Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bsoft Massager: vibrator review

What an odd shape -- that was my first thought when I received my Bsoft clitoral vibrator from Eden Fantasys sex toys. After 67 years, I thought I knew my female anatomy, and this didn't look like it would match anything that I knew.

 One side is mildly concave, the other is ridged. One end is pointier than the other. The whole thing vibrates!

 I wasn't sure how to hold it -- which side was "up"? Nothing seemed sized or shaped the way I was.


The manual didn't help--it's for various products and in many languages, with no specifics about using it, and in such small type that no one can read it anyway.

So I decided to experiment and see what I liked. I'm sure that the reason for the lack of direction is to encourage us to do just that, since there's no wrong way to use it. It was fun to experiment, but ultimately unsatisfying.

The name "Bsoft" led me to believe that this toy would be softer -- more cushiony or flexible -- than it is. It's hard. There's nothing soft about it, and as I explored different positions and pressures, I got mad at its misnomer.

I found more to dislike than to like, even if I were to be forgiving about the name. If I pressed with the end where I was feeling the strongest vibrations, it sort of pinched delicate tissue. The concave position was too light for sensation, and the ridge was more irritating than stimulating.

Usually if I don't like a toy personally, I try to figure out who would like it. If it's too light for me, would it be good for a first timer? Not with this complicated, non-intuitive shape. If it didn't fit my physiology, would it fit someone else's? Darned if I know. (Let me know if you found it just right for you.)

I ended up turning it off and reaching for my dependable Hitachi Magic Wand. What's a woman to do?

Even though I couldn't find much to like about using the Bsoft, it does have its attributes: rechargeable, waterproof, easy-to-use controls, easy to clean. very lightweight for travel.

Thank you, Eden Fantasys for sending me the Bsoft -- sorry I didn't like it better!



Sex toys - EdenFantasys adult toys store

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Grief Sucks

Last night, I burst into tears in the locker room of the health club where I teach line dancing. I haven't done that in a long time, and it surprised me, but I couldn't control it.

We're coming up on the third anniversary of Robert's death August 2, and the dance class was a huge part of our love story. We met in my class and we fell in love there. The loss happened there, too -- he announced his cancer diagnosis to the class, kept dancing even as he got weaker, until he finally couldn't do it any more.

"Dance with Joan, and you're dancing with me," he wrote in a letter to the class when he needed to tell them he wouldn't be back.

The first year after Robert died, I cried after dance class on a regular basis. I also cried in private, in public, in my car. I cried in the park, at the DMV, at Trader Joe's, in the doctor's office, walking along the street.

I couldn't help it. It was like my heart caved in and squeezed out huge, unstoppable waves of sobs. I wailed, too, but at least I could hold back the screams until I was in a private place (though my neighbors came running once).

Do I miss Robert still, almost three years after his death? Only when I breathe. Only when I open or close my eyes.

Oh, I function very well. I write, I teach my dance classes, I travel talking about senior sex -- my favorite subject!  How lucky I am to get to spend my day doing what I love!

I laugh a lot and I make others laugh. I learn, I teach, and what I do helps other people. I do find joy in my life. It's a good life, I know that. I'm even kinda sorta dipping my toes into dating, as you know from my (very infrequent!) posts about dating, such as this one.

But I'm not done with grief, perhaps I never will be. Those of you who have lost a loved one know the grief journey isn't predictable. You can be doing just fine, and then, boom, you burst out crying in the locker room.

The emotional stab wounds close up, then rip open again. I know this is "normal" because grief isn't linear, it's cyclical. Thank goodness, each year it gets easier to cope. As my uncle, psychotherapist Larry LeShan who lost his wife of 58 years, says, "The knife still keeps stabbing, but not as deep or as often."

I didn't want to call this post "Grief Sucks." I don't like the term, and personally, I think sucking is a delightful pasttime and shouldn't be associated with a negative experience. But hey, this post wrote itself and insisted on that title. Sometimes that happens.

As always, I welcome your comments.




Thursday, July 21, 2011

Your Questions about Senior Sex

When I give a talk about senior sex, my favorite part is answering your questions. I feel both proud and humble that you trust me (and the audience) enough to voice your concerns.


I've been traveling to tell people about my new book, Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex and talking at bookstores, sexuality shops, a senior center, a restaurant, and my 50th high school reunion (!) about the myths and realities of older age sexuality. Here are some of the most frequent questions and topics you've been sharing:


  • The #1 question from partnered seniors is how to revive a dull, infrequent, or nonexistent sex life. I talk about scheduling sex and understanding that at our age, desire often follows physiological arousal rather than the other way around. In other words, getting started with touching and kissing will get you in the mood after your body starts responding -- don't wait to be in the mood.
  • Single seniors ask about the importance of safe sex, hoping (from the wording of your questions and the looks on your faces) that I'll tell you we probably don't need condoms at our age. I tell you the opposite of that -- yes, we need to use condoms, and we should do so whether someone tells us his or her health history or not. The fastest growing population for new HIV infections is the over 50 age group.

