Sunday, May 15, 2016

Solo Sex is Real Sex

In honor of May -- Masturbation Month -- I'm reminding you of this post, originally written for Valentine's Day, February 2016.  

"We need to acknowledge that solo sex is real sex," I asserted, and ten people in the audience quoted me on Twitter immediately. I was speaking at the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit in August 2015. This was my first time attending Woodhull, and it was an amazing experience:

The Sexual Freedom Summit features human rights activists, sexuality educators and researchers, professionals from the legal and medical fields, authors, sexual freedom movement leaders and organizational partners all working toward the time when sexual freedom is fully recognized as a fundamental human right.

It seems to me that "sexual freedom" includes freeing ourselves from our society's outdated notions, especially as they restrict us, as seniors, from full sexual expression.  No one is standing at our bedroom door proclaiming, "Thou shalt not masturbate" -- at least I hope not -- but many of us have internalized the idea that giving ourselves sexual pleasure is wrong, or a depressing substitute for "real" -- aka "partner" -- sex.

At our age, accepting self-pleasuring as "real" sex is even more important than it was in our youth. Here are some reasons:

  1. Many of us do not have a sexual partner at this time of our lives.
  2. Many of us who do have a partner are not able to have full sexual expression with that partner, due to medical or relationship issues.
  3. Our retreating hormones and decreased blood flow make it easy to forget about sex because there's less urgency. Yet the less we experience arousal and orgasm, the more difficult it is to get there when we want to.
  4. Our responses change as we age, and the most direct way to stay in tune with what we need for sexual pleasure is to experiment with our own hands -- and, of course, sex toys.
  5. Sexual arousal and orgasm are good for physical and emotional health. In The Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50, I list 33 reasons why sex is good for you -- and by sex, I mean with or without a partner.

For those of you who would tell me (as people do, surprisingly), "Hey, masturbation is inferior to sex with a loving partner," I would answer, "There's nothing inferior about sex with the person who knows you best." Plus the obvious -- "How nice that you have a loving partner. Many of us don't."

Whether we're pleasuring ourselves because it's sex with ourselves or no sex, or we enjoy private sex, or maybe we just want to have fantasy sex with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, let's agree that solo sex is not only real sex -- it's delightful sex.

Readers of my Naked at Our Age Facebook page (which I hope you'll "like"), had this to add:
  • We are 58 and 57 and we both enjoy solo sex. Sometimes, we do it together. Watching can be quite erotic but more often, we'll do it before bed (usually separately in that case) to help us sleep. Mrs. has a variety of vibrators and we're both definitely in favor. - Mr. and Mrs. Average Joe, erotica authors

  • I'm a 67 y.o. man, and in the famous words of Woody Allen, I'm good at sex (with women) because I practice a lot when I 'm alone. (;-). Seriously, it has a lot to do with why I'm still so erotically alive. And yes, incorporating mutual self-stimulation into play with partners is really exciting, and in some ways can feel even more emotionally intimate than PIV [penis in vagina].

  • I'm 53. I have been going solo for.the past 11 years (not by choice), now that I am single I am looking forward to having a partner once again. The solo sex has been a necessity!

  • I am 50. In my community sex is forbidden to singles and there is controversy about whether masturbation, therefore, is 'sinful.' My stance is masturbation is not sinful and not forbidden to those of us who are unmarried. I think "Solo Sex is Real Sex" but my Christian community may not accept such a statement. 

  • I am 58 and flown solo for quite a few years. On the one hand, it's nice because I know all the best places and the exact technique. On the other, it's obviously not as much fun as having a partner. However, that's not always possible and I much prefer it over climbing into bed with a jerk. I wish I had more money for some of the great toys you've shown. I might never want a partner again if I did.
As Valentine's Day approaches (note: I originally wrote this post for Valentine's Day) and we're bombarded with commercial messages about how to make the day more romantic with our loved one (soft lighting, mellow music, gifts of chocolate and roses included), let's remember this:

Love starts with how we feel about ourselves, how giving and patient and accepting and loving we can be with the person who's been in our life the longest. Let's celebrate that with our own special touch (so to speak).

