Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Vibrant Nation, a marvelous online community of women over 50, asked me this question:
What surprised you most about sex after fifty?
Here's what I answered:
I was amazed at how hot it was!
I fell in love at age 57 with Robert, a 64-year-old artist and dancer who would inspire my book, Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty, and become my husband five years later. I couldn't believe how emotionally fired up for sex I was, how gloriously responsive to the kisses and touches of this vibrant man.
We were as lusty and giddy as a couple of teenagers, yet with the emotional and intellectual enhancement of age and experience. We knew, by now, who we were, what we wanted (in life and in a relationship, not just sexually), and how to talk about it. We had made plenty of relationship mistakes in the past, and now we were ready for the relationship we would do right. All of this heightened our sexuality and led us to express it joyfully and loudly.
Does that mean we were just like lust-crazed 20-year-olds with wrinkles? Not at all. My post-menopausal body was slow to arouse, although emotionally I was on fire from the moment I looked into Robert's blue eyes. But that turned out not to be an impediment at all, because Robert was not only willing, but elated, to take lots of time in foreplay (which I prefer to call "loveplay"). He said - and he was embarrassed when I quoted this in Better Than I Ever Expected - "I don’t care if it takes three weeks, as long as I can take breaks to change positions and get something to eat."
I know I had the fortune of loving an amazing man, but I think we are all capable of joy-filled, fulfilling sex at our age if we learn to express (gently) what we need and understand the changes in our partner and in our relationship as we age.
You can also read my response here on VibrantNation.com, where they're giving away five copies of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty to Vibrant Nation members who answer the question themselves!
If you're a woman over 50, I hope you'll join Vibrant Nation -- it's an interesting and supportive community filled with women sharing experiences, information, and ideas. I've been enjoying spending time there myself.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Cancer -- not a sexy topic, and not what you'd expect me to write about on Christmas Eve. But cancer knows no seasons and respects no holidays. Maggie, age 62, wrote to me:
Recently, I met a nice guy who after dating for a while, told me that he had surgery for prostate cancer 7 months ago. He went on to tell me all the bad news that the Dr. had told him about side effects. My question is, do you know any where that I can get some straight answers on what we are looking at, possibility wise? The information I have found online so far has been very negative, almost always putting the pressure on the woman if things were going to work or not. He advised me that he would never be able to have an ejaculation & that sex for him would never be the same. I got the idea that he would never feel the pleasure of having a climax again. My fear is that if this is true, what would be the point of him having sex? I am a very sexual woman & would just like to know if there is any chance that there can be a sexual relationship? Any guidance that you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
I sent Maggie's question to cancer and sexuality specialist, Anne Katz, RN, PhD. Here is her response:
There are a number of possibilities in this situation, some of them good and some of them not so good. Here are the facts:
1. Having surgery for prostate cancer (a radical prostatectomy or complete removal of the prostate gland) will result in significant changes in a man's ability to have an erection. Depending on what his erections were like before the surgery and the amount of damage done to the nerves responsible for erections during the surgery, the man may be able to have erections after the surgery but he is most likely always going to need some help (from medication like Viagra, Cialis or Levitra). These medications only help about 50% of the time but there are other erectile aids (the vacuum pump or penile injections) that can help too. Some men are able to have an erection but it may not last very long. Some men can only achieve a thickening of the penis and this may not be sufficient for penetration. Progress in regaining erections may continue for up to two years after surgery but what he has at that point is usually as good as it is going to get.
2. Orgasms are still possible, even with a flaccid penis. The orgasm will not be accompanied by ejaculation however (the prostate gland makes the fluid portion of the ejaculate and so when it is gone, so is the emission). Some men report more intense orgasms after this surgery; some say they are much less intense.
3. Libido (or sexual desire) is not affected by removal of the prostate but the mind is a very important part of a man's sexuality. Repeated failure to have an erection sufficient for penetration may cause him to lose some interest. Although some men just keep on trying and trying and trying - the human spirit is a powerful force and many men retain hope for many years despite little success.
4. Many couples find a way around these difficulties. There are more ways than just penetration for both the man and the woman to achieve orgasm and satisfaction and some creativity goes a long way. This may be challenging for a new relationship. But the lust and attraction in a new relationship may also provide more impetus than a 30 year relationship! There is no right way or wrong way in this; a lot depends on how you want to look at the situation.
5. If you read anything that you feel puts the onus on the woman (or male partner) to fix things, then stop reading! This is a couple's issue and both partners have to work on finding a solution. Communication is a very important part of sexuality. You should be able to talk openly about what works for him and what doesn't. You should be able to talk about what you want and what creativity you can both bring to sexual activity. In your letter you state that you "got the idea" - you will have to ask questions and not rely on innuendo to help you understand what is possible and what is not.
New relationships are challenging and exciting and inspiring and joyful. When illness or injury have occurred it puts a lot of pressure on this new partnership. Good luck!
