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 using this direct link. Enjoy! -- Joan

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Man's View: Women not on HRT don't want sex

I just received a thoughtful and provocative email from a Peter, a handsome, fit, intelligent man of 59 who recently attended my Ask Me, I’ll Tell You workshop at Good Vibrations in Berkeley. He raises a stimulating issue – are women past menopause disinterested in sex if they’re not on hormone replacement therapy? Here’s what he told me:

…I think you should have this input from a man who is a sincere feminist, appreciates your work, and is an incurable romantic and irrespressible horndog to boot.

I look young for my age, keep myself in great shape, have youthful ideas and spirit, but am a month shy of sixty. In our sexist and ageist culture, most women with whom I should have something in common seek a younger man. I’m open to a relationship with any woman who is fit, youthful, and hasn’t lost her sex drive.

It’s the latter that always poses the problem. My experience is that post-menopausal women fall into two categories regarding sex: those who take hormone replacement drugs (few, as the statistical association with breast cancer becomes known) and those who don’t. The former have sex; the latter don’t. I have been with close to a hundred women who are post menopausal in sexual situations and the results have never varied.

I fully understand the issues you discussed about changing arousal patterns, lubrication, patience, etc. I’ve explained – in a general and restrained manner – my understanding of this, but have only made it to bed a few times with those who don’t take hormone supplements, only to find a freeze up once I get there.

I notice many laments from women over forty who characterize themselves as “old,” laments from women over fifty who claim to be “sexually active” while no man their age is (defying biological reality), and laments from both that all men want is sex.

But when I date them, write them, talk to them, embrace them, always respectfully, the response is always the same if they are past menopause. This even holds true after lengthy dating and what seems to be an emotional connection.

I want what you preach, but my experience is that it’s women who block it. Most men my age I know who would be a good catch have given up because they think no one wants them any more. It sounds like the women say the same. They need to accept that men want to communicate and connect with them, and if refusing to do so governs their actions, that is the problem – one that they must face and overcome.

I think your workshop was well prepared and taught, and you have an important issue. I’ve taken several classes at GV and thought yours was outstanding. Please stick with your message. You’re doing it right and you’re appreciated. Thank you.

I would love to read your reactions to Peter’s comments. In my experience, both personally and through interviewing women for my book and afterwards, I have not found this kind of clear division between women who choose to have hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and those who do not.

Certainly the lack of estrogen does affect sexual comfort and pleasure, and some of us who say no to full HRT still use estrogen vaginally, which is thought to be safe and effective. (Disclaimer: I’m not giving medical advice. Please consult your medical professional to make your health decisions.)

But is Peter right that women post-menopause who don’t go on HRT just aren’t interested in sex? Here’s a good guy, attractive, sensitive to women, and romantic – the kind of man so many of you have said you’re looking for. What’s your experience?

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,, 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