Monday, August 31, 2009

Miracle Massager & G-Spot Accessory review

Christina from Tabutoys.com invited me to review some of their sex toys that are especially popular with women of our age. "The Miracle Massager is fabulous," she told me, "as is the Miracle Massager G-Spot Accessory that is sold separately."

I loved the idea -- a strong, plug-in vibrator with an attachment that looks like a G-spot aiming dildo with fins that extend the vibrations fore and aft when the G-spotting part is inserted. "Do not fall asleep while using this massager," the instructions caution. Not likely!

I sampled the Miracle Massager first on its own, very nice. Strong vibrations but fairly lightweight and easy to hold with its ergomonically curved handle, and quieter than most plug-ins. I would have liked one more level up in strength, but I seem to say that about all my toys -- I'm sure it's plenty strong enough for most women.


UPDATE: G-SPOT ACCESSORY NO LONGER RECOMMENDED until I find out whether it is still a jelly toy, or, as TabuToys says now, "phthalate-free TPR." It is not proven that a condom protects you from toxic materials, as I used to think. To be safe, avoid jelly toys and any toys that smell -- that's outgassing of chemicals, and you don't want that happening in your body.

Then I added the G-Spot Accessory. If you have any trouble making the 
attachment slide onto the massager, a couple of drops of lubricant on the massager head solves that problem easily.

It was fun to feel the vibrations inside and out, but although the attachment is shaped to please, I discovered that the external parts landed a fraction of an inch away from the exact spots I wanted to feel most strongly. I'm a petite woman, and although I never thought about this before, the various parts of my nether regions must also be sized closer together than average. That's probably more than you wanted to know (and more than I wanted to tell, frankly), but I need to explain why the attachment gets a lukewarm review from me, though it might get raves from you.


You may have noticed that I usually review high-end sex toys with medical-grade materials -- they're safest, most reliable, and generally most effective. I get wary when a sex toy is labeled "novelty item" -- that means there are no guarantees about what materials were used. The accessory here is made of a material known as "jelly rubber" or simply "jelly," a porous material that can harbor bacteria even when scrupulously cleaned. Jelly toys are fun -- they're comfortable, squeezable, visually inviting -- so if you want to use an insertable jelly toy like this one, it's advised to use it with a condom for safe solo sex or sharing.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Getting Naked Again book review & contest


The subtitle of Getting Naked Again (available hardcover or Kindle) by Judith Sills says it all: Dating, Romance, Sex, and Love When You’ve Been Divorced, Widowed, Dumped, or Distracted. If you’re getting into the dating/ romance/ sex/ love world again after being out of it for a long time, this is absolutely the book you need to read.

Author Judith Sills, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and author of several psychology books, writes for women in a warm, pull-no-punches style and zooms in on those issues that concern – or should I say, obsess? – us when we’re considering reentering the dating game and becoming naked physically and emotionally again. It’s a a modern, how-to book about dating again, and it’s also a guide to preparing yourself to make that transition.

You’ll look at your last relationship and how it will shape your new one, mistaken fantasies and beliefs, and fears. You'll learn your best mind-set for dating success.

Whether you lost your last relationship to death, divorce, or a breakup, you were part of a romantic partnership which is no longer. You likely experienced the depths of heartbreak. Dating after heartbreak isn’t anything like like dating after college graduation. If you’re ready to forge a new relationship, or even just to tip your toes (or other body parts) in the dating waters to see how it feels, the world you’re entering is not the same as the one you left. Being single again isn’t even close to what it was in your past. Sills walks you through all this and more.

Although you don’t have to be over 50, 60, or 70 to benefit from Sills’ insights and tips, it helps. Many of her anecdotes and quotes are from women our age. And Sills doesn’t presume that you’ll wait until love or remarriage before you get naked – quite the opposite: she warns you not to mistake a first partner-assisted orgasm after emerging from a “sexual coma” for love.

FREE BOOK GIVEAWAY CONTEST! Hachette Book Group, the publisher of Getting Naked Again, has generously offered free copies of Getting Naked Again to five prizewinning readers of this blog!

Here are two ways to enter:

1. Tell your own true, candid story, 150 - 300 words, of getting naked again after age 50, 60, 70, 80, and up. Include:

What were your circumstances?
Who was the new partner and why did he/she attract you?
What misgivings did you have before shedding your clothes?
How did you overcome them?
How did it turn out?
What’s the funniest/scariest/sweetest thing that happened?

OR

2. If you need the book because you want to get naked again but haven’t yet, send me your true, candid story, 150 - 300 words, about your circumstances, your desires, your worries/misgivings/questions, and why you need this book.