Anne Katz, RN, PhD, is the author of the award-winning text book Breaking the Silence on Cancer and Sexuality: A Handbook for Health Care Providers . Dr Katz has also written three books for consumers: Sex When You're Sick: Reclaiming Sexual Health after Illness or Injury; Woman Cancer Sex, and Man Cancer Sex. She is the sexuality counselor at CancerCare Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she provides counseling to men and women experiencing sexual difficulties as a consequence of cancer and its treatments. Visit her website at http://www.drannekatz.com/.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I love memoir anthologies, and I have two marvelous ones to recommend to you. Both offer engrossing, well-crafted, personal stories from seasoned writers, many--maybe most--of them our age.
Face in the Mirror: Writers Reflect on Their Dreams of Youth and the Reality of Age, ed. Victoria Zackheim, features twenty writers looking themselves in the face. How did they see themselves when they were young and had their lives in front of them? What (usually bad) decisions did they make as they struggled to figure out their life direction and relationship choices? What have they learned since then, and who are they now? The writers are honest and intriguing, and the wisdom of age is affirmed in every story.
Sometimes the "face in the mirror" theme is literal: appearance, self-image. Other times these writers look at their upraising, their goals, their career choices, their relationship mistakes. The stark difference between where they thought they were headed and where they actually ended up should be a useful warning to young people fretting about their goals. Whatever you plan won't work the way you think. And that's usually a good thing.
Behind the Bedroom Door: Getting It, Giving It, Loving It, Missing It, ed. Paula Derrow, present 26 candid, often funny essays about sexual urges, preferences, experiences, longings, and embarrassments from women writers. Many are our age, reflecting on past experiences or celebrating current ones.
Some of these essays are sweet, like Hope Edelman's memory of 15-year-old sex ("Two people touching each other in all the right places, because there were no wrong places then, doing it for no reason other than it felt good and to keep doing it felt even better."). Some are full of erotic discovery, energy, self-assertion. Some may disturb you, like Abby Sher's essay about anorexia, cutting and a lover helpless to stop either, and Julie Powell's essay about her need for rough sex ("D was a perceptive lover, perceptive enough to know before I did that I wanted him to hit me, control me, hurt me.") All are powerfully written.
If you're still making gift-giving decisions, you can't go wrong with one of these books. For other recommended books that I've reviewed, click here.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I am reading your book Better Than I Ever Expected, and I am absolutely loving it. Although I'm a baby at 25, I'm ecstatic that someone has written such an honest, friendly, and educated book about sex in our later years. It makes me look forward to having new experiences at all ages! I also have suggested the book to my mother (age 64).
However, I was surprised when reading Chapter 9 to see that you threw away a drawer full of sex toys! Given you invite suggestions and comments throughout the book, I figured I'd send mine in:
Check it out: http://recyclemysextoy.com/
I have copied directly from their website:Help Your Planet
Now, when you get rid of that old, broken or unused sex toy, you will be helping our environment. You can feel good that you have done one more thing to cut consumer waste, reduce landfills and help eliminate the toxic chemicals that seep into our soil and ground water.
Be Rewarded For Your Good Deed
Not only do we make recycling your sex toys simple, we also offer a reward as an incentive. For every package of toys* you send in to be recycled, you will receive a $10 gift card (please allow 7 to 10 business days to receive) to use at one of our affiliate partners as well as some other goodies (when applicable) on your next order. So the more you recycle, the more you can play. Going green has never been this much fun!
So, not only do they give you an eco-friendly way to dispose of them, but they reward you for it! I urge you to use their services in the future and pass along the information to those who might also find it resourceful.
Thank you for again for the wonderful work you do.
Thank YOU, Danna! Yes, you're absolutely right that now we can recycle sex toys. Though it might make you cringe to read that I tossed a drawer full of sex toys in the trash in the past, realize that this happened ten years ago, and honestly, there was no place to recycle them. Now, of course, I know what to do! Thanks so much for the reminder that I need to tell everyone about this marvelous resource.
Readers, pass this along, please!
Friday, December 11, 2009
To my great delight, the nice folks at Natural Contours sent me seven personal massagers to review for you! (No, you can't have my job.) They're candy-colorful, smooth, quiet, strong, and beautifully designed for fit and function.
Natural Contours produces high-quality “designer vibes” designed to ergonomically fit the contours of a woman’s body. And they do fit our contours!
For example, the Petite Pink Ribbon (so-named because Natural Contours donates 10% of sales proceeds from to Breast Cancer Action), small as it is, packs quite a vibrational punch as it wraps around the vulva, sending sizzles to the clitoris and the whole, wonderfully sensitive, surrounding area. The Petite fits our contours so well, in fact, that you could just slip it over your hungry parts, hold it there by wearing panties over it, and sit comfortably at the computer writing your blog post with the Petite quietly buzzing away. Ummm.
My favorites of the Natural Contours line are the Ideal and the Liberte. I like to use them together -- the Liberte vaginally and the Ideal clitorally. I like that the Liberte is slim with a bigger spot for G-spot stimulation, and the shape and curvature of the handle part make it easy and comfortable to hold while G-spot pulsing. The Ideal is very strong yet easy to hold because of the angle of the handle.