As always, I invite you to comment.*

*But please don't try to spam my blog by promoting products, vendors, or escorts. And please, don't try to use this blog as a hook-up opportunity by posting your phone number and an offer to my readers. Enough of that, folks! That's why I moderate comments. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Vaginal atrophy? Tight pelvic floor muscles? FeMani®Vibrating Massage Wand can help.

5/15/2016: I have updated a previous 2010 review of vaginal dilators, now that the FeMani®Vibrating Massage Wand is available. I've also added some wonderful wisdom from Ellen Barnard.   

Women write to me that after a long period of celibacy, they find someone they want to have sex with again. Often they didn't think they would discover love/lust again after so many years.

Their elation dims when they attempt penetration and discover that their vaginas feel too dry and fragile for comfort if they try to accept a penis (or sometimes even fingers).

There are several reasons that vaginal fragility, tightness, discomfort, or pain can happen (which I discuss in my books, Naked at Our Age and The Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50). With age, especially if you're sexually inactive, the vaginal tissues thin and there's less blood flow to the genitals, causing dryness and fragility, known as vaginal atrophy. A separate but related problem is that the pelvic floor can lose its ability to relax, and in its contracted state, the vaginal opening feels too tight to admit a penis or a larger-than-slim sex toy.

Here's how Ellen Barnard, co-owner of A Woman's Touch sexuality resource center, helps women distinguish between menopause-related vaginal dryness and atrophy and "high tone pelvic floor dysfunction" that can be caused by the lack of blood flow to the genitals after menopause:

If you feel like your skin is very dry, fragile and tears easily then you have vaginal dryness and atrophy. You may experience tearing during penetrative sex and find a little bit of pink discharge after sex. If you feel like the skin is stretching or tearing at the opening of the vagina that is another sign of vaginal atrophy. A good quality, long lasting lubricant relieves your symptoms, and the Vaginal Renewal program will provide further relief and comfort both during daily activities and during sex.

If you engage in penetrative sex and your partner feels like they "hit a wall" either at the opening of the vagina or about 1-1/2 inches inside, or you feel pain deep inside the vagina with deeper penetration you may have an over-tight pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is made up of 3 layers of muscles. After menopause, those muscles can tighten up and not relax because there is not enough blood going to them once estrogen is no longer present. 

If this happens to you then your first step is to see a pelvic floor therapist and get an evaluation of your pelvic floor muscles. If you have over-tight muscles the therapist can work with you to get them relaxed and learn appropriate exercises so you can consciously relax them once the therapy is over. The Vaginal Renewal program may or may not help your pelvic floor muscles, so it is important to get additional help if the description above sounds like what happens to you.

Please download the Vaginal Renewal program from the wonderful folks at A Woman's Touch sexuality resource center, and put it into action for the sake of your sexual health and future joy.

Part of this program is at least one orgasm a week (you don't need a partner for that!) and internal massage using vibration. Yes, really. Internal massage with vibration brings blood flow to the vagina and helps strengthen the tissues. If you're so tight that insertion hurts, slim wands (a.k.a. dilators) will help. These start very slim and progress in graduated sizes as your body adapts and is able to accept more. Barnard adds,

A set of dilators may be used to treat the involuntary tightening of the outermost layer of the pelvic floor that happens with a condition called vaginismus, or when you have high tone pelvic floor dysfunction (over tightening of the pelvic floor muscles that surround the vagina) in the outermost, middle and/or deep layers of the pelvic floor. You would work with a pelvic floor therapist to use the dilators to help you learn how to relax with progressively larger dilators inside the vagina. This work may be accompanied by other work such as psychotherapy when the tightening is caused by pain or trauma; meditation; and relaxation breathing in the case of high tone pelvic floor dysfunction.

It used to be a hassle to even find vaginal dilators, but A Woman's Touch has done the research and development and created FDA-registered, therapeutic vibrating wands that are ideal for the Vaginal Renewal program:

Sizes 2 and 1
The FeMani Vibrating Massage Wand is made of smooth, durable, medical-grade ABS plastic and comes in three graduated widths: Size 1 (3/4" diameter), Size 2 (1" diameter), and Size 3 (1-3/8" diameter).

Order two sizes in a kit with one silicone controller (detachable handle that controls the vibrations). These vibrating wands use AAA or AA batteries (included), depending on the size.