You may either post your story as a comment here or email it directly to me. If you post it as a comment, please also email me so that I know who you are if you’re one of the winners. In your email, be sure to include your name, age, and address and the code name (fictitious first name) you’d like to accompany your story.

Important: By submitting your story, you agree that you give me permission to publish it with your code name (no real name, I promise) on this blog and in my next book.

Contest open to residents of the US or Canada, no PO boxes, please. The five winning entries will receive be chosen completely subjectively by Joan Price and will receive a free copy of Getting Naked Again from Hachette Book Group.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Seniors like oral sex... this is a surprise?

Oh, dear. I'm reading reviews of Play the Game, which I reviewed here. I didn't like the movie, but it certainly isn't shocking, amazing, or icky that it portrays elders having sex, wanting to have sex, and enjoying the experience. Yet in the reviews that are popping up in blogs and mainstream media now, the reviewers (guess their ages!) can't believe they're watching Andy Griffith receive oral sex, for example. At what age do they want their genitals to go forever off limits, I wonder.

Even more shocking, says a press release from both Play the Game and Eons.com, is a recent survey conducted by eons.com of 3,500 people age 50+, which revealed that "Among those in relationships, 55% of seniors over 70 have oral sex at least once in a while."

Well, sure! The number is probably low because of bad backs, necks, and knees that require creative solutions for minimizing discomfort, especially for the extended lovemaking that we enjoy. Or maybe many of the other 45% weren't telling the truth.

The release continued,

A surprising 35% of surveyed seniors age 70+ reported they have oral sex "often" or "very often." Even more shockingly, the survey found that 71% of the over-50 crowd still masturbate, either by themselves or with a partner.


Do I laugh or cry? What's "surprising" or "shocking" about that survey, except that the numbers aren't higher?

But I get it. The release is designed to pull attention to the movie and the survey, and it's accomplishing both by playing on the "ick factor," as I call it. A clever promotion -- though I don't like it.

Can't we just stop being cagey, shocked, or giggly and just talk about senior sex in a candid and respectful way?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hip Hop, Elder Style


Elders dancing -- nothing unusual about that... unless they're in a senior hip-hop team performing for the New Jersey Nets' basketball fans! In Gotta Dance, 12 women and one man, age 60 to 83, make it through auditions and train like crazy to memorize and execute hip-hop moves from coaches the age of their granddaughters. (In fact, some of them are their granddaughters.)

They work, they learn, they laugh, and then they dance with their hearts, bodies, souls, and soles -- their ages worn proudly as the numbers on their jerseys. View the trailer here.

Of course, since this blog is about sex and aging, I had to ask the NetSational Seniors how their hip-hop habit affects their sex lives. They were a bit coy, willing to tell me just this much:

Audrey, age 60, who used to lie about her age: “It releases tension.”

Claire, age 63, who competes in ballroom dancing with a 27-year-old dance partner: “Dancing is a physical, sensual experience. Dancing does something for my ego. I love when I leave the dance floor and young guys say, ‘you still got it girl.’”

Deanna, age 65: “The problem is right now there is no time for sex. Want to know why? Cause all we do is dance. We practice, then perform, then practice some more to get our routines to where they need to be.”

A dancer who goes by "Anonymous": “I think dancing hip hop makes me feel freer with my body and makes me feel sexier. I think that transfers to my relationship with my partner. When you are freer with your body it is therefore easier to express your sexuality.”

When I pressed for more details, the dancers declined through their publicist. Probably they were too busy dancing to check out this blog and they suspected I had a perverse -- even perverted -- interest in their sex lives. No, I just know how dancing does enhance sexuality, like "Anonymous" said, and Robert and I certainly discovered.

You may not be in the shape or mood to dance hip hop, but I hope I can convince those of you who don't know the joy of dancing to jump up and try it. Whatever dance style appeals to you, give it a try.

My contemporary line dancers range in age from 9 to 80+, and everyone has a great time. We all have our physical issues (most of us of a certain age wear ankle braces or knee braces, some have had hip or knee replacements, heart attacks, strokes, and all those maladies that befall our age group eventually). I dance with a permanently damaged ankle, and right now I'm babying my back, which is threatening to spasm over the number of body rolls I did teaching my classes Sunday and Monday.

So sometimes we modify the moves when we need to, or take a break (grrrr), and then we come back to class and share the exhilaration of moving joyfully in our bodies.

Monday, August 17, 2009

71st birthday invitation: "Bring hiking clothes, sunblock, and sex assists"

Memories of Robert are always gliding through my mind. Sometimes they arrive without any apparent prompt, but usually something I see (a hummingbird, ripened blackberries), do (a dance I can see see him dancing so gracefully), or hear (a song with words that break my heart) triggers the memory.

