Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Senior Sex: More than Erections

Here's something you don't know from the inner workings of this blog: Advertisers and promoters of erectile drugs and alternatives are always trying to promote their products via comments (usually totally off-topic) on my posts. I reject them so you never have to wonder if they're the answer to your prayers -- they're not. They want your business, pure and simple, and if they really wanted to help a man with ED, they'd talk him into going to his doctor and dianosing the cause of his erectile problems, rather than trying to sell him a product over the Internet.

I love your comments -- they're immensely valuable for my readers -- and I encourage you to post them (if you're not sure how that works, click here for easy, step-by-step directions. Just don't advertise THE solution for ED -- that's between you (or your partner) and your doctor.

Here's an excerpt from the chapter "When You or Your Partner Can't" from Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty on this subject:

According to the spam I receive in my e-mailbox daily, ED is the major concern of men, and an advertiser's dream. I am reminded of this guy joke that a male friend used to tell me:

Q: "What's the difference between fear and panic?"
A: "Fear is the first time you can't get it up twice. Panic is the second time you can't get it up once."

According to a 1994 study, sixty-seven percent of the men surveyed at age seventy experienced mild-to-severe ED. A partner's ED is an important challenge for some of women I interviewed, and I am grateful for their candor about sharing this intimate part of their lives. Many have found that sex can be satisfying when both partners communicate and seek creative and loving solutions, whatever the penis is or is not able to do...

Erectile dysfunction, not to minimize its importance, is only part of the picture. The sexual challenges of aging bodies go beyond penis problems.

The fact is that both partners may have health problems to deal with that affect sex. Arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer--all of these impact our sex lives as well as our daily living. These and many other health problems require relationship adjustments including an extra dose of understanding from our partners. While health problems are certainly not the exclusive domain of genarians in the upper ranges, they occur with more frequency in older adults.

It's ironic, isn't it? We're at the prime time of life to enjoy sex. We know ourselves and our partners, the kids are long gone, we have more leisure time, we're less driven, our partners have learned how to satisfy us. What a cruel twist of fate that this is the time our bodies start acting up -- or down....

In the new book I'm working on -- I'm still welcoming your stories -- I'll have specific tips from medical experts and sex therapists about enjoying a satisfying sex life while living with ED (and other health challenges).*

*As you know if you've been following this blog, I put this book (and everything else) on hold while dealing with Robert's illness and death. I'll return to it soon -- it's my work and it was important to Robert as well.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Senior celebrities talk about sex... sort of

I was surprised to see two celebrities of our generation talking about sex (in a roundabout way) in Parade (Dec. 21, 2008).

Dustin Hoffman, age 71, was interviewed by Jeanne Wolf, who writes,

In his latest film, the romance Last Chance Harvey, Hoffman plays a lonely guy who finds late-in-life love with Emma Thompson. And proving he still likes to be a bit inappropriate, he looks at me and says, “Don’t worry, there’s no big bedroom scene. We didn’t have enough money for the special effects to make me look great naked.”

Objection, Dustin! We'd love to see you in a big bedroom scene about "late-in-life love"! Who decides what looking great naked means at our age -- not the youth stereotype, please. Anyone who wants to judge for yourself whether Dustin Hoffman looks great naked at 71, raise your hand....

In an article by James Brady in the same issue, Angela Lansbury, 83, says, “I don’t want to get married again. But I’d love to have a guy around.” I wish I could ask her how she means that!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Love Junkie: hot sex and ruinous relationships

Love Junkie by Rachel Resnick is a brave, compelling memoir/confessional of the author's decades of seeking love and finding chaos and hot sex with damaged men within destructive, degrading, dangerous relationships. I couldn't put this book down.

I've had my wild times in the past and made some bad choices, but I always loved my men caring and my sex gentle. Resnick made me hold my breath as she pummeled me verbally and emotionally with graphic tales of rough sex with damaged, controlling men -- men who filled her vagina without ever filling her desperate need to be loved and valued.

Rachel Resnick grew up with a mother who was a drunk and picked up strangers in bars, her 11-year-old daughter drawing on paper placemats until mom was ready to go home, the man-of-the-night following in his own vehicle so he could make a quick escape the next morning. Her father had left when she was four.

As a child, she admitted her crush on a boy who responded by punching her in the stomach and hissing, "Don't you ever come near me again, ever." She took that painful contact as proof that he was destined to love her, and pursued him. So went the story of her adult dating life, too.

Resnick's needy yearning ("a shadowy choke hold") drove her life and relationships from one wrong man to another. She would do anything to please a man and make him love her -- which of course drove him away or brought out the worst in him. She obsessively sent e-mail after e-mail to the man she craved: "If it took fifty e-mails of justifications and explanations, late-night drive-overs and I'm-sorry blow jobs, sign me up," she writes about one such obsession.

