Sunday, December 27, 2015

Consensual Non-Monogamy: A Relationship Choice


I'm recovering from ankle-replacement surgery* and watching far too much TV and far too many films. Why is it that mainstream TV shows and films never show ethical, consensual non-monogamy as a relationship choice that works for many? We only see sexual exclusivity as the gold star of relationships, and when someone strays from the monogamy agreement, love turns into hurt and hate -- almost never into a renegotiation of what the couple wants the relationship to be going forward. (Showtime's "Masters of Sex" is the only exception that I can think of, and it's not mainstream.)

Don't get me started on how rarely we see older-age relationships portrayed in any way other than traditional, if they're portrayed at all! Even the new Netflix series "Grace and Frankie"  made me cringe at the stereotypical portrayal of older people and relationships. Yes, the men came out as gay and in love with each other instead of their long-time wives, but even they lapsed into spats and pain when it came out that one of them had either a past one-night stand or a last-night tryst with his ex-wife. Why not just say, "Yeah, these things happen and will happen and because I love you, I'll work to understand and accept -- let's talk"?

And the sweet, vulnerable, free-spirited, hippie Frankie played by Lily Tomlin?  Why isn't one of those cute, ex-convict artists emerging from her bedroom from time to time? (I have to say that as much as I'm dumping on this series, Frank Waterston is wonderful and adorable and the sexiest person on the show. He'd be welcome in my house anytime.)


Back to reality: sex therapists, researchers, and educators know that the sexual exclusivity model works for some but not for all. For others, ethical and consensual non-monogamy (which isn't cheating, because both partners agree to it) keeps many relationships strong. Pioneers like Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence and TED talk speaker on "Rethinking Infidelity," and Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha, authors of Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships, have done brilliant work demystifying the causes and effects of infidelity and whether human beings are monogamous creatures.

My favorite podcaster, Dan Savage, talks about this often. He coined the term "monogamish" to describe couples who are committed, intimately bonded, and who sometimes have sex with others. The partner might want to know all the details or might not want to know anything, depending on the couple's agreement. Savage also says that when a couple has a monogamy agreement -- no sex with anyone else -- and one of them strays once in a while, the strayer is doing "a pretty good job at monogamy."

Please don't misunderstand me -- I'm not "promoting" non-monogamy or any sexual lifestyle. I'm just saying that I know many couples who stay together happily and intimately because they acknowledge that sexual exclusivity is not right for them. Let's not judge them or say (as I've heard some people righteously insist) that they "don't know how to be committed to another person."  

Those of you who are in consensually non-exclusive relationships, especially after age 50, I invite your thoughts here. Was this always the kind of relationship you wanted? Or did you come to it because you tried to embrace monogamy and it didn't work? I hope you'll share your views and experiences. (If you have trouble posting a comment, please email me and I'll post it for you.)


* In case you're curious about my surgery:I was in a near-fatal auto accident in 1979, which, among many other injuries, shattered my right heel and crushed my ankle. For the past 36 years, I've walked and danced on an ankle that barely moved and often caused pain. I sometimes described my foot as "a block of wood with nerve endings." I am extremely fortunate that now a reliable procedure is available that replaces a damaged ankle with a new, mobile one! I had the surgery in November, and I expect to be back on the dance floor in February! 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Talking sex toys on Dan Savage's podcast

Dec. 12, 2015: I am moving this post from July 2015 to the top, because I have many new readers and some of you might need holiday tips for sure-to-please sex toy gifts for a lover or for yourself. Enjoy! 

And if you don't have my latest book yet, The Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50 is a gift that will give you information and resources after the holidays are just a memory.  -- Joan

I had the pleasure of recording a guest segment on Dan Savage's Savage Love podcast, answering two caller questions.  It's live here: Episode 456. I'm on the Micro (free) version for 10 minutes and on the Magnum (paid subscription) for more than 20 minutes.

At the end of our Magnum segment, Dan asked me for some quick vibrator recommendations for the over-50 crowd. Here are the ones I mentioned, with links to my reviews so that you can learn more about them:
Magic Wand


Magic Wand (rechargeable): It has everything we loved about the Original Magic Wand plus new attributes that make it the ideal sex tool for those of us who need really strong vibrations.


Sybian
 Sybian: Can I call a 22-pound, vibrating, mountable, power tool a "vibrator"? That's like calling the Sydney Opera House a music device. Straddle the Sybian, turn the dial to control the sensations, and enjoy.


