Friday, December 23, 2011

"What I learned about my sexuality in 2011": readers respond

Are you over 50? What did you learn about your sexuality in 2011?

Please read the comments below to learn how many of you responded to this question. Some responses are joyful; some are unhappy, some are helpful. Together, they give us a glimpse into the reality of senior sexuality -- the delights, the disappointments, the surprises when our dreams come true, the ways we make do when they don't.

If you'd like to add your voice, and you're 50+, please continue to comment below. If you prefer, email me a sentence or a  paragraph, with permission to add it to the comments here, and I'll post it for you under the name you tell me (it doesn't have to be your own).

Since Naked at Our Age was envisioned to answer the questions and address the problems we encounter trying to have a rich sex life at our age, I urge you to read it. It really does discuss all of the problems you wrote about in your comments, and much more. Forty-five experts give advice after reading your stories and your questions.

It's the book that I wished we had available when I started talking to people about their sexual concerns -- and now we do.

As we wrap up 2011, please put at least one special sex-themed resolution on your 2012 list. You deserve joy.

Thank you for continuing to read my books and this blog, and thank you especially for your willingness to add your candid comments. That's what makes this a community.

26 comments:

  1. Diana, age 67December 23, 2011

    I don't have a partner right now. I learned that I can really enjoy sex by myself. I used to think that masturbation was a crappy substitute for the real thing, but if the real think isn't available, I realize that a hands-on solution can be great fun!

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  2. As Woody Allen said, "Sex is like the card game, Bridge. If you don't have a good partner - you need to have a good hand".

    My wife and I have been married for 35 years. I have never gotten as much sex as I would like and for the past 8 years it has been zero. My wife refuses to talk about it.

    I am 60 and saw a quote from George Burns about sex and old age. He said that, "Having sex after 70 was like trying to shoot pool with a rope". My equipment is working well today but I don't expect that will be the case forever.

    I want physical contact and passion. I want to be "crazy in love" with a woman I can't take my hands off. I do NOT want an endless monolog of insignificant chatter that requires nothing more than an occasional "uh-huh" from me.

    Is happiness worth the cost of loosing my daughters, home, friends, and half my "stuff"?

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  3. Anonymous, I read the desperation in your comment (and I'm grateful to you for posting it) and the sadness over what your marriage has become.

    Does your wife know how much the loss of your sexual intimacy is hurting you? Have you seen a sex therapist or couples counselor together or alone? If your wife won't talk about it with you, a trained third person could really help you get these topics out in the open.

    Naked at Our Age also discusses this in the chapter, "Together Yet Alone: Is This Our Marriage?"

    Contact me privately by email if you want: joan@joanprice.com. Maybe I can provide more resources for you.

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  4. For me, it is not a question of age but of generation. If I had been born in the 40s, I would have sublimated my same sex feelings into male bonding, robbed jewelry stores with the guys and gone home to the wife. If I had been born in the 80s, I may have chosen a guilt-free same sex lifestyle. But having been born in between, I can honestly say that my complex sexuality has ruined my life. I am a honest but conflicted husband, a secretive father, and my career wasn't what it should have been. I have been celibate for years.

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  5. Cyrus 65

    I am having just as much fun now as I did in the past. Lubication goes a long way :-)

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  6. To Anonymous who said "my complex sexuality has ruined my life": I am so sad that you feel your sexuality ruined your life because you had to hide it. What a different world it would have been for you if you had been able to be less secretive. I was moved by your comment, and I thank you for sharing it. Are you sure it's too late to make a change?

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  7. Anonymous - interesting, after thirty five years my husband refuses to discuss it. He says I'm unreasonable for being upset about a lack of affection, but we are on different wavelengths. After listening to him talk about work all day there is zero interest - yet I'm horny and starved.

    Funny isn't it?

    After five years of begging, buying everything from movies to lingerie and toys, well here I sit with the notion that perhaps doing it myself beats none at all - yet being hungry makes everything look different.

    I've discovered that I'm HOT and post menopausal does not mean I'm shriveled or dry. It means slow down sometimes, yet the slower we go sometimes means we get there quickly.

    I'm a three times a week gal with much touching and recognition needed in between. He is a once or twice and only touches when he's ready. That means I'm just pissed.