Other reviewers have described Love Junkie as a train wreck -- you know you should avert your eyes and keep going, but you can't help staring at every bloody detail. I never felt like a voyeur reading it -- I felt involved, a part of the story, wishing I could pull my friend Rachel away from her own need and the men who degraded her. I wanted to talk some sense into her, help her turn her life around, let her know that love is possible, but first she has to look inside and get help to repair the damage.

I'm relieved that she comes to this understanding herself, committing to a 12-step program for people who are out of control around sex and love. Love Junkie is riveting reading, highly recommended.

(photo of Rachel Resnick)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ashes to the Wind

Yesterday would have been Robert's 72nd birthday.

A year ago, we spent his birthday hiking the craggy Northern California coast which he loved, watching the waves crash over the rocks, holding each other as if we might never have this experience again.

Yesterday Robert's family and I retraced those steps. The day was blustery and cold, the ocean silver green under grey skies instead of the sunlit blue it had been a year ago.

I sprinkled some of Robert's ashes, and the wild wind sucked the ashes into the air in a dancing cloud. I did it over and over, my tears turning to laughter as each time the ashes took flight, like a magic trick, then disappeared into air.

(photo by Mitch Rice, Robert's son)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

“I am not easily repulsed”: interview with Mary Roach

Mary Roach writes books on weird scientific research about subjects we’ve all wondered about. She is the author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, and – her latest and my favorite – Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. I’ve long enjoyed Roach’s quirky style that often has me chortling as I read. Reading a whole book about my favorite topic (sex, not cadavers) was delicious.

In a separate blog post, I've reviewed Bonk and quoted delightful tidbits that will send you running to read the book and give it to all your friends. Here with my interview with the author, Mary Roach:

JP: As cool-headed and sharp-witted as you are, some parts of your research must have embarrassed or repulsed you. What do you wish you had never done or learned, and why? Tell the truth!

MR: As readers of Stiff have probably figured out, I am not easily repulsed. At least not by the physical. I am repulsed by close-mindedness, petty hatred, greed, intolerance, ignorance. But not penises or vaginas or sex. But bear in mind, I was hanging out in sex labs, not fringe sex clubs South of Market. Honestly, it's pretty tame stuff. Embarrassment-wise, well, there was the Dr. Deng scenario. Ed and I were scanned in 4-D ultrasound in the act. That was awkward, for sure, but I knew how much fun it was going to be to write it up, and so it hardly bothered me. Mostly, I felt guilty for dragging my husband into the fray.

JP: What have you seen or learned since you finished the book that you wish you could have included?

MR: Oh, people are always emailing me or coming up to me at talks and dropping all manner of irresistible tidbits that I wish I'd known about while working on the book. One man raised his hand and said, "Are you aware of the phenomenon of surfing sperm?" Apparently they surf the secretions on the vaginal walls. Another man, a gynecologist now in his seventies, emailed to tell me a story that William Masters had told him about meeting a bishop or cardinal, I forget which. His Holiness had asked to hear about the research Masters and Johnson were doing. He listened quite intently, and when Masters had finished speaking, he said, "Very good. Your work might serve to prevent a lot of divorces. Of course, if I am asked about it in public, I will condemn you." Would have loved to include those!

JP: My blog is directed at older readers (most are 60-80) who are interested in sex. What did you learn specific to elder sex, aside from Viagra? If little or nothing, can you talk about why you think scientific research is NOT being done on elder sex, other than taking surveys? Is it the "ick factor," as I call it?

MR: There was a large survey that was published not long ago about frequency of sex and satisfaction levels among people over 75, I think it was. The problem, as I recall it, was that so many of the women at that age were widows. I didn't cover this because as you know it's a book about laboratory-based sex research -- the physiological stuff: arousal and orgasm and such. Rather than the behavioral issues. I cover the two physiological old-age biggies -- erectile dysfunction in men and libido issues in women. I had wanted to include a chapter specifically on sex in the upper reaches of old age, but physiologically speaking, it seemed to be a matter of degree, rather than unique issues. In other words, more ED and lower libido... I don't think of sex researchers as people who easily succumb to the ick factor -- my god, look at Marcalee Sipski and her orgasm work with quadriplegics. If they were, they wouldn't have gotten into arousal and orgasm research in the first place. Then again, I think old age is actually more of a taboo than sex these days, so perhaps it is the ick factor that keeps researchers away.

JP: What's the most unusual experience you had while promoting this book? I imagine people came up to you and told you all sorts of things you'd rather not know.

MR: Call-in radio shows are always entertaining. The DJs will often bill me as a therapist or a researcher, and then open up the lines and say, "We'll be taking ALL your questions on sex!" And I'm in the studio with this panicked look, mouthing NOOOOOO! Because I'm a writer -- I only know about what I wrote about in the book. I don't know, say, whether it's a myth that the Hoo-ha tribe in the Amazon has blue testicles or what the best natural alternative to Viagra is. People do come up after readings and confide all manner of intimate things. It doesn't bother me. I guess I'm used to it. I just wish I had better answers for them.