To figure out the size that's right for you, A Woman's Touch recommends this:

Determine how many lubricated fingers you can insert into your vagina when you are not aroused. For one finger, choose the 1 & 2 set, for two fingers choose the 2 & 3 set. If you are unsure or between sizes, we recommend choosing the smaller choice, which will still provide the beneficial massage without the potential strain or discomfort of being too big.

Using vibrating wands is a process for your own sexual health and the health of a relationship you might have now or in the future--and it can be extremely pleasurable, besides!


Thursday, April 21, 2016

How to Put a Condom on a Soft Penis -- With Your Mouth

Those of us in our 50-80+-year-old age group who are dating or in non-exclusive relationships need to take safer sex seriously.

Yet how often do we face the challenge that the penis owner in our bed loses his erection (or thinks that he will, or doesn't have one in the first place) when we want him to don a condom? We can have plenty of sexy fun with or without his erection, but what do we do about barrier protection?

In honor of STD Awareness Month, I'd like to share with you an easy and sexy way to put a condom on a soft penis -- using your mouth. With the help of the delightful Kendra Holliday (who told me, "I've never done this before!), the perfectly flaccid Sailor Soft Pack from Good Vibrations, and an expired condom (don't we all have those?), I presented this demo during my "25 Tips for Sexy Aging" presentation at CatalystCon Midwest.  Here are the step-by-step instructions. (Practice on a dildo, soft packer, or consenting vegetable first.)

1. Start to unroll the condom, just enough so that you're sure of the direction it unrolls. Squeeze out any air in the tip. (That doesn't matter for the demo, but it's important when you do it in real life.)

2. Perch the condom on top of the head of the penis and roll it down just a little, keeping it in place with your fingers. If the penis is soft, the condom won't go down much -- that doesn't matter. You're just getting it in position

3. Put your mouth over the tip of the condom-clad penis head, leaving the rim of the condom outside your mouth. Use your fingers to keep the rim in place. Start to suck.

4. Keep sucking gently. Use your fingers to assist the condom to roll down over the penis, which is disappearing into your mouth, much to the enjoyment of its owner. As you continue to suck and the penis gets pulled into your mouth, the condom will continue to unroll over it -- magic!

5. Keep going until the condom is fully unrolled. Keep it in place with your hand as you remove your mouth -- if indeed you want to remove your mouth -- from the well-clad penis.

Doesn't that sound like fun? Oh, it is! Thank you to the lover whom I will not name who first introduced me to this trick.

Many thanks to Kendra Holliday for her willingness to learn this method in front of an audience. Kendra is a sex surrogate in St. Louis and co-leader of SEX+STL (Sex Positive St. Louis). She blogs as The Beautiful Kind.

Thanks also to Randy Austin-Cardona for photographing this process, and to CatalystCon for inviting me to give my "25 Tips for Sexy Aging" at this conference.

Note to meeting planners who were considering hiring me to speak until they read this -- don't worry, this demo is optional! As always, my talks are personalized for your audience and your needs and preferences. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Scary Old Sex by Arlene Heyman: book review

Media of Scary Old SexI was prepared to love this book even before I opened it. Scary Old Sex -- what a title! -- and it was written by Arlene Heyman, who had been a classmate of mine at Bennington College in the 1960s. We didn't know each other well (maybe she didn't know me -- Joan Kassman at the time -- at all), but her reputation as a brilliant writer, certain to succeed, was well-known even then.

Now Heyman, a therapist/psychoanalyst in New York City, has written a stunning collection of stories, some (not all) of which feature people our age. What I love most is that her characters, whether old or younger, have bodies and sex drives and sometimes quirky ways of living with both.

This collection is not erotica, and many of the stories are not directly about sex at all. Some of the characters are old; others are not. But overall, the characters' sexual behavior and longings; their feelings about sex, their own bodies and their partners' bodies; the effects of the passing of years on sexual expression and desire; and how relationships work (or not) -- all of this provides both chaos and clarity about how we age as sexual beings.

For example, in "The Loves of Her Life," 65-year-old Marianne needs both Vagifem and a progression of explicit fantasies in order to make love with her second husband, 70-year-old Stu. "For them, making love was like running a war: plans had to be drawn up, equipment in tiptop condition, troops deployed and coordinated meticulously, there was no room for maverick actions lest the country end up defeated and at each other's throats."