If you prefer, you can get your clitoral and vaginal vibrating going together by covering the head of the Ideal with the G-Plus, a rubbery addition that turns the Ideal into a dual-action vibrator.
I haven't covered all of these marvelous products (yet!), but I trust this review will spur you to take a look at the Natural Contours website and try one or more that you'd like to tickle your fancy. (Tell your partner or best buddy what you'd like as a holiday gift!)
If you'd like an erotic film to accompany your vibrator exploration, four films produced by Candida Royalle feature scenes with women a bit older than the usual young-and-perfect actresses you usually see in sexually explicit films. Not our age, you understand, but women we can relate to. Candida Royalle is well known for creating women-friendly erotic films featuring what women like to see, such as foreplay, realistic characters, and a story (imagine that!).
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Solo, Doc Johnson Remote Control Vibrating Egg is a great solution for the woman coping with arthritis, carpal tunnel, or other challenges that make wrist action with a vibrator problematic. With this vibrator, you insert the Egg, then hold the remote wherever it's comfortable, no wrist twisting or tweaking required. You don't even have to hold it at all once you've punched in your vibration level.(See? Isn't it useful to read a sex-toy reviewer who's 66 years old?)
If you are partnered, it could be fun to give the remote to your partner and let him/her control your vibrations in bed, out to dinner, during a visit from the grandkids, at the gym.... I'd love to hear how you use it. This would make a fine holiday gift, don't you think?
I was a little worried about this egg vibrator after my size difficulties with the Teneo SmartBall, but I was delighted to discover that the smooth silicone and the smart design of the Egg gave me no insertion problem whatsoever. The Egg is more oval than round and tapers into a smaller size (rather like an egg) at the inserting end. The other end is larger so it won't pop out with your voluntary or involuntary contractions. Nice design job, Doc Johnson.
The vibrations are pleasant and stimulating, strong but not super strong. You'll likely want to couple it with a clitoral vibrator. Thanks to the remote, you can pair the Egg with a large-head clitoral vibrator (e.g. the Hitachi Magic Wand, Miracle Massager, or Natural Contours Ideal) without your toys clunking and battling for real estate.
(FYI, if you have a cat, hide this toy. Between the rolling shape and the claw enticing loop, my cat was sure it was an early holiday gift for him. Fortunately, I rescued it in time.)
Saturday, December 05, 2009
This is Part II of my review of The Uno Smartballs Teneo Kegel Sex Toys from Fun Factory that Good Vibrations sent me.Read Part I here first.
I tried the Uno Smartball again last Thursday, making sure I was plenty relaxed and aroused before trying to insert it. It still hurt a lot, but I concentrated on relaxing instead of forcing, and it was easier than the first time.
Once in, the Smartball was comfortable, so I decided to take it for an outing. I drove into town and wore it through my Pilates class. I didn't even notice it, except when I intentionally added Kegels to my abdominal work, then it became something to grab onto, so to speak, while Kegeling.
Next I was meeting a guy pal for a walk and a restaurant dinner, so I wore it through the evening. I kept thinking I was supposed to feel the marble moving around inside the ball, or at least the ball moving in me, but I guess the Smartball fit so snugly that it didn't wobble and I didn't feel any motion. The only sensation I felt was irritation from the loop (sort of like a tampon string, but plastic/rubbery). The most entertaining part, actually, was trying to decide whether to reveal my secret to my walking and dining companion. (I didn't, and I assume he'll be surprised when he reads it here.)
Extracting the Smartball at the end of the evening was again uncomfortable to the point of pain, capping my decision that the experiment was over.
So what was the point? Did it remind me to do my Kegels? I guess so, but it wasn't pleasant enough to use again, and I certainly have no desire to try the Duo and submit myself to double the entry discomfort. I think these balls would be more effective if they were smaller and/or tapered -- a narrower nub facilitating entry --instead of abruptly round.
There are other Kegel exercisers, and I'll report on some of them later on. The Smartballs don't get my vote, sorry.
For a totally different take on these balls, read this amusing, barely English review here. Here's an excerpt:
He is deal for women with a reduction in the matrix or a matrix doubled backwards that wants, to make vibrate the musculatura of pelvis...Smartballs trains the vaginal musculatura and of pelvis and tries more pleasure in sex. Advised by matrons!
12/15 update: For contrast, please read Essin' Em's very positive review . One of the many values of these Internet sex toy reviews from real users willing to be candid is that readers can compare reviews. Older readers may identify with me; younger "Kegel athletes" will identify with Essin' Em. Many thanks to Good Vibrations for welcoming responses from a variety of reviewers.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Tantric Sex for Busy Couples: How to deepen your passion in just ten minutes a day by Diana Daffner, M.A., with Richard Daffner, might be just what you need if sex with your longtime partner has become more ho-hum than woo-hoo.
Tantric Sex for Busy Couples describes how tantra can enhance your relationship and includes clear, step-by-step exercises with line drawings. More than just a guide, the Daffners include their personal story and daily practice, offered with candor and warmth, as if you were sitting together over a cup of tea and talking quietly about sex. If you've been curious about tantric sex, this is a welcoming and easy place to start. Highly recommended.