    It's good when it 'is' but the waiting between and the comment above "NOT want an endless monolog of insignificant chatter that requires nothing more than an occasional "uh-huh" from me. " makes me wonder if perhaps the wife is in same boat.
    I do not want endless chatter about work, internet, and then hop in bed. Read Joan's tips - - women want/need romance and intimacy.
    "come on baby I'm horny" rarely works - - make love to her - don't just hop on and off.
    No, that's not my husband -

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  8. Everyone -- I respect that you want to be anonymous, but you can choose a name to go by (doesn't have to be your own) by clicking "Name/Url" under "choose an identity." That way we can address you by some name and you (and we) don't have to figure out which "Anonymous" we want to respond to. Of course if using "Anonymous" gives you the freedom to speak candidly, please feel free.

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  9. Anonymous #3: Often when a husband refuses to have sex or to talk about it, there's another issue going on -- maybe that he can't get dependable erections any more, and he'd can't bear to admit it.

    That happened to a few of the readers who shared their stories in Naked at Our Age. In the book, experts offer ways to bring up the subject and also ways to have non-penetrative sex and non-goal-oriented sex to open the pathways.

    Whatever his reason, Anonymous #3, you're clearly frustrated and unhappy, and I hope you'll read the chapters in Naked at Our Age that address your concerns directly. The expert tips could open up communication between you. It sounds like it won't change by itself.

    I love what you said here: "the slower we go sometimes means we get there quickly." So true!

    I wish I had all of you around a table so we could talk! Please feel free to email me privately, and thank you all for your candor. It's so important.

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  10. Quite the year. Living alone, pleasure myself once or twice a week to fond memories, or new sexualy healthy images. But also seek companionship. I'm 67yo and was able to meet THREE very lovely ladies on line during 2011 and enjoy wonderful sexual sharing with them in person. And also connected with two friends/lovers for some fun sexual times. Two of these ladies are in their early 70s. I learned that a woman's vagina feels just the same at seventy something as it did in their late teens and early 20s. What a joy! And I learned that ladies in my age range are very confident in their own sexuality and enjoy pleasuring me as much as they enjoy being pleasured.

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  11. So many wonderful, painful, joyful comments. I can't respond to each of them, but some where extremely insightful.

    I was struck by how many comments revolved around discovering masturbation.

    The old assumption that masturbation was second-class to "real sex" needs to be exposed for the lie that it is.

    Intercourse, outercourse and various forms of masturbation (Sometimes mutual masturbation) are all real sex. They are not a substitute, one for the other. Despite the anytime, anywhere, "strong swords" and rip her blouse off--or his shirt--of the romance novels, real people vary in their energy and interest.

    Even when there is concurrence in interest, masturbation can be either an enhancement or a great addition. But especially when one partner is happy with less intercourse, that doesn't mean either or both cannot enjoy auto-erotic pleasure.

    Babies are sometimes born "masturbating" (I recently saw an ultrasound of a late-term fetus that looked like it was masturbating. Yes male and yes the common gesture.)

    We hear more about reluctant women, especially young women. However, that was more often true when our generation as young--less so today. Women's interest in sex tends to increase with age more than men. But the general need for romance does not change.

    Joan is very perceptive in wondering about the aging husband who might be worried about a disappearing erection. In my practice I often see men who are experiencing erectile dysfunction. It may be from the medications they are taking (Many meds have that effect, especially anti-depressants, diabetes drugs and blood pressure meds), or it may be from prostate surgery. Sometime, even often, it is from focusing on the erection and worry that he will experience age-related ED. Age-related ED is about 10% reality and 90% self-induced by focusing and worrying.

    Whatever the cause, there are solutions. A visit (or a few) with a competent sex coach/therapist can solve the problem. There are both technological and sexological/psychotherapeutic solutions.

    Back to masturbation. It is unfortunate that gynecologists and urologists, the logical medical specialty, often lack real knowledge or are uncomfortable with this subject. Younger doctors frequently lack awareness of and are uncomfortable with the sexuality of older patients.

    Jamye Waxman's "Getting Off" is a great way to broaden one's horizons and learn both common and new vistas in masturbation. While it is focused more on women, there is some information for men. Unfortunately there are few books for men and even fewer worth reading.

    It was wonderful to be part of Joan's blog and to read all the comments. Thank you.

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  12. Thank you, David, for your valuable comments.

    David Pittle is a psychotherapist in San Rafael, CA, who works with many clients our age who want to enrich their sexual quality and joy.

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  13. I am a 70 yr. old male and luckily still enjoy a full sex life. True, while most of it is through masturbation nevertheless it is still most enjoyable.

