Showing posts with label sexual empowerment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sexual empowerment. Show all posts

Thursday, September 20, 2012

CatalystCon: celebrating sexuality


I'm basking in the joy of CatalystCon, a weekend of learning and sharing with other sex educators and self-proclaimed sex geeks. The mission of this event was "Sparking Communication in sexuality, activism and acceptance." Oh yes, mission accomplished.


Though most attendees were younger and I was the only speaker on senior sex, there were other people with grey hair (or they would have had grey hair had they not colored theirs). I felt total acceptance from all the people I met, even those decades younger. The sex-positive nature of the event conveyed this message to everyone: "I celebrate my own sexuality, sexuality in general, and your sexuality, no matter how different from mine yours might appear to be."

Megan Andelloux
I tried to choose from 40 sessions presented over two days, wishing I could attend them all. For every session I attended, there were four I had to miss.

Charlie Glickman
Some of my favorite sex educators featured in Naked at Our Age were speaking:  Carol Queen, Charlie Glickman, Megan Andelloux. There were names that inspire recognition and awe, such as Dr. Marty Klein.

 (Want your own "Sex Geek" shirt?  Order from Reid Mihalko here.)

I attended sessions where I'd learn information that you, dear sex-positive senior readers, would benefit from knowing, and others where I'd come away with plenty of "huh! I didn't know that!"


For example, the "Toxic Toys" session with Metis Black, founder of Tantus, high quality silicone sex toys; Jennifer Pritchett, founder of Smitten Kitten; and feisty educator and author, Ducky Doolittle. I was amazed by their stories of activism in an industry where sex toys used to be cheap, easily broken, and made of noxious materials that leached chemicals into our mucous membranes.  We have women like these three activists to thank for the safety and quality of sex toys today.


One of the most memorable speakers I heard was Buck Angel. Buck calls himself "a man with a vagina" -- he's a transgender man who elected to have top surgery but not bottom surgery.

As a child named Susan (but everyone called him Buck), he was a “total tomboy” and thought of himself as a boy. “Occasionally someone would say, ‘You’re a girl,” and I’d beat the crap out of them, and they’d say, ‘OK, you’re a dude,’” he says. “Everything was fine until at 15, puberty hit. Not puberty as a boy – but puberty as a girl. Here I am bleeding, my boobs are growing, I’m turning into a woman.”

He had his sex change 20 years ago, before female-to-male changes were done. He was the "guinea pig" for the surgeon who removed his breasts. “For years I hated what I was, and now I love it," he says.

Now Buck is 50 years old, a porn star (“the man with a pussy”), transgender activist, and motivational speaker. His past includes alcohol and drug addiction, modeling, hustling, attempted suicide, and death threats. “I should be dead," he says. "Why am I still here? Because I have a message to give the world: Deprogram yourself, and love your vagina.” Buck Angel's story is worthy of a  book. (Buck, do you need a ghostwriter?)


Carol Queen & Robert Lawrence
Another provocative session was "Why Talk about Sex and Disability?", co-presented by Robin Mandell and Dr. Robert Morgan Lawrence (who also gave a fascinating talk on "The Anatomy of Pleasure" with his partner Carol Queen).

Robin Mandell
Robin referred to people without disabilities as "temporarily able-bodied" and made the point that we have much to learn from sex-positive people with disabilities. Robert, who referred to himself as “old and crunchy,” jolted us all when he spread out all the medications he has to take for myriad medical challenges including pain that limits mobility. He has had to make many accommodations sexually as well as in other ways. “It took being crippled to realize that sex wasn’t penetration," he says.”


I had fun at a workshop learning to use the new version of the female condom, called the FC2. If your experience was with the first female condom, which felt and sounded like having sex with a shower curtain, you'll be happy to know the material is completely different now. It's great for folks of our age, because the penis can be inserted even if it’s not erect, and lube in the condom doesn’t dry up or get absorbed.It can also be used for anal sex for either gender, just remove the inner ring. One man in the workshop said it was a way "to feel bareback sensations while staying protected." (This video shows how to insert it and gives lots of info.)


Okay, the female condom does look funny (especially in this model with a dildo in it that we passed around -- should I not have shared this?), but the workshop leaders, Planned Parenthood sex educators Alma de Anda and Mayra Lizzette Yñiguez, advised us to give it three tries to discover how comfortable and empowering it is. They gave me a bunch of samples (three in a pack, to prove their point) to share with my workshop attendees!