The Pulse


The Pulse: A pulsing, oscillating, amazing vibrator for penises that does not require an erection for his pleasure!




Here are some more favorites that I would have added if we had more time:
Eroscillator


Eroscillator: Especially fabulous for clitoral stimulation during partner sex because it doesn't get in the way of two bodies.
Private Gym



Private Gym: A penis workout for stronger erections -- including weights. This is no gimmick!


Womanizer

Womanizer: A sex toy that sucks your clitoris -- and that's a rock-your-world sensation!
Palm Power



Palm Power:  A lightweight, travel-friendly, ergonomically designed vibrator that packs incredible power into a small, silicone topped sex toy.



If you're new to my blog, it isn't just sex toys all the time, but yes, I do review sex toys a lot, and always from a "senior perspective."


What's a "senior perspective" and why do we need it?
  • Our need for long, slow arousal requires a vibrator that doesn't overheat, run out of battery charge, or burst into flames if we need to use it for a long time. 
  • We want sex toys that don't strain arthritic wrists. 
  • They must be made of body safe materials, especially with our thinning genital tissues.
  • We want to be able to see the controls without having to put on our reading glasses. 
  • Above all, we need intensity: strong vibrations. We're battling our (lack of) hormones. And we're winning!

If you're new to Dan Savage, he's super smart and sex-savvy. Check out the free mini-version of his weekly Savage Lovecast. Even better, in my opinion, is the paid Magnum version that's twice as long and ad-free. If you don't yet subscribe to the Magnum version, it's well worth the small amount of money to hear the longer version each week. Plus when you subscribe, you get to listen to ALL the past episodes -- years of them! You can read Dan's sex advice columns here. Dan is over 50 now -- welcome to our world, Dan!

Joan and Dan, showing actual height difference


Monday, November 23, 2015

"Friends with benefits" -- do we need a new term?


Question to readers: I know that many people in our age group have "friends with benefits," or would like to. Do we need a new term for it?

I'm talking about a relationship that is sexual but also a solid friendship -- we like each other in and out of bed -- yet it's not a committed relationship and will not become one.

We're not partners and we're not dating exactly -- we just get together when we both want to, and sex is usually part of the package. We stay in touch in between times together. We're both free to pursue and explore other relationships. We don't have goals of our FWB becoming more (or different) than the way we're enjoying each other right now. It is what it is, and we like that.

It's not the same as a "hookup" or "bootie call" because we share an emotional closeness -- yet without any expectations or restrictions about what we do when we're not together.

What do you think? Is "friends with benefits" a good enough term? Or does that sound too casual or non-caring? One person suggested "limited relationship" as opposed to "committed" or "primary" relationship, but that seems to emphasize what it isn't rather than what it is. I suggested "lover-friends." I hope you'll add your point of view.

I hope you'll post a comment using a first name of your choice (choose something other than "anonymous"), plus your age, please, so we can see how our generation thinks.

Feel free to add your FWB experience after age 50, if you care to share. I think this kind of relationship is far more common than we know!





Notes about comments:

Thank you in advance for commenting! Some people have reported problems commenting. If this happens to you, please email me your comment (with the name under which you want it posted and your real age) and I'll post it for you. I delete comments that attempt to spam my blog or hijack my readers to a commercial site that I do not endorse. 

Friday, November 06, 2015

This Thing We Call Sex by David Steinberg: book review


David Steinberg has compiled a brilliant book of essays and erotic photographs in This Thing We Call Sex: A Radically Sensible Look at Sex in America.

Steinberg, now 71, has been writing about sex since 1985 and photographing couples being sexual at home since 1999. In This Thing We Call Sex, he describes many types of sexual awakenings and insights: his first swing party; his first sexual encounter with a trans woman, where he discovered how much he's turned on by a woman possessing both feminine energy and a penis; the gift of a gang bang for his partner's 52nd birthday; learning to slap a woman he loved because it excited her; and much more. Through Steinberg's candor and beautifully crafted writing, I felt I was getting more than a window into his views and activities -- I was experiencing them myself.

Steinberg grew up in the same era I did. We came of age when sexual repression was the norm, and we were foot soldiers in the sexual revolution (though I was far less adventurous, even in what I considered my wilder days). In 1963, when both he and I were in college, "rumblings of sexual change could be heard on the cultural landscape if you listened really hard, but they were distinctly muted to say the least."