JP: What's the next book (if you've decided)?

MR: Yes, I'm writing about the fabulous insanity of space travel, of staying alive in a world for which we are utterly ill-equipped. Lots of fun aeromedical history stuff, field trips to Moscow and the Japanese Space Agency, etc.

[Read my review of Mary Roach's Bonk here.]

Sunday, November 16, 2008

“Can I vote on your marriage?”

“Can I vote on your marriage?”
“Straight but not narrow”
“Give love a chance”
“Please let my Dads stay married”
“Marriage is defined by commitment, not genitalia”

These were a few of the signs carried by almost 2,000 people who marched yesterday in Santa Rosa, CA, part of an effort around the country to protest California’s passage of Proposition 8 banning gay marriage. Our own Sonoma County voted 66% against the proposition, but the state as a whole passed it.

Why was I there? I am committed to the belief that we should all be equal under the law -- which seems so obvious that I am horrified, mystified, and embarrassed that Prop. 8 passed.

Beyond that, I had the profound and exhilarating experience of marrying-- spiritually and legally -- artist Robert Rice, the great love of my life. I know the depth, the joy, the emotional power of making that commitment.

Why deny the legal right to that same experience to committed couples who happen to be hardwired to love someone with the same genital configuration instead of the opposite?

I just don’t get it!

We marched yesterday, a rainbow of ages, colors, sexual orientations, united by one firm belief: equality under the law. Some walked nimbly, others were assisted by canes or crutches. Some pushed strollers, led dogs (often with their own signs or stickers), played instruments, or held hands. Many of the protesters were elders, I was happy to see, both gay and straight.

An amusing distraction was a man who carried a Bible and a sign that proclaimed, “God hates shrimp! (Leviticus)” In case you don’t know, the same book of the Old Testament that some people use to “prove” that God hates “sodomites” also includes this: “Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.” In case you want to pursue this, visit the website devoted to this. (In case that makes you nervous, it’s a parody.)

I interviewed several elders about why they were there:

Liz Basile will be 81 next month. She left the Catholic church because of its positions on priest celibacy, abortion, and birth control. “I voted no on 8 because it’s just not fair,” she told me. “I’ve had two divorces – what did I do about the sanctity of marriage?”

Whitey Sterman, age 79, has two gay sons. “But I’d be here even if they weren’t gay,” he said.

“I think I’ll die still perplexed about why anyone cares what I do with my genitals,” Harley, a 68-year-old artist told me. Harley (who was a dear friend of Robert) is in a committed relationship with Hamlet Mateo, also an artist. “If I had waited for approval to be myself, I could never have lived my life.”

At a small group discussion afterwards, a grey-haired woman described the joy of being able to marry her partner of 15 years last October. Though she is dismayed that her marriage is no longer legally valid, she told us, “My marriage didn’t start last October, and it didn’t end on election day,”

I welcome comments on this and all my blog posts. If you'd like to comment but don't know how, click here. It's easy, really! If you have a website or a book related to the subject of this blog that you think we'd benefit from knowing about, feel free to include name and link. (No feeble excuses for blatent advertising, though, and no links to drugs or sites that I might consider questionable. If in doubt, ask me.)

Many thanks to Emily Evans for taking the photo above.

For more about this march, view a
gallery of 17 photos by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat’s Kent Porter and read the Santa Rosa Press Democrat’s coverage of the march.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Has your kid helped you date?

Zosia Bielski, reporter with the Toronto-based Globe and Mail, is working on a story about Assisted Loving: True Tales of Double Dating with My Dad, the book by Bob Morris (see my review here). She'd like to talk to widows and widowers whose sons or daughters assisted them in their search for love, whether it was help with online dating, or setting you up with a date, or giving advice, or any other assistance. If you or someone you know might like to be interviewed on this subject, please email me and I'll put you in touch with Zosia.

Book lovers and gift buyers -- did you realize that you can view all of my book-review blog posts by clicking on the "books" label at the right? A good book is never outdated and is always appreciated! (Coming later this week -- my review of Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, a fascinating book by Mary Roach, and an interview with the author!)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

"Elderspeak" Hurts Our Health

How do you feel when a stranger, sales clerk, or health professional calls you "dear" or "sweetie"? In a widely reprinted New York Times article titled "In ‘Sweetie’ and ‘Dear,’ a Hurt for the Elderly" (October 6, 2008), writer John Leland reveals that elderspeak, "the sweetly belittling form of address" that we've all experienced, can have health consequences. In addition, if we accept and internalize that aging means we're forgetful or feeble, we don't live as long -- just by believing the negative image of aging.

Becca Levy, an associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at Yale University studies the health effects of belittling messages on elderly people. “Those who have more negative images of aging have worse functional health over time, including lower rates of survival," she says.