My own session was titled "Senior Sex Out Loud," the story of my journey from high school English teacher to fitness professional/ health writer to sex educator/ senior sex advocate, with experiences along the way that were sometimes amusing, sometimes amazing, occasionally appalling. I started out wearing a jacket, but shed it when I talked about body acceptance. (Want to hear this speech yourself, or offer one of my workshops at your venue? I have a suitcase packed, would love to come to you. Please email me and let's talk.)


But CatalystCon was more than the knowledge, more than the networking, more than the opportunity for me to share what I do and how I feel about it, more than learning what other sex educators do and how they feel about it. It felt like a brave new world was possible, one in which acceptance and celebration reigned.

Imagine living in a society free of closed-minded people and repressive attitudes and policies, where we celebrate our similarities and our differences and are truly kind to each other. That was in the air at CatalystCon.

I applaud Dee Dennis, who conceived and birthed CataystCon; the sponsors who made it possible and affordable; the extraordinary speakers who were willing to donate their wisdom and incur their own travel expenses; and the attendees who were eager to absorb new knowledge, communicate openly (even those who wore the "I'm shy" wristbands that Reid gave out), and take our messages home. CatalystConWest will become a yearly event, and CatalystConEast will rock your world March 15-17, 2013 in Washington, DC.


As always, I welcome your comments.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Breaking Rules at Our Age

What sexual “rules” have you broken since turning 50, 60, or beyond?

I ask this because I discovered from the interviews and reader stories that you'll read in  Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex, many of us make some pretty drastic changes in our lives after age 50. Maybe we get divorced,  discover love, open up our marriage, take a new lover, experiment with kink or multiple partners or virtual sex -- or some combination of these or other alternatives.

The point is that although society sees us as settled into mid-life or old age, we're far from "settled." I think there's something about emerging from menopause that makes us question where we want to be in our lives. Menopause often feels like an upheaval -- I've described it before as "PMS on steroids" -- where everything seems upside down. We don't want to be responsible for remembering the whole family's appointments, for example, and we might not be overly kind when we tell family members to take care of themselves.

After the upheaval settles, we see our lives differently. We realize that it's now or never: it's up to us to invent -- or reinvent -- what we want the rest of our lives to be, and what we have to do to actively go after our dreams.

At the same time, in our sexual world, the old ways may not work any more. We may need different kinds of arousal or even a different type of relationship or a different partner. Major!

I got so many stories from my Naked at Our Age interviewees about alternative sex practices that this topic became a whole chapter: "Off the Beaten Path: Nontraditional Sex Practices and Relationships." People wrote about swinging, polyamory, BDSM, friends with benefits, older women/younger men (20-30 years difference!), phone sex, and more.

I predicted that younger readers would be shocked at what seniors are doing behind closed doors, and I should have guessed that it would shock our own age group, too. I've heard a couple of criticisms that this chapter and the one titled "Hiring Sensuality" (which I won't tell you about -- you have to read that one for yourself, and no, it's not just men hiring sex!) make it sound like I'm endorsing or even pushing people towards alternative lifestyles.

I'm not pushing anyone into anything. I'm showing senior sex -- behaviors and attitudes -- in all its colors and stripes. Personally, I support adults doing with other consenting adults whatever brings them pleasure, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone -- including the partners of those consenting adults. I have "vanilla" tastes myself, but that's beside the point. The book is only partly about me. It's really about you... and you... and you.

So back to my original question: What sexual “rules” have you broken since turning 50, 60, or beyond?  By rules I mean society's rules, the law, unspoken or spoken rules in a relationship, even your own rules. I'd love to see a dialogue start here. Please comment!


Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex is now available! Order an autographed copy directly from me -- be sure to let me know to whom to autograph it -- by clicking the PayPal button below...



Or order from Amazon here. To order from other retailers, please see http://www.joanprice.com/contact.htm

Learn more about Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex here.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tips for reclaiming sexuality after a health event

Many readers have reported concerns about how to reclaim their sexuality after a heart attack, cancer, or other health event. I asked licensed psychologist and sex therapist Stephanie Buehler, Psy.D., to provide some tips for the new book I'm writing. Her information was so valuable that I didn't want you to have to wait for the book:

1. Speak to your physician about when you can resume sex and what kinds of limitations you might expect or need to work around. If you are uncomfortable talking about it with the physician, perhaps you can bring it up to the nurse. Nurses are often interested in helping patients achieve an optimal quality of life, and are trained to educate patients as well.

2. If neither your physician nor the nurse is sexually savvy, then contact whatever organization is associated with your disease. For example, both the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society publish booklets on sexuality and illness.

3. Broaden your ideas about what constitutes “sex” after an illness event. Sex is more than intercourse. Count holding hands and cuddling as sex, and you and your partner might feel less disappointed or glum.