Diana & Richard Daffner are both certified sexologists who lead Intimacy Retreats and have a private practice in Siesta Key (Sarasota), Florida. They developed Tantra Tai Chi, a "relationship exercise" that blends the Tai Chi movement and internal focus with tantric sexual energy.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Both models are designed to be inserted vaginally. Inside the larger ball is a smaller marble that rolls around as the hips move, creating hands-free G-spot sensations. You can wear them during masturbation, oral sex, or anal sex to add some fun. Or try them while wearing a strap-on harness, when you go out dancing, or (as one customer reported) while mopping the floor. However you use them, get creative and see what you can come up with. They're coated in silicone for easy cleaning, too.
Doesn't that sound like fun! They're Kegel exercisers for strengthening the pelvic floor -- something we need, especially as older women -- that also provide vaginal stimulation whether we're indulging in erotic play or just going about our daily lives.
In my role as Good Vibrations Brand Ambassador, it's my responsibility to review products honestly, candidly, and with a senior/elder perspective. Usually that's easy -- I try the product, enjoy the product, and review it according to what I think would be valuable to helpp you decide whether this product would be right for you.
I had a problem, though, with the Smartballs Teneo Kegel Sex Toys: I couldn't get the darn things in!
I've never been a "size queen." I'm petite, to begin with, and have never had children. As a young woman, I had no trouble accommodating a penis of any size when I was aroused enough. At 66 now and widowed -- that has a lot to do with it -- it's logical I'm tighter than I used to be. (A whole chapter in my new book, Naked at Our Age, addresses how to prevent and/or fix this problem -- more about that soon.)
The Smartballs measure 1-1/2 inches in diameter. That might not seem like such a big stretch (pun intended), but the spherical shape adds to the problem. If they were tapered, I wouldn't have a problem. It's just that initial entry that encounters resistance.
Maybe the problem was that I tried to insert the Smartball when I wasn't aroused, I figured. So I teamed it with my Hitachi Magic Wand -- always a delightful experience -- and in fact was able to relax enough to insert the single ball (Uno), although still not without difficulty and discomfort.
Once inserted, the ball was fun. A lot of fun. Inserting a finger into the looped string part and using a bouncing yo-yo motion, I could make the ball wriggle and give me very pleasurable sensations. I liked it a lot.
I considered leaving the Smartball in while I went to teach my line dance class that evening, but I was fearful of how difficult it would be to remove. I decided I'd better get it out while I was relaxed from my pleasure experience. Even so, it was difficult and uncomfortable to remove, to the point of minor pain.
I don't dare try the Duo yet. I'll be working on some exercises I got from a fabulous expert -- I'll introduce her in a different post. Using my current experience as a benchmark, I'll see how my ability to accommodate size changes. I'll also let you know what it's like to dance wearing Smartballs!
If you have no trouble inserting the 1-1/2" balls, you'll enjoy them, and you'll have plenty of incentive to practice your Kegel exercises with something pleasureable to play with internally. I'd love to hear your experience with them.
This was a difficult review for me to write, pushing my own boundaries of disclosure. But I know that my experience is mirrored by many women, and I'd rather be candid with you and help you deal with these challenges than protect some notion of privacy. Do let me know if this valuable to you, please.
see 12/5/09 update here.
12/15: For contrast, please read Essin' Em's very positive review . One of the many values of these Internet sex toy reviews from real users willing to be candid is that readers can compare reviews. Older readers may identify with me; younger "Kegel athletes" will identify with Essin' Em. Many thanks to Good Vibrations for welcoming responses from a variety of reviewers.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Special offer for my blog readers and Naked at Our Age Facebook fans:
Solve your holiday gift challenges, support the author, and save money, all at once: Order two or more copies of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex after Sixty directly from me at $15.95, and you'll get free media mail shipping (to one address) from now through the holidays.
I'll be happy to autograph the books personally to you and/or your giftee(s) -- let me know the names.
How to collect this free shipping offer? Contact me directly and send me this information:
* Your name, address, phone, email (to be kept confidential, of course).
* Number of copies + names for personal autographs.
I'll phone you to get your credit card information -- don't send it in email. If you'd like to send a check instead, tell me that in your email.
Please put either BLOG READER or FACEBOOK FAN in the subject line of your email.
Oh, and if you'd like to order The Anytime, Anytime Exercise Book: 300+ quick and easy exercises you can do whenever you want! at the special reduced price of $12 instead of $15.95, you can include that in this order with free shipping. Enjoy great sex and get your fitness program going after the holidays!
Happy, spicy reading!
Monday, November 16, 2009
I'm repeating this invitation because I know I have many new readers now:
What's stopping you from having a satisfying sex life as a senior or elder?
Four years after publication of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty, I am working on my new book on senior sex: Naked at Our Age. This book will concentrate on the sexual problems and challenges we face as women and men 50 - 80+ and how to resolve them and enjoy our sexuality throughout our lives.
