Sunday, August 31, 2014

"I left without letting him see me" -- a first date goes bad


Martha, age 67, is a friend of mine and a beautiful, peppy, athletic woman. We were taking a walk together, and with great embarrassment, she confided this story (posted with permission):
This man contacted me from OK Cupid. In his photo, he had thick black hair with a little grey, and he described his body type as "average."

When I arrived at the coffee shop for a first meeting, I spied him from the doorway. I recognized him, but just barely. His hair was white and thinning, and he was at least 40 pounds overweight. I was totally grossed out by his misrepresentation of himself, and I froze. Then, instead of approaching him, I left without letting him see me.

He sent several texts along the lines of "I'm here waiting, looks like you're running late." When I finally responded, I told a half truth -- "I'm so sorry, I couldn't meet you" and a total lie: "I'm having trouble dealing with a break-up." 

He sent me a scathing email calling me rude and inconsiderate, and I apologized and said, '"Yes, I know, I'm so sorry."

What advice would I give to men on online dating sites? Be honest, really honest. Post a recent photo. Say what you look like. If you're 40 pounds overweight, say so. Otherwise you're misrepresenting yourself, and someone's going to be pissed off. Hopefully they won't do what I did and not even talk to you. There's someone who will love you the way you are, so be yourself.

Do I feel right about what I did? No, I'm terribly embarrassed. I've never done anything like this before. I was scared to tell you.

I confess I came down pretty hard on Martha. I'm always ranting about honesty and authenticity, so neither Martha nor her date scored big points. How could she have handled this instead? 

I suggest that she could have gone through with the meeting, and after some light conversation, said something like this:

"I need to tell you that when I saw how different you are from your photos and your description of yourself, I felt you had misrepresented yourself. It doesn't do any good, really, to post an old photo and not tell the truth about your body type -- it's bound to come out once you meet, and they feel deceived. If you portray yourself honestly, you'll draw people who are attracted to who you really are, and you deserve that. We all deserve that."

Do you think that's cold? There was no potential for a second date anyway, so maybe this could be a teachable moment.

Please realize that I'm not shaming someone for an extra 40 pounds and thinning, white hair -- it's the misrepresentation that doesn't serve him and doesn't get him closer to a first date becoming a second date. 

What do you think? I'd love to know your opinion. 



Friday, August 29, 2014

When Your Partner Wants Something that Turns You Off



Question for you: If your partner wants a sexual behavior that not only isn't your thing, but really turns you off, what do you do?

  • Tell your partner no and expect your partner to shut down that desire? 
  • Do your best to accommodate your partner some of the time? 
  • Pretend to like it? 
  • Negotiate "I'll do this for you if you'll do this other thing for me"?
  • Give your partner a pass to get that need met with someone else? 
  • Break up because you're not sexually compatible?
  • Other? 

If you've been at the other end of this -- you have a passion for something that your partner doesn't share -- how do/did you resolve it?

I'd love to hear from you whether you're encountering this situation now, or did in the past, or you're thinking about how you might handle it in the future. Please describe the sexual behavior, fetish, role play, or desire if you're willing and if it wouldn't embarrass your partner or ex (no "revenge comments," please).  I'm also happy to hear from counselors, sex therapists and sex educators about how you advise clients.

If you want to answer anonymously, please pick a name that isn't yours instead of using the name "anonymous" so that we don't have a string of comments by "anonymous."

I hope we can start a discussion about how to work with dissimilar and conflicting sexual needs.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Me, Dan Savage, and Two 70-year-old, Lust-Crazed Cousins


8/19/14 update: I originally wrote this post on June 25. I'm moving it to the top of my blog because I'm a guest on the Savage Lovecast episode 408 that airs today, and I expect many Dan Savage fans to visit this blog for the first time out of curiosity. In the 8/19 podcast, Dan refers to a scolding that I gave him. This blog post is the scolding/ spanking he's talking about. Enjoy! 

"Joan? Too far outside your wheelhouse?" began Dan Savage's message to me. He sent me an email from a reader who wanted advice. Because the reader was 70 years old, Dan thought I'd be the right person to help him respond.

Here's my interpretation of what I read:

A 70-year-old woman has been crazy with lust over her female cousin for the past 50 years! It turns out, the cousins discover now, that they both feel the same way! Bring it on! But since they're both inexperienced in the ways of lesbian sex, they decide it would be cool to get a third woman in on this, to guide the experience so that the first time is stellar. Their fantasy is that Cousin #1 would watch Cousin #2 and their #3 at first, then join in.Their question: How to find this third? 

