a normal thing!

    • Jon bowen

      My wife is the love of my life; she is my best friend. And while sex can be just sex, if she leaves this world before me,she was faithful and my everything. My grandfather and grandmother never dated again- I most certainly won’t- there is really nothing special in this world and 99.99 percent of us will eventually be forgotten completely.

      But the true love of my life was the greatest gift I could have ever received. And I will leave this world as hers- because I am and always will be 🙂

      And I would never tarnish that

    • Janet

      I feel just the same as you do. My husband died 2 months ago and I crave sex. I have dreams of having sex but what gets me more is I dream about my husband and I having sex. At this moment I don’t want t to meet anyone but I do notice them. I just hate the thought of having someone other than my husband and also my three children at home.

    • Adelaju Folake Olubunmi

      Your article is inspiring,but it’s not easy to erase the memory .Also it’s hard to find a man that’s like my lost husband let alone sex.Please what can I do,am in prime age.

      • Marjorie

        I wish I had an easy answer. I think it’s just one of those things that takes time and luck, honestly. And all the feelings you have as you navigate it are normal. Not that it makes it any easier, but just know that we’ve all been there. Hang in there.

  • Jenn

    Thank you for another amazing post. I am five months in and although I know that I am nowhere near being able to give another man the time of day, let alone act on it, (solely because of where I am in my own process), I do have desires and am aware of how the world would view me if I was ready to act on it, and it sucks. I so appreciate your writing from this place of understanding and giving a place that we can turn to. As a mother of three who is 37 years old, these are the real topics that often go uncovered. We love, we miss, and we hurt for our husbands, but hey, we are still trying our hardest to live what strange life we are left behind with. I find it funny how people are so quick to tell a widow that we have to still live, and yet, judge us for our attempts to find what still living means.
    The other day a man walked up to me and took his time to finally ask for my number. I wasn’t ready to even open up to a friendship with a man that likes me, and could barely tell whether or not I even found him attractive (strange huh). Regardless, it was nice to 1) see that I made myself approachable enough for him to approach me (I had mastered keeping them away), and 2) learn that other men still desire me. It gave me a sense of hope because I don’t want to be alone forever in pain and at some point, yes, I do want to have sex again (although the thought is terrifying).

    • Marjorie

      Thanks so much for sharing – and I’m so sorry for your loss. I loved what you said here:

      I find it funny how people are so quick to tell a widow that we have to still live, and yet, judge us for our attempts to find what still living means.

      YES! It’s so true.

      Hang in there.

      • Andrea

        A younger friend of mine who is a widower told me about your blog. His suggestion came at just the right time. I’m 65, I took care of my very sick husband for several years before his death. Now, fourteen months later I find myself interested in dating again, perhaps intimacy with the right man. I mean I’m not dead yet. To that end I placed my profile on an online dating site. Oh, the shaming from friends. My son also disapproves while my daughter is cheering me on. We shall see how this goes, let the adventure begin!

        • Marjorie

          Ugh – this is so tough to do EVEN if everyone is cheering you on! My kids are still to young to really understand dating, though I haven’t become serious enough yet for them to need to meet anyone, which I’m sure would be hard on a lot of levels. But GOOD LUCK to you – what you are doing is truly brave.

          • Pam

            Hi Marjorie, I am also a 65 year old widow who took care of her intensely ill husband. I want to tell you that I met a kind wonderful man on a dating site and last night I had the most amazing sex of my life. We will be seeing each other again, but I am not looking for marriage right now, just a caring relationship.. Pam

    • Nia

      I totally understand your position as a widowed 38 yr old mother of 2 it is extremely hard to open up. I have started to feel sexual desire again but I am sacred to death to pursue it. It all feels so foreign to me. I was with my husband for 15 years and could not think about being with another man. I am trying to take my grief one day at a time and everyone talks about how the loss feels but not the physical disconnect or loneliness that your body goes through. One day maybe things will change but for now it just not gonna happen.

      • M Brimley

        I just want to chime in here and say – it’s ALSO okay to not want to act on any sexual desires. I remember that feeling VERY vividly. It changed for me, eventually, but obviously the timeline is different for everyone. Hang in there. It sucks to feel this way so the only real advice I have is to go easy on yourself when you can.