David Steinberg
Steinberg puts his experiences and reflections in the context of discovering our sexuality despite our society's sex-negative view. Sexual acceptance has improved greatly since we were growing up, but sex negativity still persists. We're shamed for wanting what we want, called perverts and worse if what we like is outside the very small box of what society condones. Here, I'll let him say it his own way:

  • "Who are we. really, when it comes to sex? Do we ever really get to know the full range and depth of our sexual desires and possibilities for pleasure? If we could strip away the rules, the moralizing, the early antisexual childhood training, the internalized raised eyebrows, what might we find of ourselves underneath?"

  • "Sex is such a powerful and unpredictable arena for psychic discovery; it's no wonder it scares us to death. When we let the proprieties drift out the window, when we face our individual menageries of urges and desires without the referees of reason and reasonability, we are apt to uncover the most surprising and disconcerting things about ourselves -- things we don't even begin to understand, things we may well not want to acknowledge."

  • "We are told repeatedly, and we come to believe ... that if we acknowledge, honor, and embrace the erotic impulses of our sensual selves we will destroy the order in our world and be cast into chaos. This terrifies us. We turn against desire itself, against our erotic impulses and feelings, as well as the erotic expressions of others. we set ourselves the task of keeping the erotic down at all cost."

Copyright (c) David Steinberg, 2000

And the photos! Deliciously erotic and intensely personal photos of faces smiling, grimacing, laughing in ecstasy; intimate gazes; entwined bodies. The diversity of the people in the photos is startling because it's so rare. As David told me in an email interview,

One of the core statements that I hope my photographs of people being sexual makes is that we all can be vibrant, alive, sexy, sexual people, despite the cultural biases that would restrict that appreciation to people who are young, thin, physically fit, etc. I make a point of including as wide a range of subjects as possible, including people of all ages, body types, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities, and sexual proclivities. I have photographed people ranging in age from 19 to 75, from 90 to 300 pounds, and over a dozen couples that include someone with a physical disability.

Hopefully, when people see my photographs they think, "Oh, look, this is someone like me being wonderfully sexual," rather than seeing someone whose sexuality confirms all the insecurities and self-doubts that we are encouraged to have about ourselves almost from birth.
Copyright (c) David Steinberg, 2007




I'm a sex geek -- I'm fascinated by all things sexual, and I love learning about how people think and express themselves sexually. In this book, Steinberg educates and fascinates me. I wholeheartedly recommend This Thing We Call Sex to my fellow sex geeks.















Thursday, November 05, 2015

L'Amourose Rosa Rouge: a heated vibrator for hot solo sex



There's much to love about the  L'Amourose Rosa Rouge Heat Up G-Spot Vibrator, a sex toy from LoveHoney.com that warms up as you use it!

I don't mean that it absorbs your body heat -- better than that: it has an internal "Thermal Regulation System" that gradually heats it to 40-42 degrees Celsius/ 104-107.6 degrees Fahrenheit. I didn't know whether I'd like this -- I feared that the heat would be irritating. Was I wrong! The warmth feels really good, and as important, it increases blood flow to the genitals, which our aging bodies need.

The versatile design lets you use it several ways:

1. Insert the long part vaginally. (1.5" diameter at widest part). This felt good to me as long as I wasn't trying to make the base add clitoral stimulation. Supposedly, the base can rest on your vulva, stimulating your clitoris while the longer part is penetrating vaginally. My body didn't work that way. If the inserted part was comfortable and in contact with my g-spot, the base hovered in the air above and didn't come close to contacting my vulva. If I forced the base down, the end of the inserted part hit painfully. We're all different, and since it's called a g-spot vibrator, I have to assume this may work for many of you.

2. Use the base as a handle and rub or nestle the long part over your clitoris. This worked really well for me. You can get pinpoint stimulation with the tip if you like, but I preferred letting the Rosa Rouge curve around my vulva, stimulating the largest area possible. The narrowest part of the neck has a bit of flexibility, so you can make its curve adjust to your own.

3. You can also use it anally, though I didn't try it that way.

The vibrations are rumbly rather than buzzy, and although they aren't Magic Wand intensity, they're strong enough to win me over. I'm about to turn 72, and intense vibrations are key for me, as I know they are for many of you in my age group. There are two motors and nine functions, including running one motor and not the other, or both, and several patterns as well as intensities.

