Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Safer Sex for Seniors -- again!


Safer Sex for Seniors -- yes, I'm talking about this again.

You know I've been on a soapbox about this for years, telling you the stats about STDs in our age group; encouraging you to use barrier protection if you're not in a committed, exclusive relationship; sharing tips for having the "Condom Conversation" in my books, here on this blog, on Huff/Post50, and wherever I can spread the word; giving out free condoms at my dating workshops.

If you're age 50+, sexually active, and not in a monogamous marriage or a long-term, sexually exclusive relationship, would you answer some or all of these questions for an article I'm writing?

Do you use barrier protection (condoms, dental dams, etc.) with your partner(s)?
  • What considerations go into your decision whether or not to use barrier protection? How do you decide?
  • Do you sometimes intend to use safer sex, but in the heat of the moment, you don't?
  • If you don't use protection, why not? 
  • Have you tried the female condom (FC2) for vaginal or anal sex? How did you like it?  
  • What facts about STDs in our population would be important for you to know?
  • What else would you like to know from our community about our attitudes and behavior as we discuss this topic?

Comment here, or if you want to do it more privately, email me directly, including your age, please. If you comment here, give yourself a first name (it doesn't have to be your own) instead of just calling yourself "anonymous," and please include your age.

I might quote what you tell me in the new article I'm writing, but I won't identify you in any way (unless you want me to).

The conversation is open! Your turn.


What are those things that look like compact cases in the top photo? They're condom cases, the brainchild of Marsha Bartenetti and her daughter Rachael Sudul of Just In Case.

The case looks like a regular compact. Open it, and there's a mirror.
Open the next layer, and there's a space to stash a condom. Discreet, fits in a purse or pocket. 

See the different styles here. Thank you, Just In Case, for sending me these samples.







9 comments:

  1. What considerations go into your decision whether or not to use barrier protection? How do you decide?

    I have no STDs. I want to keep it that way. I insist that my partner and I get an STD scan 3 months after our last sexual relationship. If he doesn’t have STDs either, than we’re good to go! No barrier methods! Otherwise, if he does, then we use them.

    If my partner is not monogamous with me, even though he doesn’t have STDs at the time, I still insist on barriers because I have no control over what he and his other partners do.

    Do you sometimes intend to use safer sex, but in the heat of the moment, you don't?

    Never. I don’t suddenly lose my safety awareness in the heat of the moment. Sometimes in the moment I wish I could do something without barriers. Sometimes it’s a strong desire. But instead of giving in to it, I mention how much I’d like to do it, even though I won’t. It communicates how hot I think my partner is, even though safety comes first. If he finds that intolerable, then he can find someone else. I deserve someone who’s willing to be safe with me.

    Have you tried the female condom (FC2) for vaginal or anal sex? How did you like it?

    I love the female condom! The new version is quiet and nonintrusive. My partner likes it too because it feels so much more natural to him. But there’s a BIG drawback: 3 out of the last 4 times we’ve tried it, his penis accidentally got between the condom and my vagina, because a hot thing for my partner is repeatedly to go in and out of the opening of my vagina. If it happens again, I will regretfully ditch it and go back exclusively to male condoms. When I told my partner this, he felt more optimistic that we can make it work if we’re more careful. What I like is that he’s willing to collaborate to ensure it works.

    What facts about STDs in our population would be important for you to know?

    I’d like to know how far off a herpes vaccine is. Since the reason we use condoms is that my partner has herpes, I’d LOVE to not use barriers if I could be vaccinated.

    What else would you like to know from our community about our attitudes and behavior as we discuss this topic?

    What percentage of people insist on STD scans like I do? I get the sense that I’m a tiny minority in this area. Which means I’m fighting an uphill battle with potential partners because they think what I’m doing is overkill, when I’m just following solid medical advice.

    Anne
    60

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    Replies
    1. Anne, thank you! Detailed, personal comments like yours will help our community. I'm grateful to you.

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  2. Hi Joan,

    I was so focused on barriers in my last post that I misspoke in one area when I said:

    "If my partner is not monogamous with me, even though he doesn’t have STDs at the time, I still insist on barriers because I have no control over what he and his other partners do."

    What's actually the case is that if my partner is not monogamous with me, we don't do penetration. Instead of using barriers, we go to nonpenetrative sex, which is delightful in its own right. I have orgasms through finger play rather than penetration anyway. And, as for my partner...I give great hand jobs!

    Anne

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  3. Using condom is great also to prevent you from STD so this is important event we are in that age. If we are active in sexual live this is still isn't safe to having sex without them. On this age we aren't afraid about having child maybe several women already menopause but we afraid about STD. That's the reason for us to never let down our guard.

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  4. Great question Joan.

    Male, 54 and dating for the 1st time in 30 years some 10 yrs back now, my doc and I talked about this. She brought it up.

    She and I agreed that to get tested before anything "bareback" was key. And, committing too soon, serious too soon--old school traditional P in the V was my definition of Serious. Well all this too soon was stupid. I knew I'd fall in love...with the wrong person. Again.

    But waiting to get sexual was stupid, too. I'm too old to play footsie!

    Thank God for oral and go slow and poetry and naked and talk and listen and lick and breakfast after cuddling all night to see if she could do that AND mornings. Sex is easy, love is hard? Heck, they are both hard! It was important to me to find out if she was orgasmic and in love with herself, with being naked; none of which required P in the V to find out.

    A book some 14 years old now, I still love Let Me Count the Ways: Discovering Great Sex Without Intercourse by Marty Klein and Riki Robbins.

    Kiss her to know her or get to know her before you kiss her? Old question. So many things two "practice lovers" can tell if they have a connection before they decide they want to be For Real Lovers. Decide. Then get tested, wait.

    And then go for Home Base and often, I'd say. The grand ecstatic fall (for those looking for love and not just The Bonk) is worth the wait. I call it Betrothal Sex, this whole ritual. Worked for me. Married 7 yrs and now 65, glad I went this route. Took me five years of dating to figure this out; what I needed, wanted. Worked for me.

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  5. I love the "Just in Case" compact for hiding condoms.

    Very discrete.

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  6. My considerations when having sex are "always have safe sex." STDs can change your life in a minute, and from my perspective, it is not worth the risk for a few moments of pleasure in exchange for a lifetime disease.

    Even in the heat of the moment, sometimes it's hard to resist the temptation, sometimes people don't want to miss "that opportunity." However, it requires just a little common sense and a some courage to say NO.

    When not using protection people should agree with their partners, ask and do studies to avoid spreading a STD to the persons you care. Eg. HPV the most common STD... about 50% of people at some point in their lives will get this disease. Still no cure.

    So I think it is important to learn, and act responsibly to enjoy sex more, this form of pleasure that moves humanity.

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  7. It is a paradox that as we get older and wiser in many things we seem to lose all commonsense when it comes to sexual hygeine. In this regard the use of condoms seems more common practise for young people who have grown up in the post AIDS/HIV generation but disease knows no such frontiers. Thank you for reminding us.

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  8. 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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-- Joan