In "Dancing," Matt, who is hospitalized for cancer treatment, must devise constant work-arounds for the pain when he tries to eat. Yet he is absorbed by how to make love to his wife, Ann, despite the fear that their tongues touching might kill him, as immunosuppressed as he is. Their resolution: he triple-gloves his hand, they both wear masks (she also wears a hospital gown, hairnet and booties, taking no chances), and he brings her to orgasm manually. "And he wept. Because she came and because it was over so fast and they were back to themselves with her underpants down around her ankles, the pad beneath her, and leukemia."

Sometimes the bodies Heyman describes sound quite alien -- except that we (who have lived this long) know them to be ours: "Aged flesh is so fertile, grows excrescences: papules, papillomas, skin tags, moles that have to be checked yearly; yet the hair thins out, underarm and pubic, as if the soil had changed to one that no longer supports that verdant shrubbery, but instead nourishes an astonishing variety of wild mushrooms -- beautiful, if you have an eye."

I highly recommend Scary Old Sex if you're fond of literary short stories and you're willing to look at aging, bodies, relationships, and sex with a magnifying glass.

I invited Arlene Heyman to answer a few questions:

Image result for arlene heyman
Arlene Heyman
JP: Kudos for this collection of beautifully crafted short stories that portray our age group with compassion and insight. Your scenes of older-age sex are powerful because they are realistic and fully human – no caricatures, no derision, no skipping the joys and challenges of sex in older bodies. What went into your decision to write about “old sex” this way?

AH: I didn't decide to write about old sex. Scary Old Sex contains two stories about old people and their sexuality; five other stories are about people of different ages. There is sexuality and the body in almost all of the stories, because the body is with us throughout life and we live to a great extent through it.

JP: Were the sex scenes difficult to write?

AH: I think it is hard to write about sex at any age. The Guardian ran 3 articles about writing about sex, one by a guy in his twenties, one by a woman in her forties, one by me in my seventies) and we were all scared to death of what others would think of us. Frankly, I think it's hard to write about anything. I find writing very difficult. Some great writer said, "Oh, writing is easy. You just sit down at the typewriter and open a vein." (Note from Joan: this quote has been attributed to Red Smith, Paul Gallico, and Ernest Hemingway.)

JP: Why do you think it’s so rare to find books that treat older people as sexual beings?

AH: I think it's because of oedipal taboos that it's rare to find books that deal with old adults having sex. The little girl loves her mother, then her father; the boy loves his mother, and then again his mother until the age of 5 or 6. Everyone who has had children and was open-minded saw that the boy wants to marry mommy and the girl daddy. 

Then the passionate intensity goes underground and in adolescence the main job is breaking the passionate attachment to parents and turning the passion towards one's peers. It is a period of mourning, of giving up the parents, and it is hard.(It is also a time of great excitement because one is entering the larger world.). 

Part of the way one turns away from the parents is by finding them disgusting as sexual objects. One tries not to think of them as sexual. That barrier one has to set up to start out on one's own life remains firmly in place. And it extends throughout life: one views one's parents as asexual throughout life. Old people are people's parents. They must be asexual. 

And then old people do it to themselves; they neuter themselves as they had to neuter their parents. Hence, books about sex in old age--disgusting. And no one writes them.

JP: What else would you like my readers to know?

AH: A fiction writer doesn't have an ax to grind. I'm not a politician. I didn't write that book to propagandize anyone. As a person, I do hope to stay alive until I'm dead, and part of being alive is having a body. I wish for myself (and so I suppose for your readers) to think freely, know what I think, and to try to act on it so long as it doesn't hurt myself or another person. Life, more life!

Monday, April 04, 2016

Womanizer W500: Outstanding Clitoral Suction Vibrator!

How could this happen? A sex toy that gives fast orgasms to this aging woman? As if I didn't love the earlier version of the Womanizer enough, the new Womanizer W500, available from the lovely folks at LoveHoney.comis better. It's exceptional.

Why do I love the Womanizer W500 so much? It's the suction. It doesn't just vibrate (though it does do that) -- it gently pulls on the clitoris, bringing blood flow, engorgement, and increased sensation. It's not "sucking" like a vacuum -- it's subtle, but oh so effective and pleasurable.  