Today I unearthed an invitation I wrote to Robert for a mystery 71st birthday outing -- the last birthday we would share. As I read it, I started to cry, but then burst into laughter when I read the end. Enjoy:

Dearest Robert,
We’re celebrating your 71st birthday at an unknown destination. Please clear your schedule from 12:30 pm Thursday until the next afternoon and pack the following:
• cool-weather, hiking-suitable clothes/shoes/jacket/hat
• restaurant semi-dressy/casual outfit
• swimsuit/ sunglasses/ sunblock/ outdoor slip-on shoes/sandals
• underwear, socks, moisture lotion for two days, one overnight
• sex assists: Wedge, Dr. Ruth, Liquid Silk, Buzzy, silk underwear
Your loving wife,
Joan



Friday, August 14, 2009

Robert Rice's art at MeSH Gallery, Sebastopol, CA


I'm thrilled that my dear Robert's art is still being viewed and appreciated. Robert Rice's paintings continue to move and inspire viewers, a year after he died of cancer at age 71. His art is currently on exhibit through September at MeSH Gallery, 6984 McKinley Ave., Sebastopol, CA, and can be viewed on Robert's website.

“Robert Rice’s art is so diverse that he seemed to reinvent himself each time he painted,” said Kevin Devine, MeSH Gallery owner, who was drawn to Robert’s work from his first viewing. “I had the privilege of seeing some of Robert’s art in his home,” says Devine. “His wife Joan showed me around and gave me a unique perspective on him. The experience was moving as I was viewing the art almost exactly one year after his death. When Joan showed me one particular piece that Robert requested to view as he was dying, I was moved to tears.”

Robert Rice spent almost three years living alone in a cabin deep in the woods in Mendocino County, living with nature and painting all day. “To me this shows an amazingly rare depth of character which gives insight into what a unique and wonderful man Robert must have been,” says Devine. “I urge you to visit our gallery and think about Robert the man, who continues to inspire and move me and many others, even though he is no longer with us.”

Robert Rice was a lifelong dancer as well as artist, starting tap dancing at the age of three and later dancing ballet, modern dance, and musical theatre, and getting a Master’s degree in dance therapy. Robert and I met in my contemporary line dance class in 2000. “The first time he moved his hips, I was a goner,” I wrote in my book about our romance, Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty.

MeSH Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and by appointment by calling 707-823-1971. The public and press are invited to the opening Thursday, August 20, 2009, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Please view more of Robert Rice’s art at www.robertriceart.com.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sex in Nursing Homes -- why not?

"Why is it so hard to remain sexually active in a nursing home?" Ira Rosofsky, psychologist in long-term care facilities, asks in "Sex Bans in Nursing Homes" in the Los Angeles Times, August 19, 2009. Rosofsky is the author of Nasty, Brutish, and Long: Adventures in Old Age and the World of Eldercare.

"Where is the law that says you check your rights and liberties at the nursing home door?" Rosfsky asks, then answers, "There is none that I know of. In fact, the law says you retain the right to a sex life wherever you reside."

Oh? It's not that the law or facility guidelines mention sex, but nursing home residents are guaranteed the right to "maintain [their] highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being," as well as "the right to privacy and the accommodation of personal needs," according to Rosofsky.


Then why aren't nursing home residents permitted enough privacy for self-pleasuring or coupling if they choose? Why can't they enjoy sex -- even solo sex -- without an aide or custodian walking in? Why can't they cuddle each other to sleep instead of taking a sedative? Why do few nursing homes have private spaces that residents can use, undisturbed by roommates or staff?

I participated in a panel discussion about senior sex in San Francisco a while back. One of the panelists, administrator of a forward-thinking nursing home, discussed frequent problems of the residents' family objecting to Grandma having sex with someone other than Grandpa (even if Grandpa is deceased). Then there's the issue of whether Grandma can indeed give consent if she has Alzheimer's. How does the nursing home know whether she is making an independent decision about whether to have sex with someone who is interested in having sex with her, even pursuing her?

These are issues to be examined carefully, permitting the resident utmost dignity, respect, safety, and independence.

One nursing home that stands out in this arena is the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in New York which has a Sexual Expression Policy "to recognize and protect the sexual rights of nursing home residents, while distinguishing between intimacy and sexually inappropriate behaviors."


Your comments?

Doug, 80: "8 penises on his hands"

Doug, a reader from the Philippines, wrote a comment that was so interesting and helpful that I'm excerpting it here so you won't miss what he said. Doug wrote,

I am 80 years young and have had ED (erectile dysfunction) all of my life. It has taken me a whole lifetime to come to the point of seeing sex but the tip of the relational iceberg.

