Do you have a favorite quote for Women's History Month? If so, I hope you'll add it in a comment here.
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Do you have a favorite quote for Women's History Month? If so, I hope you'll add it in a comment here.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
"Oh, please, please, please let me review the LELO Ora!" I begged the wonderful folks at Good Vibrations. A toy that simulates oral sex, made by the luxury vibrator company LELO, sounded like a winner.
The description and video (bottom) made it sound lovely: silicone, beautiful design, with a nubbin that worked as a simulated tip of the tongue -- swirling and flicking. Lots of patterns -- some with all-over vibrations plus the "tongue," some alternating, some just the tongue -- and an intensity setting that claimed to be 30% over the manual settings.
Great idea, lovely design, but Ora doesn't live up to the claims, at least in my bed. The tongue flicks and swirls are very nice, but the nub is so small and the motions are so delicate that they don't come close to doing the job for me. You might love it, if your clitoris is so sensitive that light flicking and swirling are all you need, but I I found the "tongue" way too subtle for any more than a nice warm-up. The vibrating patterns felt really good, especially at the strongest settings (which weren't turbo, but still very enjoyable), but at the highest vibrations, the flicks and swirls were barely noticeable. (See update #4 below.)
The box and the marketing messages claim an "ultra-intense power setting at the touch of a button." I couldn't find any "ultra intense" setting, because as many times as I pressed the "+" button, the highest setting was intense, but not what I'd call "ultra intense."
So maybe, I told myself, I didn't understand how to find that highest setting.
I turned to the "user manual" and quickly became cranky: The so-called manual had warranty, safety and charging information for all LELO products in 12 languages -- but nothing specific to this product and no instructions!
Finally I found it -- all but illegible with its itty bitty grey font on grey paper, it said to go to LELO.com and click on Customer Care to download the manual. Come on, a $169 toy can't have a page of instructions? A luxury sex toy company makes the "go to" notice practically impossible to read? Hello, LELO, I hope you're listening.
Here's where the LELO manuals are, so you don't have to hurt your eyes trying to find it. Except -- whoops! There is no manual for the Ora! I wrote to LELO:
Where is the user manual for Ora? It's not listed, and the included "manual" has no information whatsoever about using this specific product.
I had no problem figuring out how to turn it on, cycle through the patterns, and turn the intensity up or down. But how do I access that mysterious "ultra-intense power setting at the touch of a button" that the box advertises?
I got a prompt but unhelpful response from LELO, telling me how to turn the Ora on and off and cycle through the patterns. I knew that -- as I had told them. I still wanted to know where the "ultra-intense power setting" was that was supposed to gives 30% increase on the standard maximum power at the touch of a button. If we were just supposed to cycle the "+" button until it could go no higher, then tell us that!
Undaunted, I wrote to LELO again with that question. I added:
I have many sex toys, including many LELO products. I wonder how someone receiving this product as a first-timer would know how to use it when there are no instructions included, and the promised manual is not actually there.
2/10 update #1: LELO wrote me this:
Dear Sir or Madam,
Thank you for your email.
If you press the center button, it will change mode, but if you press and hold it for 3 seconds, it will change to the ultra-intense power setting.
I'll try it and get back to you. Didn't want to make you wait for this piece of the puzzle.
2/11 update #2: LELO answered my "Why isn't this information provided on the box, in the instructions (whoops, there are no instructions), or in the video? How are users supposed to know this?" with this:
Our intention was let our customers "discover" it, however I will suggest our departments do some changes about the instruction in case more customers cannot find it.
2/21 update #3: Just received a lovely, personal email from Kathryn Catney, Communication Specialist at LELO, who actually read my review here (and is a "big fan" of my blog). She apologized for the lack of instructions and the useless responses from the Customer Care rep. She said that I must have received an early sample (true), and that all the purchased Oras come with a full "How to Use" manual, which is now online here.
