Thursday, November 13, 2014

Daring to Date Again by Ann Anderson Evans

portraitWhen a sixty-year-old, twice-divorced woman starts to date again, she's not pinning her hopes on an invitation to the prom. She is financially stable and professionally creditialed. She is a matriarch, a pillar of her church, a member of a choir. She has children and neighbors who might disapprove. She has a lot at stake.

So begins Daring to Date Again, a lusty memoir by Ann Anderson Evans about looking for romp-in-the-hay partners after 12 years of celibacy.

Evans is smart, sassy, articulate, and a darned good writer, pulling you right into her adventures. You’ll laugh, empathize, and sometimes worry as she jumps into bed with her Mr. Right-for-the-Moment parade. She wears her heart on her sleeve—or she wears nothing at all—and we share her adventures, her thoughts, her desires, and her evolution from repressed and unhappy to evolved, sexy, and joyful.

Evans finds many men who are interested in having no-strings sex with her, but towards the end of the book, she wonders whether true love even exists -- and if so, where is it hiding? I'm not ruining the book by telling you that she meets Terry -- a fellow professor and a bachelor at 63. They fall in love and marry. But that's not until the last chapter!

I enjoyed this well-written book, and I recommend it to you, whether you're exploring sexual possibilities yourself or you just want to share her escapades vicariously.

However! As a safer-sex advocate, I was concerned because there was no mention of safer sex or any discussions of condom use with the men Evans bedded. I questioned her -- no, they never used protection. Then I challenged her to explain her decision(s). She wrote this to me:

Joan chided me for not mentioning safe sex in Daring to Date Again. Logic suggests that simply interrogating a man regarding his sexual health is not sufficient protection, but that is what I relied upon. Why was I more concerned about cleaning the chopping block after cutting up chicken than about having unprotected sex? Why would I maintain the prophylactic habits of regular dental visits and colonoscopies, and yet have unprotected sex? Good question, Joan.

Indulgence was part of it. Pregnancy had been such a persistent worry when I was a young woman that having sex spontaneously was a joy. It was like winning the lottery.

Growing up in the 50s and 60s, I was taught either nothing or nonsense about sex. The bogus teachings were embedded in religion. “Chastity is the cement of civilization,” I read in the Christian Science scriptural companion, the Science & Health, when I was a student in a Christian Science college. I closed that book and have never reopened it.

The nonsense of the times I grew up in was also embedded in school. My only sex education was a couple of gender-divided classes in 7th grade that explained menstruation twinned with the unforgettable fact that when we brushed our teeth we should also be careful to brush our tongues. I was stunned when I got pregnant at 18. I thought I had to want to become pregnant in order to be so.

Between the church and school, I felt manipulated, demeaned, and endangered. Many of those who matured in the 60s rose up in mighty defiance of the bullying traditions of ignorance. In answering Joan’s challenge, I am surprised at my resurgence of anger when I think back.

Perhaps unconsciously, I placed barrier protection during sex in the basket which also included the bogus virtues of chastity, heterosexuality, sitting primly with your legs crossed, wearing a girdle, avoiding nudity, and virginity upon marriage. These virtues are so often ignored that they can only be seen as vacuous wishes. My failure to protect myself was a visceral, instinctive, and senseless act of defiance.

I take responsibility for my own actions, but it would have been helpful if the doctors (including gynecologists) had asked me if I was sexually active during that time. One general practitioner did ask me, and when I told him I had had sex with four men within the last two years he sidestepped the issue, saying, “I think you should talk to your gynecologist about that.”

I sympathize with the doctors. Discussions of sex with patients are probably minefields of religion, politics, family tradition, and personal history. But the medical profession has obviously given up the fight. How often do you see an ad for condoms displayed in your doctor’s office alongside the latest drug for depression or high blood pressure?