4. If you are the person affected with a health problem, don’t conclude that if your partner isn’t bringing up sex, it is no longer important. Your partner may not want to intrude or make demands and is waiting for a sign of readiness from you.

5. If you are the partner of the person with a health problem, accompany your partner to a physician’s visit to discuss sexual effects of any surgery or treatment. Educate yourself so that you can be a support to your partner, and so that you and your partner can discuss how to go forward.

6. If you had sexual problems before the illness event, now might be a good opportunity to address them. It may be that your health problem contributed to your sexual problem. Again, discuss this with your physician or nurse.

7. If you are having trouble resuming satisfying sexual activity, consider seeing a sex therapist. A sex therapist can help you identify obstacles and give you information and suggestions. Sometimes there can be deeper problems, like facing the fact that you are not invincible, that can also be addressed with a therapist.

Stephanie Buehler, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist and sex therapist, and Director of The Buehler Institute in Irvine, California. Visit her blog about sex and intimacy.

Note: You can locate a sex therapist in your area through AASECT, American Association of Sexuality Educators Counselors & Therapists.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gerald Haslam talks about prostate cancer and sex


Gerald Haslam, author of Grace Period, is living with prostate cancer. He wrote a stunning summary of his views of the importance of sexuality while living with cancer for my upcoming book. I know I have many readers who are looking for information on sexuality and cancer, so I'm giving you an advanced look at some of the insights he shared:

A seventyish man who was recovering from a prostatectomy asked fellow members of a prostate-cancer support group how they could have sex if they were leaking urine. He ended with a timeless observation--"My wife is willing to be pissed off but not pissed on."

Despite the laughter that followed, his was a serious problem, but the first response solved it: "Put a band on your penis --a cock ring. A lot of older guys who aren't incontinent use them to maintain erections, but if you're leaking they're a good answer, especially if you use a pump."

The first man was honest enough to admit, "I hadn't thought of that. We've never used any...devices. Of course, I've never had prostate cancer before, either." In fact, the prostate cancer world introduces many guys to devices and positions and concepts previously unimagined.

A physician pal said to me shortly after I was rendered impotent by prostate surgery and radiation, "You'd better start pumping up your penis every day, whether you're going to use it right away or not, or it'll shrivel into a Vienna sausage. As soon as you lose spontaneous erections you lose penile tone. No tone, and there'll be nothing to pump when you do want to use it."

In fact, sex seems to be the second most common topic--after cancer therapies--in discussions at most prostate cancer support groups, and I learned that many men, rendered impotent and perhaps stripped of libido by hormonal ablation, simply but not happily accepted the verdict that their sex lives were over, a defining activity lost. A dread frequently mentioned to me by my fellow prostate-cancer survivors has been not only the sudden absence of sex but of sexuality itself. This is especially grave since sex and sexuality can represent the life force's most powerful affirmation in the face of death.

Unfortunately, many of us men grow up believing that our sexuality dwells almost exclusively in our genitals, so a damaged penis may lead to a damaged personality. As one wife admitted at a session for couples, "There's not much fun in our lives anymore, and I don't just mean sex. He's just so sad." A penile fixation may also lead one to forget how much sexual satisfaction can be achieved by giving pleasure to a partner you love.


Please read my review of Gerald Haslam's Grace Period. Click here to view or order Grace Period on Amazon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sexy Seniors Pose Nude For Charity Calendar


I love this! A group of women in their 70s and 80s decided to pose nearly nude for a calendar to raise money for their historical society in Monongahela, a small community near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Associated Press picked up the story, which is why you'll read it in your newspaper and hear it on the radio. The most interesting part of this story is the reactions from the media. Just what you'd expect -- the newspapers label it "weird news" and newspeople comment, "I don't think I'll want to look at that."

Why not? At what age does a woman cease to be sexy or attractive? 39? 45? 50? Personally, I think we get sexier and more attractive as we age, because we radiate who we are, our vigor and experience, our self-knowledge, our capacity for loving and living. We "earn" our wrinkles -- they are our badges of experience. Anyone who would dismiss the twinkle in our eye because of the wrinkles in our neck deserves to miss out on what we can offer!

I haven't seen the calendar, but I understand the props -- poinsettia, umbrella, piano -- are strategically placed so that nothing shows except face, neck, and maybe a bare shoulder. But it's still cool that these women had the gumption and self-confidence to say, hey, let's shake things up a bit!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Sue Katz Blog: Consenting Adult: Lust, Kink and Culture


Help launch me & my cleavage into the blogosphere...” writes Sue Katz in her first post on her blog, Consenting Adult: Rants & Reviews on Lust, Kink and Culture. Sue, approaching age 60, indeed bares her cleavage in her photo as well as her words on this provocative blog. I interviewed Sue, former professional martial artist and world traveller, and now a writer living in Boston.