What did I actually read? This:

I'm a bit out of your demographic, agewise (I'm 70), but I am still an avid reader. This is true, not a Penthouse letter. My cousin and I have flirted and joked about getting it on together for about 50 years or more. Now, she's divorced and having the time of her life. She told me the other day, what she'd really like is to have a "lesbian experience" with me watching and then joining. I'm so crazed with lust that I'm having a hard time thinking straight. This is a kinky dream come true. I love oral sex and with two pussies to eat, etc., the whole thing sounds just great. What I don't know is how to contact someone to do this. I don't want someone who's got a disease, or someone with a boyfriend just waiting to break in and rob everyone. Or someone truly horrific for any number of reasons. How do I contact, and then arrange such a thing? How would I ensure that my concerns are dealt with? Is using an escort services any guarantee of any degree of safety? Boy, I would just love some good advice. Got any for me? If you answer, you can call me... Old But Alive.

What's wrong with this picture? Just the gender of the letter writer, that's all. Turns out that my assumption that Cousin #1 (C#1) is female was wrong, wrong, wrong. C#1 is a man.

Dan knew that. I didn't. It never occurred to me that I had the gender wrong. He didn't realize that I didn't know.

So I sent my advice, which included:
  1. "I hope you're indulging that lust with plenty of hot talk, make-out sessions, and role-playing as you figure out how to make your fantasy a reality." (Good advice.)
  2. "Start hanging out at lesbian bars and other social venues. Don't go in aiming to pick someone up right off the bat—you don't want to come across as predatory and creepy. Instead, go on a date with your cousin, dance, chat up women who are friendly. You could make great connections if you're open and take your time." (Good advice if C#1 is a woman. Horrible, clueless, shudder-worthy advice since he's a man. No, no, no.)
  3. "Another way to go, as you suggested, is to hire someone. The advantage of a paid escort is that you can choose the woman and spell out exactly what fantasy you want her to provide. She'll be experienced, creative, and totally focused on your pleasure." (The best advice of all.)
Dan sent me back a quick email that he disagreed with some of what I said, but he didn't tell me what. I was puzzled -- what could he possibly disagree with?

The column posted today -- you can read it here. To my shock, Dan broke into my lesbian bar advice with "About the only thing lesbians hate more than opposite-sex couples prowling for 'thirds' in their bars are sharp fingernails digging for clams in their pants." 

Huh? Where did he get the idea this was an "opposite-sex couple"?

Later in the post, talking about safer sex, Dan says, "Use condoms, Gramps." Who's he calling "Gramps," and where would these lesbians put the condoms (unless they're sharing sex toys)?

So it all comes out. C#1 is indeed a man*, and I've just gone from respected sex educator to clueless in the eyes of all the Dan Savage fans and Dan himself.

* (But Dan, don't call him "Gramps" anyway -- that's ageist and condescending. Whether or not he has grandchildren has nothing to do with his sex life.)

Once Dan and I realized what had happened, he apologized profusely, both to me for not clarifying the gender of C#1 and to his readers via a "Dear Readers" update. 

He told me later:

I thought it was obvious the letter writer was male -- his cousin wanted a lesbian experience, which he couldn't provide. That's why they needed a third and he would watch while the cousin had her lesbian experience, then join in. And he mentioned having two pussies to play with… not three.

So, that's the story, and now I can breathe more easily and sleep tonight. Now that I see it all in perspective, it's pretty funny that I jumped to the conclusion that the letter writer was female. I can laugh about it now. 


While I'm on the subject, finding a paid escort is less problematic than you’d think via the Internet or referrals – these women have found ways to advertise their availability, or they wouldn't be in business. Kendra Holliday, who describes herself as a sex worker from St Louis, tells me, “You can track down sex workers in your area online and run your scenario by them. If the sex worker is not into that kind of thing, she can float it by her network. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool in the sex worker realm.” 

Thank you, Dan Savage, for all you do to create a sex-positive world! (See my review of Dan's book, American Savage, along with a gratuitous photo of his husband Terry in a swimsuit, here.) While you're at it, do subscribe to the paid version of his Savage Lovecast -- it's well worth the small subscription fee to get almost 1.5 hours of Dan every week.



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Infinit Massager: Bouquet of Vibrators?

 "Oooh, a bouquet of vibrators!" I exclaimed after unwrapping my Infinit Massager. The Infinit has not one, but three silicone vibrators growing out of an aluminum base.

Each vibrator has its own control button for increasing intensity or changing vibrational pattern. And each is flexible (well, sort of flexible -- more about that in a minute), so it can be bent into different angles and positions.

The idea -- an interesting idea indeed! -- is that the array of vibrators lets you stimulate several areas at once. You can use one prong for vaginal stimulation, one for anal stimulation, and bend one to press against the clitoris for clitoral stimulation -- all at once, using one hand and one product!