Charging is easy -- you perch the vibrator in its elegant charging base, plug it in, and let it recharge. After you charge it and take it off its base, it's waterproof!


Cons:

Good luck trying to see the practically invisible controls. You'll need both your reading glasses and a bright light. You won't be able to feel the difference between "+" and "-" either, especially when your fingers are lubed up. I suggest you memorize where the controls are, re-memorize them after you get it in position, and hope that you don't accidentally turn it down or off when you're ready for extra intensity for the Big Moment.

Yes, it's expensive, $259.99. It's a classy, luxury vibrator, and the heat adds to the price. If you like the design and don't care about it heating up, there are two other, less expensive versions: 


I first discovered L'Amourose Rosa Rouge after reading unusually gushing (so to speak) reviews from several sex toy reviewers whom I enjoy and trust to be as critical as a toy deserves: Dangerous Lilly, The Redhead Bedhead, and Epiphora, among others. In fact, a couple of these reviewers recommended it to me, and the good folks at LoveHoney.com made sure I had my own. Thank you!

And if you don't love  L'Amourose Rosa Rouge Heat Up G-Spot VibratorLoveHoney.com is that rare sex toy retailer that offers your money back, whatever your reason for returning it, as long as it's within the first year. Read their return policy here.



[Aaarggh, I'm frustrated that although I've re-positioned all the photos a half dozen times, as soon as I save the post, the photos pop back to where I didn't want them. Blogspot, what are you doing to me? I'll try again tomorrow. ]

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Book Roundup #1: Interviews with Arlene Schindler, Lynn Brown Rosenberg, and J.F. Silver

I receive review copies of many books that the authors and publishers hope I find of interest to you. Even restricting my choices to those that treat older-age sexuality specifically and positively, I'm unable to keep up. So instead of reviewing these books singly, I'm going to do a series of roundups of books aimed at our age group by authors who understand us. This is the first in this series of mini interviews with the authors. Enjoy, and please support these authors who are writing with candor and fire about sex and aging.



Arlene, describe your book and what led you to write it:

Midlife was freeing for me. My novel explores relationship possibilities for single women past 50. I used to say, “My dating pool is so small, soon it will be a shot glass.” If I was lucky, a love connection would last about as long as a good haircut. I knew others felt the same. I wanted to shout out the absurdities of these experiences with a madcap, defiantly spirited outlook. 

Why would my readers want to read The Last Place She’d Look?

Arlene Schindler
Women of a certain age become invisible in our culture. In reality this is the time of life when we become bolder, braver and more adventurous. We’re peaking, and no one is looking. Exploring why we should be noticed, my novel exposes our desires, passions and relationships. 

What drew you to write a story about a woman finding herself attracted to other women on her fiftieth birthday?

Too many women think that if they are not with a man, their life is incomplete. Yet friendships we have with other women grow deeper with maturity. A possible alternative for a world of lonely women who’ve been influenced by outmoded values and religious beliefs, but hungry for appreciation, is being responsive and open to deeper, intimate experiences with women whom we know, love, and admire.





Lynn, describe your book and what led you to write it:

My Sexual Awakening at 70 is about my search for sexual freedom at a later age, and at the same time an exploration of my past and the effect that decades of repression had on me. Despite that upbringing, midway through my journey, I was having the best, most exciting time! I realized I couldn’t be the only woman who had a distressing sexual education or no sexual education, and I thought it could help others.

Why would my readers want to read your book?

Lynn Brown Rosenberg
It is a roller-coaster life about my search for love, self-confidence, creative expression and sexual expression that will resonate with other women of our age. Men also enjoy my book because it gives them hope for the future, and helps them understand women better. Plus, it has erotic stories in it that both men and women can get pleasure from, individually or together!

How has your life changed after writing this book?

It has opened up a whole new world for me. I am now speaking about my journey, writing articles, doing podcasts, writing a monthly column for XBiz.com, and most of all, I love that I'm connecting with people who tell me they've been inspired and empowered by hearing me speak or reading My Sexual Awakening at 70




 J.F., describe the Mr. and Mrs. Average Joe series:

Mr. and Mrs. Average Joe is an erotic series about discovering new pleasures later in life. Joe and Elaine are baby boomers and empty nesters with a healthy sexual appetite. They had fantasized about inviting others into their bed, and one night the scenario presents itself in a ménage with another woman. From here it becomes a polyamorous tale of two sexually adventurous couples. There are three books available and a fourth releases in November 2015.