According to the New York Times article,

In a long-term survey of 660 people over age 50 in a small Ohio town, published in 2002, Dr. Levy and her fellow researchers found that those who had positive perceptions of aging lived an average of 7.5 years longer, a bigger increase than that associated with exercising or not smoking. The findings held up even when the researchers controlled for differences in the participants’ health conditions.

Health care workers are often the worst offenders of "elderspeak," believing that they are using affectionate terms rather than belittling ones. Yet elderspeak sends a message that we are incompetent, childlike, and need to be taken care of. Over time, people exposed constantly to this message actually become more dependent and withdrawn, less self-reliant or competent.

Personally, I wouldn't have guessed this. I'm about to turn 65 (tomorrow!) and I rather like terms of endearment, even from strangers. Robert used to love to go to a particular restaurant because the waitress called him "honey." I take these endearments as they're meant, as warm and friendly overtures, without belittling undertones that I'm incompetent or feeble.

But that may be because I know I am strong mentally (writing books) and physically (dancing, Pilates, lifting weights). If I had doubts about my abilities, perhaps elderspeak would reinforce them.

Certainly having positive images of aging is essential for moving through this part of our life journey with joy and energy -- but does a stranger or health professional calling us "sweetie" really call that into question? Not for me -- but I'd love to hear from you about this.

If it does bother you, do you speak up? Do you say, "My name is...." or respond, "Thank you, darling"?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I'm a Juicy Tomato!

Many thanks to Susan Swartz for choosing me as one of her"Juicy Tomatoes": women over 50 who are role models of "ripe living."

Immodestly speaking, here's an excerpt from Susan's description of me:

JOAN PRICE, author of “Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty” is another mighty challenger of stereotypes. Her mission is to promote ageless sexuality, not only to make it possible and enjoyable but to banish what she calls “the ick factor,” the prejudice that anyone over 50 is and should only be having sex in their dreams.

Unabashed, articulate and funny, Joan is one of the leading go-to experts when the subject has to do with sex and romance for those beyond the young and hard-bodied. I first met her when she was teaching an exercise class at my gym and now she’s all over the place, as an author, speaker and dance instructor.

Her blog, Betterthanieverexpected, talks about all those things you thought you and your girlfriends only discussed after multiple glasses of wine – like sex toys and the little bottle of slippery stuff you keep in the bedside drawer. Joan, who has a lovely personal story to share about finding love, romance and passion in her 50s, knows of what she writes. Visit her at

Susan Swartz is a northern California journalist, author and public radio commentator. She has been writing about women since the women's movement was new and she introduced to her readers a new "rising star in the women's movement" -- Gloria Steinem. One of Susan's more amusing claims to fame is that she is credited by the Oxford English Dictionary for inventing the term "bad hair day"!

Susan is the author of two books about "juicy living" based on interviews with women over 50 (some are way over 50!): THE JUICY TOMATOES GUIDE TO RIPE LIVING AFTER 50 and JUICY TOMATOES: Plain Truths, Dumb Lies and Sisterly Advice About Life After 50. Both are great gifts for the "juicy tomatoes" in your life!

Lovemaking Tips for Seniors: Funny or Insulting?

A reader sent these Lovemaking Tips for Seniors to me -- I don't know where they came from, though if you know, tell me -- I believe in crediting the author always. Please read them and my question to you at the end:

Lovemaking tips for seniors

1. Wear your glasses. Make sure your partner is actually in the bed.

2. Set timer for 3 minutes, in case you doze off in the middle.

3. Set the mood with lighting. (Turn them ALL OFF!)

4. Make sure you put 911 on your speed dial before you begin.

5. Write partner's name on your hand in case you can't remember.

6. Keep the polygrip close by so your teeth don't end up under the bed.

7. Have Tylenol ready in case you actually complete the act.

8. Make all the noise you want. The neighbors are deaf too.

9. If it works, call everyone you know with the good news.

10. Don't even think about trying it twice.

(This was sent [JP's note: in the original e-mail] in large type so you can read it.)

Now tell me -- are these tips funny? Are they insulting -- one more example of how our society stereotypes and ridicules seniors who are enthusiastic about sex? You tell me.

In my view they're clever, yes. But knowing how devastating it is to elders who lose their sexual ability without losing their emotional need for sex and intimacy, the tone is cruel. Or am I just a fuddy-duddy with no sense of humor about sex and aging? Educate me, readers. And please put your age on your comment so I see if the reactions are different for older readers.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Discoveries Helping Me Move Through Grief

Robert died three months ago today. Although this post has nothing directly to do with sex, so many of you have sent me compassionate emails that I'd like to share what I wrote to my online grief support group today:

I've been working hard at finding ways to create some semblance of balance and -- dare I say it? -- moments of joy in my life amidst the powerful grief that comes in waves and knocks me to the ground. I'd like to share some things that have worked for me, just in case any of them might be useful to some of you. Feel free to add to the list if you have something to share that has worked for you.