JP: Your blog is called “Consenting Adult.” What’s the focus?

SK: I’m working on a book about kink and older people, so the blog is a place to explore many of those ideas. I focus on people over 45 and all things sexual – especially alternative sexualities. I write about culture – everything from books (bondage and beyond) and movies (I hated “Notes on a Scandal”). I also react to current events, such my recent piece about National Secretary’s Week. I have written about Jane Austen, reported on recent surveys (“Solo Play More Orgasmic than Partner Sex”) and compared partner dancing to kinky sex.


JP: How do you define “alternative sexualities”?

SK: I know from my own life that human sexuality is as elastic as the pants I wear to work out in. I was a butch lesbian until my 50s and now I’m in a relationship with a man. I believe people can get turned on in more ways than they might suspect – whether it’s kinky play or intimacy with someone of the same sex. Some people organize their love-life differently – such as those into swinging and polyamory. Other people explore fetishes – specific images or activities that curl their toes.


JP: What’s the connection with age?

SK: After a wild young adulthood, my sex life was pretty muted in my 40s. Like many women, after menopause I had this rush of horniness and since I met my boyfriend it has been extremely passionate. I started noticing that in many ways alternative practices suited aging lovers. For example, bondage or spanking don’t require hardness or wetness. There’s a whole body out there – beyond traditional intercourse – and many sweet sensations. I also started noticing that lots of older people are stepping out of old sexual habits into brave new thrills.


JP: Your final word?

SK: It’s not a coincidence that so many writers are looking at the heat our generation is generating – as we always have. I love your work, Joan, and am glad that so many of us are talking about our adventures openly. Thanks for inviting me!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dr. Ruth: Teach your lover what you need

Did you hear Dr. Ruth Westheimer talking about "Sex, Humor and Happiness" on NPR's Morning Edition April 24, 2007? If you missed it, you can listen to it here. Dr. Ruth's latest book is Dr. Ruth's Sex After 50: Revving Up Your Romance, Passion & Excitement!

Dr. Ruth, age 78, says that despite the cultural changes in sexual awareness and knowledge, she still gets asked all the same questions, and she would like women to be more open about communicating their needs to a lover. "Even the best lover can't bring a woman to orgasm if she doesn't teach him what she needs," she says.

That's expecially true as we get older. Women who have been in long term, joyful, sexy relationships with partners who knew exactly how to please them sometimes tell me that they just aren't responding the way they used to, even when a partner is doing exactly what used to send them into orbit. They worry that maybe they aren't interested in sex any more, and perhaps they should settle into a comfortable but sexless love life.

That might be fine, if both partners would be happy with that (ah, there's the rub!). But many women and men who talk me express that they really miss the heightened connection with their partner, the electrified responses they used to feel to his or her touch, and the crashing waves of release. And they miss the eager joy of anticipating sex. As one woman told me, "I want my sweet tooth back."

So how do we get that back, if we've lost it? First, we need to learn what these new, aging bodies need. We need to let go of the old "this used to work!" and learn what works now, exploring both alone and with our partner. Then when we understand better what elicits our responses -- what kind of touch, what kind of ambience, whatever it is for us -- we need to communicate this clearly, kindly, and helpfully to our partner.

I know I've just brushed the surface of this topic. We'll keep talking about this.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Reader: "Thanks for having the courage to write this book!"


I love it when readers tell me their reactions to Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty. I just received this from Nancy, age 72:


Received your book today and have already read through it once! Thanks for the frank, honest words. Believe me when I tell you that I have friends in the age range of 44 to 82 that have given up on "the Big One," as I call it. Some, like me, had complete hysterectomies early...others went through natural menopause. But vaginal dryness, bleeding, and the problems with taking hormones have done them in!

I went through using the "ring" and was most uncomfortable. Creams are messy and rule out oral sex. After reading your blog and website info, I decided to try something creative and crawled into bed naked and spooned up to my husband. We tried something new, which to him had previously been a no. If it wasn't the "normal" position, forget it. Well...we had a great time and he's been smiling all day! Thanks for having the courage to write this book!

Nancy, I wonder what "creative" activity you tried with your husband that led to his daylong smile, but you don't have to tell! Thank you for sharing this with us!

By the way, I'm surprised you find the estrogen ring uncomfortable. I don't even feel it once it's inserted, no more than I felt tampons or diaphragms in my youth. I agree that creams are messy and interfere with oral sex!