  •  Women whose partners experience erectile difficulties often don't understand what's going on ("Is it because I don't attract him any more?") or what to do to keep the sensuality going in the relationship ("Isn't it cruel teasing if I want to touch and be touched?").

  • Both men and women scoff at the idea of sex toys until I tell them why a well-placed vibrator can mean the difference between orgasm or not.
Is it any surprise that that one place people were reluctant to ask questions was my high school reunion? It's understandable -- we were with people we hadn't seen since we were 17 and our main sex problem was how to hide our activities from our parents! When I saw that my classmates were uneasy about asking questions, I said, "If you'd rather talk to me privately, I'll be giving consultations in the corner."

For the rest of the weekend, people came up to me to request their "consultation in the corner"!

Your comments are welcome. If you were in my audience, what question do you hope I'd answer? If you're brave, include the answer you think I'd give!

If you want to be in my audience for real, click here to see my upcoming events. I'd love to meet you!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Moving Forward, but Not Saying Goodbye

Celebrating Robert's 71st birthday
"The task of saying good-bye seems insurmountable," a friend wrote after losing her husband one month ago to the same cancer -- multiple myeloma -- that ripped my Robert's life from him. I wrote this to her yesterday:


On August 2, it will be 3 years since I lost Robert. But I haven't said goodbye to him yet, nor do I plan to. I talk to him still -- and sometimes he answers.

I find joy in my life (especially now that my new book has come out and I'm giving talks and interviews), and I'm still startled by the realization that I can't come home and tell him about what happened. Then I DO come home and tell him about what happened.

Is it magical thinking? Denial? It sustains me, whatever it is. You'll figure out how to sustain yourself through this loss eventually, but that can't be rushed. Meanwhile, just be real with your children, and take time for yourself, even if it's painful. You can't skip that part.

I really, really recommend counseling -- as much as you can get!

If you want to talk, or go for a walk and let any thoughts emerge that need to, I'm available. Even if you want to say, "I'm not ready yet, but I'll let you know when I am" (which is what I had to tell people who offered early in my grief journey), I'll welcome your message.

Love,
Joan

I know that some of my readers have also lost their beloved partners, and I extend my invitation to listen if you want to talk. I wasn't strong enough to do this at first, but one little step at a time, I got there. So many people helped me when I needed it most that it would give me joy to pass it forward and help others. Email me if you need to share.

I wrote the grief chapter in Naked at Our Age through tears. It was very important to include my own and reader stories of grief, because part of love and sex at our age is, sadly, that one of us will lose the other.

Last week, a woman at one of my talks bought my book, saying that she had just lost her husband. I held her hand and listened, and suggested that she read the grief chapter first. "I already did, while I was waiting. That's what made me decide to buy it."

I welcome your comments.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Free Fall: A Late in Life Love Affair, an erotic memoir

7/6/11 update: I'm moving this October 2010 book review to the front of the blog today because Rae Padilla Francoeur and I are speaking about ageless sexuality at two venues in New York City. I think Rae's book is brilliant, engrossing, and passionate, so I want to be sure you know about it. -- Joan

Free Fall: A Late-in-Life Love Affair"Where are the books by and for women over 50 that deal honestly with sexuality?" I've asked myself for years. Dozens of self-help books for our age group have appeared in the past four years, thank goodness, but where are the sexually honest novels and memoirs that talk about our lives, our passions, our desires, our sexuality, our inner lives? Finally -- Free Fall: A Late in Life Love Affair by Rae Padilla Francoeur arrives with honesty and sizzle.

Free Fall is an erotic memoir and much more. Rae Padilla Francoeur, age 58, begins a love affair with Jim, age 67. It's hot, very hot, explosively hot. Rae describes the passionate details -- how he touches and controls her body, how her passions smolder, build, and erupt. As graphic as her details are, I'm pleased that she uses language our generation is comfortable with -- penis, vagina --  instead of the edgier language that characterizes most contemporary erotica.

And, oh my, this book is beautifully written:

I am shameless. I will slide over every inch of him, kissing him back, wrestling in all that sweat to stay on top. I am sure I will never get enough of him. He will find this out and, being the man he is, he will revel in trying to find the outer limits of my stamina and prowess. He never will.
...
I've become so still and quiet and deep in the zone where my brain is one massive sensor hooked into the places he touches and the places I touch. There is nothing else. I'm all body.
...
We're kissing each other like the end of time is on the other side of the door. We kiss like this for ten or fifteen minutes until suddenly Jim stops it all. He steps back. He pulls my skirt over my hips. He takes my hand and places it on his penis.

Rae Padilla Francoeur 
The title refers to more than Rae's "free fall" into later-life passion. Like all of us, her love affair doesn't happen in a vacuum. Much of the book deals with her other "free fall" -- her relationship with Eli, her partner of many years, who is losing his battle with bipolar disorder. Rae loves him deeply, though her love is more brotherly than loverly by now, but she must choose herself over Eli if she is to survive. Eli's story grips us as much as Rae's love affair with Jim.

Free Fall: A Late in Life Love Affair is one of the best books I've read in years. I hope you'll read it for yourself, and let us know what you think.