    • Joanne

      Hey Jen, your comments resonated so much with me. I’m 4months in at 34. He died in a road accident on his way back from out of town. I hadn’t seen him for 3days. And everybody keeps saying I need to be strong for the kids and all. But I wonder who is strong for me?! My Isaac was my earth. He always said he revolved around my sun and I’m just empty and tired and scared and angry.
      Today a contractor came to work in my house and I got feelings. Why?! I just wish there was a straight answer for everything. How do I balance myself as a mother, businesswoman, Christian with Joanne the widow?!

      • M Brimley

        Joanne, I totally get that. It’s not a bad thing to feel something for another man – that’s normal! Balancing it all is really hard, especially in the early months. I’ve written a bunch about the early days, about dating, and about how the process can be….a lot. Hang in there. It does get better.

  • Barbara

    I lost my husband of 35 years in July, we were so in love with each other. I miss physical contact so much but I don’t want to meet guys on dating sites, it’s too risky and I don’t want to get a disease. I want to meet my next partner the old fashioned way. I’m 54, but I look 40. Anyone have any advice for me? I’m really seeking a platonic male friend to hang out with who could turn out to be a romantic partner. The idea of having sex with a new person is really scary and kind of disgusting. The world has changed so much since I was 18 and dating my husband.

    • Marjorie

      I think it’s not something that happens quickly, really, and that we have to do things at our own pace. I don’t have much advice, honestly, as I’m still figuring it out. But I’ve learned that there are many ways to meet people (hello, hash run!) if you’re willing to have a few let-downs along the way. That said – go easy on yourself. It’s tough just to THINK about another person in your life, but you’re taking the first baby step by writing this down.

    • michael

      Barb, I m a man in a similar situation, lost the long time love of my life in September. 34 years together. Its not you, its everyone who lost a loving partner. I can only say what I plan to do, and that is to focus on rebuilding my health, self confidence as myself as a newly singled person, focus on building and renewing friendships. I know a few male friend who were Catholic, and did well meeting people on a Catholic dating site. I have also met a few people that have met and married people using Match.com and those types of sites, but I have also heard alot of negative feedback. Its a challenging but interesting situation that we all find ourselves in. I try to remind myself daily that I didn t choose this situation, it chose me, so I try and learn from it and grow thru it. Its not either “Bad” or “Good” but an “Experience”. If we accept that this “Experience” came into our lives for a reason, I feel that it opens this up as an adventure and growth opportunity that perhaps we will be thankful for someday.

    • Ann

      Barbara, At 46 years old I found myself in the same circumstance as you. After being widowed for close to a year I met a man who seemed very nice but a few years younger and we sometimes went to dinner and movies. Although I had no desire for marriage it was so nice to spend time with him and after a few weeks it happened ! Now, seven months later, I still do not want marriage but we enjoy being together and even taking trips. Sex is something I wasn’t ready to give up at 46. Now I notice that men often seem interested more than ever which boosts my confidence and gives me the urge to keep in good shape and not let my appearance go. Like you, I have been told I look much younger and I feel like it too !!

      • M Brimley

        Yes! Everyone takes their own path, but just because you become a young widow doesn’t mean you have to give up sex, love and everything in-between. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kathy

    Hi, you wrote a brilliant line a while back, “only do it when it does’nt turn your stomach at the thought of it”, i am over 3 years in and although I do think of sex, Im not ready to take it further, to add to that I have put on 30lbs since my partner past. So my aim is to get myself healthy, fit and feeling beautiful before I can take it any further. thanks for writing, really helps.

    • Marjorie

      I get that! I think it’s something that shouldn’t ever be rushed, but that should also be allowed whenever the time feels okay. The only person who knows the best timing is YOU!

  • Mindy Spindler

    This subject is something I really needed to read right now. I’m going through the same thoughts and actually put myself out there on a dating website. It is hard, and you have to be very careful and smart about it. Interesting that a couple people commented that they’re going to focus on working on themselves. That’s what I just concluded for myself the other day. I need to work on me; mind, body, and soul. Thank you so much for your insight and this blog. It really helps to know so many of us are going through the same situation and we are not alone. Support is comforting.

    • Marjorie

      YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Even if I feel that way, even when I write that on my blog, it just isn’t true. There is a whole community of widows out there, supporting each other. And we’re all trying to navigate this crazy world alone….and together.