I felt embattled during my three years of promiscuity. Not one of the men I was involved with ever mentioned using a condom. If any of them had one in their pocket, they didn’t mention it. Joan might be better equipped to say whether men are just as likely as women to insist on condom use. In my experience, this has not been the case.

The problem of unprotected sex is far more pervasive than that of a single American raised before the Enlightenment. Our failure to identify and rectify the sociological, psychological, historical, and political reasons why people do not use condoms or other barriers has guaranteed that AIDS and other STDs continue worldwide. Saying the answer is education is simplistic. Why we don’t use them is baffling. The reason begins in the outside world of church, school, family, and government policy and all of these play themselves out in the bedroom.



Thank you, Ann, for your eloquent explanation. I can't help hoisting my 4'10" self up onto my soapbox again to remind my readers: Have all the fun you want, but please have it safely!


Ann Anderson Evans - Daring to Date AgainListen to Evans read an excerpt from Daring to Date Again here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Foria -- get your vulva high on cannabis

Foria Bottle
"Foria. The First Marijuana Infused Personal Lubricant for Her Pleasure" - from the Foria website.

What would happen if you took coconut oil and infused it with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana,  then you rubbed that on your clitoris and labia and in your vagina, waited 30 to 60 minutes, and then had sex? 

Here's how one woman in our community, age 70, described the experience:

I tried this product with a large dose of skepticism at first, but oh my god, I haven't had orgasms this intense for decades. It doesn't increase my arousal or bring me to orgasm faster, but once orgasm creeps up on me, it's more powerful and much deeper than what I've been experiencing as an older woman.

Over the past couple of months, I've continued to use Foria for special occasions -- I don't want to run out too fast! I use it for solo pleasure mostly. It's not condom-compatible, and I only have partner sex with condoms, so except for one lovely "hands only" partner encounter, I've reserved my dates with Foria for self-pleasuring. 

I continue to love this product! As I said, it doesn't affect arousal or decrease the time I need -- I can't even tell it's working until I actually reach orgasm. Then, it makes the orgasm feel deeper, fuller, and way stronger. I wish it were legal everywhere so every woman in our age group who is experiencing muted orgasms could try it.

Yeah, I wish it were legal everywhere, too, and without a medical marijuana prescription. Right now, Foria, a combination of coconut oil and THC (cannabis) oil, used on vulvas for sexual enhancement, is only available for residents of California with a physician statement and recommendation letter for the use of medical marijuana.

Have any of you used Foria? I'd like some opinions/experiences from other people who have tried it, especially (though not exclusively) from our 50-80+ age group. Contact me privately if you don't want to identify publicly, and I'll post for you.

If you tried it but you hesitate to make a public statement because you don't qualify for legal use, I'd still like to hear from you and will keep your info confidential. Email me with "Foria" in the subject line.

This post will be expanded once I gather more personal experiences. I hope to hear from you!

(This post was originally published October 2, 2014. I expanded it after the woman quoted above added to her original comments.)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Doxy - a power tool

When Roylin Downs, owner of Trystology, told me that I had to try the Doxy Wand, I believed her. She knows my preference for intense vibrators, even if that means that they're heavy and need to be plugged in.

Oh my. I wouldn't have imagined that a vibrator this strong existed. I don't even need to take it to the highest power setting to send me spinning into space. Even the low settings are strong and they're rumbly rather than buzzy. If you cycle from the lowest to the highest setting, it sounds like a plane taking off.

Doxy vs length of my arm.
Be aware that when you first turn it on, it doesn't start at the lowest setting, but at higher than mid-point. From there, use the "+" or "-" to turn it up or down. There's also a pulse setting activated by holding down the power button for two seconds, then releasing, but I have to admit that I didn't bother with that.

What can I say? It works hard, and it works quickly, even for this almost 71-year-old, slow-burning  woman.

I generally prefer vibrators that are easy on arthritic wrists -- this one is not. It's heavy, it's huge, and I would be in pain from trying to hold it for any length of time. However, that's irrelevant, because it works so fast that my wrist barely notices. Yes, it's that good.