I invite you to submit your candid questions, problems, and real-life experiences, which will be the focus of Naked at Our Age, with commentary and tips from sex educators, therapists, physicians, couples counselors, and other valuable experts.
The problem with Better Than I Ever Expected, many readers told me, was that it was too upbeat! “My sex life isn’t ‘better than I ever expected,’” many of you wrote me, and here’s why it’s not….” You confided questions and problems and shared intimate details of your obstacles to a satisfying sex life in later life, and you continue to write to me, thank you.
That's why I'm inviting all of you to tell me which problems and issues you hope my new book will address, what experiences you'd like to learn about, and what questions you wish you could ask an expert (I'll find the right expert to answer you). Post a comment below -- instructions here if this is new to you -- or, if you'd like me to follow up with you, email me.
If you'd like a copy of the confidential interview to be a part of this new book, please email me and I'll send it right out.
If you're a sex educator or other expert in some area of senior sex, please email me if you'd like to contribute your helpful tips.
(For those of you who have emailed me questions and not heard from me -- I apologize. It seems that whatever I do to catch up, I'm always 300 emails behind. Thank you for your patience!)
Thank you for joining me in talking out loud about senior sexuality,
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Becka, our intrepid senior online dating reporter, has met several men now -- after rejecting far more. Three men seem to be in a photo finish for her heart, she tells us! Here's her latest report:
PHOTO FINISH -- PART 2
I winnowed and winnowed trying to separate the wheat from the chaff and I didn't even know what chaff was until I read some of the self- descriptions guys put on dating sites. Leo wrote that he was looking for a “soulmate to love forever” and then mentioned that his dog had passed away and “no one can replace that void.” Next!
Alex, 5' 3” who makes less than $20,000 thought I should know that he “reads women's magazines to study the opposition.” Next!
Sammy carroled that he wanted “to be Gomez to your Morticia.” Next!
Here's the winner: said Donald of himself, “I am a smoker, earn under $12,000, drink a little, am passive and submissive and am looking for a woman who will finish the job my mother and sister started when I was a kid of turning me into a full female.” Neeeext!
You will learn an awful lot about yourself on this journey. Some things not so good; other things pretty damn good! I learned I liked a sense of humor but sometimes lacked one myself. It took a while for me to realize that Joe was joking when he wrote, “She must be breathing. If she's not breathing, the whole deal is off.” Joe became Date No. 1. He does make me laugh and helps me be less uptight.
I also learned I am more of a risk taker than I thought. When Bill would not give any additional information until I revealed something of myself, I complained. He wrote, “Aw, now, why wouldn't you want some mystery?” Bill became Date No. 2. We met the first time at a local diner and each of us wore something from Star Wars so we'd recognize the other. Okay, so now you know I'm a geek.
I like these men and intend to keep seeing them, but my favorite is Steve, Date No. 3. He is the one who offered to cook for me, massage my feet and “wander through the woods together armed only with a camera.” He suggested meeting at a hiking club event. I felt safe and knew I'd have a good time even if we didn't hit it off. Smart man!
There are fabulous times to be had with wonderful people! To pull this off you need two senses: “common” and “adventure.” “Sixth” doesn't hurt either. My three men are in a photo finish for my heart. My advice to you: get going!
Thank you, Becka, for sacrificing so much time in the pursuit of, uh, educating the rest of us! See Becka's other online dating reports here.
Joan, I think that a space that addresses senior sex is great. However, what I see are a number of posts that talk about sex toys and online dating sites and some blogs, but not, you know, actual sex. And I understand your loss, but also get the impression that you are not actually having sex, at least not with another person. Maybe I'm wrong and I didn't go back far enough in your blog, but I think it begs the question of how much credibility you have in the area.
When I got this comment from reader Scott on my post about my Top Sex Bloggers award, I laughed and gave him a light-hearted response. Some of my readers urged me to answer him with more explanation of what I'm doing and why.
not, you know, actual sex
"Actual sex"? First, I'd like to get us away from the idea that "actual sex" means intercourse. "Actual sex," in my view, especially as I write for and learn from other seniors and elders, means sexual expression in whatever form that takes. For example:
Many of my readers are single now, through widowhood, divorce, break-up, or choice, and are having sex solo. One of my missions is to help these readers understand how sex toys can enhance this experience and may even mean the difference between achieving that elusive orgasm or not. Hence all the sex toy reviews.
Many of my readers are dating or ready to date and know that options have changed and the "rules" upturned since they last dated, which might have been 40 years ago! I want to encourage, educate, and, I hope, entertain readers about DWO: Dating While Old(er).
Many of my readers are coupled, but their sex lives have been altered by age, illness, medications, and myriad emotions that interfere with sexual experience and/or satisfaction. I want to offer resources to enourage readers to express their sexuality and keep their intimacy strong, even when life throws out obstacles.
Many of my readers are still having great sex at age 60, 70, 80+, and I want to share their stories -- and advice -- here and in my books.
