Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tom, 55, “My wife had her first orgasm in six years”

Tom, age 55, wrote me a beautiful account of how he and his wife rediscovered their intimacy and sexual pleasure after a combination of health issues and medications left his wife unable to have orgasms. She was taking blood pressure medicine and antidepressants, and had stopped hormone replacement therapy. Tom had his own health issues, including low metabolism and testosterone levels. Combined with his wife's lack of lubrication, decreased sensation, and anxiety, "our sex life seemed to be drying up."

We slowly reached the point where we decided we needed to fix the situation. We started taking more time in our lovemaking and trying different lubricants, and that did work much better for us. I also bought your book Better Than I ever Expected, and it has been very helpful.

However, I found that when we had romantic weekends, I would occasionally have problems maintaining my erection. That had never happened before and was really stressful, so I now use Levitra to have confidence that I can be erect. The effects of Levitra seem to linger, so I don't feel like I need to take it right before lovemaking. I can take it anywhere from one to 12 hours ahead of time and it still works for me.

Unfortunately, no amount of foreplay, oral or manual stimulation was able to bring about an orgasm in my wife. This was really frustrating to me, since I felt that our lovemaking was too one-sided. I think it maybe bothered me more than my wife. In the past, I was very good at knowing her body and her response and I could bring about very nice orgasms by a combination of oral and manual massaging. 

So, after reading your book, and doing some additional reading and research, I spent $225 on an Eroscillator. We had never experimented with sex toys, so I wanted to get something that looked like it would be effective, and this seemed to have the recommendations and documentation to back it up.

What a difference! The first time we tried it, we spent some time together getting warmed up, and I used the soft fingertip attachment on her. My wife had her first orgasm in six years within just a few minutes, and she cried in my arms afterwards. This has made a huge difference in our lovemaking, and my wife now has very strong orgasms.

We are still trying to figure out the best way to work it into our lovemaking, we had never used any vibrators or sex toys before. I love it because I now can be sure that I can please her, and I want her to be able to come first. I like it because it is nearly silent, and very effective.
"soft fingertip"

Thank you, Tom, for your candor and for the details that will help other people in the same situation. As you know, I've been a fan of the Eroscillator (the soft fingertip attachment is my favorite, too!), and I found my own eyes starting to water when I read about your wife crying in your arms after her first orgasm in six years. As for how to work it into your lovemaking, the woman can hold it and use it for clitoral stimulation while her partner is caressing and arousing her manually, and she can also use it during intercourse, depending on the position.

"What would you tell others in your situation?" I asked Tom.

I would just tell others that there are ways to make things better. Talking with doctors and counselors can help, but I think that the familiarity of their doctors with sexual issues may be lacking, so specialists may be needed. I do know from personal experience how difficult it is to go to a doctor and ask for help on sexual matters. Requesting a prescription for Levitra was a very tough thing to do, so I can imagine that talking about more difficult issues can be very hard.

Fortunately, with some effort, the Internet can be a good source for information. That (Amazon.com) is where I learned about your book and blog, and I also picked up Dr. Ruth's book. I also used it to search for different lubricants to try and learn about the Eroscillator. Especially for people who are not in a major city the Internet is a great tool.

Learn more about the Eroscillator:

Advanced Response

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Woman-friendly sex shops

A reader wrote to me:

You suggest that men and women shop together at sex shops. We would like to do that, but in the edition of your book that we have, there are no suggestions for Maryland and Washington DC. Have you information that has come to you for sex shops in those areas (and northern Va.) since the book was published? If so, please send them to me. We would like to visit them.

Good question! I don't know of a store in that area, but I'll open the question to my readers here. I list woman-friendly sex shops in Better Than I Ever Expected, and am updating my list for the new book. If any of you have a favorite shop to recommend, either in the Maryland/Washington, DC area for this reader or anywhere (in the world!) for other readers, please comment or email me the name of the store, location, website, and what you like about the store. I'll add yours to my list as well as post them here.

When I say "woman-friendly sex shop," I mean a store that sells sex toys and other tools and props that enhance sexual pleaure, emphasizes friendliness and education, is bright and welcoming to both singles of either gender and couples, and has well-trained staff that can answer questions straightforwardly and non-judgmentally.

I had the pleasure of speaking at several of these stores when Better Than I Ever Expected came out: Good Vibrations in San Francisco and Berkeley; A Woman's Touch in Madison and Milwaukee; Venus Envy in Ontario, Canada; Babeland in New York City; Pleasures of the Heart in San Rafael, CA; and Early to Bed in Chicago. And The Rubber Rose in San Diego has invited me to speak when I'm in the area.