If you read my review of the original Womanizer, you may remember that the clitoral suction made my world rock and roll, but I had to keep my eyes closed to keep from being distracted by the tacky design. This new version is better than the original for all these reasons:

1. It's stronger, with 8 speeds (instead of 5). Even this power queen didn't need to turn it up to the highest intensity, and I almost never say that.

2. There are two sizes of clitoral cup to envelope clitorises of different sizes and varied states of protrusion or retraction.

3. It's much more attractive! No more garish, girly ear thermometer -- now it has a subtler, more appealing design. 

4. It's 5 inches long instead of 6.5, a little wider, and the controls are on the back instead of the front, so an errant thumb won't accidentally turn it off. Dangerous Lilly, a sex toy reviewer whom I enjoy reading, said it was harder to use with the controls on the back, but I'd rather turn it on first and not risk the buzz kill of accidentally hitting the power button during use.  
controls on back

5. It comes with a classy, black satin storage bag instead of a bright, bubblegum pink case.

Both models come with two detachable silicone cups and a USB charger. Use a small amount of water-based lubricant to create a seal. 

If you're close to my age (72), you're probably challenged by decreased blood flow to the genitals, making arousal and orgasm a slower and sometimes more difficult process. But this gentle suction pulls the blood into the clitoris and makes arousal and orgasm happen. It just does. 

Here are a couple of ways you can enjoy the Womanizer:

* For solo sex, especially if you want a quickie, the Womanizer gets you there faster than most vibrators.
* For partner sex, make the Womanizer part of the arousal warm-up. Then once your clitoris is engorged and you feel ready, you'll find it easier to reach orgasm in any way you play.

"But is it good enough to warrant the $230 price tag?" you ask. I know: ouch. But I really do think it's worth it. I think you'll love it as much as I do.* 

Jeffrey Dean Morgan
And if you don't love it, is that rare sex toy retailer that offers your money back, whatever your reason for returning it, as long as it's within the first year. Read their return policy here.

FYI, yes, I dislike the name "Womanizer." So I renamed mine Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

Thank you,, for arranging for me to test the Womanizer W500.

*Note: Right now, LoveHoney is offering a special 20% discount on purchases over $50 with this link!

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Doctors, Talk to Us about Our Sex Lives!

4/3/16: I'm bringing this 2014 post to the top because I'm giving a talk to doctors and other medical professionals tomorrow in Milwaukee. I want these comments from my readers to be easy to find if they read my blog after that -- which I hope they will!

About half of all sexually active men and women aged 57-85 in the United States report at least one bothersome sexual problem; one third report at least two. Yet only 38 percent of men and 22 percent of women reported having discussed sex with a physician since the age of 50 years. 

Why does this information barrier exist? And what can you, as professionals, do to overcome it with your patients and clients?

These are the questions I posed to the attendees at the beginning of “Talking about Senior Sex: A Presentation for Medical Professionals, Therapists, and Others Working Professionally with the Older-Age Population,” which I presented at The Smitten Kitten in Minneapolis on June 19, 2014. I was so jazzed by the responses during that workshop that I wanted to continue the discussion, so I took it to my Naked at Our Age Facebook page (which I invite you to read and “like”).

Our community jumped in eagerly with their comments and experiences. Here are some of those:

  • It would suffice if they just asked. I think they are 1) embarrassed, and 2) afraid that a nestful of psychological tangles would emerge, which would take a lot of their time. As a doctor, you would have to believe that relationships, beliefs, and habits contributed to illness, and I think most of them are just looking for a set of symptoms. The mind-body connection is far from their thoughts. 

  • It may be difficult for physicians to broach topics on sex because of their lack of education on sexual matters - not just with senior sexuality. Often such topics are delegated to nurse specialists or physician assistants. There are also shades of sexuality beyond the range of physiology, endocrinology, anatomy, and other hard sciences that are beyond the scope of topics covered in med school and continuing medical education. We need to take charge and help drag medical providers along with us on this topic.

  • Sex over 55 is often challenging if your parts are in perfect working order, but if they are not, then it’s an entirely different ball game. As someone who has lived with a sexual challenge for 20 years (and who is now 67), I found, in the beginning that it was helpful to write a letter to the doctor prior to the appointment - an ice-breaker. Now, however, after such a long-term medical problem, I am really very open with all the doctors I see and they either handle it or they don't - they can choose!

