Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Eroticism and Spirituality: One Couple's Daily Ritual

I received this lovely account of a couple's erotic and spiritual ritual from Anne, 58, with permission to share it with you:

My husband and I have been friends since age 14 and were fortunate enough to marry our best friend. We're 58 now and have been married 35 years.

As part of our spiritual practice, we begin each day together, nude, in our hot tub, located on a screened porch where we're surrounded by woods, garden, and birdfeeders, watching the sun rise over the mountains. Usually we do this in silence, although we've been known to add music. Our favorite is Tina Turner's "You're The Best" CD. If you listen closely to the words, it can become a hymn to the Creator! Our neighbor's rooster also chimes in, crowing in the early hours -- a prelude to the day.

Each evening at day's end, we repeat this ritual. It's usually dark. The moon hangs above the trees or over the mountains. Every night is different. Sometimes it's a dazzling darkness with no moon, other times everything shivers in silver when the moon is full. The silence speaks volumes as we listen to the night creatures and other sounds.

We also purchased a massage table years ago, which is wonderful for relieving aches and pains as well as a delightful addition to foreplay. I'm trained in massage therapy by profession, however, my husband, whose wonderfully large hands were untrained, improved dramatically when I encouraged his visits to a massage therapist. Now we're both comfortable giving and receiving a massage and every one is different. Variety is truly the spice of life!

These are wonderful modalities for both of us who suffer from arthritis and who continue to be very much in love. It's a three for one deal, improving physical, emotional and spiritual health. I can't speak highly enough of this practice's rewards and encourage others to give it a go.

If you have an erotic and spiritual practice you'd like to share, I invite you to tell us about it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Men & Women Talk about Sex and Aging

Good Vibrations in Berkeley was alive last night with the voices of women and men sharing their sexual feelings and experiences at my "Ask Me, I'll Tell You: Women and Men Talk about Sex and Aging" workshop (see full description here).

Thank you, participants, for your candor and respectful acceptance of what everyone else had to say. I hope you left the workshop as I did -- flying high on the excitement of the evening and filled with the ideas you shared with me and each other.

Two hours flew by much too quickly, and the #1 complaint was "not enough time!" So let's keep talking! Here are a few of the questions we discussed, including those that you asked, but we ran out of time before discussing. Go ahead and post a comment with your thoughts, and we'll keep the discussion going.

Questions for the men:
- What do you fantasize about, and how do you like to incorporate fantasy into your sex life?
- Why don't many men find women sexy as they get older, and how can older women become more desirable?
- How do you experience your sexuality and sexual response as you get older?
- What are your fears about aging and sex?

Questions for the women:
- How can men establish sexual communication (e.g. talking about foreplay, oral sex, anal sex)?
- What can men do to help women keep lubrication?
- What should men know about women in order to turn them on sexually and maintain sexual arousal?
- What are your fears about aging and sex?

We'll be repeating this workshop in Sebastopol this fall and at Good Vibrations this winter. (If you would like me to bring this workshop to your location, please email me and let's talk.)

Some comments about Joan's workshop from participants:
"Thank you for your candor and expertise" (Lisa, 55)
"A great candid comparison of people of similar interests and concerns" (David, 66)
"Love to hear the open discussion" (Judy, 62)
"The group exercises were excellent" (Steve, 45)
"I found this group to be especially open and intellectual and positive. You have a great deal to share that will improve many lives." (Fay, 66)
"You should be on Oprah!" (Anne, 50)

[Photo by Constance Cavallas, published with permission]

Thursday, August 10, 2006

60+ Singles Searching

pds62 said...
I just found your site today and have only had a chance to read a portion of all the information on it. My question to you is this: if on-line dating has proven unsatisfactory, what are some other ways to meet men over the age of 60 who are looking to get back in the "dating world"?

That's such an important topic, pds62 -- thank you for offering it.