Yes, I also know that we men are our penises and our penises are the man. This is a mental hang-up that we need to change.


Doug addresses a reader in an earlier post who wrote that her husband can no longer have erections and has given up on sex and communication. Doug says to this reader,

Until your husband can change the way that he sees his masculinity, he'll never really feel good about himself. He has eight penises on his hands and the best penis in his mouth. And that up close and personal penis can and does give my wife wonderful, body-shaking orgasms, one right after the other, that most penile intercourse cannot come close.

And best of all, my ego isn't lying on the ground of mental failure. It works for me and it can work for your hubby.


Doug, you've been most helpful to our readers here, and I thank you for sharing your perspective. Would you please contact me personally so I can invite you to be in my next book?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Bob, 81: "I've never seen a sex toy...."

"I have a strange request," Bob said to me, eyes sparkling. "In all my 81 years and with all my sexual experience, I've never seen a sex toy...."

"What are you asking me, specifically?" I pursued, although I knew. He and his wife Leona wanted to look at my stash of sex toys. Although I share liberally here, it's one thing to photograph a vibrator before I've used it, all clean and shiny, and write about its pleasures a few hours later -- and another to have people in my bedroom handling my used (though scrupulously cleaned) buzzing buddies.

"Yes," I told Bob and Leona, "as long I can write about it and take photos." If I call myself a sex educator who has no reservations about talking candidly, surely I can do show & tell with two good friends.

If you've read Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty, you met Bob and Leona, then 76 and 77, who candidly discussed the pleasures of sex without erections following Bob's heart surgery. "If I can't have intercourse, that doesn't mean I can't have sexual union," he said at that time. "Sex doesn't have much to do with the penis. It's between the ears, at the end of the tongue, in the finger, in the cuddling." It made sense that now they were curious about sex toys, which brought them to my bedroom.

I didn't want to overwhelm them by opening the lid of my gargantuan toy chest and letting them rummage around. So I prepared a display of just a few to show the variety, shapes, and potential of the new wave of vibrators designed with a woman's contours and hot spots in mind -- the Cone, Emotional Bliss Womalia and Femblossom, Lelo Gigi, and my decade-long favorite, the Eroscillator.

Bob asked many questions, mostly variations of "what does this do and how?" His guesses about the Cone were quite comical, but otherwise he had no trouble figuring them out. Leona's smile widened as I handed her one vibrating toy after another.


Bob was ready to leave, thanking me for supplementing his sexual education. Leona lingered for a moment, holding the Eroscillator. I think they'll have "the talk" later.



Good Vibrations

Friday, August 07, 2009

Let's Twist Again: G-Twist Review


"Have a good weekend," my UPS man said as he handed me a package. When I saw that it came from Good Vibrations, I replied, "Oh, I will!"

I ripped open the packaging and greeted the G-Twist, a 6" long, 1-1/2" thick, blue, ridged and curvy penis staring back at me. (OK, I was the only one staring.) Made of flexible, squeezable, medical-grade silicone, this battery-operated vibrator can be an innie and an outie, even at the same time if you bend it to fit.

First, let's get the most difficult part out of the way: opening the battery case. No, you don't need a screwdriver, although some reviewers on the Good Vibes website thought so -- in fact, keep sharp, metal objects far away from your sex toys and their destinations. Just squeeze the two, thumbprint-sized indentations in the light grey area hard until you hear them click and the top pops up. I wasn't sure which way the batteries should face, but I must have guessed right because as soon as I replaced the cap, it started buzzing. The daisy shape on the cap is a dial for adjusting the vibrations, from off to mild to fairly strong.

I generally prefer the vibrational strength of a plug-in or chargeable product, but the G-Twist is pretty strong for a battery operated vibrator. It's unusually quiet, so you can use it more discretely than most of my recommended strong and noisy toys if you have company in the guest room. It bends easily so that you can make it press against any inner or outer spot you like. So many penis-shaped vibrators (dildos) are shaped more for visual fantasy than function, but not this one -- it's definitely shaped for women's arousal.

Tip for post-menopausal women: If you wear an estrogen ring (Estring), you might want to remove it before inserting the G-Twist vaginally, because the vibrating pressure on the ring can become uncomfortable.

Thank you, Good Vibrations, for choosing me as your Brand Ambassador! I'm happy to spread the word that the pleasures of sex toys are not just for the young. Good Vibrations has always recognized this, keeping my book prominently on display in their stores and bringing me in to give workshops and even a staff training. "We love you here!" a staff member told me. Back at'cha, Good Vibes!