Which stores do you love, and why?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cory Silverberg: Sex blogs to vibrators

Every time I revisit Cory Silverberg's sexuality guide at About.com, I'm impressed by the amount of dynamic, useful information. Cory's section about senior sexuality includes links to articles he has written about aging and sexual satisfaction, HIV and the older adult, erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, Kegel exercises (with instructions for both men and women), and more.

Silverberg is a certified sex educator, co-founder of Come As You Are, and co-author of The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability. He helps Sue Johanson select the sex toys that she reviews on her TV program, Talk Sex with Sue. I can't resist telling you that Johanson gave a splendid mini-review of my book on April 15, 2007:

Sexual activity changes as we age, but that does signal the death of pleasure. BETTER THAN I EVER EXPECTED by Joan Price is a fabulous book about sex after 60 that is aimed primarily at females. If you have been brain-washed into thinking sex is only for the young, this is the book for you. Get a copy for yourself or for your parents. They will thank you.

In other sections of Silverberg's comprehensive sexuality site, he discusses everything from sex blogs to vibrators. Take a look!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ellen Goodman: "60 is the new 60"

I loved Ellen Goodman's "Second Acts" column today about the Boomer generation. She wrote:

Baby boomers are the first generation that can look forward to such a lengthy and (fingers crossed) healthy stage of later life. They are as likely to be talking about what they want to do next as about where they want to retire. Never mind all those declarations that 60 is the new 40. In fact, 60 is the new 60.

"60 is the new 60"! So often the media stereotypes us as a generation trying to recapture youth with every decision, activity, and cosmetics purchase. Most of us, though, aren't trying to pretend we're not aging -- rather, we're applying our experience and the wisdom that comes with it to new endeavors, new life decisions, new causes. As Goodman says, we're reinventing this stage of life.

This applies to our sexuality, too. If we look deeply, we realize we can't recapture sex as it was at 40 -- but it can be something better! Sex at 60 (or 70, or 80) includes so much more self-knowledge, communications skill, and acceptance of ourselves and our partners than we had at 40. This emotional growth lets us adapt to and overcome the physical challenges. I could go on and on (and I already did, in Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty), but I'll pause because I'd like to hear what you have to say about this topic.

Where are hot tips for solo sex?

Another reader has taken me to task for my neglect of solo sex in my posts. She wrote this as a comment on "10 Tips for Hot Sex after Sixty":

These are great ideas, but once again the presumption that “hot sex” is for couples only is very apparent.

I don’t think it’s very realistic or fair to imply that when we’re over 60 we’ll of course have, or necessarily even want, a partner. In fact it’s not realistic or fair to assume this about people of any age.

The article doesn’t specify whether the couple is a man and woman, or two people of the same gender, which is good. I think it would mean a lot to readers who don’t have partners if another article followed this one with hot tips for solo sex, emphasizing how good that can be too.

This article could more accurately be called “Hot Tips for Couples Over 60.” Then it wouldn’t be supporting the Western cultural misconception that good sex is only about pairs of humans.

OK, I'm working on my “Hot Solo Sex Tips for Singles Over 60” now. Stay tuned -- and feel free to contribute your own!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Do orgasms feel the same as when we were younger?

Kat, age 51, has this question for all of you:

Do orgasms feel the same at 75 as they did at 55? Is the pleasure still there? Are the orgasms as intense? If not, do you miss them, or did they taper off so slowly that it seems OK?

Personally, at almost 64, my orgasms take much longer to arrive than they did before menopause, but I can still count on them, with the right stimulation. No, they don't feel quite the same -- they don't build with the same intensity, but when the waves crash, they crash splendidly. And the afterglow is just as satisfying as ever!

Hmmm, do I miss the way they used to feel? The change was gradual, and I'm grateful that I feel as much as I do! It's not the orgasm itself that's really different as much as the journey getting there, which often feels more like an emotional trip to bliss than strictly physiological.

I'd love to hear from both women and men on this topic, especially (but not only) those of you 75 and up.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Peter: "We want emotional connection as much as women do"

Peter is a reader who has written thoughtful comments in the past. I found his latest email so interesting that I'm posting it here, for your comments:

I was struck by the hostility from "Jeane," and pleased by your response, characterizing it as "anti-male". It certainly was. I've been playing the personals for a while and have been struck by the sexism that exists even here in the center of gender enlightenment (San Francisco).