    • Lorraine

      I am still very much in love with my dead husband, if anything the love is more intense, yet I don’t want to be alone the rest of my life. I am only 57, not dead. I so wish that my husband and I had made love the weekend before he died suddenly. My question is how do I reconcile the Catholic Church’s antiquedated ideas on no masturbation and no premarital sex when I have no desire for remarriage? I want to eventually find a companion but won’t a normal man eventually expect sex? I felt so guilty as a teenager having sex, have since confessed it and don’t want to go through that again. Rationally I do believe that sex is a basic human need.

      • M Brimley

        I’m not sure there’s an easy answer here, except that you may have to learn how to navigate either bending your desires sexually or bending your desire to conform to your church’s rules. I will say this: I think in practice, a lot of people in the church are more understanding than you think. Maybe a discussion with a lay person – someone who is also faithful, just not a priest – may help clarify what you want going forward. But I agree – sex is a basic human need, and not one that should be ignored at any age. How to navigate all that can be difficult, but it is worth exploring.

  • Zee

    Marjorie, thank you for this post and your blog. I never new it existed but I, like you, am a young widow. My husband died 2 years ago – to the date of this article. Coincidence? A sign? Either way, I’m glad I found your blog. Today, my son “gave me permission” to date; just haven’t given permission to myself. I look forward to continuing to reading your stories because you are right, we are not alone and need the support of this community.


    • Marjorie

      Oh, wow. Thanks so much for reading and for posting here. Yes, it’s so hard to figure out how to date again, even when others around us want us to (and that’s not always the case, so I commend your son!) Best of luck with everything – I’m pulling for you!

  • Jodi

    Thank you for voicing the words I have not been able to. I lost my husband of almost 25
    Years last year. I’m 45 and having a tough time figuring out how or where to begin venturing into dating or sex in general. I met my husband at 18 and he was my everything. We raised our twins and now looking back I’m not really wanting to do that again. I am open to a relationship but most are afraid to approach as if they feel I may fall apart at any moment. I’ve spent the past year relearning who I am as an individual and am looking forward to moving on. I’ve returned to school and work full time. I am living for myself for the first time but would love suggestions on how to move forward. Where do I begin?

    • Marjorie

      I’m so sorry. And also, I’ve had so many people write me about this that I think I’m going to do a post about it. Best wishes. (And thanks for the idea, though as I write these words, I have no idea what advice I possibly have!)

    • Darlene

      Jodi, I am 44 years old and lost my husband last September. We were friends at 16, dating at 17, married at 20. I relate to you so strongly. I am currently learning who I am as an individual and as a single mom. I am beyond terrified of moving on. My body is ready for physical touch and sex but my mind isn’t. I have a lot of crying and healing to do but I am proud of you looking towards your future. I’m so sorry for your loss and for becoming a you g widow. This is theee hardest experience of my life. I wish you a future of fun and adventures.

      • Marjorie

        The first year was so hard for me. I remember getting to about 6-7 months and feeling ready for something else in my body, but not really in my heart or mind. It’s all so complicated, but please know this: it’s also so normal. Hang in there.

  • Bastiaan

    Seems I use your blog to help me guide me through this journal. Thank you! Three months after my wife Shaila passed away, my son who is 23 said “ you still look good” you should consider looking. Although at this stage of my grieving, I did not realize what a gift it was. I never anticipated that my desire for a relationship of some kind (emotional or physical) would return that fast. I felt guilty and also did not share this secret feeling. 7 months had passed and I was invited to a tennis club social event and I saw this attractive woman look at me in a way I had not permitted myself to indulge in for my entire 34 year relationship. Wow, it felt amazing! And more important, I just let it feel good! Nothing happened but it did give me the signal that perhaps there is a possibility that I will find love again. Who would of ever expected to get the chance to feel that “crush” again after such heartbreak and grief. I plan to take the advice of one of my close friends, “don’t deny yourself happiness”.

    • Marjorie

      Amen. Don’t deny yourself happiness!! Dating (and everything that comes with it) was one of the most difficult things I did in the second year – but it was so important. Like you, it was around 6-7 months when I realized it could be possible. But that possibility is really nice to think about.