2/26 update #4:
I've retested Ora twice with the new knowledge of how to find the "ultra-intense power setting." Yes, it's better with that setting, definitely. However, the shape of the vibrator, while gorgeous and enabling it to stand upright when not in use, prevented it from working right for me. The "tongue tip" section is recessed. I would have preferred that it balloon from the vibrator rather than recede. The vibrating ring of the vibrator was very nice, but the "tongue" part was still barely noticeable. Sorry, LELO.
We're all different shapes and sizes, including our genitals, so this might be just right for you. Clearly a lot of research, development, and attention to design went into this lovely product. It felt nice, yes, but in the end, it didn't do the job.
All in all, I think the Ora is a great idea, but if your idea of the perfect vibrator is the Magic Wand (reviewed here), you'll be disappointed. However, if you prefer a lighter touch and the idea of subtle swirls and flicks makes you quiver, the Ora might become your new best friend.
Thank you, Good Vibrations, for sending me the Ora and always being supportive of older-age sexuality.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
This book will be a valuable self-help guide for people over 50 of all gender identities and sexual orientations. However, right now, most of the experiences, comments, and questions that readers have sent me are heterosexually focused.
Can you help me fix that?
If you're over 50, identify as LGBT, and you're willing to share comments for publication, please email me or comment here with a few sentences about your experiences or views about any of these that strike your fancy. (Don't try to answer them all -- choose one or two and send me a paragraph.) Please include your age.
- What has changed about your sexuality lately?
- How has aging affected your sexual behavior, attitude, and enjoyment?
- What are the special LGBT issues related to sex and aging?
- How do you keep the spark going in a long-time relationship?
- If you're single now, how does age impact finding a partner or having sex with a new partner?
- What myth about sex and aging would you like to change?
- What medical conditions have impacted your sex life, and how have you dealt with them?
- How did your doctor react when you brought up a sexual concern? Did your doctor ever say something that offended you or led you to switch docs?
- If you were having sexual problems, resisted going to a doctor or therapist, then finally did, and there was a treatable explanation for the problem, tell me your story.
- What else would you like to share?
By emailing me or posting a comment here, you're giving me permission to use excerpts in my book if they fit. What you tell me may help others significantly.
If I use your comments, I won't identify you in any way, and I'll be careful to delete any details that might lead someone else to identify you.
Thank you for helping me make this book the best and most inclusive guide to sex and aging!
-- Joan Price
Friday, February 14, 2014
Personally, I am glad for every relationship in my life, whether or not it turned out to be right for me. Each one helped me refine who I was, what I had to give a partner, what I was looking for, and what sustained me and stimulated me vs. what boxed me in or hurt me.
I've remained close friends with past lovers and my first husband, and I treasure them in my life now. These are men whom I've loved and love still, and I know they feel that way about me, too.
Other past lovers I've lost touch with, but would love to bring back for a conversation about the past and the present.
Of course Valentine's Day is also about missing Robert, as it is for you if you've lost your love. But instead of today being all about loss, let's let it be about what we've found over our long life of loving.
I'd love to involve you in a discussion of how we see past and present relationships, what we've learned from them, what we see -- or hope to see -- in our future. Please comment and get the conversation going.
If you don't want to use your name, please identify yourself with a first name of your choice -- let's not have a string of comments from "Anonymous," okay? Please include your age.
(Do I really need to say that "please comment" is NOT an invitation to be spammed by purveyors of pills, porn, jelly toys, escorts, or other products and services? I moderate comments, and my community trusts me to keep the spammers out of the conversation. If, on the other hand, you're an author, educator, or blogger in a relevant field, I'm happy to have you include a link with your comment.)
Sunday, February 02, 2014
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Frustrated in Florida, age 61, had not had sex for nearly 12 years, until recently. She wrote in an email to me:
Apparently one's vagina does change after not using it for a long period of time. I always thought sex was like riding a bicycle, but it is not. One can't just get back on and ride! I experienced such pain during the attempted penetration that we had to stop. What a disappointing and embarrassing moment. My partner was very understanding, however I was just frustrated and disappointed.