I use this blog for all of the above, plus answering reader questions, reviewing books, and showcasing experts in the growing field of sex and aging.
To answer Scott's last concern directly, no, I am not having sex with another person at this time of my life. Okay, it's out there.
However, even when my beloved Robert was alive and vital and we were having amazing sex, my blog wasn't about recounting our sexual intimacies for the voyeuristic enjoyment of my readers. Plenty of other blogs do that -- many of them are on the top 100 list with me. My blog is educational, not erotic. I consider myself an advocate for ageless sexuality and a sex educator in that new arena. Credibility? I've got it.
I hope this answers Scott and others who might have those questions, also. Readers, I hope you'll comment!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Becka, our intrepid senior online dating reporter, sent us her evaluation of several online dating sites from the perspective of a senior woman seeking men. As always, her report is both informative and entertaining:
PHOTO FINISH -- PART 1
Let me paraphrase an old rock n roller: What a short, strange trip it's been! A jolly, jarring, coo-coo, sweet time I've had meeting men on senior dating sites. From boffo to bozo, I've met them all – or so it seems. Too many men, too little time, not enough memory.
Eharmony probably has the best setup. They guide you through the process beautifully, with many options, and the vibes inherent in their name appear to attract a higher type of person, male and female. (That would be me, of course.) You will end up spending money unless you're very lucky -- and quick, because most of these dating sites are timed release sites. That means, they won't release you to a fuller experience unless you are on time with a payment.
AgeMatch is just what it says. If you want a younger man but will stop short of hanging out at the local high school, this is your website. To each his own. One 30-something accepted me with the succinct phrase, “You'll do.” I was supposed to be flattered. I was not.
On the other hand, a 20-something commented on my picture, “You look like a lovely fairy in the woods.” I was charmed. However, I couldn't be sure it wasn't a 10-year old using his dad's computer.
Surprisingly I got more responses here than I did anywhere else: 67. Sixty-seven men wanted an older woman. Wow. Tell Hollywood! This may be very hopeful to those of you desiring that younger flash and dash. Or maybe youth today is just more tired than we know.
A super-friendly site is seniorchatters. It's located in the UK, but don't let that stop you. Plenty of Americans have joined. You get the first two weeks free, which is a plus. You can find both friends and lovers on this site and I began an interesting communication with a woman who lives in Turkey. I thought it would be neat to correspond with someone who has an entirely different life from mine. Keeps your brain alive.
I did end up going out with three men from my area and each one was a lovely person. I'll share my experiences next time. Life is long and hectic, until you get to be a senior. Then you realize your mistake. It's actually short and lonely. Why don't they tell us? Don't wait!
Thank you, Becka, for sacrificing so much time in the pursuit of, uh, educating the rest of us! See Becka's other online dating reports here.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Do you use Facebook? I just started a Naked at Our Age Facebook fan page. Here's the idea:
As I write Naked at Our Age, I invite you to contribute your questions and viewpoints. My new book about sex & aging will include senior/elder sex stories, questions, problems, solutions. Visit the Naked at Our Age fan page, check "become a fan" and you can post comments and participate in our discussions.
I hope you'll join and speak up! Please tell your other Facebook senior/elder friends.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
I just discovered that I've been chosen one of the top 100 sex bloggers by Between My Sheets and 13 other judges! I'm ranked number 21, pretty amazing when just a few years ago, nobody talked about senior/elder sex! See all 100 here, and be sure to visit the sites of the judges, too.
I'm about to turn 66 (tomorrow), and I'll bet I'm the oldest sex blogger on the list, as well as, perhaps, the only one who uses her/his real name!
It's funny, in a way, how these things work out. During my first year after Robert's death, a time of extreme grieving, I couldn't focus well enough to work on anything that demanded more than an hour of concentration at a time.
I was still interested in helping the readers who wrote me with questions (we help ourselves by helping others, I firmly believe), so my blog was the perfect outlet. It gained momentum as you, its readers, recognized its value. I put more time and energy into my blog in 2009 than its first four years combined. I consider my #21 ranking among the Top 100 Sex Bloggers an honor!
Thank you, Between My Sheets, judges, and readers!
Best Women's Erotica 2010, ed. Violet Blue, from Cleis Press is an edgy anthology of women's erotic fiction, filled with swollen vulvas ("a cushiony mass of need") yearning for and achieving release through many interesting means: an especially thorough boot shining; a police officer locked in the line-up room; a hot, nasty man in a Barcelona bar; an after-hours martial arts class; three Geniuses in an Apple Store; a beautiful young man in a corset; and even a carrot. The stories are well-written, and no two plots, settings, or characters are alike.
Personally, I go for more tenderness and romantic connection in my erotica than most of the stories in this anthology deliver, but that doesn't mean you like as much foreplay in your reading as in your real life, as I do. For me, many of the stories were raunchier and more aggressive than I prefer, and some made me downright uncomfortable. "I felt sluttish and used, at the mercy of these callous brutes, and it was bliss," was more disturbing than erotic, as were a few other stories that had more pain and degradation than pleasure.