  • Mary

    Thank you for writing this blog. I am a 67 year old widow of 12 months and have recently been obsessed with wanting to be touched, fondled, caressed, kissed – everything. And we are in the age of coronavirus, which has made meeting someone difficult. But I persist…. I have met one man and have been affectionate with him, and text about five others and hope to meet them all, and if they feel right to me, I plan to be intimate with them all. I am glad I live alone and have all the privacy I need in the event of an “afternoon delight” or an intimate evening at home occurring. Glad it is normal because I am enjoying the feelings and plan to act on them. Only several months ago the thought of a man even touching my hand made me cringe. Glad I am alive again! Let the games begin!

    • Marjorie

      Yes! I love this post so much. I think we all have to find what makes us happy, and that looks different for every person but I’m so glad you’ve identified this as something you want! Enjoy.

  • Nobody Special

    I’m dating a woman who lost her husband five years ago. I was like number 11 guy she dated on a website and she vowed I’d be the last she was done. Guys were jerks. Maybe I’m jerk too, but I’m really good to her because she’s been nothing but kind and gentle and loving and understanding of me. She told me that before she started dating she had an a good dea of what she wanted in a man. She kinda lost control relatively early on one of our early dates. I didn’t take advantage of her. That wasn’t what I wanted. Really wanted someone special. Someone to care about and someone who would appreciate me for a change. So yes your love got taken away from you but that doesn’t mean you can’t find love again. If you want sex, that’s no problem in this society. If you believe in miracles, if you believe in love, won’t you be shocked when you find love again. What I have with this widowed woman. I’ve never had with anyone else. I can’t tell you that life goes on or anything like that. I can tell you if you’re looking for miracle, it can happen for you. It happened for me and I’m just nobody. She loves me too.

  • No guilt

    Thank you so very much for writing this article. My husband of 30 years died suddenly just over a year ago. We had a wonderful marriage and fantastic sex life that I miss immensely. I recently met someone and we both felt electric chemistry. We acted on it and it was mind blowing. It’s nice to feel desired again. I’m really surprised that I feel happy and not guilty. I hope that isn’t wrong. I choose to think my late husband is happy that I’m doing things that make me smile (seeing me happy is what gave him the most pleasure) I would want the same for him if the roles had been reversed.

    • M Brimley

      EXACTLY – we would wish the same for our spouses, so we should do the best we can to embrace the happiness we can find. Including in the world of dating!

    • Bob

      I’m a senior (over 70) My church tells me it would be a sin to have sex with a senior widow who i feel love again
      How do I ignore this when all your contributors say it is ok to love again and have sex with a new and faithful partner

      • M Brimley

        I can’t tell you how your community will react, or what your church could say. I think it’s important to think about what your new partner will feel and also how having sex outside of marriage (if it becomes public) could be viewed in your community. Everyone doesn’t need to have sex after widowhood! BUT, if you need someone to give you permission, I’ll do that! It’s completely fine to have sex with a new and faithful partner, if both of you feel that it’s good and right. I don’t know how to ignore the words of the church, but I do think engaging with complicated – and sometime contradictory feelings is okay. I wish you the best of luck!

  • Kathleen

    My husband died 6 mo. ago. I am 76 yrs. young. We were married for 39 year and built a blended family. There are pictures of him all over the house. There is someone i am interested in and he is very sexy. I realize my feelings have returned and I would like to have sex with him but i don’t think it is a good idea to have him here. I worry about what the neighbors would think. I know i am a widow and not a nun. I don;t want this man to think he can move in afterwards, I like living alone. What should i do?

    • M Brimley

      Let me say this: I usually don’t give out too much advice, because every situation is different, but in my opinion you should go for it! If you have to move the location, I think that’s perfectly fine. What will the neighbors say? Well, they won’t have to know if you’re at a hotel. And what will he want? You can only know if you tell him your parameters and ask him his. Open communication with the people who need to know (him and you) and no need to communicate with those who don’t (neighbors and any others who may be judgmental.)

      Everyone deserves happiness. Full stop.

      Good luck!

    • John

      Just be open and honest. That works best. Everyone knows what to expect that way. Glad to know you’re a widow and not a nun!! Love that!! Enjoy…and to heck with what neighbors think!