"But how does it compare to the Magic Wand?" you're asking. It's bigger. ("Bigger?! No way!" Yes, bigger.) And heavier. The cord is longer. All those sound bad, but it's not bad because all that size is necessary for the power it delivers.

As far as intensity goes, the Doxy feels stronger, but it may just seem that way because the head is larger and covers more territory.

I also like Doxy's head more than the Magic Wand's because Doxy is more cushy. Strong and soft are a great combination.

The head is made of medical grade PVC, according to the tiny, mini-font instruction booklet. I didn't know that PVC plastic can be medical-grade, but I looked it up, and it's phthalate-free and used for things like oxygen bags, drainage bags, and medical tubing. I know that doesn't sound very sexy  except to my fellow sex geeks who get excited at learning about sex toys made of body-safe materials.

You can use water-based or silicone-based lubricants with Doxy, but not oil-based lubes.

No pouch included, which is shameful. An expensive sex toy should always come with its own pouch, especially since you're not likely to have anything around large enough to store it in. Maybe a knee-high sock, if you happen to have a spare. Doxy comes in a cardboard box that's even more enormous than it requires -- not the best storage solution unless you have a large, empty drawer.

The mini-instruction booklet has all the requisite warnings -- don't use under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or on inflamed skin, or if pregnant, or in water, etc. The warning that makes no sense to me is this: "Do not use... if you are under the age of 16." Why the heck not? I wish I had owned this vibrator when I was 15!

Thank you, Roylin and Trystology, for sending me the Doxy Wand, highly recommended for all of us who need extra power in our sex toys and have room in our drawer for a 15-inch-long vibrator! Available in white or black.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dating After 50, 60, 75 -- Making Our Own Rules


Image for This New App Is Like Tinder, But For Hotels"Online Dating Over 50: The Rules of The Game" on Huffington Post began,

Monica Porter, who dated "dangerously" for a year, shares nine top tips to help protect yourself, including: don't believe anything, be careful who you get into bed with and split the check. If you're looking for romance through online dating, make skepticism your starting point, says Monica. 

Sure, "be careful whom you get in bed with" and "split the check" are reasonable, whatever your age and whether you're dating online or some other way. But the negative attitude overall made me cringe For example,

Rule #1 of dating over 50: Don't believe anyone. Emotionally, you need to construct a wall around yourself which nobody can penetrate until you believe it to be safe. People will plunder your emotions without compunction if you let them. It is up to you keep them locked up, like jewels.

Really? I've been online dating for a while now, and though I have my own frustrations with it (see my advice to men here), fearing that my precious emotions will be plundered if I don't lock them up is not one of them.

Personally, I think that most people of our age who are using online dating sites are looking for love/ lust/ sex/ adventure/ friendship/ companionship, or some combination of these; feel as vulnerable as we do; and have good intentions. Am I naive?

Isn't the point of a first date  to know each other enough to decide whether we want a second date? Isn't part of that being ourselves, talking openly, and, yes, risking a little? I've met people who have their emotions locked up, and I have no interest in dating them.

I invited the fans of my Naked at Our Age Facebook page to weigh in. Boy howdy, were you willing! Here are some of your points:

Janet, 55: I agree, it is very negative. If you go into online dating with fear and negativity, that is what you will attract. I suggest: Know yourself, be clear about what you expect from the site, be clear on the qualities of a date you are seeking, be ruthlessly honest because you have nothing to lose -- you don't want to waste time in a charade. This is the time of life to be real. Be you, be positive, have fun and you will attract what you put out.