However, the fun of an anthology like this is that you can enjoy the stories that make you smile and tingle and skip the ones that don't feel right to you. I applaud editor Violet Blue and Cleis Press for not shying away from hardcore, women's erotica. My favorite story was "Secret Service" by Rachel Kramer Bussel, a sweet and sexy tale of a restaurant specializing in "oral bliss": good food plus cunnilingus interludes to leave its customers completely satisfied.
I'm always happy when I get books to review from Cleis Press because they publish an enormous variety of erotica and other sex-themed books. Here, let me show you -- these were among the titles Cleis sent me recently:
Peep Show: Tales of Voyeurs and Exhibitionists, ed. Rachel Kramer Bussel
Playing With Fire: Taboo Erotica, ed. Alison Tyler
Surfer Boys: Gay Erotic Stories, ed. Neil Plakcy
Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories, ed. Rachel Kramer Bussel
Whatever your gender, gender preference, or taste in sex fantasies -- from airplane sex to vampire sex, you'll find erotica from Cleis Press that fits. ...Oh, except for senior sex/elder erotica. Is that coming, dear folks at Cleis?
Friday, November 06, 2009
I'm trying to work on my book, but as my birthday approaches, I miss Robert so horribly that I had to write memories of him. Excerpts:
I cried with Robert when we were forced to accept his death. His mind stayed strong at first as his body weakened. While he still had the strength, he prepared with the care and organization that he always ran his life. He got his affairs in order and cleaned out his files and his painting studio. He gave away thousands of dollars worth of art supplies to an art program for developmentally disabled adults. He made gifts to family and friends. He labeled files that I would need.
Multiple myeloma sapped his life from him while he still breathed. His back, broken in six places, caused him brutal pain. One day he drew the pain to show me. His drawing was so raw, so anguished, so horrible in its detail, that I wail aloud picturing it. I am tempted to share it with you here, but I won’t, because you could never forget it.
It wasn’t until Robert entered hospice care that he was able to be at peace, out of pain, and a loving man again. I owe a great debt of gratitude to hospice, who figured out how to medicate him properly and counseled him with great respect and warmth. They also gave me the bereavement support and counseling that enabled me to preserve what was left of my sanity.
Robert’s last ten days were spent in bed, journeying in and out of consciousness. Sometimes he woke startlingly lucid and sweet, sharing memories and words of love. Often he was only semi-awake, seeming to have one foot in our world and one foot in another. His comments were occasionally hilariously funny – he saw our line dance class dancing with llamas on a stage in front of us, for example, or he plucked flying books from the air for his granddaughter Megan, an avid reader, to attach to her eyes -- though he didn’t know why we were laughing.
Sometimes he slept for days, and I thought I’d never hear his voice again.
One day I was crying in my study, listening to his breathing on the baby monitor that hospice recommended. “I wish I had my best friend, my darling Robert, to ask for help with this,” I sobbed.
Then it occurred to me: I still did. Perhaps the man in the bed was a shadow of the man he used to be, but he was still there. I went to the bedroom, where he lay, eyes closed, mouth slack. I took his limp hand and whispered, “Can you please help me for a minute?”
“Yes,” he said quietly, without opening his eyes.
“How will I go on without you?” I asked, resting my tear-streamed face on his chest as lightly as I could so I wouldn’t hurt him.
He stroked my hair slowly, a whisper of a touch, soft as a kiss. “You’ll be okay,” he told me. “Reach out to people.”
Now I do. I reach out to people I know, people I don’t know. I reach out to you.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Are you 50 - 80+, feeling sexy and enjoying your sensuality, yet celibate? If you're unpartnered, either by choice or because you haven't found the right person to share your sexuality, I'd like to interview you for my new book, Naked at Our Age.
I'd like your story about being unpartnered at our age, and how you've channeled your sexuality into solo pleasuring and/or other outlets: art? exercise? paid companions? massage? nuzzling grandchildren? volunteerism? dance? You tell me.
I'm especially seeking women and men who haven't turned off their sexual nature -- you nurture, even celebrate your sexuality and your sensual enjoyment without a partner.
Please email me your story or your questions. You will be identified by a first name of your choice and your real age, and I'll be the only one -- ever! -- who knows who you are.
If you are a senior or elder, partner-less and NOT feeling happy in your sensuality, I'd like to hear from you, too.
(Do you have a different senior sex story to share? For more ways to get involved in sharing your experience in Naked at Our Age, see this post and email me for the interview questionnaire.)
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
NO LONGER RECOMMENDED until I get the final word on what this product is made of. It is advertised on different sites as containing different materials, and since it looks and acts like "jelly" -- a toxic material -- I can no longer recommend it, for your health. I'll update this again if I learn for sure what's in it. Until then, I apologize for recommending it when it might not be good for you.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
"'Restless Vagina Syndrome': Big Pharma's Newest Fake Disease" by Terry J. Allen discusses the attempt to medicalize women's sexuality as if we were men with faulty functioning who need fixing. Allen, senior editor of In These Times, writes,
It’s not your fault, ladies (and certainly not your partner’s), that you don’t orgasm every time you have intercourse, or that you lack the libido of a 17-year-old boy. You have a disease: female sexual dysfunction (FSD), and the pharmaceutical industry wants to help.