What led you to begin writing erotica?

I didn’t start writing until I turned 50, nine years ago, when I wrote my first erotic story as a birthday gift for my wife of 30 years. After receiving that first story, my wife began feeding me plot lines and to this day remains my inspiration and muse. Writing hot, arousing tales for my wife turned into a crazy and secret hobby!

How did this “secret hobby” develop into a published series?

J.F. Silver
About three years ago, we decided to try publishing them. It was a challenge to find a publisher interested in an erotic story about a couple in their fifties, but we did it. Before we'll write it, it has to work for us. Being a male author in a field dominated by women, my wife helps me keep the stories "women friendly." 

Friday, October 02, 2015

Maia Twistty Wand: Yes!

The Maia Twistty Wand from LoveHoney.com is an unusual two-in-one sex toy, with two independent motors. Use the "head" end on your clitoris for strong, rumbly, widespread vibrations, or use the "tail" end for buzzier, pinpoint vibrations either on the clitoris or shallowly inserted in the vagina to target the G-spot.

You get quite a variety of possibilities in one lovely vibrator! Each motor offers three vibration intensities and seven patterns. Both head and tail are ridged for extra sensation.


Pros:

1. It's powerful! You know how discerning I am about intense vibrations, and I found the rumbly head strong enough for me on its highest setting. (The motor at the head is stronger than the tail.)

2. The ergonomic design and light weight make it easy to hold, even for those of us with arthritic wrists.

3. It's rechargeable via USB -- no cords while you use it.


4. It's completely waterproof.

5. The material is body-safe silicone with a matte finish, very smooth and comfortable. (Of course you're using water-based lubricant with it.)

6. It's pretty! Mine is a lovely shade of purple, and the controls glow with a soft backlight so you can find them in the dark.


Cons:

1. It's difficult to avoid pressing one of the control buttons accidentally while you're using it, unless you hold it at the end instead of the middle, which defeats the ergonomic benefits. But I don't know where those control buttons could go instead, so I guess we just need to be careful and use a light grip.

2. The so-called instructions are worthless. They tell you how to clean and recharge it and how to turn on 6 different Maia products, but nothing specific to this one. See below for a problem I resolved on my own.


Problem I Resolved On My Own:

Image result for photo of power button
It was obvious from the familiar power icon that the middle control button turns the power on. Press and hold for a couple of seconds and the light flashes. Then it took a minute of experimentation. We're used to the top control button being "+" and the bottom one "-" -- but not this one. The control with a wavy line nearest the head turns on the head's vibrations, and the control nearest the tail turns on the tail's. Of course.

But what if you want to use the head for a while, then switch to the tail? When I did that, the head was still vibrating in my arthritic hand. Ouch. Aha, I needed to power off the vibrator entirely to turn off the head, and then power it on and press the tail's button, right? Although that works, it's a buzz kill to turn it off and start over.

Then through experimentation, I discovered the secret: if you're using the head and you want to switch to the tail, start the tail's motor going then press the head's control for two seconds and only the head's motor turns off -- no need to power everything off, no break in the action.

I know, you only save about 5-10 seconds by knowing the trick, but when our aging bodies make arousal slow and often difficult, keeping the momentum going without a "stop action" is important. So why aren't these steps in the instructions?


Overall Evaluation:

Applause! I get to test a lot of vibrators (I know, tough job, but somebody's got to do it), and I leave many saying, "Eh. It's ok, but nothing special." I don't even bother to review many of those for you, figuring that your time and mine are better spent with the exceptionally good or bad ones. The Maia Twistty Wand, however, is a winner. I look forward to using it often.

And if you don't love it, LoveHoney.com is that rare sex toy retailer that offers your money back, whatever your reason for returning it, as long as it's within the first year. Read their return policy here. Thank you, LoveHoney.com, for sending me the Maia Twistty Wand!