  • Harry

    My wife died suddenly in an accident 7 weeks ago. We were married for 49 years with lots of kids and grandchildren. My kids and I loved her so much. We had so many great adventures together. We also had a great sex life, and liked to hug each other often. For a man that is normally in control, good shape and still very active in outdoor sports, etc, I was not prepared for grief, and emotions that hits me at different times each day. As a male I am embarrassed to admit amount of times I break down crying when I am by myself. Just looking at pictures of her and her stuff can trigger this grief.
    Now that the kids are back with their families and I am alone, I think about intimacy with a woman. I feel guilty and somewhat ashamed of these strong feelings coming to me only seven weeks after her passing. I think I should take it slow, and look for a good female friend (maybe a widow), where we can share thoughts and experiences. From there, maybe I will figure out the next step.

    • M Brimley

      As I say often: there is nothing wrong with feeling any of the feelings you are feeling. What happens as far as next steps is one thing (taking it slow is usually a good idea) but there’s no need to feel embarrassment for the normal amount of crying or other feelings you have about sex. It all seems pretty normal to me to feel conflicted about everything, too. Hang in there. The early days are so hard.

  • John

    There’s nothing wrong with being a friend and sharing wants and needs as long as two people consent, and everyone respects one another. I lost my wife to brain cancer in 2017, and reconnected with a classmate whom I had not seen in 53 yrs, who was also single.

  • Berlina

    My husband died of Covid in April this year of 2020. I was mourning and crying back in the Spring and Summer, Now I think about our nights of lovemaking before we were married. I want to kiss his mouth and hold his….. He was a highly passionate and I WANT MY HUSBAND.
    Damn we was so SEXY! Tall, perfect body. We were so SENSUAL….. I miss cuddling with him and in the middle of the night he would wake me up ( or vice versa ). We would be half asleep, groggy, horny and we’d say in our erotic voice,,, come on let’s……… He was a HOT, HOT, HOT man!!!!! I miss my hazel eyed husband!!….. I do. I’m not sorry for this posting what I feel. And we slow dance together too!!! I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU MY HONEY. AC 11/17/54-4/14/2020

    • Clyde

      My wife of 56 years passed away 2 month ago. In the last 10 years she suffered from one illness after another. With her cancer she was okay doing treatments and staying as normal as she could. However, she lost her physical desire for me. I was her care giver the last 3 months she lived. It hurt so much to see her slowly dying the last week at home. In addition I am care giver for our special needs son. I feel bad wanting to be touched by a woman, hugged, cuddled & even kissed. I miss sex that we had before she could no longer enjoy it. Can I seek that with a close friend. We do hug & hold hands, but I’ve not discussed any thing more. I can’t talk with my son about my needs.

      • M Brimley

        I think if two consenting adults want to find comfort in each other in a safe way, I’m not going to stand in the way! I will say that it can sometimes be really tough to navigate these new situations, so I do think getting a therapist to help process everything with is really important. I hope you find some peace.

  • Elle

    I’m glad I found this blog…I lost my husband 3 years ago at age 42 and have been seriously thinking about dating again for the past few months. I’ve had several men ask me out, but it wasn’t the right time. I thought about “ripping the band aid off” with one of them, but that isn’t me. I feel like I think about sex more than I ever have, most likely because it has been so long. Thank you for sharing your journey and helping others share their voice. My biggest concern is knowing when it is the right time to let my kids in on my feelings. They have all come to me (within the past year) and said “when you’re ready, we’re ready.” But I don’t think I want to share this with them until someone has been in my life for a while, which means sneaking around and hiding this from them, which in turn makes it feel wrong.

    • M Brimley

      Oh, I GET THAT. I have to say, I didn’t tell my kids that I was dating until Chris came in my life and we were serious. I’m not sure that’s the best way to do it. It was fairly easy for me to hide it from them, as they were/are young, but I have other friends who’ve discussed it openly with their kids. I think it just depends, but I love that your kids have told you that they are ready for you to date if/when you want to. Also, FWIW, I think it’s up to you when you decide to tell them. You don’t have to tell them right away, and I don’t think you need to feel guilty about keeping some things private. (Just my opinion, but hey, that’s all I’ve got!)