I went to my GYN for an examination soon after and explained my circumstances. She gave me a thorough exam and said although I had many tiny lacerations and redness, my vagina seemed normal. She explained how one's vaginal lining becomes thin after menopause and her advise was to abstain from sex for two weeks, using lubrication to aid in healing.
When we engaged in sex again, very gently, I was once again disappointed with the level of pain even though using lots of lubrication. We once again had to stop.
So now I am wondering if there is some way I can stretch my vagina for it seems like it has shrunk. (Perhaps it is just my imagination running wild!)
Have you had anyone else write you with a similar problem and if so is there a solution? For your information I have never been on hormones and my partner's penis is of normal size.
No, it's not your imagination, and yes, it's true that the vagina will seem to shrink after a long period of abstinence, especially after menopause, and penetration will be painful or sometimes impossible. You'll find a helpful chapter in my book, Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex and several other posts about vaginal pain on this blog.
I'm disappointed that your gynecologist is not this helpful. Telling you you're "normal" while you have lacerations and pain is not helpful, is it? Most doctors do not know how to diagnose or treat vaginal pain, and it 's wise ask for a referral to a sexual pain specialist.
Please read Vaginal Renewal Program by Myrtle Wilhite, M.D., at A Woman's Touch, a wonderful sexuality resource center in Madison, WI. It tells you step by step how to massage and stretch your vagina. Here's an abridged version:
* External Moisturizing and Massage: Increase the suppleness and blood circulation of the skin of your vulva and vagina with a five- to ten-minute massage with a moisturizing sexual lubricant like Liquid Silk®, a water-based lotion that will soak in and moisturize your skin, won't get sticky, and will help you massage with very little friction.
Push in to the skin with circular strokes, and massage what's underneath the skin, rather than brushing across the skin. Include the inner lips, the hood of the clitoris, the head of the clitoris and the perineum.
To complete your external massage, massage into the opening of the vaginal canal, using the same circular strokes. The massage itself does not need to be self-sexual in any way, but if that is comfortable for you, by all means explore these sensations.
* Internal Vaginal Massage: To massage inside your vaginal canal, we suggest using a lucite dildo which is very smooth and will not cause friction or tearing. Choose your size based upon how many fingers you can comfortably insert into the opening of your vagina.
After a session of external vulva massage, apply the same massage to the inner surfaces of your vagina with your dildo with lubricant applied on both skin and dildo. Rather than pushing the dildo in and out, use a circular massage movement. You are increasing skin flexibility so that your body can adjust to comfortable sexual penetration if you choose it.
You might also choose to use a slim vibrator for massaging the vaginal walls. Coat it in Liquid Silk and then insert it gently. Turn it on and let it run for about five minutes. You don't need to move it around, just lie there and let it do its work.
* Orgasm: For women who stop having orgasms, the blood vessels literally can get out of shape, preventing future orgasms. If you are able to bring yourself to orgasm, do so at least once a week (for the rest of your life -- seriously). This is preventive maintenance of your body.
* Kegel Relaxation: Kegels increase both the strength and flexibility of your pelvic floor muscles. Pay attention to the relaxation and deep breath part of the exercise. Learning to relax your pelvic floor will help you to avoid tensing up before penetration. (Read A Woman's Touch's Step-by-Step Kegels in this article about pelvic floor health.)
In my earlier book, Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty, I had interviewed a 75-year-old woman who had been celibate for 38 years and was in a new relationship. She was unable to have intercourse because her vagina had dried and narrowed to the point that penetration was impossible. She sought help from her gynecologist (a wonderful woman who bought dozens of copies of Better Than I Ever Expected to give to her patients!), who helped her.
Best wishes for a joyful resolution to this problem -- please keep me posted.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
As we age and encounter sexual challenges, many of us turn to herbs for help. Yet how do we cut through the hyped-up claims and figure out whether a certain herb actually works for the reason we want to use it? And how do we know if it's harmful or dangerous ("contraindicated") because of a medical condition or other drugs we're taking?