Dana, 62: I tried online dating and it seemed like every man I met had a laundry list, and I was too short, not brunette, too chunky, not enough like their ex wife, too much like their ex wife, too independent, not independent enough, too sexual, too frigid, and on and on. They had this woman pictured in their mind and were looking for her and her alone. My strongest recommendation would be not to make snap judgments at the first meeting. Be willing to let things unfold, be curious. Resist the temptation to judge a book by its cover. Just relax and don't be on the hunt for your "soul mate" (whatever the heck that is). Find a true friend, a joyful companion, a kind soul and be nice. Let life, God, the universe, fate (whatever you want to call it) choose for you.

Jim, 58: As negative as it may be, is the article accurate? I say, for the most part, yes. Photos are old, many of them are of flowers, their dog, whatever. Would it be nice for a woman to offer to help pay for a nice dinner? Never happens. Not that I would accept it either, but the offer would be nice. I think we all have preconceived notions of what we want, but I agree that you need to let things flow. I find that many women aren't ready to date, let alone have a new relationship. After 3-4 dates, it's "I just don't think I'm ready," or "my ex BF is really trying to be a better man so I'm going to go back and give it another try," or "I thought I was ready but now I'm not sure."

Ruth, 67: I think the Huff Post article is valid to some extent -- don't believe anybody! It doesn't mention that you can ask for a reference after you've met someone for the first time and before you hop into bed with them. You can find out about the person's honesty and relationship history from someone else's point of view. I don't agree with the statement, "If you meet someone you fancy, by all means enjoy good, fun sex. But - hard-nosed as it sounds, and I can't pretend it's always easy - take the emotion out of it or you will be hurt over and over again." I can't take the emotion out of sex and I'm not sure many people can.

Paula Ellen, 53: I find the photo with the article pretty offensive. Why isn't there a photo of a 60-year-old, gray-haired woman with a thirty-something male? Jesus.

Brian, 64 : I'm a verbal guy, I'm not interested in profiles without a lot of writing either in the profile essays, or in the explanations of the questions on OKCupid. That's where I gauge such things as sense of humor, care for others, and intellectual curiosity. I wonder what women are thinking when they post a profile picture showing them scowling or otherwise looking unhappy. My correspondents tell me that they get tons of messages from men on the model of "Hi beautiful, what's up?" (That sort is the more tasteful) I can't give advice on how to handle this, except to put clearly in your profile something that you ask for a comment on, if only to see if someone actually read it. I sent a woman one of my usual cheerleading notes, telling her how much I loved her profile and wishing her good luck. Six months later, we've got a very fine romance going, despite the long distance. As it happened, one of my lovers had just said goodbye for reasons best known to her, and I had some time/energy to spare. So, be careful what you don't ask for. You may get it.

Ashton, 62: I agree that that article is way too negative. I'm a fan of OK Cupid and I think you need to go into it open-minded rather than paranoid. My #1 rule of online dating is to meet sooner rather than later.

Cyril, 65: While I agree that the wording is negative and excessively emphasizes the need for caution, we should not be gullible or leave ourselves open to exploitation, whether by a date or a rogue trader. Simply put, make sure they have earned your trust before you open up.

Chuck: I'm 74 and my honey is 78. We met on JDate two years ago. The obvious catalyst is honesty--and candor. We got the heavy lifting done on our first date (my alcoholism and depression, her husband's dementia) and moved on from there. Respecting one another's history and allowing space for individualism, these have worked so well for us.


What do you think? I welcome your comments. (Please include your age.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

CatalystCon West 2014: part 1 of 2


CatalystCon - Sparking Communication in sexuality, activism and acceptance is an amazing conference that happens twice a year: once in Washington, DC and once in Los Angeles. If you attend, you'll never forget it.

The presenters and attendees are sex educators, bloggers, authors, researchers, professors, sex workers, adult entertainment performers, therapists, and anyone else who has a commitment to sharing in the conversation about sexuality education and activism.

You'll meet legends in the field who paved the way to the kind of sexual liberation most of us in the US enjoy today. You may find yourself sitting next to a porn star or an erotica writer who sparked your own sexual awakening. You'll get so much new information and so many diverse points of view that your brain and heart will expand.