When people can hide behind the anonymity of the internet, a lot of heartfelt feelings are exposed, and some of them are bitter. I understand that sexism against women is as old as recorded history, and that men need to come to terms with resentment that will inevitably be released in forums in which face to face contact exists, and much more in forums where the discomfort of a personal retort is absent. I'm prepared for that, and make a point of identifying myself as a feminist in my responses, but still am distressed by the hostility of the type I read from Jeanne.

If there is any message you can convey to older women through your forum, please tell them that many men are trying hard to get past this barrier to male-female relations that an oppressive culture imposes, but it's a two way street and we must get encouragement, not dismissal, when we make that honest effort.

My experience in internet dating - or attempts at it - is that many women begin with a chip on their shoulders, posting ads that lead with "where are the good men," "are there any good men left," "don't bother if you're (fill in the blank)," or disclaimers about not being there for casual sex.

The theme seems to be that men are presumed to be lurking on a romantic website for a quick lay. The reality is that men and women have a different biology, and that becomes very apparent at menopause. We know that, and to assume a man in his fifties, trying to connect with a woman his age, is ignorant of or impatient to the need to be considerate of those facts is condescending. We want emotional connection as much as women do, will do what's necessary to get it, including working with her around sexual issues.

But women need to give us a chance, not assume we will think less of them because we have changed in different ways and at different rates. We want you, ladies. We're ready to try.

Let's hear from both women and men about this issue. I challenge you to express yourself without stereotpying the other gender. The way to tear down barriers is one honest communication at a time.

We're listening....

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Robert Rice's art and choreography

Many of you know my wonderful husband, Robert Rice (yes, our last names are different by one letter), from reading our love story in Better Than I Ever Expected and seeing our marriage announcement on this blog. Robert is an artist, I'd love to introduce you to his work as showcased on his new website and virtual gallery.

Those of you who read Better Than I Ever Expected know that we met in my line dance class. He is an accomplished dancer and choreographer, and "Groovin' on a Feeling," one of the line dances he choreographed, is on YouTube here. Enjoy!

Photo of Robert Rice by Genevieve Barnhart

Leap! by Sara Davidson

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Leap! What Will We Do with the Rest of Our Lives by Sara Davidson. Davidson reflects on aging, sex, love, bodies, career, community,spirituality, and world view and interviews dozens of other Boomers about their lives and views.

Many of her interviewees were well known during when the older Boomers were coming of age, such as Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, Paul Krassner, Carly Simon, Gloria Steinem, Cheryl Tiegs, Ram Dass, and Andrew Weil. Others lived less in the public eye, but contributed vitally to the arts, healthcare, spirituality,and education.The insights -- both Davidson's own and those of her interviewees -- are thought provoking and fascinating.

"The Second Sexual Revolution," the chapter about "sex in the master years," is funny, real, and poignant. "How can sex feel more intense and expansive at this time than when we had raging hormones and oculd climax without effort?" she asks. "I would assert that we've become more complex, richened with sorrow and joy, and that there's more to us -- we bring more, release more, savor more."

Some people have criticized the book for being too much about celebrities and too little that applies to rest of us. I disagree. Learning how the people who helped to shape our world view decades ago are doing now, what they're thinking, how they look back and forward, how they cope with their own aging in a world that, in most cases, has moved past their contributions, is fascinating and valuable.

Elder sex on HBO's Tell Me You Love Me

Are you watching Tell Me You Love Me on HBO? As I've written before, I'm thrilled by the show's portrayal of elder sex (Jane Alexander and David Selby). In the latest episode, the couple in their seventies had face-nuzzling, tender, slow sex in a chair (we know the husband has a bad back -- a nice, realistic touch! -- and maybe that's a comfortable position for him), and she had what might be television's first elder female orgasm.

After all I've written and ranted about the media never portraying an older couple having joyful, affectionate sex (without treating it as ludicrous and icky), I'm happily eating my words. Thank you, HBO.

I'm finding the age angle of the show so interesting! The older couple is the only one having gentle, loving, uncomplicated sex, while the youngest are so driven and -- it seems -- angry that the guy never even gets his pants past his ankles. At least Jamie (the young woman) stops long enough to reach for a condom!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Man asks "Do women fantasize during sex?"

Larry, age 70, wrote me that he used to be a swinger, but settled into monogamy because his wife would not have agreed to the swinging lifestyle. He satisfies his desire for variety through fantasy while self-pleasuring.

Larry wonders whether women fantasize while they're having sex, either with a partner or solo. "Who do they fantasy about (a) old lovers, (b) movie stars or (c) someone that they would just like to have sex with?" Larry asks.

Any women want to respond?