Problem: Out of control crying had reduced me to a crazy, quivering mess and sometimes lasted days without a break, intensified by not being able to sleep for more than 2 hours at a time. I felt physically and mentally ill from the ravages of grief.

Solution: Doctor prescribed an antidepressant (for "situational depression" for six months), a sleeping pill, and a counselor. The combination has brought me indescribable relief. I still grieve and sometimes feel like I'm pedaling through peanut butter, but at least the elephant has stopped kicking me in the chest and stomach.

Problem: I knew journaling would help, but my writing fingers felt paralyzed for the first two months -- did I write memories of Robert and talk to him in my journal, or did I write about ways I was trying to move on? The two seemed to cancel each other out.

Solution: I started TWO journals. In one, I write to Robert and remember the special things he/we did and said. In the other, I write about my steps towards creating a new life: making new friends, insights from counselor and friends, little things that make me happy, if only for a minute. This has worked splendidly -- I write in one journal, then switch to the other.

Problem: Morning ritual was so special. After wonderful snuggling, Robert would say, "I'm going to make you coffee." He would get up, bring me the morning newspaper and coffee in bed. I would share something from the paper that might interest him, and sometimes he would just sit and watch me lovingly as I read, or he would go out to tend his garden. He painted a special bell (he was an artist ) for me to ring when I wanted a coffee refill. It was a glorious and loving start to the day, and without him, mornings felt so empty.

Solution: Replace missing ritual with new one. I cancelled the newspaper subscription (don't even miss it). Now I get out of bed, make my coffee the way he used to, but I bring it to my favorite chair that looks out on the yard and I write in my journal while I sip.

Problem: My world was Robert. I did much independently, don't get me wrong, but he was the one with whom I walked , danced, went out to dinner and films, talked about everything.

Solution: I reached out to old friends and made new ones. I thought about people whom I liked and would like to know better. Several had extended invitations to me, but I wasn't ready. I contacted them and made walking dates and coffee or dinner dates. Now I have people I can do things with, and they understand when I get tearful.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

"Ugly vagina"? Who came up with this?

Oh dear. I'm seldom surprised by any attitude about sexuality or body image, but today I'm shocked. I knew that some plastic surgeons did labiaplasty, trimming of the inner labia, for aesthetic reasons, but I thought this was a fringe element and didn't have to be taken seriously.

Now I learn that many women are indeed self-conscious about what they consider an "ugly vagina" because their labia are bigger or flappier or asymmetrical or in some other way not as neat and trim as those of porn stars. There's a fascinating post about this on the Daily Bedpost, a sex-advice blog by Em & Lo--Emma Taylor and Lorelei Sharkey--the self-proclaimed "Emily Posts of the modern bedroom."

I never saw a reason to compare myself to a porn star, but if I were to find reasons, they would be more along the lines of breasts and buttocks, not labia! As much as my labia are wildly imperfect, as evidenced by the "before and after" photos of labiaplasty, it wouldn't have occurred to me to fret about this, much less consider reconstructing them. Personally, I shuddered at the "after" pictures because of the unnatural uniformity.

Who determined that our labia should look alike? Men's penises certainly don't look alike, and that's one of the joys of discovery, so to speak.

I think this must be a young woman's issue, because I never heard older women mention it, but I beg you to correct me if I'm wrong. If you're a woman, have you spent a moment worrying that your partner might find your labia ugly? If you're a lover of women, have you ever been turned off by labia? Please say it isn't so!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Women, are you sour on men?

A man who has taken one of my workshops -- I'll call him Tanner -- is 61 years old, looks a good decade younger than that, and is handsome, fit, smart, communicative, and in harmony with feminist ideals. He would love to connect with a woman of his age, but he tells me that although younger women are attracted to him, the women he meets of his age seem to have a "gender bias" against men. He tells me,

I keep hearing about how men can't relate on a deep level, or how we seek younger women, but that is not happening with many of us who can't get past a barrier that so many of us feel. Far too often I encounter gender bias among older women, and am at a loss to explain that. I can tell you that I have zero tolerance for it. I am not exaggerating the effect of wisecracks against men I hear. It cuts deep.

All I can offer is that men read about what we've done wrong for many years and made a good effort to change. Many of us didn't have to change much to begin with, as we truly did not have gender bias and just needed some fine tuning about misconceptions or sensitivity. But sometimes it seems that nothing we could possibly do could be enough. These are not political or economic relations, but very emotional and close. A level of trust has to be achieved or the relationship will fail. Gender bias precludes that, so many relationships that should succeed don't. I suspect this revolution, that of gender liberation on a personal level, will take far longer than we thought.

I'd like to get some feedback from both men and women about this. Personally, I don't feel it -- I love men, especially the men who work hard to destroy the gender and age stereotypes that I and many women of my generation find so frustrating, and I don't even know any women who feel the way that Tanner experiences. But this is what he experiences -- I'm not questioning the truth he describes.

