Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sex After Grief: Do you want to share your experiences?




Sex is complicated enough when it’s easy — but when we’re in grief, it’s especially mysterious and confusing. How do we nurture ourselves as sexual beings when we’re grieving the death of a partner? Why does taking care of ourselves sexually even matter when we’d rather hide under the covers and wail? What do we do with those sexual feelings that arise despite our misery? How do we know when it’s time to open ourselves to a new sexual relationship, whether it’s a friend with benefits or a new love connection?

I am thrilled to tell you that I'm writing a new book: Sex after Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality After Loss of Your Beloved. I will draw on my own experiences as a widow since 2008. I’ll share my own raw grief journey, my sexual reawakening (and the many stumbles along the way), my attempts to dip my toes in the dating pool, and what I learned.

This book won’t just be about me, though. As I’ve done in all my books about senior sex, I’ll include excerpts from other people’s personal stories, which will help readers see that we who have grieved have much in common, yet also much that’s different. There’s no right or wrong method or timeline for bringing our sexuality back to into our lives, whether it’s with our own hands, a well-placed vibrator, a hook-up, a new companion, or any combination.  

This is where you come in. If you have experienced the grief of your partner's death, how did you get sexual again? What was the hardest thing about opening yourself to sex with a new partner? What lessons did you learn about sex and grief that you'd be willing to share with others? What worked for you? What didn't work? What did you learn along the way? 

Additionally, I could use your experiences and perspective in these areas:

2/19/19 update: I edited this list again, deleting those topics that I no longer need and adding a few new ones. If you'd like to share your personal experiences or tips, even just a couple of sentences, I'd love to hear from you. I'll use short excerpts from your sex-after-grief journeys along with my own, plus quotes from professionals. Choose one of these topics and email me with "Sex after Grief" as your subject header if you'd like to contribute. **DEADLINE 2/25/19!** 
  • Your first partnered sex after/during grief, what it meant to you then, what it means to you now
  • How did you know when you were ready for partnered sex with a new person?
  • Feelings of guilt/betrayal of deceased partner when you wanted sex or had sex with a new person
  • Sex after grief when you're in a non-traditional relationship style: poly, kink, etc. 
  • Adventuresome sex after partner's death
  • Getting sexual in stages
  • Advice  about sex and grief from your grief counselor/ therapist/ coach/ surrogate 
  • Dating while grieving
  • Your first time with a new partner -- how did it go?
  • Communicating with a new (or potential) sex partner about desires, boundaries, uncertainty, safer sex
  •  Solo sex during grief 
  • What happened next? How you moved forward. Reflections on how far you've come. 
  • Advice for newly bereaved
  • Unexpected joy with new sexual partner  
  • Cautionary tales, warnings while we're vulnerable
If you'd like to contribute your wisdom or your story, please email me at this link with the subject "Sex after Grief." **DEADLINE 2/25/19!** If you prefer, you may post your comment here instead of emailing -- just realize that by posting, you are giving me permission to use excerpts from your comment.

Whether you post or email, I won't divulge your name or identifying details in excerpts that I use. You'll be anonymous in the book. Exception: If you're a grief counselor, therapist, book author, grief support leader, sex educator, etc. who would like to be quoted with your name, specify that.

People of all genders, all sexual orientations, all relationship styles are invited to contribute. Notice that I haven't said that you need to be age 50+. Sex after Grief will be primarily, but not exclusively, for our 50 to 80+ age group. Whether you're older or younger than 50 and you struggled with death, bereavement, and regaining your sexuality, your story is welcome.

Thank you so much for getting involved and helping other people who share the journey we never wanted to take. I hope to hear from you.

Thank you to all of you who emailed me since I first posted this 11/25/2018. Thanks to you, this book will be filled with diverse experiences and perspectives.  

It's not too late to email me and be included in Sex after Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality After Loss of Your Beloved**DEADLINE 2/25/19!** 



Saturday, January 05, 2019

Notes from the Penile Colony: Guy Talk about Vibrators by Shamus MacDuff

Note from Joan: Shamus MacDuff is the pseudonym of a 75-year-old retired university professor and author. Other than his name, he promises that everything he says about himself is true. His first guest post, “Great Sex Without Penetration: A Man’s View,” attracted so many readers and such positive response that when he offers additional posts, I quickly agree.

In the locker room at my gym, I overheard a 40-something guy complain to his buddy that his girlfriend insisted on using “a damned vibrator” that, in his view, kept “getting in the way of real sex.” I was tempted to interrupt and share a different story. I assert that more guys need to learn about the joys of sex toys, especially vibrators.

While a few vibrators are targeted specifically to provide stimulus and response to penises, a great many more kinds of sex toys exist. Most of these are designed especially (but not exclusively!) for clitorises and vaginas. It’s time to examine what these toys have to offer to penis owners, and to help guys like the fellow at my gym break out of the “penile colony” and begin to enjoy the myriad pleasures of a variety of sex toys.

For starters, most women cannot orgasm through penetrative vaginal sex alone, requiring arousal and stimulation of the clitoris. Vibrators are designed to provide exactly that stimulation, and it’s little wonder that women find them so desirable. If your partner loves her vibrator, that does not mean she doesn’t also love your touch. Rather, it indicates that she’s found the perfect combination of a partner and a vibrator to bring her to orgasm. Guys are not in competition with vibrators—they are our accomplices in giving joy and pleasure to our partners, a fact that the fellow in my gym had yet to understand. But there’s much more to this than meets the eye (or the clitoris), so let’s explore further.

It happens that vibrators work wonderfully on our male parts, too. During partner sex (of whatever form it takes), encourage your partner to apply her vibrator to your frenulum, your perineum, your nipples, or any other “turn on” spots that give you a happy buzz. A happy buzz is just what vibrators provide, often in a variety of patterns and speeds. You are sure to find several that will bring you to ecstasy more quickly than you thought possible. Once you do, you’ll then be vying with your partner for who gets “first dibs” on using the vibrator of choice. The fun and games during your partnered sex will be greatly enhanced for you both!

My partner introduced me to several delightful vibrators, and now these toys have also become a great addition to my solo sex practice. While the ones designed specifically for penises are very effective, I have found that many others, produced originally with vulvas in mind, are hugely satisfying during masturbation. Playing with vibrators almost certainly will convince you that they are our friends—true orgasm enhancement tools for guys as well as gals.

That conversation I overheard at my gym saddens me, because the speaker was clearly a prisoner of “the penile colony”—a believer that the only real sex is penis-in-vagina (PIV), with an unfortunate primary focus on his own pleasure rather than on increasing hers. Vibrators offer fun and innovative ways to break out of that unhappy mental prison, allowing us guys to recognize and experience the full panoply of delights that sex toys can provide to penises as well as clitorises. Give ‘em a try—you won’t be disappointed!




[Read other posts by Shamus MacDuff here.]