  • Melissa

    It’s been 4 years since I lost the love of my life. I’m 58 now, but before he became ill (Cancer), we still enjoyed a wonderful sex life. I don’t want a relationship right now, but I do want sex. My problem is I have no idea how to even begin to look for someone. He was the first to go among our group of friends and I can’t even talk to them about this issue. I don’t hang out in bars, but I am willing to. I don’t mean to sound “loose”. I haven’t been with anyone in over 36 years except my late husband. I just need to feel like me again. Any suggestions?

  • Rita

    Have just read the article. 16 months into widowhood and the celibate life was driving me insane. I am 77 years old for heaven’s sake. My husband and I had a 50 year long very loving relationship, lots of cuddles, kisses and we enjoyed each other’s bodies right until his final illness ravaged that beautiful body that I loved so much. And months after his passing I was horny every night. That is the only way to describe it. I was gagging for it. There is nothing that replaces the man’s penis – masturbation, sex toys, etc. – nothing comes near to having a man do what only a man can do. It is gratifying to know that I am not a freak nor am I betraying my husband’s memory by desiring another man. And yes, even weeks after he died, I was looking at other men – hoping, wishing, evaluating their looks, their bodies, the way they moved etc. and short of joining a dating agency (which I was very wary of) I hadn’t a clue how I was ever going to meet at man who would come up to my high standards and, more importantly, who would want me. It is a very difficult area and not one I can discuss with friends – too sensitive, too emotional. I know my husband would want me to happy and if that means finding another man I can spend time with, talk to AND have sex with, he would be fine with that. I’m pleased to know I am not the only widow who feels the way I do. So thank you so much for that.

    • M Brimley

      It’s not betrayal or freakish behavior to feel this way at ANY age, and thank you for sharing. I wish you the best of luck!

  • H k

    Hi, I lost him on off a sudden 4 yrs 6 months and 9 days back. After his loss I have given birth tomy only child. I love him so much even today, never felt anything but from last couple of months, this thought is keep coming in my mind. Making me more guilty and shame ful. Many of our colleagues thought we are a great couple, no one has ever seen a husband wife like us and this is the worst end of any love story. I just don’t want to be with any other person but somehow now, I am having sexual desire and I don’t know how to deal with it. Whatever I think or imagine I want him only and the thought that he is not here makes me more sad. I really not understanding what to do, how to deal with my thoughts…

    • M Brimley

      I’m so sorry. Figuring out how to date again is SO HARD. I mean, I’m not sure it’s helpful, but I can say this: it’s a process, one that isn’t easy but that somehow, someday, gets you to a place where dating seems easier. In the meantime, go easy on yourself.

  • Sue Human

    I appreciate this blog–so glad I happened on it. I have been a widow for 4 years. I’m about to turn 70 and have met a nice man. Like others, I have been afraid of “sex” . Your words made me feel better!

  • Morticia

    Your posting was very timely. My dear husband of 39 years passed away 8 weeks ago today. He was very sick for the last year and I cared for him at home although it wasn’t easy but after he passed away, I felt lighter, like a huge load was off my shoulders and my head was no longer in a cloud. I had felt numb with no feelings and had been wondering if I would suddenly have a big breakdown months afterwards. Four weeks after his passing, I ran into a single male friend at the grocery store and I asked if he could help me sell my husband’s huge collection of vinyl records as he knows about that subject. So he came over and looked at the records and we talked. Before departing, he asked if he could see me again. I was speechless, what, I am 64 and you are interested in me? I had spelled out from the beginnng that I do not plan to ever marry again, I got lucky once and not going to try again and I also am really enjoying having the house to myself. He has been back a few times under the guise of looking at the records.

    Yesterday I was reading your post and thinking about how I would really, REALLY like to have sex. After feeling numb for over a year and thinking that I was too old for sex, all of these pent up feelings have returned in a rush. In fact, I was looking out of the window and thinking that if I don’t have sex soon, I may go outside and start gnawing on that tree with my frustrations. Then this nice man texted me about going out for a beer, just out of the blue. Of course, I said yes and we talked for almost 3 hours and then he drove me home. Nothing happened but I think he is waiting on me to make the first move and I am out of practice but I do intend to. I had thought that I was alone in being a widow with these feelings and a very glad to know that it is not at all uncommon.

    • M Brimley

      Oh, feeling attracted to someone else – and desiring them, and maybe even actually having sex – are totally normal feelings! I love your honesty. I think that’s the best way to approach dating – with as much honesty as you can. Good luck – I’m pulling for you!