CatalystCon feels like my world -- a loving world in which sexuality is celebrated, and all sex-positive viewpoints and consensual behavior are accepted. I attend regularly and I give a presentation (or two) about senior sex each time. Even when I'm the oldest person in the room, I feel warmth, acceptance, and genuine interest in what I have to say.

This time, there was an additional surprise for me: I received the Catalyst Award "for inspiring exceptional conversations in sexuality"! I can't remember what organizer Dee Dennis said about me when I rose to accept the award (I had absolutely no idea in advance!) -- all I remember is looking out at 300 people who were standing, applauding, and smiling at me.

Here is the description of the purpose and mission of this conference from http://catalystcon.com/:

CatalystCon is a conference created to inspire exceptional conversations about sexuality. It is about reaching out and stimulating those who attend to create those important conversations in their own communities, changing how we as a society talk about and treat sexuality. It is about stimulating the activist that is within all of us and sparking transformation in the way our friends, neighbors, children and even politicians discuss one of the most important aspects of humanity. 

This is a conference meant to energize, enlighten and exhilarate. It is a conference where everyone is welcome, everyone is respected, and everyone is encouraged to share their knowledge and experiences. As the struggle continues over issues relating to equal rights, access to health care, and sex education, it is more important than ever to come together and have these important conversations on all areas of sexuality. 

The fundamental principle of CatalystCon is that knowledge is power and sharing that knowledge is the first spark in igniting change.

Do you see why winning the 2014 Catalyst Award feels to me like one of the most important honors ever? See why my smile takes over my entire face?

If you can attend in the future, please do. You'll be changed by it: listening to, learning from, and networking with the most interesting people you'll ever find in one weekend of sharing information and attitudes about sexuality.

I'll write more about what I learned from the presenters in another post, coming soon. The conference really wasn't "all about me," and neither was my enjoyment of it. I just had to share this much right away!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

FeMani Wellness Sexual Health Massage Wand


If you've read my book, Naked at Our Age, or the advice given on this blog, I hope you've noticed the valuable information contributed by Ellen Barnard and Myrtle Wilhite, MD, co-owners of A Woman's Touch. They are brilliant sex educators and compassionate human beings who devote themselves to women's sexual health and pleasure, with a special emphasis on helping women with sexual pain and limitations.

I've recommended A Woman's Touch's Vaginal Renewal Program often, and many of you told me how helpful it has been for you. An attendee at one of my workshops recently emailed me:

I wanted to let you know how much I benefited from your workshop. Using some things that were discussed, the Vaginal Renewal Program you recommended, your books that I purchased (I went straight to chapter 11 -- "When Sex Hurts" --  in Naked at our Age), and some steamy stories from Ageless Erotica, I was able to have penetrative intercourse for the first time in 4-1/2 months. It can only get better from here and hubs is very happy.


Ellen Barnard
I'm including this testimonial here not only because she specifically mentioned AWT's Vaginal Renewal Program, but also because  much of what I know about vaginal pain and self-help solutions I learned from Ellen and Myrtle. I consult and quote them often, and you've benefited from their expertise several times on this blog as well as throughout the pages of Naked at Our Age.

Myrtle Wilhite
Ellen and Myrtle have been working for years on developing the best sexual health internal massage wand for women who have pain and/or limitations with penetration and with medical internal exams due to aging, cancer, or other issues. They (and we) were dissatisfied by the wands -- aka vaginal dilators -- that were available to women with sexual pain, either from doctors or online.

After years of research, they've designed and tested the FeMani Wellness Sexual Health Massage Wand, which has been perfected to their high standards. FeMani Wellness Sexual Health Massage Wand is ready for manufacturing -- but their funds have run out.

That's why I'm appealing to you. These amazing educators have been (and continue to be) generous with their expertise, helping anyone who needs them. Can you be generous to them now? You'll be helping yourself and many other women who will be able to have comfortable, pleasurable sex because of these tools.