Readers: If you don't already have a copy of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty, you can order a personally autographed copy directly from me, or you can buy it from Amazon.com using this direct link. Enjoy! -- Joan

Saturday, March 24, 2007

"Best and Mightiest Aphrodite"

Hey, this is so cool! I just received the "Best of the North Bay 2007" award for "Best and Mightiest Aphrodite" AKA "wrinkly sex kitten" by the North Bay Bohemian newspaper ! I love it!

This happened the same week I had cataract surgery. It all fits together, doesn't it? ;) Here's the article:

The Bohemian's

Best of the North Bay 2007
Romance: Writers' Picks
Best and Mightiest Aphrodite


If gaining entrance to the love-ins of the '60s was contingent upon being mortal, Aphrodite would likely have traded in her spot on Mt. Olympus for a ticket. Some 40-odd years later, would this goddess-turned-mortal still be sexy? Somewhere after menopause, she'd probably have traded in her Botticelli curls for a Diane Sawyer coif. Popping Viagra, suitors would still come knocking to woo this now mature and wrinkly sex kitten.

Wrinkly sex kitten? Yeah, why not. Enter the world of Joan Price, who at 63 is pshawing the way that pop culture ridicules older people who still have sex. The Sebastopol resident has written Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty, which has become something of a bible for sextua-, septua- and octogenarians wanting to restore their sex lives. She's packed the book with exercises to keep love muscles tuned up, testimonials by older women doing it and her own story about falling for the love of her life at age 57.

This author-cheerleader has been touring throughout the country, giving workshops to women--and sometimes men--who are 50-plus and want to keep their sex drive alive. "When I do a workshop," she says giggling, "it's sort of an ice breaker the first time I say 'lubricant' or 'vaginal tissue' or 'clitoris' or 'sex toy.'"

To Price, mature desire is not an oxymoron. In fact, she and her husband don't see any reason why wisdom shouldn't be sexy. "[My husband] sees wrinkles as sexy," she says. "He sees an aging body and face, certainly, as extremely attractive, because they reflect what a woman has experienced and learned and given to the world and brought back to herself. Someone without them is sort of suspect."

Price also has a popular blog, www.betterthanieverexpected.blogspot.com, where she and her readers discuss issues surrounding aging. In one recent post, Price brainstorms about different terms to describe older people: senior, elderly, mature, etc. She was prompted to write this post after reading a newspaper article that referred to a political conference attendee as a "little old lady." Although the article wasn't talking about her, per se, she took it as an affront to her demographic as a whole. On her blog, she quipped, "Don't call me a little old lady . . . Call me Joan." Whatever you call her, she's our mighty, middle-aged Aphrodite.

Article and photo by Brett Ascarelli

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Pole Dancing: Exploitative or Empowering?

I was quoted in today's New York Times commenting on the trend that is bringing pole dancing (complete with instructors and portable, ceiling-high poles) into the homes of middle aged, middle class women, as well as into fitness studios. Here's an excerpt from the article by Tina Kelley:

Some say exercise that echoes the acrobatics done by women who take their clothes off for a living is exploitative rather than empowering. But Ms. Shteir and Joan Price, the author of “Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty” (Seal Press, 2006), see a clear difference between middle-class, middle-aged women choosing to give parties in their homes and women pushed by poverty into potentially dangerous or demeaning work.

“If we were to limit what we do in the realm of affirming our sexuality because it has been used against us in the past,” said Ms. Price, who tried pole dancing in 2005, “we would then be buying into the idea that we don’t own it.”


The important point in the NYT article is that pole dancing, once solely the domain of strippers, has been reclaimed by women in all walks of life and of all ages. Why not? It's a sensual activity that lets us see our bodies as sexy and alluring. We wrap around that pole as if it's a lover. Pole dancing is also full of fun, healthy sexuality, fantasy, and good exercise --just try hanging onto that pole with your arms, your legs wrapped around the pole, your body suspended, and see if it's a fitness challenge!

Besides pole dancing, women are flocking to fitness clubs for strip aerobics (we even saw this on Oprah), burlesque dance, and many other activities that "nice women" -- especially of our age! -- supposedly didn't do.

Physical exercise itself is sexy, and we're bringing the notion up a notch or two by indulging in a fitness activity that is decidedly and openly sexual.

I had the pleasure of experiencing a pole dancing class taught by Virginia Simpson-Magruder in 2005 as part of my research for an article for Marin County's Pacific Sun about innovative exercise classes. Here's what I said about it then:

"Push out your chest more," Virginia Simpson-Magruder tells me in the Pole Dance class at Stage Dor Studio (10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite #340, Sausalito). Let's see: butt out, chest out, look over shoulder, hip out, wrap leg around pole, swing--I never realized that pole dancing would require such strength and coordination. This sensual workout is much more than slithering around a pole--it strengthens the upper body (sometimes your arms are holding your whole body weight on the pole) and feels delightfully sensuous. Instructors Virginia Simpson-Magruder and Lane Driscoll got their training from a former exotic dancer. Yes, we used a real pole. (No, we didn't strip.)