  • We live in a culture that allows only a few sexual subjects to be discussed and those in limited ways. Having lived a lifetime hiding or being ashamed of our sexual natures, it can be a huge challenge to just start talking about "it" when we reach those years. The mechanics of sex may be easier to discuss than unmet needs and innate desires. It is a gift to be sexually sovereign in our culture.

  • In my case, no doctor ever broached the subject. I was always the initiator. After 12 years of fertility work, four ectopic pregnancies, numerous spontaneous abortions and nerve damage resulting from a rape, surgeries and malpractice (they refused to remove the infamous Dalkon Shield IUD after the rape and subsequent STD infection), it's not a stretch to understand why I had a damaged libido. Only with recent help from two amazing physicians, with whom I can discuss anything, have I begun to find help! Finding this and other groups online has also been salvation of yet another kind. Thanks for opening so many doors to those of us who have foundered for so long!

  • Actually, it was through conversations with my nurse practitioner that my road to sexual freedom opened up. Also through my wonderful husband's patience, and Joan's book, Naked at Our Age. There is a taboo about sex at a certain age, but for us it has just been renewed!

  • Particularly as sex and disability is also a taboo subject and many people will have genital dermatoses and that will make it even harder for them to open up to anyone. I am 67 and despite lichen sclerosis, I remain sexually active.

  • The doctor needs to be calm, confident and comfortable with the subject. If the doctor is squirmy and clearly uncomfortable, it won't help the patient to open up. Speaking for myself, if I'm a little squirmy and hesitant, I'd appreciate it if the doctor would give me the time and space to squirm a little and build up my courage. I had that experience with a doctor; he asked what was clearly a scripted question, I hemmed and hawed a little struggling to express an answer. Since the answer wasn't immediately forthcoming he just jumped right to the next question. I got the distinct feeling he really didn't want to hear it, so the subject was dropped. On the other hand, a doctor might ask a question and get a very forthright answer they weren't expecting. They better be ready for that too; no eyes bugging out, no jaw dropping, no flinching. They might need to develop the 'warm positive regard' thing that therapists are taught.

  • I’m 73, have an older woman doctor trained in Europe who brought the subject up in the course of an annual physical, and was quite matter of fact about it, made me quite comfortable discussing the subject, and referred me to an endo.

  • I'm not your target age group but my nurse practitioner at Kaiser simply asked if I was happy with my sex life and, after I affirmed that I was, proceeded to tell me that orgasm was good for my vaginal health (not to mention my psyche) and encouraged me to take charge of my pleasure because it would help make perimenopause easier to take, keep my bladder where it belongs and generally support my wellbeing. Hell yeah -this I knew - but what was even better was that she made it clear that she was there to help. My sexual health was not some secondary aspect. It was a full-fledged piece of my gynecological workup. To which I say - well done!

  • I'd like to see it simply become a matter of routine during all regular check ups, or anytime the visit is for more than a sniffle really, as well as anytime mental health/ relationships are discussed. We need to be in the habit of treating the whole person, not just fixing bits and pieces and mending boo-boos.

I hope you’ll continue this important conversation by commenting here. (And if you’d like me to bring this presentation to your organization, please contact me.)


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Let's Talk Louder about Senior Sex

I've been writing and speaking about senior sex for 11 years now. Since 2005, I’ve made it my mission to advocate for and educate about older-age sexuality.

At first, my message was simply this: “Yes, we’re having sex after 60 and beyond, and it can be the best sex ever.”

Then, after many responses  and questions from my readers and the media, my message focused on this: “Yes, aging can bring changes that interfere with having good sex in the ways we used to, but for every problem, there is a solution, and here are the facts and tips that will help you enrich your sex life.”

Despite the growing acceptance of older-age sexuality these days, I still find that huge numbers of people who can use this information are not being reached. So many of you don’t know that there are solutions to the problems that aging brings. My email and workshop audiences and private conversations are filled with sentiments like these:

  • You don’t talk to your doctors about sexual problems that may have medical causes -- or if you do, your doctors don't have good sexual information either, and they're reluctant to talk about sexual issues. 

  • I hear from single people, "I don't have a partner, so I don’t have sex," not realizing how important solo sex is for sexual health, general physical health, and emotional well-being if you’re unpartnered.