If you've been helped by the expertise of Ellen and Myrtle, either through my books or elsewhere, or you just want to help other women, can you assist with a donation of any size?*  Go here to learn more.




* You know I don't use this blog for fund-raising appeals. You may not know that I turn down about one worthy project a week, because I know you come here for senior sex news and views, not to be asked for money. But this project and these people are so special in our world that I had to make an exception.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Amorino: a twisted sex toy

When I first saw a photo of the Amorino, I was mystified. Why put a twisted rubber band on a vibrator? Bondage is one thing, but on a vibrator?

What an odd sex toy -- I had to try it. Fortunately, the good folks at Good Vibrations were eager to send me one.

I discovered with pleasure that this strange little vibrator can be used in a variety of ways, and  I had  fun experimenting with it.

Let's start with the bare vibrator. Without the band, the medical-grade silicone mini-vibe can be used as a "rabbit"-style vibrator for dual stimulation of the clitoris and vagina.

The insertable length is only 3 inches, and the width is just 1.25 inches. This smaller size suits many of us older women just fine. The surface is smooth, and both tips are soft and a bit flexible, another plus.

So why the yellow band?  I was skeptical at first: Why would anyone want to add a rubber band to a vibrator?

Actually, I discovered, the band adds a strange and quite pleasant sensation, almost like it's "strumming" your vulva. Instead of inserting the shaft fully, just insert it shallowly (or not at all) and let the band play over your clitoris and labia. Pleasant, fun (it's made by Fun Factory, after all), and sexier than you might imagine.


How do you attach the band?

1. You can loop it around the vibrator (there are indentations to keep it from slipping).

2. You can loop it over the top, twist it once, then loop it over the bottom.

3. You can twist it twice.

Experiment and enjoy! In case you're wondering what havoc that twisted band might wreak on pubic hair, I was happy to discover that it did not catch or pull. Your experience may vary.

The Amorino may also be used anally, but only without the band.

Is the Amorino strong enough to bring older women to orgasm? You may not need the intensity I do, in which case the small but mighty Amorino will make you very happy.

For me, it felt good, very good, but it wasn't quite strong enough. I've come to enjoy several of my feels-nice-but-not-quite-strong-enough-to-get-me-there vibrators for a yummy, slow arousal. Then I grab one of my stand-bys (Magic Wand, Eroscillator, or -- my recent find -- Palm Power) for a happy ending.

The  Amorino comes with a USB charger. Once charged, no cords. And it's waterproof!

I wouldn't recommend the Amorino as your first or only vibrator, but if you're a connoisseur of sex toys, as -- ahem! -- many of us are, I think you'll find this an entertaining and pleasurable addition. Or, as some reviewers do (hello, Dangerous Lilly!), you may find it too gimmicky. I'm in the first camp -- I like it. I don't love it, but I like it a lot.

Thank you, Good Vibrations and Fun Factory, for providing me  with the Amorino in exchange for an honest review from a senior perspective.






Sunday, August 31, 2014

"I left without letting him see me" -- a first date goes bad


Martha, age 67, is a friend of mine and a beautiful, peppy, athletic woman. We were taking a walk together, and with great embarrassment, she confided this story (posted with permission):
This man contacted me from OK Cupid. In his photo, he had thick black hair with a little grey, and he described his body type as "average."

When I arrived at the coffee shop for a first meeting, I spied him from the doorway. I recognized him, but just barely. His hair was white and thinning, and he was at least 40 pounds overweight. I was totally grossed out by his misrepresentation of himself, and I froze. Then, instead of approaching him, I left without letting him see me.

He sent several texts along the lines of "I'm here waiting, looks like you're running late." When I finally responded, I told a half truth -- "I'm so sorry, I couldn't meet you" and a total lie: "I'm having trouble dealing with a break-up." 

He sent me a scathing email calling me rude and inconsiderate, and I apologized and said, '"Yes, I know, I'm so sorry."