What do you think? Have you tried pole dancing, strip aerobics, or burlesque dance? What was your experience?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

North Bay Bohemian: Birds, Bees, and Oldsters Do It


Thanks to Cole Porter, we know that birds do it, bees do it, even overeducated fleas do it. Well, apparently oldsters do it, too.

Happy Valentine's Day! I was delighted to be profiled in the North Bay Bohemian's 2007 Sex Issue in a lively article by Brett Ascarelli titled "Certain Age." Here are some excerpts:

Last fall, ABC Nightline sent a crew to Sebastopol to interview author Joan Price about seniors, sex and dating. Price, a former high school teacher turned fitness author and guru, fell in love a few years ago, drawing media attention when she claimed that she was having the best sex of her life. In 2006, she released Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty (Seal Press; $15.95), already in its second printing. The book features interviews with "sexually seasoned women," experts' advice about keeping the nethers in shape and Price's own musings on the challenges of being a sexy senior. The book's popularity spawned a related blog, in which Price moderates discussions about sex for the mature set.

One recent afternoon at her Sebastopol house, the 4'11" Price is wearing a rhinestone-covered blouse and Mary Janes. No wonder she's getting some; at 63, she's super-fit, thanks to a frequent work-out regimen and what must still be damn good metabolism, given the chocolate cookies she's munching.

... Price is a poster-adult for the cause and now fields sex-related questions from mature adults at workshops across the country.

"I call myself an advocate for ageless sexuality," Price laughs, "but maybe I'm trying to do more than that: I'm trying to change society one mind at a time, I guess."

Ascarelli, a young woman, took to heart my comments about the need for society to change its ageist attitude toward sex. She quoted me saying, "I think it will be easier [for women in the future], especially if younger people pay attention to what we're going through now and don't see us as the Other, but just as themselves in a few decades."

photo by Brett Ascarelli

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Who Called In the Creeps?

I apologize profusely to any readers who were subjected to the dozens of nasty and profane comments that were posted to my blog the morning of Dec. 5. I deleted them and easily traced the trashing of my blog to an organized attack led by the fan message board of a shock-jock radio show.

The listeners apparently found the idea of joyful senior sex icky and set out to trash "the old lady sex blog," as they called it, by posting more than 40 obscene, racist, sexist, ageist, offensive messages.

Wow, this really surprised me, and continues to.

Too many people with too much time on their hands, too much meanness in their hearts, and too little capacity for intimacy, perhaps. I wonder how they treat their grandparents. We might discuss their fears of aging and sexuality, and their need to keep us as the "other" -- easy, even enjoyable, to stereotype and demean.

If you've tried to post a comment and it hasn't been accepted, I'm being particularly careful here because they've tried to continue the assault with comments that pretend to be sympathetic.

Chris Smith wrote a nice paragraph about me in his column in the Press Democrat Dec. 5, and I had many new visitors that morning. I hope they realize that I was sabotaged, and they don't stay away because of what they read before I got to it. I've changed my settings so that now I'll moderate all comments before they appear. Sorry it was necessary.

-- Joan

12/7 update: I was able to listen to the radio show that set off this assault by reading aloud from this blog for many minutes. I sent this note to the producer, who invited me to appear on the show:

I heard [the hosts] discuss my topic, book, blog, and the personal stories of those who opened their lives to me. I choose to preserve a level of dignity about older people enjoying sex and intimacy that is at odds with the show's glee at ridiculing them.

Therefore, I decline your invitation.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Autumn of Love: "We are having hot, fabulous sex after 60"

Freelance writer Mark L. Fuerst wrote a terrific article based on an interview with me which has appeared in several newspapers, such as The Missoulian, Florida Today, and others. I thought you'd enjoy reading it:

Autumn of Love

Birds do it, bees to it, even educated older couples can, too. Here’s some straight talk about sex after 60.

By Mark L. Fuerst
CTW Features

Society’s view of aging women as sexless is wrong. “Many of us are having the best sex of our lives. We are having hot, fabulous sex after 60,” says Joan Price, author of “Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty” (Seal Press, 2006).

Some 70 percent of sexually active women over 60 reported being as satisfied or more satisfied with their sexual lives than they were in their 40s, according to a 1998 survey of nearly 1,300 Americans aged 60 or older, conducted by the National Council on Aging, Washington, D.C.