  • I hear from partnered people, "We can't have sex the way we used to, so we've pretty much given up," not realizing that sexual expression does not have to mean intercourse or anything else that it used to be. 

  • Often you tell me that you've given up on sexual pleasure and sexual expression -- and this tears my heart. 

  • I implore you to talk out loud about your sexual issues, learn the facts about sex and aging (my books are good resources), and seek out professionals in your community who have made it their business to educate themselves about senior sex.

    If you're working in a sex education or health field, update yourself with the latest knowledge about sex and aging, and reach out to seniors who may not be seeking you out. Make sure that you welcome my age group and have resources for us.

    Readers: what resources would you like to see available or more easily available about older-age sexuality? Have you had experiences trying to locate resources and not finding them? I invite you to join the conversation. You can submit a comment under any first name (it doesn't have to be your real one), and please include your real age. (Email me with the subject header "blog comment" if you have trouble posting your comment, and I'll post it for you.)

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Tuesday, March 01, 2016

    Seniors: How (and what) is your sex life?

    It occurs to me that after 11 years of talking out loud (shouting, insisting, cajoling, writing) about senior sex, the questions that interviewers ask me have become quite intelligent and open-minded.

    When I first started this work, interviewers would ask elementary questions (e.g. "Is it true that seniors are having sex?") and would often place a value judgement on what they heard (e.g. "Yeah, but eeuuww, the idea of my parents/grandparents having sex...!")

    But now, however young the interviewer is, there's an open attitude, a nonjudgmental striving to understand. It's not such an odd idea anymore that we aren't retiring our genitals at some arbitrary age. This is progress! Or am I just lucky enough to be interviewed by smarter, more sex-positive interviewers?

    One topic that interviewers find endlessly fascinating is that we're not settling into old age passively or predictably. Many of us decide that it's time to go after what we want, whether or not it's what we used to want or ever thought we'd want.

    I wrote about this in the "Stretching Boundaries" chapter of  The Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50, and many of you contributed your experiences in the "Off the Beaten Path: Nontraditional Sex Practices and Relationships" in Naked at Our Age. I'm often asked, "What percentage of seniors are into kink?" or "Are many seniors polyamorous?" or "Are most seniors happier with their sex lives than they were when they were young?" I sometimes answer, "I don't collect statistics -- I collect stories."

    Yes, some studies have been done, but more often than not, research and surveys either overlook our generation entirely or only study straight relationships and define sex as heterosexual intercourse, which is just one form of sexual expression. I don't think that our generation is being asked the right questions about what we do, what we want, and how we feel about it.

    So I'm opening this up to you: If you're over 50 (lots older is fine!) and you find that your ideas have changed about what you want your sex life to be, please feel free to comment with your views and especially how those views have changed in recent years. Please give yourself a first name (doesn't have to be real) instead of "Anonymous" and include your real age. (If you have any trouble posting a comment, email me with the subject line "blog comment: how and what" and include what you want to say, what name you want to use, and your age, and I'll post it for you.)

    I started this discussion on my Naked at Our Age Facebook page, which I hope you'll read, "like," and share. Thanks!

    Learn more about my most recent book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50. Order here for an autographed copy, purchase from your local independent bookstore, or order from Amazon.

    Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50

    Tuesday, February 23, 2016

    Sybian Update: New Silicone Attachments!

    Sybian goes silicone! The wonderful folks at Sybian have been tirelessly working on how they can increase our pleasure and our orgasms, and use body-safe, easy-to-clean silicone. They've just created two beautiful silicone attachments that are rocking my world.

    If you're saying, "What's a Sybian?" please read my original review first. Then return here to learn what's new.
    The Orb:

    If your preference is vibration to your clitoris and vulva without penetration, the unique design of the Orb is my dream vibrator. It consists of an orb (hence the name) at the top of a ramp-like structure, and all of it vibrates powerfully.

    This is perfect for those of us who like stimulation to a large area  -- not just the clitoral glans, but the whole vulva. It can be used in several ways, depending on how you position yourself and it:

    1. You can press the ramp part against your labia with the orb at your clitoris.

    2. Turning the Sybian around, you can press the orb against your vaginal opening and the ramp slides over your labia and clitoris. You may find it challenging to get into position if you're straddling the Sybian for this position -- see the alternative "Recline and Tilt" described below.