Tanner is one of the good ones! Yet he finds himself shot down by women for failings they ascribe to men in general that have nothing to do with him.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dr. Ruth at 80 still talking sex

I'm listening to Dr. Ruth Westheimer on the Ronn Owens show on KGO radio, San Francisco. The podcast is here, and I recommend listening to it -- it's a combination of great advice and very funny interaction between the two. Dr. Ruth is 80 now, and she tells us that she doesn't do everything that she talks about these days.

A woman called to ask her advice: she's a widow who had enjoyed a fabulous sex life with her husband (until the day he died, in fact) and turned to a vibrator after he died. She called because her heart raced fast enough to concern her whenever she used the vibrator. Dr. Ruth advised her to talk to her doctor before using the vibrator again and get checked out.

This made my mind go in a couple of directions. First, and we've discussed this before, how many of you would feel comfortable asking your doctor about vibrator use? Dr. Ruth said, "Don't be shy," but that's easier said than done.

Second, have any of you experienced a racing heart (more than what you'd consider usual) due to sexual stimulation (with or without a sex toy), and if you did consult a doctor, what did you learn?

Dr. Ruth now has a brief section of her website for "50 and Over" consisting of a few Q&A. Here are some of her books:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Solo Sex: Hot Tip Contest

What's your best tip for hot solo senior sex? I've published my 10 Tips for Hot Sex after Sixty that apply mainly to couples (and I've been criticized for that), and now I'm asking your help in compiling the best tips for pleasuring yourself solo after age 60 (or 50, or 70, or 80).

Here's how to enter the Solo Sex Hot Tip Contest:

  1. Email me with "contest tip" as your header.
  2. In your email, describe in about 100 words your Solo Sex Hot Tip, including an anecdote from your personal story about how this tip improved your sexual pleasure. (I'm not looking for porn or even erotica -- just the nuts & bolts how this tip worked to enhance your pleasure.)
  3. Be sure to include your full name, mailing address (so that I can send you a book if you win!), and email address in your email. This information will NOT be shared.
  4. You're welcome to post tips anonymously as a comment here, but realize that I can't give you an award if I don't know who you are.
Prizes: One entry per month will receive a free copy of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty, and the best entry of 2008 also will receive a free copy of Getting Off: A Woman's Guide to Masturbation by Jamye Waxman. (No, you don't have to be a woman to enter the contest.)

And then what? All entries may be posted on this blog and/or used in a follow-up book or article, at my discretion, without your name (I promise!) or any identifying info that could cause you embarrassment. I'll ask you for a code name to use if I decide to post your tip. Entries may be edited.

I don't know how many entries this contest will attract, so I'll give awards as the best ones strike my fancy, rather than by a certain deadline. This could be an ongoing contest.

Enter soon and enter often!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sex is Booming Despite (Because of?) Money Woes

Having trouble making ends meet? Oops, I should have specified that I meant financially. Retail sales at high-end stores like New York's Bergdorf-Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue are way down (15.8 percent and 10.9 percent, respectively), and the Mervyn's chain of budget department stores is closing its doors. However, I learned today from Bonnie Fuller's guest post on the New York Times' The Moment blog (and repeated on Babeland's Blog) that there's one retail area where business is booming: specialty sex shops!

According to Fuller, people are making the most of needing to cut back on shopping and dining out by enjoying "recession sex."

I guess if you add up the price of a romantic dinner date or a sexy new dress versus a sex toy that, ahem, keeps giving and giving, it's clear that not only are we budget-conscious, but making some wise choices!

Fuller quotes Claire Cavanah, a co-founder of Babeland, an erotic toy and lingerie business with three New York City boutiques:
Our sales were up 25 percent over last year the week of September 29th and up 12 percent last week. The same thing happened after 9/11, when our business also soared. I think we’re recession-proof because sex accessories are an inexpensive luxury.

So enjoy yourself this weekend, whether you're partnered or solo, by indulging in the best stress reliever and least expensive entertainment, and know that by "accessorizing" your love nest, you're helping the economy... or something like that!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cloris Leachman, take a bow

When I first heard that 82-year-old Cloris Leachman would be a celebrity contestant on Dancing With the Stars, I was elated.

Then I saw her dance the first two weeks.

I became, in turn, embarrassed and then angry. Was she chosen for the show because she, in fact, could not dance? Were we supposed to -- yet again! -- laugh at an old person trying to do something that she was too old, too stiff, too brittle to do well? Was she chosen as a caricature?

Then in weeks 3 and 4, something seemed to change. Cloris seemed to make a decision to be the train rather than the track. She took charge, playing to the hilt her sensuality, flaunting her overflowing cleavage, putting her leg up on the judges' table for the world to ogle and for Bruno to kiss. She got a standing ovation for her tango, not because it could compete with a young, svelte, limber, hormone-driven couple's tango, but because she conveyed self-confidence, sex appeal, and being totally at home in her 82-year-old body. She didn't just talk back to the judges (probably saltier than we were permitted to hear), but she didn't care what they said. She was doing her best, and her best meant entertaining the public on her terms, not theirs.