What advice would I give to men on online dating sites? Be honest, really honest. Post a recent photo. Say what you look like. If you're 40 pounds overweight, say so. Otherwise you're misrepresenting yourself, and someone's going to be pissed off. Hopefully they won't do what I did and not even talk to you. There's someone who will love you the way you are, so be yourself.

Do I feel right about what I did? No, I'm terribly embarrassed. I've never done anything like this before. I was scared to tell you.

I confess I came down pretty hard on Martha. I'm always ranting about honesty and authenticity, so neither Martha nor her date scored big points. How could she have handled this instead? 

I suggest that she could have gone through with the meeting, and after some light conversation, said something like this:

"I need to tell you that when I saw how different you are from your photos and your description of yourself, I felt you had misrepresented yourself. It doesn't do any good, really, to post an old photo and not tell the truth about your body type -- it's bound to come out once you meet, and they feel deceived. If you portray yourself honestly, you'll draw people who are attracted to who you really are, and you deserve that. We all deserve that."

Do you think that's cold? There was no potential for a second date anyway, so maybe this could be a teachable moment.

Please realize that I'm not shaming someone for an extra 40 pounds and thinning, white hair -- it's the misrepresentation that doesn't serve him and doesn't get him closer to a first date becoming a second date. 

What do you think? I'd love to know your opinion. 



Friday, August 29, 2014

When Your Partner Wants Something that Turns You Off



Question for you: If your partner wants a sexual behavior that not only isn't your thing, but really turns you off, what do you do?

  • Tell your partner no and expect your partner to shut down that desire? 
  • Do your best to accommodate your partner some of the time? 
  • Pretend to like it? 
  • Negotiate "I'll do this for you if you'll do this other thing for me"?
  • Give your partner a pass to get that need met with someone else? 
  • Break up because you're not sexually compatible?
  • Other? 

If you've been at the other end of this -- you have a passion for something that your partner doesn't share -- how do/did you resolve it?

I'd love to hear from you whether you're encountering this situation now, or did in the past, or you're thinking about how you might handle it in the future. Please describe the sexual behavior, fetish, role play, or desire if you're willing and if it wouldn't embarrass your partner or ex (no "revenge comments," please).  I'm also happy to hear from counselors, sex therapists and sex educators about how you advise clients.

If you want to answer anonymously, please pick a name that isn't yours instead of using the name "anonymous" so that we don't have a string of comments by "anonymous."

I hope we can start a discussion about how to work with dissimilar and conflicting sexual needs.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Me, Dan Savage, and Two 70-year-old, Lust-Crazed Cousins


8/19/14 update: I originally wrote this post on June 25. I'm moving it to the top of my blog because I'm a guest on the Savage Lovecast episode 408 that airs today, and I expect many Dan Savage fans to visit this blog for the first time out of curiosity. In the 8/19 podcast, Dan refers to a scolding that I gave him. This blog post is the scolding/ spanking he's talking about. Enjoy! 

"Joan? Too far outside your wheelhouse?" began Dan Savage's message to me. He sent me an email from a reader who wanted advice. Because the reader was 70 years old, Dan thought I'd be the right person to help him respond.

Here's my interpretation of what I read:

A 70-year-old woman has been crazy with lust over her female cousin for the past 50 years! It turns out, the cousins discover now, that they both feel the same way! Bring it on! But since they're both inexperienced in the ways of lesbian sex, they decide it would be cool to get a third woman in on this, to guide the experience so that the first time is stellar. Their fantasy is that Cousin #1 would watch Cousin #2 and their #3 at first, then join in.Their question: How to find this third? 