Or, if you like more fullness vaginally, put two in the vagina, one against the clitoris. Or -- whatever you want to try.

That's the idea. Now here's the reality from a senior perspective:

  • You can't simply turn on the vibrators and easily bend them into place. You have to figure out how to get the arms bent the way you want them ahead of time because they're difficult to bend into the position you want. The arms aren't flexible like pipe cleaners -- they only bend in two places. 

  • Even with effort and concentration, I couldn't manage to wrestle an arm (or two) into a position for clitoral stimulation that worked for me while one arm was inserted vaginally. If the clitoral arm(s) were placed right, the vaginal arm was barely inserted. It worked best using all three arms for external stimulation, surprisingly.  

  • Each button controls one vibrator independently, but they're not marked in any way, so you don't know which button controls which arm except by trial and error. It's best to get them all at the right setting before you start. It would have been easy to color code the buttons to correspond with a little marking on the arms, eh?

  • The Infinit isn't comfortable to hold for the amount of time we older women need, especially if we have arthritis or weakness in the wrist. Although the vibrations are concentrated in the ends of the prongs, the whole base is vibrating enough to become annoying with long use, especially when the slipperiness of lubricant-coated fingers on aluminum requires a hard grip. 

  • It's way too easy to accidentally press one of the control buttons and turn the vibrator off or change pattern when we don't want to.

Of course, your experience may be different. If you'd like a playful experience with lots of possibilities, the Infinit Massagerwill entertain you. And it would probably work better with a partner to help you experiment -- certainly there can be plenty of sensation in a three-pronged vibrator.

The Infinit charges via either wall socket or USB port, very convenient, so it's cord-free while you're using it.

It's fully waterproof and can be fun in the tub. It's quite heavy, so hold on tight if you take it into the shower. I say that because I dropped it on my toe in the shower. It didn't break either the toe or the Infinit, but it hurt.

I think male bodies would find the Infinit Massagerfun. Would you like me to ask a buddy with a penis to test it? Say the word and I'll get on it, so to speak.


--> Want a discount on this product or any other? Click this link: Sextoyfun.com and use the coupon code SENIORSEX for a 10% discount on any order over $100. No expiration date.

 Thank you, Sextoy.com, for providing this product in return for an honest review.




Saturday, August 02, 2014

August 2: First Kiss... Last Kiss

Joan & Robert line dancing, 2001
Thirteen years ago today, I kissed Robert for the first time.

Six years ago today, I kissed Robert for the last time.

Sometimes I think that he chose to die on the anniversary of our first kiss, so that I could soften the memory of his death with the memory of our first kiss. But as vivid as that first kiss is is my mind, as clearly as I still feel the magic of the moonlight on the first night we dared to touch, these memories don't soften the loss -- or the harshness of remembering how this gentle, loving, good man suffered from a painful cancer.

On this anniversary, I keep writing sentences and deleting them. I could write in my journal instead, and every word would stay.

Robert's last birthday, 2007
But I'm not just writing for myself here -- I'm writing for you, my community of readers, and many of you have suffered your own losses, many fresher than mine. Some of you are with the person whom you love, and you can't imagine how you could survive losing your beloved. Others have been alone for a very long time. Some of you are losing someone now.

So what would be of use and of interest to you?

Here are some things that I've learned over the six years:

1. It does get better with time. Everyone told me that, and frankly, I couldn't imagine it during the first years. My heart and gut had been sliced into pieces, the elephant kept stomping on my chest, and the most important person in my world was gone. How could this possibly get better? But it did.

2. We are remarkably resilient. We survive. We learn to laugh again. We feel the life force within us filling us with possibility.

3. We gradually find ourselves able to connect with new people. Many of us learn to love again. No, I haven't fallen in love again, but believe it or not, I feel more open to that possibility than I ever would have predicted. I am able to connect with men now, and that feels good.

4. We can find our beloved in our world if we look and listen. Sometimes I practice being really quiet and watching nature around me. Then a bird swoops close, alights on a branch, and sings. I like to imagine that Robert sent me that bird.Or that iris that I spot on one of my walks that looks like the one in the kimono painting he created for me for one birthday.

5. We carry within us the best of the person whom we loved. I'm not religious, and I don't know whether there's an afterlife. But I do believe that the special lessons we learned from our beloved, the ways we grew that would not have happened without this person, these are the ways that our beloved continues to live. And when we pass those lessons on to someone else, this is immortality.

If you lost a loved one, I invite you to share what you've learned since that loss that might help others.





(If you haven't read Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty -- my first senior sex book which narrates our spicy love story, learn more here.)