    3. If you just want the orb against your clitoris, you can turn it around so that the ramp doesn't contact anything -- you just feel the orb part.

    Experiment -- there's no way to use it "wrong."

    The G-Wave

    If you like penetration and you prefer a slender width, the G-Wave stimulates your G-spot with a smooth bulb that's only 1.27" in diameter, atop a stem that's even more slender: 1.1" in diameter. Sybian really listened to me when I told them that many of us in our later years prefer -- even require -- a slender toy for penetration.

    Because the penetrating part rotates rather than thrusts, it can feel much fuller than the measurements indicate, depending on how high you dial the rotation. Slick the G-Wave with lubricant, and it inserts smoothly and gently or strongly (your choice) rotates in your vagina, stimulating your G-spot. It doesn't feel like a penis -- it feels more like a lover inserting a couple of well-placed fingers and moving them around. Delicious.

    The "wave" part (see the wavy lines?) rests against your labia and clitoris and vibrates you to paradise. I like the width of the wave section -- it vibrates against your whole vulva. The vibration control is separate from the rotation, so you can dial it to vibrate to any intensity from light to rumbly strong to I-can't-believe-I'm-experiencing-this -- you'll decide what your limit is.

    Suggestion: Start with a low vibration and no rotation. As you become aroused, dial up the vibration a little at a time, and add the rotation if you like it.

    Recline and Tilt position:

    If you look up other reviews of the Sybian, especially the videos on YouTube, you'll think that the only way to use this phenomenal sex machine is by mounting it. You can do that -- either on your knees (yeah, like we can get on these old knees at our age?) or with the Sybian on a platform and your feet on the floor. However, there's a much easier and more comfortable way to use it.  I've nicknamed it "Recline and Tilt."

    As I suggested in my earlier review of the Sybian:

    If straddling is uncomfortable for your hips, or if you can't relax that way, you can lie down on your bed with the Sybian between your legs on its power-cord end. Then tilt it forward so that the attachment contacts your genitals without putting weight on you. It's fine to use it this way -- it won't harm the Sybian or you.

    Once I discovered how well that position works, I never went back to mounting my Sybian. Both of these new attachments are particularly fabulous if you're reclining, relaxed, and tilting the Sybian  onto you or into you.

     If you already own a Sybian, these attachments will add tremendously to your pleasure. If you don't already own a Sybian, Bunny Lampert, daughter of the inventor, is offering my readers a $75 discount with the code "JOAN75"! 

    Order the Orb, the G-Wave, or both attachments here. Learn more about the Sybian here.

    Bonus: These silicone attachments also come with pretty, satin storage bags.

    Thursday, February 18, 2016

    Senior Sex Classes via Teleseminar -- Interested?

    Let's talk sex on the phone! No, I'm not inviting you to have phone sex with me. I'm inviting you to hear a senior sex class and ask your questions -- by phone.

    Background: Many of you ask when I'll be in your area giving a speech or workshop. You want to learn my tips for sexy aging, or negotiate sex with a new partner, or spice up your long-time relationship, or figure out how to get back your desire for sex, or deal with online dating, for example. I'm sorry, I get so many emails that I can't possibly answer every one. The answers are often in my books, but I know that many of you prefer a different way of learning, or you want more direct and personal answers to your questions. I do travel to give presentations in many cities (see my events schedule here), but I can't be everywhere.

    If I'm not going to be in your area, would you be interested in attending a teleseminar?

    That means you'd listen to my class on the phone and be able to ask questions and interact in a small group. Since you wouldn't need to be at your computer, you'd have no technology to fuss with, and you could listen while driving, exercising, cooking, sorting your sex toys, whatever. You would pay a modest fee to attend, which would include a handout.

    Does this interest you? If so, which topics would grab your interest? Be specific! Would you make time for an hour-long class, or would you prefer 30 or 45 minutes?  You can answer in the comments section here, or email me. If you want to be on my mailing list for dates and topics, please email me with "teleseminar" in the subject line.

    2/19/16 update: Thank you for the emails I'm receiving! Clearly you're interested. If you've already emailed me, I'll be on touch. If not, please do! Let me know which topics interest you especially. Write to me here. Subject line: Teleseminar. -- Joan