Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Healthy Life: "a celebration of sex"

I was interviewed by Jennifer Margulis, author of Why Babies Do That and editor of Toddler: Real-life Stories of Those Fickle, Irrational, Urgent, Tiny People We Love. She turned the interview into a marvelous feature story for Healthy Life, a quarterly health supplement to the Greenfield Recorder which circulates to about 50,000 readers in Massachusetts and Vermont.

The article is not available online, but here are some excerpts:

Fitness writer and former high school English teacher Joan Price has finally found her calling. At 62, Price now identifies herself an “ageless sexuality advocate.” What’s that? A spokesperson for the sex life of aging Baby Boomers.

Her advocacy has come in the form of a 269-page book, just released from Seal Press, “Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty.” The book is divided into 15 chapters—everything from “Plug In, Turn On: The Quick Version of Everything You Need to Know about Sex Toys” to “When You or Your Partner Can’t.” Price also includes advice for spicing up long-term relationships, reentering the dating scene, fitness over 60, and other topics.

The book is a celebration of sex by a woman who writes frankly about her own sexual awakening over the years... “Juicy is an attitude,” Price writes in a chapter entitled, “It Ain’t Easy After Menopause,” “… based not on the flow of our vaginal secretions but on physical well-being, emotional state, mental attitude, and love of sex. Here’s to post-menopausal zest—and understanding lovers!”

The idea for the book came out of the relationship she was having with an understanding lover....

“I went looking for good sex books, both fiction and nonfiction, specifically aimed at my age group. I was surprised - and turned off! - by how few of these books existed, and how dry and unsexy most of them were,” she says. “Some were much too academic to bring into the bedroom, many were outdated, and some were supposed to be titillating but weren’t—at least to us.”

So Price decided to write the book she wanted to read.... And her book—which is full of exclamation points and positive affirmations about ageless sex—reads like it was written by a woman on a mission.

Price’s mission is to celebrate, enhance, and affirm the sex lives of women (and men) over 60.

...Of course, sex after 60 isn’t always easy, as Price is the first to admit. In Better Than I Ever Expected Price includes a chapter about when one partner or the other is not able to be sexually intimate. She also talks honestly about the changes wrought on women by menopause and on men by aging, gravity, and prostate dysfunction.

... “Our hormonally deprived bodies challenge us with less lubrication; thinner, less resilient vaginal tissues; and often less physical sensation,” she admits. “Our bodies are slower to respond, and we may have more trouble reaching orgasm.”

Some of Price’s solutions to our body’s changes? Lubricants, vibrators, a sense of humor, and a very patient, loving partner.

“Sexual response is in our brains more than our genitals,” Price insists. “My lover and I are as turned on by each other as a couple of teenagers, but with the juicy addition of decades of life experience, self-knowledge, communication skills, and a ense of humor.”

She says sex over 60 has made her both adventurous and accepting: “We’re willing to experiment and stretch our boundaries. Men will be relieved to learn how accepting most women are about men’s changes and how to have great sex even when some parts aren’t cooperating.”

Throughout the book Price includes quotes from women who took her survey—women in their 60s who are having great sex. It’s a pre-selected group, which Price herself points out. When she sent out a call for interviewees she stated she was looking for “sassy, sexy women, age 60+ to share feelings and experiences openly and anonymously” so any women who didn’t fit that description would not have responded.

...If you’re looking for great sex over 60 but not yet having it, this book might make you feel rather alienated and depressed (wow, all those folks out there getting their groove on, where’s mine?). But maybe, just maybe, it’ll get you into your first sex shop purchasing your first sex toy. After all, it’s never too late to start.

For more information about Price, visit: http://www.joanprice.com/.

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