Monday, January 29, 2007

"Watch Me!" 50+Fabulous

I'm happy to be profiled on 50+Fabulous "where women 50+ years in age come together to share ideas and motivate one another to renew their sense of self, go after and achieve their dreams NOW, and turbo charge their lives," says creator Patti Heisser. Patti interviewed me at length and wrote a marvelous profile titled "Watch Me!" -- a theme of my life, for sure! -- for the February "Love" issue, online now.

Here's an excerpt:

... At 34, she had the first of two, nearly fatal, head-on collisions. When the doctors gave her the prognosis of a potential ability to walk, she countered with "I don't care about walking, I want to dance!" You just know that, inside her head, she was saying, "Watch me!" ....

With her vast reservoir of energy, enthusiasm, intelligence and grit, and while continuing to teach, she embarked on a writing career. She wrote in the morning, taught during the day, taught aerobics after school, and then graded papers in the evening. After saving enough money to support herself for one year, she took a leave of absence, to see if she could sustain herself as a writer. She never looked back.

But she had another goal as well. When she was recovering from her accident, she saw many people who could move and chose not to...who led sedentary lives. She felt passionate about introducing people to the joy of movement. Predictably, she was told "You can't make a living in the fitness industry." And, by now you know what she said..."Watch Me!" She taught classes, became a motivational speaker, taught line dancing and published hundreds of articles and five health and fitness books, most recently The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book: 300+ Quick & Easy Exercises You Can Do Whenever You Want.

Then, on a rainy day, in the same month and just five minutes away from the location of her previous accident 16 years earlier, she got hit head-on again. With the same courage, and determination she lived, she healed, and she danced.

And, so did Robert…right into her life. At 57, Joan met the love of her life in her line dancing class, but it took nine months before they started dating. They were married four years later, she at 62, and he 69.

She discovered how great sex can be at 60+! But, when she also found the cultural taboos surrounding mature sex, she set out to change that too! She shares humor, experience, candid information and the stories of other 60+ women in her book Better Than I Ever Expected. Hmmm...you might just want to pick it up this
Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Unsafe Sex Toys & Practices


"Sex toys are an awesome gateway to an incredible sex life," says sex educator/author/blogger Violet Blue. "These silly, bizarre little (or big) things can lead to hours of orgasmic exploration, self-discovery, sexual self-reliance and even deeper intimacy between couples (or a hilarious comedy of errors, depending)."

But not all sex toys are safe, says Violet in her article, "Unsafe Sex Products," also available as a podcast. For example, some sex toys labeled "for novelty use only" are made poorly and cheaply, may break easily, and/or may contain chemical materials that you don't want in contact with your delicate parts.

Fortunately, many high-quality sex toy manufacturers and vendors take your pleasure and sexual health seriously. (The woman-friendly sex shops I recommend in Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty care about your health and your pleasure, and are careful to carry quality products.)

I've paraphrased some of Violet's tips here, with her permission, about a few products and practices to avoid:

* Nonoxynol-9: an agent that is supposed to kill HIV/AIDS, but can cause cervical abrasions and strip away rectal lining.


* Numbing lubricants and desensitizing creams such as Anal-Eze: If something you're doing hurts, you want to know it and back off, or injury or infection can occur. "When you can't feel pain, you are getting injured, period," says Violet.


* Sugar/ glycerin: Avoid lubricants with sugar, colorings and flavors in them. Glycerin/glycerol is a sugar. Sugar feeds yeast, causing vaginal irritation. (That also means no whipped cream or chocolate as "dessert" during oral sex -- keep sex and food separate!


* No Back to Front: Never go from anus to vagina with body parts or sex toys. Even if you're squeaky clean from the shower, internal fecal bacteria can transfer. If you like anal stimulation with a sex toy, cover it with a condom.


(Violet Blue is the author and editor of over a dozen books on sex and sexuality, a sex educator who lectures at UC's and community teaching institutions and writes about erotica, pornography, sexual pleasure and health. Her books include Best Women's Erotica 2007, The Adventurous Couple's Guide to Sex Toys, and Lust: Erotic Fantasies for Women. Caution: if you're not used to in-your-face, graphic sex writing and photos, tread carefully when you visit Violet's blog!)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Suddenly Senior column: Straight Talk about Sex and Relationships after 50

“WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE to see new columns about?" Frank Kaiser asked his Suddenly Senior readers.

"I would like to see a senior sex and relationships section, including topics such as dating, keeping sex alive in a long-term relationship, and talking back to media stereotypes," I responded, "and I would like to write it."

"Do it," Frank replied.

Suddenly Senior, if you're not familiar with it, is an amazing website with 2,400 pages of humor, nostalgia, senior advocacy and useful information for seniors 50+, read by 2.3 million online visitors. It's "a place for everyone who's become senior before their time" -- and isn't that all of us?

In my first column, I invite readers to join me in discussing the issues that face us as seniors seeking and enjoying love and intimacy in all their dimensions, and I invite you to join me here as well. Let's shout out loud against the ridiculous and destructive stereotype of older people as either sexless or pathetic for still wanting/ enjoying/ seeking sex.

If you're not in a relationship, but you'd like to be, let's talk about the experience of being "single and seeking" after 50.

If you're in a long-term relationship, please share the issues you face and how you keep the fires burning.

If you're in a new relationship, what are the joys and challenges? Let's talk openly about our concerns, questions, and experiences.I look forward to hearing from you.

Read my first column for Suddenly Senior by clicking here, and please either post a comment here or email me about your concerns, your attitudes, your experiences.

My next Suddenly Senior column will be "Sex and Older Bodies: Tips, Tools, and Tricks that Work!" I'll be talking about the challenges that our aging bodies make us face -- not only slower sexual response, but also the nitty gritty questions of finding comfortable positions when we have arthritis or bad backs or hips, and the tools and props that make senior sex more comfortable. Your comments and questions are invited!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Don't call me a "little old lady"!

I'm always surprised by how acceptable it is in our society to call older people disparaging names.

I was reading a newspaper article today about Barack Obama's popularity in Illinois, which quoted Emil Jones Jr, president of the Illinois Senate, as saying, "Sitting across the table from me was a little old lady, said she was 86 years old," who hoped she'd live long enough to vote for Obama for President.

I was startled by reading this mature woman described as "a little old lady," and I didn't like it. OK, I'm little (4' 10"), 63 years old, and female -- but "little old lady" belittles my maturity and experience and sounds like it would be uttered while patting me on the head. Didn't the 86-year-old elder deserve a more dignified description? If she had been male, would she have been described by Mr. Jones as "an old geezer"?

When the creeps trashed my blog, they talked about it among themselves (yes, I was able to electronically eavesdrop) as "the old lady's sex blog." That amused more than insulted me, because it was so far from the truth of what happens here or who I am. But it's part of the bigger picture of older people being seen as subjects of ridicule, especially regarding sexuality.

I know there's no consensus about what to call older people without offending us! I like the term "senior," although I know some dislike it. I like "elder" because it connotes wisdom and sounds respectful, even reverent -- but I don't feel old enough to deserve being called an elder. "Mature" is a nice adjective, though "mature adult" sounds stilted.

What do you like to be called? Which terms feel dignified to you? Which feel belittling? Post a comment or email me, and let's talk about this. Young people, you can chime in, too -- is it a dilemma knowing what to call us? What about what we call you?

Looking forward to your comments,

Joan