    I have a couple of friends that share occasional phone sex and at times engage in mutual masturbation with me so I feel very fortunate in that respect. These ladies recognize their desires and are very open and willing to share knowing that it is simply and endeavor to aid ourselves and each other. We don't always achieve orgasm but it is still quite a joy knowing that we have aided the other in reaching a degree of satisfaction and relief.

    As far as I know there are not feelings of guilt nor shame. That, in and of itself, is quite satisfying in the knowledge that you are helping another in a bit of joy in life.

    I guess my message is not to worry about the destination but rather enjoy the trip and be happy that you have the desires and ability to do so. Enjoy every nuance, every quiver, every thought, every image that may aid you.

    Masturbation is NOT a dirty word. (big smile)

    Joe
    A happy fella from Montana

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  14. 2011 has been quite a year...

    I've been without a partner since 2000. I'd assumed that I'd be alone for the rest of my life.

    Out of the blue, I met an amazing man a month ago. We have fallen madly, deeply in love.

    Physical contact is so exciting and joyful, but I've discovered that vaginal penetration is very painful. Use it or lose it, I guess... I am 56.

    My new partner and I are open and creative about sex and talking about sexuality. We've both been through long marriages destroyed by years of silence around sexual dysfunction. We won't let that happen here: we have a connection so rare that is it worth almost any effort.

    Thanks to your book, I'll be consulting a vulvo/vaginal pain specialist ASAP. Wish us the best of luck.

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  15. Anonymous #4, how lovely that you've fallen in love! It's never too late! Your tale of vaginal pain is common among women who have not had penetration for a long time. I'm glad you have Naked at Our Age so that you learned about vulvo/vaginal pain specialists. So many women don't know these specialists exist and think they have to suffer or give up penetration forever -- not true!

    For those of you who are without partners, I hope you're nurturing your sexual health by taking matters into your own hands (with toys, when appropriate), to keep everything functioning as well as to enjoy arousal and orgasms. Making penetration part of your solo sex play will help you avoid discomfort and pain if and when you choose to take a partner later.

    Again, there's lots of information about all this in Naked at Our Age. It has the best senior sex information from 45 experts. Knowledge is power -- and at our age, knowledge can be sexual joy, too.

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  16. I learned that demure pre-coital attempts to conceal my aging body are counter-productive. From now on, bathrobes are out, light bulbs are in. To a sexually confident older man with the emotional maturity to want an age-appropriate partner and not a sex kitten 40 year his junior, a mature woman’s nakedness is not something to be nobly endured. It is stimulating, motivating, arousing -- and necessary.

    Thanks for inspiring your readers with this interesting question.

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  17. My partner and I broke up after a tempestuous and very passionate 2-yr relationship. What I learned about my sexuality was that sex in our 60s (I at 65, he at 61) was as good, if not better, than sex during the 60s when it was carefree, earth-shaking, and spontaneous.

    Along with that, I learned that a puff or 2 of pot at our age provides just the right amount of relaxation and stimulation to take me out of my head and just let my body do what it knows how to do easily and naturally.

    So many of us baby boomers are really just ole rock-n-rollers that I think having a prescription for medical marijuana, especially for women, should be the same as men being able to have a prescription for Viagra.

    By nature, I have always been sensual. Now that I'm without a partner, I pleasure myself in all ways such as the sight of beautiful flowers and Tiffany lamps by my desk, the taste of French champagne and fresh raspberries, the feel of burgundy silk on my body as I sleep, the scent of orange blossoms and jasmine recalling the south of France, and Jim Morrison singing "I'm gonna love you till the stars fall from the sky...". And all this before I pull out my favorite toy!

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  18. Wow, Midnight! What a celebration of your sensuality! Thank you for sharing that with us. So well written, too!

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  19. At 59, an eight year prostate cancer survivor and a wife with no interest, I have turned to solo activities. During these times I fantasize of sex with my wife. The result is sometimes intense, other times not. I miss the closeness and resulting intimacy/afterglow and being held by my loving wife.
    ~ Graypoet

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  20. We have an online sex shop. The vast majority of our sales are made to (at least to those that will tell us their age in our post sale survey) middle aged and older people. Whether these people use the sex toys as a solo experience or as an addition to love making we don't know. We do know that some of the products help to re-awaken sexual feelings. A lot of people seem to develop psychological hangups about sex as they get older though. And use it or lose it could be the case in our ever busy lives of course. So it appears that whatever the personal circumstances, interest in sex (whether solo or not) is on the rise amongst some of the more mature adults, and if you are one of those that are not enjoying a satisfying sex life make sure that you talk to your partner about it and get to the root of why things are not happening. Communication breakdown is one of the biggest causes in a relationship - of course, it would help if some partners realised that their other half isn't telepathic!