“My experience certainly supports that,” says Price, who also is a dance instructor, fitness professional, speaker and health writer. “In my 40s, I was unnerved by the realization that my sex life was being affected by undeniable signs and feelings of aging. Now I’ve grown past wanting to hold onto to youth in the bedroom, and as a result I feel truly present with my lover and capable of intense satisfaction.”

Changes after menopause make sexual enjoyment challenging, but “we’re using our creativity, our personal power, the joy and intimacy of our relationships, and useful tools of all sorts — from sex toys to a sense of humor — to tackle those challenges,” Price says.

The book is mainly about her intensely up-front-and-personal story of hot sex with her 68-year-old lover, Robert, whom she married earlier this year, along with snippets of interviews with other sexually seasoned women about their experiences.

“Sexual response is in our brains. I’m in love with the man I’ve been looking for my whole life, whom I met when I was 57 and he was 64,” says Price, age 61 when she wrote the book. “We’re as turned on by each other as a couple of teenagers, but with the juicy addition of decades of life experience, self-knowledge, communication skills and a sense of humor. We’re also willing to experiment and stretch our boundaries.”

Kaycee, age 66, says, “Keep an open mind. Remember that there is always something new to try and so many men out there. Sex after 60 could be the best time of your life if you play it right.”

Price adds that “we overcome the physical challenges by being inventive and resourceful. We take advantage of the lessened urgency by slowing things down, taking more time.”

You call that ‘older’?

Unfortunately, society has not become more accepting of older-age sexuality. “One day I watched some television talk shows about the sexiness of older women. They dressed sexy, pole-danced, and taught the audience how to strip. But these so-called ‘older’ women were probably in their 40s! I’d like to see women who admit and look like they’re over 60 on these talk shows, rousing other older women to assert their sexuality. We need to accept that women can and do stay sexy through the decades, and it doesn’t stop when we no longer can hide the wrinkles or saggy skin.”

Claire, age 66, says, “I think my body is great. I have all the wrinkles and brown spots, and that’s fine, that’s who I am. And the body works better than it ever has. The woman I’m with thinks I’m the most beautiful woman she’s ever seen in her life, which makes me feel great. I wish women could just learn to love their bodies like I have done, and refuse to buy the social stuff that’s out there about youth and beauty. We are all beautiful.”

Phoebe, age 64, says, “Generally my life is easier, less driven, so sex is a part of it rather than a driving force. It is easier not being controlled by my hormones and sex drive. Also, I feel very self-confident about my sexuality and attractiveness, pleased that I am attractive to others, even younger men.”

One of Price’s major messages is that boomers are redefining aging and sexuality. “We’re the Love Generation; we practically invented sex,” she says. “We’re not about to shut the gates now!”


The article also includes my tips for keeping sex vibrant and fun as we age, which you can read here.

Many thanks to Mark L. Fuerst and to CTW Features for permission to reprint this article here.

-- Joan

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Older Women and Sex Shops?

What do you imagine a sex shop to be, if you've never been in one? A sleazy, dark space with sticky spots on the floor and walls? Photos of gaping orifices? You're in for a surprise when you walk into the brightly lighted, playfully arranged, and downright inviting woman-friendly sex shops (as I call them). I discover that most women of my age and older have no idea that there are such stores!

I've been giving some workshops in woman-friendly sex shops such as Good Vibrations in the San Francisco Bay Area, A Woman's Touch in Madison & Milwaukee, Venus Envy in Ottawa, Babeland in New York City, and Early to Bed in Chicago. What fun it is when a first-timer enters one of these welcoming stores and discovers a wealth of information, entertaining "touch me" displays of everything you can (and can't!) imagine to enhance sex, and helpful staff.

I enjoy presenting my workshops in these venues because I can be absolutely candid there, talking about different types of vibrators for enhanced arousal, lubricants for comfort and sensation, props that are helpful for bad backs, and more.

Yet I am frustrated that many women who seek this information and would benefit most from my workshop don't think they'd feel comfortable setting foot in a so-called sex shop!

What do you think? What have your experiences been?

I'm giving two workshops this August at Good Vibrations, by the way -- one for women only in San Francisco, the other for both men and women in Berkeley. See details here.

-- Joan

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Ottawa Sun: "right into the nitty-gritty"


I love this article by lifestyle columnist Ann Marie McQueen in the Ottawa Sun today!

Ageless Sex Advice
Author touting the benefits of nookie after 60 during stop at local adult shop

By Ann Marie McQueen, Ottawa Sun

After I suggest to California author Joan Price she seems to have landed the world's greatest sixtysomething man -- scratch that, the greatest man of any age -- she launches right into the nitty-gritty.