I have a true respect for the grace, aesthetics and atheticism of dance, none of which Cloris displays, but I give her the "I'm in this sensual body, I love it, and if you don't get me, you can go bleep yourself" award for attitude!

Were you troubled by her appearance on the show at first, when it looked like we were supposed to laugh at her, rather than with her? What do you think now?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

First Magazine wants your "intimacy challenge" story

A journalist from the national women's magazine FIRST (4.6 million readers) is seeking mature, married women to profile in a new true-stories health department called "Private Confidence." Here, women will share their candid stories about how they overcame/handled perimenopausal or menopausal intimacy challenges to eventually improve their sex life and their relationship. (Possible examples: vaginal, low libido, chronic back pain, chronic constipation, a spouse's ED...)

If you're interested and you'll be willing to discuss your intimacy challenge, please email me a brief summary, along with your name, email, and phone number, and I'll pass it along to the writer, Lisa Maxbauer. Take a look at FIRST at your local grocery store if you're not familiar with it and aren't sure whether you're a fit.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Elder Sex Romps in German Film

I hope Wolke 9 (Cloud 9) comes to a movie theater near me soon. It's a German film about a wild sexual affair between Inge, a married woman in her sixties, and Karl, a 74-year-old man who hires Inge to tailor his trousers and then seduces her on the living room floor. Inge also has less passionate sex with her husband of 30 years in the film.

From the photos I've seen, the cast is quite ordinary looking -- no face-lifts, liposuction, or dashing looks here -- and I find this refreshing. Imagine, realistic, illicit sexual romping with wrinkles, sags, and cellulite! You can tell we're not in Hollywood.

"Of course it was important to me to show that old people don't just go on bus tours and boat cruises and buy warm blankets," director Andreas Dresen told a German newspaper. No need for warm blankets in this film, from the sizzling reviewsI've read!

Read more about Wolke 9 here, and if you've seen it, please post a comment. Does the film have emotional depth?

9/12/08 update: Here's another interesting review from ABC News in Australia. The reviewer says, in part,
The rare, liver spots-and-all depiction of elderly lovers in the first blush of infatuation has electrified German critics and drawn blanket coverage in the country's culture pages.

What is sensational about the film is that it features on-top-of-the-covers sex between a sexagenarian grandmother and the 76-year-old object of her affection, as well as between the woman and her husband of 30 years.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Dreaming of Robert

Last night I dreamed of Robert for the first time since he died. I had wished to dream of him, to see him again.

In my dream, I was sleeping and woke to find his naked body -- strong, no back fractures -- beside me. I sidled into his embrace, inhaling his scent (which I always loved, and which was vividly real in the dream!). Oh, he's just been away on a trip! I thought, trying to make sense of his beautiful body beside me.

Suddenly I started to sob to him, "I can't bear being apart from you! Let's stay together for the rest of our lives!"

"Yes," he answered quietly.

I looked into his dear face. He was gazing at me intently, lovingly.

"But how did you get here?" I asked him, suddenly thinking that our house was a long way from the airport. "I have your car!"

He looked at me puzzled and perhaps amused. Then he started to fade away and I woke up.

(photos by Robert's son, Mitch Rice)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

US News & World Report: "Love lives keep getting longer and better"

Deborah Kotz writes about senior sex in this week's US News & World Report: "Making the Most of the New Sexual Revolution: Love lives keep getting longer and better. Yours can, too."

"'Comedian George Burns once cracked that "sex at age 90 is like trying to shoot pool with a rope,' Kotz begins. "Clearly, he was speaking for his own generation."

Contrast George Burns with Ernest Borgnine and you'll see the difference. Of course it's not just generational -- every person ages differently and his or her sexuality also ages uniquely -- but there certainly is a new attitude (hurrah!) about talking out loud about elder sexual feelings and activities.

The US News & World Report article cites recent statistics about the percentage of the aging population still enjoying sex, the brain chemicals that act like happy pills when we have sex, and, of course, the physical challenges to a good sex love in later years. Good article -- check it out.

FYI, Kotz interviewed me at length for this article and one sentence survived the editing process:

Joan Price, the 64-year-old author of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty, says that she had the best sex of her life after meeting her late husband seven years ago. "He saw me as beautiful, and I thought, if he thinks
it, it must be so."

(That's not really the point I made, but I'll let it stand.)

Ernest Borgnine, 91: "I masturbate a lot!"

Ernest Borgnine, 91, the movie actor with 60 years of experience and 199 films under his belt, told Fox TV about something else under his belt. When asked about the secret to his youthful appearance and vigor, he said, "I masturbate a lot!" You can see this clip on YouTube -- the whole interview or just the spicy section.