Good VibrationsGood Vibrations G-Twist Vibrator

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Man writes, "Did I get dumped--or what?" She's recently widowed.

A male reader, I'll call him Mark, writes that he recently reconnected with his high school sweetheart from 35 years ago, whose husband had died less than a year ago. Mark and his former sweetheart met again, enjoyed each other's company (no sex), then later spent a week together and made love joyfully.

Their last day together, she became distant and uncommunicative, and when he returned home, she retreated from the usual phone and email messages they had exchanged regularly before that. She emailed him only once, saying she was having a hard time and was depressed with grief for her husband. She felt strong chemistry with Mark, but wasn't ready for the kind of relationship that Mark seemed to want. She needs to deal with her issues and doesn't want to talk to him right now. She hopes he'll understand.

Mark loves her and is confused. "Did I get dumped -- or what?" he asked me.

I don't know either of them, but I have strong feelings that I do know what's going on with her because I know the emotional turmoil of grieving and yet wanting to grab onto life. Let me share my experience, hoping that it will help Mark and others in this situation:

For the first six months or so after Robert died, I couldn't imagine ever wanting a relationship again. After all, I had been honored with seven years of the most profound love with my soul mate -- no new man could compare, and why would I want second best after experiencing "best"?

Then the life within me started stirring, then surging. How strange and wonderful that the life force is as strong as it is! I started to feel my sensuality gently knocking on my emotional door, asking to be let in (or maybe let out). I was bewildered and excited by my attraction to a casual friend who was becoming a close confidant.

Fortunately this friend is as committed to honest communication as I am, and was open about discussing my feelings and his own. We both understood that I was heavily into my grieving process still, and it wasn't the right time to make any decisions or take any actions that I might regret later.

We're all different in the "right" way to grieve. Not taking our relationship to the next level was the right path for me, and I am grateful to my friend for understanding (even better than I did) that pushing our friendship into something more had potential to hurt, even destroy, the friendship.

I probably would have reacted the way Mark's lover did -- throwing herself into sex and joy and the feelings of coming back to life after an emotional death, but then realizing she was not done grieving and in fact was now having a harder time because she had let herself get involved with someone else too soon.

Mark tells me, "I don't want to lose this special person in my life."

So here's my advice to Mark:

Let her know that you do understand, and that grief is a powerful process with its own timeline that can't be shortened. Tell her that you want to be in her life in whatever way is possible for her right now, and if that means going back to being non-sexual friends, of course you'll do that. You do need to understand what she needs and wants from you, even if that changes hourly (grief mood swings are powerful and unpredictable). If she regrets getting sexual with you, could she please tell you so you understand better?

And then let her be. If it's right, she'll be back when she's ready. If it's not, I hope she can tell you so you can move on.

I hope this is helpful, Mark. Thank you for sharing it with me and with my readers here.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Open Letter to My Line Dancers

Dear Line Dancers,

Thank you for sharing Friday's class with me. I wanted it to be special as we neared the one-year anniversary of Robert's death, so I announced that we would devote the whole evening to the contemporary line dances that Robert choreographed for us.

Instead of reteaching the familiar ones that we dance frequently, I brought back some older dances: Night Traveler from early 2001 -- the first line dance we choreographed together, before we became a couple. Oh, how I already fantasized sharing more than dance steps with this vibrant, dancing man who brought grace, skill, and enticing hip rolls to our class.

I also taught the lovely Baby Grand, I imagined Robert teaching this slow, graceful, jazz-style dance to the class in 2005, before we knew how few years he had left. As I looked around, I saw other dancers wiping their eyes and I knew we were all dancing with Robert.

When we closed with Music to My Heart, his most popular choreography among our dancers, I couldn't hold back the tears. Several dancers hugged me, others looked about to fall apart themselves. In the room were people who had never experienced dancing with Robert because they had joined the class after Robert had left it, but they, too, seemed moved and grateful to know him better through his choreography.

After class, I started bawling in the locker room, and cried all the way home. Then later that evening, I realized something: The one-year anniversary of Robert's death is also the 8-year anniversary of our first kiss. Now that is a day to celebrate, not mourn! I felt that the intensity of the line dance class had helped me purge the grief and invite the light of the love we started sharing with that first kiss on August 2, 2001.

You can see videos of some of Robert's dances from my line dance page. Many, however, were before the days of ubiquitous digital videocameras and YouTube. I'll update this post if we record some of these older dances -- we do have a plan in the works.

This excerpt from Mary Oliver's poem, "In Blackwater Woods," resonates with me today:


To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal:
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.