    I am a widower of a 14 months. I met a widow that recently lost her husband back in September and we have been hanging out, talking going out to dinner, dancing, doing all kinds of stuff together we have had sex half a dozen times and then all of a sudden she is telling me NO but she stills want me to hang out with and then all of sudden she calls me in the middle of the afternoon and wants me to come over and take a nap with her so I did. Her parents live on the same property and they just walk into the house when they want to talk to her and the found us sleeping in the same bed together but we wasn’t doing anything but sleeping and but she still wants to go out dancing and there are times when we do go dancing that she pulls me in close and then there times that she keeps me at arms length. The last night she asked me for a back massage and things started out innocent and she got me all hot and bothered and got up and walked off. Then about an hour later she asked me rub her head to put her to sleep but she asked me to do it in her bed and I stroked her hair her breathing changed and she finally fell asleep and I got up and left and then she called me and asked why I left I told her that since she was asleep I needed to go home, she wanted me to come back over but I told her that I to be up early any suggestions would be helpful

    • M Brimley

      Wow, this is a hard one. But as I’m sure you know as a widower, it’s easy to have mixed feelings about a variety of things after loss, and sex/dating certainly qualifies as a potential minefield of emotion. I mean, more than anything, I think actually talking about what’s happening (“how did you feel the other day when xyz happened? Do you have any feelings of guilt, or are you confused about our relationship? What might make you feel more comfortable?”) can help the most. Not all widows and widowers are meant to be together (see my upcoming post on if widows should only date other widows) but some are. I hope the best for you, whatever the outcome of this relationship.

  • Irene Deleon

    I read ur article my husband died last yr age 63 he didn’t want sex on his last months of life heart problems. I desire him he won’t let me so after his death I started dating his widowed friend he n I enjoy sex only problem is his grown children r hostile we still see each other twice a week because of our working schedule he too misses his wife we cry together he’s a wonderful man problems is his children I’m worried

    • M Brimley

      First, I’m so sorry for your loss. And second, I’m so glad you’ve found someone you like spending time with! I think you just have to take this day by day, and try to think only about the two of you. Because, really, there’s little else you can do. With time, I think many people do come around. Hang in there. I’m pulling for you!

  • Kristen

    Thank you for writing this. I’m 62, married 42 years & prior to my husbands extended illness then death, we weren’t having sex due to ED. I am beyond horny & only 2 months a widow but it’s all I think about. Don’t want to be a celibate woman forever!! Don’t want to play bridge, volunteer or do old lady things. Wanna live, dance, travel, fall in love again. But God forbid I tell anyone that. So thanks for making me feel normal.

    • M Brimley

      You CAN do all that stuff! And you don’t have to tell anyone at all. It gets easier as the time goes on to figure out what’s next. Hang in there. I’m pulling for you!

  • Lina

    Thank you for this. My husband died suddenly at 27. I have been with him for half my life. Though that firey burn for connection happened immediately. Being so young, so many don’t come close to understanding the depth of our relationship, and then the tragic loss of a life partner. How could I begin to explain that?
    So many guilt emotions come with this territory. At 5 mo I just found someone to fill that void. He likes me, ‘understands’ what I’ve lost, but probably wants much more than what I can offer. I am still grieving, dealing with the tragic loss daily. Feels complicated and weird, I don’t want anyone to know, but also want them to be happy for me? I want to puke but am also damn satisfied that that firey burn within has subsided.

    • M Brimley

      First, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. And second, I’m so glad you’re sharing here what it’s like to have a new love in your life. Of course it can feel complicated and weird, and this line really got me: “I don’t want anyone to know, but also want them to be happy for me” – oh, I GET THAT. Can I say one thing? I am happy for you. Truly and fully. Good luck – I’m pulling for you.

  • Shannon

    Thank you so much for writing this. I’m a month out and my grief is so painful, but I also have this desire going on.

    “It is normal to want to have sex again even if your husband just died a month ago.”

    This made me cry, and provided me relief. Thank you, really, thank you.

    • M Brimley

      Oh, it’s so normal. And so hard. I think it’s one of those things no one talks about that SO MANY widows feel. And non-widows can sometimes have a hard time understanding. I don’t know how to make things easier, but do know – this is super normal. Hang in there.