I asked pharmacist Paul Roberts to give us some answers. Here he comments on herbs that people our age often buy, hoping to improve our libido, erections, and sexual responsiveness.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Intimacy, Sexuality and Dementia
What does it mean, “We’re sexual from birth to death,” when faced with the growing specter of dementia? Will the nation acknowledge that over five million of its citizens with Alzheimer’s and other dementias have intimacy needs and rights? Will families, friends, professional caregivers, and institutions respect the sexuality needs and rights of individuals who are increasingly unable to care for themselves or respond to others in conventional ways? Will they learn how to connect by listening, touching, hugging, respecting, and loving the person who remains?
1. Dementia is part of today’s reality: if you’re lucky enough to live to be 85, there’s a 50 percent chance you will experience dementia. Now is the time to become an advocate for more research, education, care services, and progressive public policies.
2. Since currently there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, do your best to prevent or delay it by promoting brain health through regular exercise, a heart-healthy diet, social connections, and brain-stimulating activities.
3. If you’re concerned about someone’s memory, get it checked -- first by a primary physician, and then a psycho neurologist. Early diagnosis is key to getting support and planning for a future living with inevitable diminishments. Later, making choices becomes impossible.
4. Read books and view films to understand the experience of dementia. People diagnosed with Early Alzheimer’s have written powerful stories about their feelings and their relationships. Richard Taylor, author of “From the Inside Out” created a powerful DVD challenging the stigma. Many caregivers have revealed their struggles and survival techniques.
5. Stay connected with a person with dementia by meeting them where they are. Learn either the “Best Friends” or the “Validation Therapy” approach that dementia care programs use to help caregivers accept the person’s reality in ways that reduce anxiety and encourage communication.
6. Recognize that dementia profoundly affects partner relationships. A well spouse often experiences decreased attraction after assuming caretaking duties such as bathing and toileting. As the disease progresses, people may no longer recognize their partner or believe they’re someone else.
7. Sexual expression is especially important in a nursing home when physical contact may be a beneficial means of communication, serving to calm and reassure. Ask whether a home you are considering has a sexuality policy that documents residents’ sexual rights, adequate staff training, and abuse prevention strategies.
8. Most caregivers experience loss and grief as they interact with someone who is both there and not there. Unlike a death that is final, this loss continues, often for years, and is difficult and exhausting. You must take care of yourself, which is challenging – but essential -- when you who love and care for someone with dementia.
- Peggy Brick, M.Ed., teaches “Alzheimer’s: New Perspectives” at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, University of Delaware, and is the founder of the Sexuality and Aging Consortium at Widener University.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
The Magic Wand has been around since the 1970s, almost as long as I've been having vibrator-assisted orgasms, and it's been responsible for a good many of them. It was called the Hitachi Magic Wand until recently. (I reviewed it here.)
Now, after Hitachi sold distribution rights to Vibratex, it's the Original Magic Wand. Hitachi still manufactures it, but doesn't want its name on a tool for female orgasm anymore, if I understand right. Vibratex rescued the Wand from being discontinued, which would have led to dire and ugly consequences.
So the new Magic Wand is called the "original," probably to assure us that it's the same product (it is -- thank goodness!) and to distinguish it from the knockoffs that rattle around. Don't be fooled. Buy it from a reputable retailer.
The two models are identical in these ways:
- The strongest vibrations of any popular sex toy.
- Two intensities, labeled low and high, but actually high and yowza-high.
- Big -- a foot long, with a head the size of a tennis ball.
- Heavy. Noisy. But you won't care once you feel what those vibrations can do.
- Need to be plugged in. A hassle, but that's what a motor this size requires.
- Really, really stimulating. (Did i already say it?)
- Silly diagram for how/where to use it, ignoring the real reason/location that we're using it.
- Oh yeah, it's a great massager for sore muscles, too, and we do get those.
- Controls have different appearance and the new one has a more ergonomic feel.
- Vibratex says the new one will last longer (the old ones lasted 20 years!) and is quieter (not that I can tell).
- The head is made to be a little lighter and last longer.
