Ellen Taft wrote me this moving email and gave me permission to publish it here:
I can’t thank you enough for all you’ve done to help me get back out there again after losing my husband of 37 years in December of 2007. I’m 63 today, and it’s been a terrifying and exhilarating experience.
My husband died a year and a half ago. It had been over 40 years since I’d dated. Getting back out there has been a real trip! But I’ve done it, largely with the help from Joan’s book, Better than I Ever Expected, and her blog here with the wonderful information and links. The link to Judith Sills, and her book, Getting Naked Again, gave me the final push.
Sills suggested having a friend “mentor” your reentry into getting naked again. So that’s what I did. I asked a dear friend and fellow recent widower to help me in this tremendous step. We had been dating for a few months, very cautiously, as he is a more recent widower, and not ready for any new relationship, but this mentoring idea appealed to him.
We “negotiated” which means we clarified just what we were doing and why, so no one would be mislead. We shared our feelings about our bodies, what we needed the other to know, our limitations, and our fears.
I asked that we use condoms or get tested for STDs. It was an amazingly honest and open sharing, and I attribute the comfort level we experienced to our "negotiations." Once we knew these intimate details about each other, the concern and caring that followed made the whole experience positive.
I had done a lot of reading, too, including Michael Castleman’s Great Sex, also mentioned in Joan’s blog, and all my reading paid off.
It was a wonderful, amazing three hours. Neither one of us could believe how smoothly it all went. We both enjoyed it so much and were so relaxed we have continued the relationship. We call it "Touch Deprivation Therapy," and oh, how it helps!
Thank you, Ellen. I'm thrilled that you shared your experience with us and that my book recommendations helped you! (Read these and my other book reviews here.)