What did I actually read? This:

I'm a bit out of your demographic, agewise (I'm 70), but I am still an avid reader. This is true, not a Penthouse letter. My cousin and I have flirted and joked about getting it on together for about 50 years or more. Now, she's divorced and having the time of her life. She told me the other day, what she'd really like is to have a "lesbian experience" with me watching and then joining. I'm so crazed with lust that I'm having a hard time thinking straight. This is a kinky dream come true. I love oral sex and with two pussies to eat, etc., the whole thing sounds just great. What I don't know is how to contact someone to do this. I don't want someone who's got a disease, or someone with a boyfriend just waiting to break in and rob everyone. Or someone truly horrific for any number of reasons. How do I contact, and then arrange such a thing? How would I ensure that my concerns are dealt with? Is using an escort services any guarantee of any degree of safety? Boy, I would just love some good advice. Got any for me? If you answer, you can call me... Old But Alive.

What's wrong with this picture? Just the gender of the letter writer, that's all. Turns out that my assumption that Cousin #1 (C#1) is female was wrong, wrong, wrong. C#1 is a man.

Dan knew that. I didn't. It never occurred to me that I had the gender wrong. He didn't realize that I didn't know.

So I sent my advice, which included:
  1. "I hope you're indulging that lust with plenty of hot talk, make-out sessions, and role-playing as you figure out how to make your fantasy a reality." (Good advice.)
  2. "Start hanging out at lesbian bars and other social venues. Don't go in aiming to pick someone up right off the bat—you don't want to come across as predatory and creepy. Instead, go on a date with your cousin, dance, chat up women who are friendly. You could make great connections if you're open and take your time." (Good advice if C#1 is a woman. Horrible, clueless, shudder-worthy advice since he's a man. No, no, no.)
  3. "Another way to go, as you suggested, is to hire someone. The advantage of a paid escort is that you can choose the woman and spell out exactly what fantasy you want her to provide. She'll be experienced, creative, and totally focused on your pleasure." (The best advice of all.)
Dan sent me back a quick email that he disagreed with some of what I said, but he didn't tell me what. I was puzzled -- what could he possibly disagree with?

The column posted today -- you can read it here. To my shock, Dan broke into my lesbian bar advice with "About the only thing lesbians hate more than opposite-sex couples prowling for 'thirds' in their bars are sharp fingernails digging for clams in their pants." 

Huh? Where did he get the idea this was an "opposite-sex couple"?

Later in the post, talking about safer sex, Dan says, "Use condoms, Gramps." Who's he calling "Gramps," and where would these lesbians put the condoms (unless they're sharing sex toys)?

So it all comes out. C#1 is indeed a man*, and I've just gone from respected sex educator to clueless in the eyes of all the Dan Savage fans and Dan himself.

* (But Dan, don't call him "Gramps" anyway -- that's ageist and condescending. Whether or not he has grandchildren has nothing to do with his sex life.)

Once Dan and I realized what had happened, he apologized profusely, both to me for not clarifying the gender of C#1 and to his readers via a "Dear Readers" update. 

He told me later:

I thought it was obvious the letter writer was male -- his cousin wanted a lesbian experience, which he couldn't provide. That's why they needed a third and he would watch while the cousin had her lesbian experience, then join in. And he mentioned having two pussies to play with… not three.

So, that's the story, and now I can breathe more easily and sleep tonight. Now that I see it all in perspective, it's pretty funny that I jumped to the conclusion that the letter writer was female. I can laugh about it now. 


While I'm on the subject, finding a paid escort is less problematic than you’d think via the Internet or referrals – these women have found ways to advertise their availability, or they wouldn't be in business. Kendra Holliday, who describes herself as a sex worker from St Louis, tells me, “You can track down sex workers in your area online and run your scenario by them. If the sex worker is not into that kind of thing, she can float it by her network. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool in the sex worker realm.” 

Thank you, Dan Savage, for all you do to create a sex-positive world! (See my review of Dan's book, American Savage, along with a gratuitous photo of his husband Terry in a swimsuit, here.) While you're at it, do subscribe to the paid version of his Savage Lovecast -- it's well worth the small subscription fee to get almost 1.5 hours of Dan every week.