- Several internal features have been upgraded to make it work even better.
Now here's another cool idea -- if you like the Magic Wand, but you'd like to subdue the vibrations a little, or have a way to turn your Wand into a penetrating toy, check out the Pop Tops and the G-Spotter. These are silicone attachments that fit on the Magic Wand and add versatility.
I tried the three pictured. I like the soft, cushioning layer that the Pop Tops give the Wand and I love the ease of washing them. But they did diffuse the strength a little, and personally, I want all the strength I can get.
The G-Spotter was a surprising pleasure. The whole attachment vibrated strongly but not wildly, and not in a pounding way that I would not have enjoyed. The little bump that's supposed to stimulate the clitoris while the G-Spotter is inserted did not land right for me, but it might for you.
To get one on, just stretch it apart and push and pull a little for a perfect fit. (Don't put lubricant inside the attachment or it won't stay put as well. Do use plenty of lube on the outside, though.) It removes easily when you're ready just by stretching and sort of peeling it up and wiggling it around. It's easier than it sounds.
These accessories also make clean-up easier. You can't remove the Wand's head for cleaning, and you have to be careful not to get anything wet but the outside of the head. You can't sterilize it, so it's not wise to share it with different partners. But with these attachments, you can pop one on, use it at will and with whomever, then pop that top off. Being silicone, these attachments are nonporous and can be washed easily with toy cleaner or in the dishwasher.
You can get any of the attachments separately, or in a kit with or without the Wand. See the options here. Enjoy!
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
[* link has been corrected, with my apologies for the error.]
It's hard to imagine one of these without being able to touch it firsthand, so I hope my description helps: The vibrator has a cushy layer, covered by a body-safe silicone skin. It's not soft through and through (there's a motor in there) -- just a layer -- so you can press firmly and feel just a little cushioning, or press lightly, and it all feels soft. Delightful.
Midori is green, sort of egg-shaped with a nubby protrusion. The big part stimulates the whole vulva if you lay it cushy side down,or you can elevate it and position the nub directly on top of your clitoris. The nub is harder than the rest of the Midori for more targeted pressure and less cushion.
Sakura is pink, oval-shaped with a flexible, V-shaped, squishy notch that can hug the clitoris. It looks like you could use the notch to pinch a nipple in a stimulating fashion, but you really can't with lubed fingers -- too slippery. Try it dry for nipple play. Well lubed, it does hug the clitoris in a lovely way if you just position and press. This was almost my favorite.
All styles have these lovely qualities:
- The whole thing vibrates. It doesn't matter how you position it, whatever touches you is vibrating.
- It's easy and ergonomic to hold. No wrist tweaking, just cup it (control side towards the hand) and press, glide, rub, tap, or circle on your vulva.
- The controls are large and easy to see and use. You won't turn it off by mistake. Your lubed finger may slip off the button, but it's still much easier than most.
- It's self-charging with an elegant charging base and storage lid. Charge it by USB or plug it into an electrical socket with the provided charger.
Magic Wand. Just a suggestion for those of you who, like me, need a long time and lots of intensity, but enjoy the feel of a soft toy like one of these.
I love how long these vibrators last before losing their charge! I couldn't believe the claims that it kept a strong charge for 90 minutes. "Maybe on the lowest setting," I scoffed. So I tested Midori's duration by letting it run on the highest setting until it stopped -- a full hour and five minutes! Granted, it lost some intensity long before it actually stopped, but still, that's a long time for us slow-burning women!
Use plenty of water-based lubricant, especially with post-menopausal, thinning tissues. Otherwise, the silicone skin starts dragging or pulling on vulvar skin and pubic hairs. Lube is your constant companion anyway, right?
I'm glad I read the itty bitty directions in the accompanying manual and the "Water-resistant, do not submerge" on Good Vibrations' Iroha page, because I would have guessed it could be taken into the shower or tub. Nope -- although it can be cleaned in water, it doesn't like hot water or staying wet or humid.
Thank you, Good Vibrations, for sending me these sweet toys to review!