You are among the “43 percent of American women [who] experience some degree of impaired sexual function,” according to a Journal of the American Medical Association article. The FDA’s evolving definition of FSD includes decreased desire or arousal, sexual pain and orgasm difficulties—but only if the woman feels “personal distress” about it.
So, convincing women to feel distress is a key component of the drug company strategy to market a multi-billion-dollar pill that will cure billions of women of what may not ail them.
Allen goes on to describe the big pharmaceutical companies' attempts to define women's sexuality as men's sexuality gone awry -- we should get turned on easily and have mind-blowing orgasms every time -- and their failed attempts (so far) to give us instant arousal and explosive orgasms with drugs. She discusses several drugs and how they have not turned out to be helpful to women.
I agree that we're not defective men, and we absolutely should not fall for attempts to medicalize what might be perfectly normal. I encourage you to read Allen's article in full. (I itched to retitle it "Restless Clitoris Syndrome," however!)
On the other side, I hear from enough unhappy women (and men) to assert that we often DO have medical reasons that our sex functioning isn't working the way we want, especially as we age. I encourage both women and men who are experiencing changes in their desire and/or ability to get aroused and experience orgasm to see a trusted medical professional. It's important to learn whether there's a medical reason for the change and to explore treatment options, if so. The right hormonal treatment, or a change in other medications that are affecting our sexual response, can make an enormous difference in our enjoyment of our sexuality.
If the change is due to psychological and/or relationship issues, then a counselor or sex therapist can make the difference between a dissatisfying or non-existent sex life and a richly rewarding one.
Doing nothing about an unhappy sex life only insures that it will remain the same or worsen.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
"I am not afraid to go to 'a home' when the time comes, but I am afraid they won’t let me even talk about Minipearl, let alone bring one in," writes Susan Tixier at 67 in a guest blog for SeasonedSex.com titled "Retirement Home? Can I Bring My Sex Toys?" So she is talking about it now:
One day I’ll be going into a home and when that happens, let me be clear that I’ll need that (1) Minipearl can go with me, (2) I have plenty of batteries, and (3) there are no rules or reasons against my using it.
Recently, I had my 67th birthday and a dear friend sent me a new Minipearl. It occurred to me then that there would be a birthday – not too soon, one hopes – when I’d be in a home and I would probably be prohibited from receiving such a gift. That thought gave me a fright.
What would I do? Could I ask the caretakers to organize an outing to a sex shop? Would it put off other customers to see a gaggle of old people in diapers, using walkers and wheelchairs, shuffling around as they tried to find their favorite sex toy? Maybe I’d have to organize a smuggling ring?
Hmmm, I've heard there's more sex going on in nursing homes than we know, and that's despite never being able to lock the door. Does this include never separating a woman from her favorite vibrator?
Susan's favorite, the Vibratex Mini Pearl:
Saturday, October 31, 2009
It's a Rabbit. No, it's a Butterfly. Actually, it's both. The Vibratex Japanese Butterfly is a dual-action vibrator, meaning that it accomplishes both clitoral and vaginal stimulation simultaneously with its connected parts.
This type of vibrator achieved fame when the gals on Sex and the City shared their enthusiasm for their Rabbit, and "Rabbit" has become the catch-all term for this kind of vibrator, whatever the shape.
In this case, the "rabbit" part is a butterfly. It's cute and playful and yes, it vibrates like crazy. The Vibratex Japanese Butterfly has a rotating shaft full of vibrating beads and a rounded head plus an external, fluttering piece in the shape of a butterfly, designed to tickle the clitoris.
Thank you, TabuToys adult toys, for providing my Butterfly and being such a good sport while helping me decide which Rabbit to try! I requested a really strong Rabbit, and Vibratex Japanese Butterfly is considered top of the line.
I really wanted to love it. Yes, it's strong. Yes, its many attributes vibrate in a sexy, enticing way with the promise to rock my world. It even puts on a light show, great for giggles in the dark.
But -- for me, personally -- the shaft felt too thick (1.5") and hard, and I had trouble positioning it so that the butterfly actually fluttered where it was supposed to. It must be built for larger women (I am petite), because the butterfly landed a smidgen too far forward, and if I tried to bend and press it where I wanted it, the shaft ended up at an odd and not entirely comfortable angle. I also had trouble holding it at that angle with my short arms, until I discovered that I could just hold the part where the butterfly connects to the shaft, and that worked well.
It's a good, solid, well-made and well-designed toy, and I'll bet you'll love it if you have even slightly larger proportions than I do (and most women do). The vibrations are wonderfully strong and delightfully surprising as the shaft and beads roll around. It's just the size that isn't quite for me, darn it. I guess I haven't found my ideal Rabbit yet.
I'd love to hear from other users who declared this vibrator their dream toy -- I'm sure there are many of you!