Sunday, September 06, 2015

Joan's Events In Australia

10/1/15 update: I've been home a week now, and I'm still digesting everything I learned and figuring out how to share the experience and ideas with you. I'll post again soon. Thanks for your patience! -- Joan

9/6/2015: I'm in Australia meeting with groundbreaking sex educators and activists who are dedicated to the goal of sexual pleasure and sexual rights for everyone through the life span. I've been invited to speak at seven (7!) events in Melbourne, Sydney, and Bendigo. They're listed on my events page, and I'm copying them here for your convenience. If you're in or near one of these cities, please come meet me! Special thanks to the inaugural Let's Talk about Sex conference for making this happen!




Monday, September 7, 7-9 pm: Ask Us About Sex after 50! with Joan Price and Linda Kirkman at Hares and Hyenas, 63 Johnston Street, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065, Australia. Yes, sex after 50, 60, 70 and beyond has its challenges: health issues, a solo life, the predictable sex that comes with longtime relationships, discomfort with changing bodies, lack of desire, dating at our age. But sex after midlife can also be hot and joyful if we learn, adapt, and explore what works for us. Let’s throw out the stereotypes and the old expectations that may not serve us anymore. We’ll cover relationship diversity, sexual health, fitting bodies together when they don't function or feel like they used to, and much more. Joan and Linda will debunk the myths, answer your questions, and send you home new tools, techniques, and attitudes to help you experience sizzling and satisfying sex -- with or without a partner. If you are over 50, or you plan to be, or you work with the older population, you’ll get your questions answered in this lively presentation. Tickets $25AUD/$20AUD in advance, or $30AUD at door.


September 8-9, 2015: Joan Price is a keynote speaker for the inaugural conference Let’s Talk About Sex at the Pullman Melbourne on the Park, 192 Wellington Parade, Melbourne VIC 3002,  Australia. Sponsored by Alzheimer’s Australia Vic and Council of the Aged. The inaugural Let’s Talk About Sex Conference aims to challenge many of the assumptions, taboos and stereotypes when it comes to older people and sexual intimacy. The failure to acknowledge sexuality and ageing has left many older people deprived of their right to a satisfying and fulfilling sex life. This Conference will promote discussion that aims to improve the health and emotional wellbeing of older people through recognition of their rights to sexual expression. It will challenge society’s failure to acknowledge sexuality and ageing. Topics such as sexual and gender diversity, sexual consent and sexuality among people with cognitive impairment will be discussed as we highlight the importance of relationships and intimacy as we age. It will also address the challenges encountered by carers in residential and community care.


September 10, 2015, 12:45-1:45 pm: Joan Price: Naked at Our Age  at the Wheeler Centre, 176 Little Lonsdale St., Melbourne Victoria 3000 Australia. ‘If you want your sexual exuberance to match mine three decades after age 40, start listening to your elders’. That’s the advice American author Joan Price gave to Miley Cyrus in a 2013 open letter, after Cyrus announced that over-40s don’t have sex. In 2011, Price wrote Naked at Our Age: Talking out loud about senior sex, which explored the challenges, delights, surprises and frustrations of sex for older people. The book was praised for its warmth and humour as well as its practical, no-nonsense advice. Price will talk about sex – and seniors – with Australian sex therapist, educator and media commentator Cyndi Darnell. Join us for a candid, funny, grown-up and possibly sexy conversation. Free, reservations recommended.


Mon., Sept. 14, 2015, 5:30-7:30 pm, Ask Us About Sex after 50! with Joan Price and Linda Kirkman at Visual Arts Centre, 21 View St., Bendigo, Vic 3550, Australia. Yes, sex after 50, 60, 70 and beyond has its challenges: health issues, a solo life, the predictable sex that comes with longtime relationships, discomfort with changing bodies, lack of desire, dating at our age. But sex after midlife can also be hot and joyful if we learn, adapt, and explore what works for us. Let’s throw out the stereotypes and the old expectations that may not serve us anymore. We’ll cover relationship diversity, sexual health, fitting bodies together when they don't function or feel like they used to, and much more. Joan and Linda will debunk the myths, answer your questions, and send you home new tools, techniques, and attitudes to help you experience sizzling and satisfying sex -- with or without a partner. If you are over 50, or you plan to be, or you work with the older population, you’ll get your questions answered in this lively presentation. Tickets $20AUD/$15AUD. For more info, email Linda Kirkman.