I wouldn't say that online dating doesn't work -- several of the women who share their experiences in Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty tell how they found their soulmates that way, and others say they at least found a temporary partner, an appealing fling, or a good friend. I've noticed a bunch of new books out specifically on online dating -- I hope our readers will let us know if some are really helpful.

The problem with online dating is that (a) you have to email a lot of frogs before you kiss your prince or princess and (b) most people lie in their profiles and emails, or at least try to make themselves appear more desirable (physically, socially, emotionally, and/or financially) than they are.

So it's up to you to be prepared for lots of emails, lots of phone conversations, lots of disappointing first dates. But he's out there, somewhere, and he's looking for you, too! Give yourself every chance to be where he might look.

My first recommendation for finding a compatible potential partner, though, is to get out there and fill your social life with activities you love. I met Robert in my own contemporary line dancing class! Do you like to dance? There are dance venues galore, including lessons and mixers. Do you like to hike? There are many outdoor-oriented groups, some aimed at singles specifically. Would you rather read? Look at your local bookstore's author event calendar -- and don't be shy about approaching the unaccompanied men in the audience who are as interested in that author as you are.

I welcome suggestions from my readers!

For a hilarious look at dating after 50, I recommend Rescue Me, He’s Wearing a Moose Hat (And 40 Other Dates After 50) by Sherry Halperin (Seal Press, 2005). As I read the book I kept laughing hysterically at her witty descriptions of her doomed dates -- a great read.

Thanks again for the topic, pds62!

-- Joan

Monday, August 07, 2006

"I Wish I Could Tell You..."

What do you wish your partner or present/ past/ future lover(s) understood about your sexual wishes, needs, turn-ons, turn-offs, and worries?

Let's get some serious stuff out in the open. Both women and men are invited to respond, and you don't have to be 60+ to join our community.

How to comment:
1. Click "post a comment."
2. If you're not registered with Blogspot (and you don't have to be), ignore the request for "user name" and password. Just check "other" INSTEAD of filling out "user name," and then type in the name you'd like to use, with your real age, if you don't mind. (e.g. "Joan, age 62")
3. Type the weird characters that you see below the sign-in. This is to prevent an automated comment inserter from infiltrating our community to leave ads or worse. Only real human beings can read and replicate the characters on the screen.

If you have trouble with this, or you'd like to comment but you don't feel like wading through the process, just email me your comment, first name, and age, and I'll post it for you.

Thank you!


Friday, August 04, 2006

Novel Request

I love that we now have a wealth of nonfiction books about aging and sexuality. It seems we're finally digging our way out of the pile of old misconceptions. Besides my book, Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty, authors like Gail Sheehy, Jane Juska, Dr. Ruth, Susan Swartz, and many others have written guidebooks, memoir, and commentary about what it's like for the Boomer generation -- who practically invented sex, after all! -- to grow older and stay vital.

I remember that when Gloria Steinem turned 40, a reporter said to her, "You don't look forty." She replied, "This is what 40 looks like!"

Now we're saying to a society that still worships youth, "This is what 50, 60, 70, 80 looks like and feels like!" And we're recording our experiences and thoughts candidly in writing.

But are we only doing it in nonfiction? Where are the contemporary novels featuring realistic, modern, full-dimensional, introspective, sexy protagonists in their later years? If you know any, please recommend some authors and titles, and please tell us what you like about these books! (Either post a comment here, or email me your comment and I'll post it for you.)



Suddenly Senior

What does it take to get a web site voted "America's Most Trusted Senior Site"? Frank Kaiser knows. Suddenly Senior, his 2,400 page web site, and his weekly ezine ("for everyone over 50 who feels way too young to be old") cover everything to do with being over 50: humor, personal anecdotes, travel, nostalgia, trivia, senior advocacy.

My favorite part is the hyperlinked, annotated list of 222 Best Senior links, covering every topic you can think of relating to people over 50. Two million people a month visit his site, which is updated daily.