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  21. We are a couple in our sixties. We were lovers in college 40 years ago, then lost track of each other for 30 years. He found me again in 2008, and this year after spending lots of time emailing, texting, skyping and finally meeting up for 4 days, we have moved in together.

    Our sex life is amazing! Intense, fun, endlessly creative. We are completely open with each other and seem to be making up for lost time. We tell each other fantasies and act them out. We have an anonymous sex blog together.

    But it's also so much more than sex. It's understanding each other on a deep level. It's laughing at our aging bodies and spending hours just holding and touching.

    Who knew it could be this good?

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  22. am having just as much fun now as I did in the past. Lubrication goes a long way :-)



    To Cyrus 65 who posted ‘Lubrication goes a long way”, I want to add that lubrication can be experienced in many different ways. For instance, humor is great lubrication for awkward situations turned into hilarity in the moment. One of my other favorite lubrications is sensing into the coital sexual vibe of my partner, and letting my Ooohs and Aaahs be deeply felt inside him; sensing his bodily responses to mine. Aahyeesh! Another one is what I call “pucker power” and the lengths it might take for my 63 year old breasts to get there has it’s own rewards! So, maybe the sex act is not only a matter of “making love” happen, but also pulling and kneading (touch sensitively) the love that is already (t)here in each of us at our ages especially? Sincerely, A’besque

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  23. Sex is a healthy thing especially in a romantic relationship, so I guess every couple should make an effort to maintain their sex life.

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  24. Neal,66
    I have not had a sexual partner for years. I so greatly miss the closeness, the touch of being with someone,the feeling and excitement of each giving and receiving and the joy of working together to reward our sexuality. In the mean time masturbation allows me to be a sexual being. Accepting the new reality of practical matters of sexuality is a challenge i.e. longer to respond,softer erections (if at all) but to be alive means we are sexual beings. I am getting it. "I am not my penis." So as I figure out life, thank you for the most informative knowledge I have found your book "Naked at Our Age." I will find that special person and together we will be Naked and loving it!

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  25. I had given up on sex after my partner of 40 years became ill and passed away. At the age of almost 70, I was approached by a gentleman 50, who claimed he was very attracted to me, and sexually interested in pursuing a relationship with me. He said he liked me and was very sexually attracted to me.

    I laughed this off, but he was persistent and convinced me he didn't care about age, appearance, wrinkles or any of those things. He claimed he was sexually attracted to me and genuinely enjoyed being with me.

    After a little more time, I finally gave in and we discussed having sex. He then gently and cautiously pursued me and understood what would pleasure me.

    He said that one of the attractions to older women was the maturity, the caring and sincere approach to life. He didn't find that younger women had this understanding of life or emotional stability to fulfill his needs and desires.

    It has been several months now and it has become an addiction and a pleasure. I'm not in love, and neither is he... but we are in lust and love every moment.

    Yes, I was a nervous getting naked in front of him... but quickly got over it with his help. He keeps the sexual attraction at the forefront of our relationship with sexual emails reassuring his interest and my sexuality appeal to HIM.

    This is what brought me to your website, trying to find an understanding for my feelings at this age... NORMAL!

    I need to always remember the attraction is me, and I will not have this same effect on men as I did when I was younger, but they're out there and still interested. The rest is up to me to keep myself interesting and attractive from the inside out.

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  26. June 2013: I am collecting some reader comments to include in the new book I'm writing -- The Ultimate Guide to Sex after Fifty, to be published by Cleis Press in 2015. I'm so moved by the candor and thoughtfulness of the people who posted comments here. I hope it's ok to excerpt some of your comments (without identifying you). Contact me if it isn't. Thank you so much for participating in our community.

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My readers and I appreciate your thoughtful comments. Please share your views! Comments are moderated, so yours won't appear until I've seen it. Thank you in advance for commenting!

Some people have reported problems commenting. If this happens to you, please email your comment (with the name under which you want it posted) to joan@joanprice.com, and I'll post it for you.

Retailers please note: I delete comments that attempt to hijack my readers to a commercial site. If you'd like to advertise, contact me at joan@joanprice.com and I'll be happy to send you information.

Authors, therapists and sex educators who have helpful information for readers are welcome to post links to their sites.

-- Joan