They're out there, says the author of Better Than I Expected:Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty, who is coming to Ottawa this weekend to give two workshops on the topic at downtown sex shop Venus Envy.

The men she speaks of, like her Robert, came of age in the 1960s too, and many of them want to be with their female contemporaries, want to find ways to make sex good with them, no matter what their aging bodies say about it, says Price.

She gathers steam as she describes such men, who will listen as women say things like, "let's see what we can do about my thinning vaginal tissues, about my lack of lubrication."

She stops suddenly.

"This may be too frank for you."

"No, no,"I say, realizing I had starting chuckling out loud right about the time Price said "thinning vaginal tissues."

"It's fine."

"You all right?"she says once more, sweetly, before forging ahead " -- what can we do about my slow arousal, what can we do about the time it takes to reach orgasm?"

If you are below 50, and before you start going 'ewwww' at the priceless Price, it might be time to think about where your own life is headed. That's right. Straight to 60, and beyond. Might be time to pay attention. And ditch the attitude, such as the kind embodied in Louise Rafkin's article for the San Francisco Chronicle magazine, headlined "Now that Baby Boomers have discovered there's sex after 60, could they please stop writing about it?"

It's not very likely Price is going to do anything of the kind. In fact, she's made it her mission to speak on it as much, and as frankly, as possible.

"If you want to be a sexual person, you've gotta really make a commitment to it, you've really gotta say, 'I'm gonna love my wrinkles, I'm gonna love my sags, I'm gonna love my partner's wrinkles and sags and we're gonna find ways to rejuvenate the relationship,' " she said.

While the one-time English teacher, fitness professional and author was penning Better, Gail Sheehy would be building on the success of her book Passages 30 years ago with Sex and the Seasoned Woman, which was all over the morning TV shows, Internet and newspapers when it came out in January.

Fitting, really, considering Price blames the media for the dim light cast on aging women.

"It has never portrayed the older woman as sexy, understanding herself, self-confident, self-knowledgeable, self-affirming and that that's a good thing," says the California-based Price.
If women are shown as sexual when they are older, it's either perceived as ground-breaking (Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give) or predatory and pathetic (a turn by actress Holland Taylor on Boston Legal's predecessor The Practice). They are invisible in magazines, says Price, who is determined to build on the current wave of awareness.

"I want it to seem normal for one," she says, "and I want people who have not come out of the woodwork to talk about it, and they are."

Price's perky, inspirational book offers not academic theories but practical expertise. It is filled with concrete tips -- say, instructions for how to use a vibrator -- and she's-been there-anecdotes about everything from exercise, to hormone replacement therapy.

She's even delighting in holding her Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty workshops in new-generation adult stores like Venus Envy. Drawing people who've never visited them, helping them realize the sex-related treasures they hold, is another of Price's goals.

"They are places filled with joy and laughter, and the attitude that sensuality and sexuality are great pleasures for us," she said. "And they are just showing us ways we can enhance those pleasures."

Price will give two workshops this weekend, each from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday's is open to women and men, while Sunday's is limited to women. The cost is $25. For information, call the store at 789-4646.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Kirkus reviews Better Than I Ever Expected

Better Than I Ever Expected just got a fabulous review from Kirkus! Here's what Here's what Kirkus Reports: Health & Fitness said on December 2, 2005:


Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex after Sixty
By: Joan Price
Publisher: Seal Press
Pub Date: January 2006
ISBN: 1580051529
Media Contact: Krista Rafanello, 510-595-3664, x 334, krista.rafanello@avalonpub.com

Price wants to bring sexual pleasure and freedom back to the Boomers. “We're the Love Generation,” she says proudly. “We practically invented sex!”

A long-time fitness guru, Price brings an exercise instructor's upbeat tempo and infectious energy to this empowering and straightforward guide to sex for the older woman. Covering everything from sex after menopause to “how to spice up a long-term relationship,” she celebrates the pleasures of sex, but also confronts age-specific sexual issues head-on. Written for both married and single women, there are lots of practical tips for sparking intimacy inside and outside the bedroom. But it's not all instructional, and the inclusion of real-life experiences is what makes this a fun and engaging read. The author's deeply personal memoir as well as the smattering of candid stories she's collected from “sexually seasoned” women will help the 60+ set re-conceptualize themselves as more sexual beings. Chapters on body-image and fitness play a supporting role by helping teach how to feel more comfortable and confident in their skins.

Any older woman who knows sex isn't just for the young will appreciate this fun and frank guide from the self-described “advocate for ageless sexuality.”