Wed., Sept. 16, 2015, 6:30-8:30 pm, What Your Clients are NOT Asking You about Sex: Talking About Senior Sex for Medical Professionals and Therapists, presented by the Society of Australian Sexologists. About half of all sexually active men and women aged 57 to 85 in the United States report at least one bothersome sexual problem; one third report at least two. Yet only 38 percent of men and 22 percent of women reported having discussed sex with a health professional since the age of 50. Why this information barrier? What can you, as professionals, do to overcome it with your patients and clients? Joan Price shares their changing sexual needs, problems, and fears, and what they wish their doctors, therapists, and other professionals and educators would help them resolve. Joan will address the 'extra mile' that sex therapists can go in helping their clients/patients. Venue: Level 3, 50 York Street, Sydney, Australia. $20AUD for SAS Members; $30AUD for non-members. RSVP sas-nsw@societyaustraliansexologists.org.au or drop-in.


Mon., Sept. 21 and Tues., Sept. 22, 2015, 7-9 pm: Great Sex after Fifty: two workshops with Joan Price, author of The Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50. Sydney's Max Black presents author and educator Joan Price (USA) appearing in-store at Max Black  264 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia, for two very special workshops designed to help you navigate the world of sex, dating and relationships after 50. These intimate and fun workshops will give you the chance to ask questions and get answers. Tickets: $20AUD here. Please arrive at 6:45 and settle in with a glass of champagne.

  • Sept. 21: Ask Me, I'll Tell You: Talking Out Loud about Sex & Aging: Sex after 50 - the challenges, pleasures and answers to all the questions we don’t think we can ask out loud. Sex has changed but it can still be spicy and very satisfying, with the right information. An eye-popping, interactive, empowering mixed-gender workshop designed to help you have great sex after 50, 60, 70 & beyond.

  • Sept. 22: How the Heck Do I Date at This Age? Dating after 50 can feel awkward & weird. What are the guidelines? Should you lie about your age? How do avoid pitfalls & handle rejection? What about safer sex with a new person? Whether you’re widowed, divorced or a longtime single this fun workshop will be illuminating, plus you’ll find out how others our age meet & mate.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

MiMi Soft: Cushy Tip Vibrator


Many of us like strong vibrations, but we don't like a hard toy pressing against our increasingly delicate genitals. A vibrator that presses against the clitoris with a bit of cushioning is just right, and the new MiMi Soft Rechargeable Waterproof Vibrator by Je Joue from Good Vibrations does exactly that.

The vibrator is firm and smooth, ABS plastic covered with a layer of silicone except that the tip is soft and cushy. Thank you, Je Joue. You have to press the tip hard against you to feel the "give" of it, but that's often a natural action anyway as arousal rises. The soft tip makes the MiMi Soft  an improvement over the original MiMi. I liked that one, but this one wins hands down... or hands on.

The MiMi Soft is smooth and tiny enough (3 1/2" long x 2 1/4" wide x 1 1/4" thick) to fit in the palm of your hand. If you're using it with a partner, it fits easily between two bodies without getting in the way. It's completely waterproof for use in the tub or shower, which is a delight.

MiMi Soft has five vibration settings and it's supposed to have six patterns. I don't care about patterns -- I prefer steady and strong -- so I didn't even notice that center button that controls the patterns didn't work on mine. I've read other reviews and never read about that issue, so I'll have to assume that this was just a problem with mine. (If I cared about it, of course Good Vibrations would replace it.)

I complained about the strength it took to press the buttons of the original MiMi, and although this one isn't as difficult, it still needs pressure. When your fingers are lubed up, it's impossible to feel the difference between the "+" and the "-" buttons, so you might have to grab your reading glasses and memorize which side is which so you don't accidentally turn it down when you're trying to turn it up.

Charging is easy with the magnetic charger. Plug it in, charge it for two hours or less, and you're good to go with no cords in your way.

Is it strong enough? You know me -- I like really strong vibrations. This one is not as strong as my favorite vibrators, but it does pack a punch for its size and the vibrations feel really good, less buzzy than most. For those of us who travel, the size is right!

Thank you, Good Vibrations, for sending me the MiMi Soft Rechargeable Waterproof Vibrator in return for an honest review. Right now it comes with a free silky blindfold.









Monday, August 03, 2015

The Right Side of History by Adrian Brooks: book review


I have an unalienable, constitutional and natural right to love whom I may...and with that right neither you nor any law you can frame have any right to interfere...I trust that I am fully understood, for I mean just that. 
-- Victoria Hull, 1871

The Right Side of History: 100 Years of LGBTQI Activism, edited by Adrian Brooks, should be in every bookstore and library and adopted as a textbook in every college-level, American history course.

Adrian Brooks has assembled a formidable body of work that chronicles the events and the people who have worked towards and spoken out for gay liberation and LGBT issues since before Stonewall. Yes, before Stonewall.

I was born in 1943. It hit me hard to realize these injustices were happening during my childhood:

  • In 1948, homosexuality and adultery were criminal, masturbation purportedly caused mental illness, and premarital sex was deemed shameful. But Kinsey showed such “perverted activities” to be prevalent, thereby torpedoing a cozy concept of manhood rigorously reinforced. The nation reeled.
  • In 1950, a Senate subcommittee issued a report, calling homosexuals a threat to national security...Even the appearance of homosexuality—butch women, effeminate men—became grounds for firing and arrest...it was still a crime to be a gay man or lesbian with myriad sodomy and lewdness laws on the books.
  • In 1953, one of President Eisenhower’s first actions in office was to issue an executive order barring all gays, lesbians, and bisexuals from federal employment. 
  • Cops would walk in slowly like they owned the place, eyeballing everyone, pushing people with nightsticks. If they put you in a paddy wagon, you’d be hauled off to the Tombs (jail). If they put you in a car, they’d take you to some alley or empty parking lot, make you suck their dick, take all your clothes, throw them in the trunk of their car, and tell you to go home naked.
Look at the diversity of topics and the big names in the table of contents:

Part I: Before Stonewall
  • The Divine Discontent of Isadora Duncan by Adrian Brooks 
  • Henry Gerber’s Bridge to the World by Hayden L. Mora 
  • The 1934 Longshoremen’s Strike by Adrian Brooks 
  • The Cradle Will Rock by Eric A. Gordon 
  • Bayard Rustin: Offensive Lineman for Freedom by Patricia Nell Warren
  • The Kinsey Reports by Anahi Russo Garrido
  • Criminals and Subversives: The Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis by Victoria A. Brownworth 
  • The Beats: Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac by Neeli Cherkovski
  • Frank Kameny: Advocate for Freedom by John D’Emilio
  • Josephine Baker’s Dream without Fire or War: An Interview with Jean-Claude Baker by Adrian Brooks
  • April 4, 1968 by Adrian Brooks
  • Ground Zero by Miss Major Griffin-Gracy

Part II: After Stonewall
  • The Revolutionary Joy of Gary Alinder by Paul Gabriel
  • Lesbian Nation: Jill Johnston and the Revolution of Women by Victoria A. Brownworth
  • The Angels of Light: Paris Sites Under the Bourgeois Sea by Adrian Brooks
  • Anita Bryant’s Anti-Gay Crusade by Jeanne Córdova
  • “The Mayor of Castro Street” by Adrian Brooks
  • Interview with Charlotte Bunch: Human Rights and Gender Equality by Anahi Russo Garrido
  • The Enemy Is Me: Becoming a Man inside a Feminist World by Max Wolf Valerio
  • My Battle with the University of California by Merle Woo
  • The Quilt by Julie Rhoad
  • The Red Camaro by Matt Ebert
  • Between the Sexes by Tiger Howard Devore
  • A Hero in Search of a Myth: The Navajo Journey of Jack C. Jackson, Jr. by Max Wolf Valerio
  • Interview with Judy Shepard: Remembering Matthew Shepard by Adrian Brooks
  • Interview: Barney Frank by Brenda Knight and Adrian Brooks
  • Black, Gay, and Muslim by Sultan Shakir
  • Bullying by James Gilliam
  • A Conversation with Evan Wolfson: Freedom to Marry Leader by Angela Dallara
  • Diana Nyad by Rita Mae Brown
  • Our Lives, Our Words: Newspapers, Bookstores, and Gay Liberation by Victoria A. Brownworth
I recognized many of the writers and subjects -- others were new to me, and I'm grateful to know them now. Most of the writers in of The Right Side of History: 100 Years of LGBTQI Activism are of our generation. We grew up not knowing this information. Let's change that now. I hope you'll read this book and purchase another for a friend. I did.



Adrian Brooks (born 1947, 68 at the time of the book release), who curated this book and wrote several of its essays, is a social and political activist, poet, performer and writer who has been working for change since the 1960s.