Borgnine appeared on Fox TV to promote his new book, Ernie: The Autobiography -- and it must be working, because his Amazon ranking is quite high!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Never too late for love

Many people have told me that, even now, they envy me because I found the love of my life and had seven years loving him. These people -- friends and strangers -- tell me that they never had a love so profound and exhilarating. Some of these people are now in unsatisfying or semi-satisfying relationships; others are single-and-looking; some are single-and-defeated.

I'd like to tell you that it's never too late.

I didn't meet Robert until I was 57 and he was 64. Before that, I had one short marriage, a few long-term relationships, more flings than I'd like to count, and decades of single life. I wrote in Better Than I Ever Expected how I felt as if I had turned invisible after menopause, men literally looking over my head to see who else (younger, prettier) might be coming in the door. I thought it was all over, that I would never have the opportunity to give all the love that I knew was in me.

Then Robert walked in the door of my line-dance class, and, as I put it in my book, I tried to remember to breathe.

I wrote this to a loved one today, and I'd like to share it with you:

It's worth trusting and holding out for a great love rather than settling for something less satisfying. You'll know it when you find it -- not right away, because love relationships take work, and goodness, we did work on ours. But when the work paves the way for letting the love blossom and sing and paint colors in the sky, you'll know.

The length of time we can live together in great love is no measure of its value. We had seven years, and almost five of those years felt like borrowed time because of the cancer diagnosis. Even knowing the end, I would do it all again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More about Robert

Thank you for continuing to post messages to me here. I feel warmed by your words. To learn more about Robert's life, read this article from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

You can also view his work at his website,

I went to his studio yesterday for the first time since he died and found several paintings I didn't even know existed, including one from 1988! What a lovely gift that was.

-- Joan

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Our Last Kiss

On August 2, 2001, I kissed Robert for the first time in the moonlight after our line dance class.

On August 2, 2008, I kissed him for the last time.


Those of you who read Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex after Sixty know our love story, and know that Robert was living with leukemia and lymphoma. After the book was published, Robert had six months of chemotherapy , leaving his cancer in remission. We had two glorious years of health, vigor, and intense, joyful love after that. We felt we were the happiest, luckiest couple in the world.

Last April, Robert was diagnosed with a new blood cancer: multiple myeloma. It's a debilitating, painful, and incurable cancer of the bone marrow, causing extreme bone pain and fragility. Within a month he was living with five spinal fractures and excruciating pain, despite the best efforts of his medical team and an array of powerful narcotics.

I didn’t write anything about our life during this time because Robert asked for privacy. If you’re a regular reader, surely you noticed that I became curiously silent for most of the past couple of months, and when I did post, it lacked the personal candor that you expect from me.

Ten days before his death, Robert entered into home hospice care, and the marvelous hospice team was able to bring him relief from the pain. He then wavered between sleeping and waking, sometimes marvelously lucid and rational, often only partially conscious, and occasionally uttering beautiful messages from the world he was visiting. Here are some of the things he told me as he floated in and out of lucidity, and I’ll treasure them always:

• "Do you remember the time we laughed so hard that we shook the feathers off our caps?"

• "We did have fun together, didn't we? We did have fun."

• "Wasn’t it wonderful when we walked in the water in every state, or almost every state?”

• "It was just yesterday that we walked and walked, and I knew the name of every flower."

• "I came by here hoping to see you."


Yes, I’m still committed to this work I do as an activist for elder sexuality, and don’t worry, I’ll have my voice back soon. My work was almost as important to Robert as it is to me, and he made me promise I’d keep my torch burning. He was a private person, and sometimes I embarrassed him with my candor, but he believed I was doing the right thing talking out loud about this hush-hush topic, and he supported me all the way.

I welcome your comments here and your private emails to me. I know I have many readers who have visited without commenting. If my work here has made a difference to you, if you learned something useful or were moved by my book, I hope you’ll honor me with your words. I could use them now.



Saturday, July 19, 2008

How has your idea changed of what sex is?

I was interviewed by Audacia Ray for her Naked City column for the Village Voice online. Audacia asked me, "How has your idea of what 'sex' is changed over your lifetime?"

Here's what I answered:

In my teens and early twenties, I was trying to shed the restrictions I had been taught by family and society about sex being bad until a wedding band somehow transformed it, so sex was rebellion. Although I willingly shed my virginity at 17, I didn’t have an orgasm until two years later. Being a child of the 1950’s, I didn’t even know what/where my clitoris was or what made it work, until a more experienced college boy showed me. I haven’t stopped enjoying it since!

From my mid-twenties to early-thirties, sex was both an expression of love and an exploration of what turned me on. I was in two committed relationships (serially) during that time, and I loved the high and the bonding of sex.

In my mid-thirties and through my forties, sex was the Big O: orgasm, as frequently as possible. I was in a love relationship for part of that time which was sometimes exclusive and sometimes open, and after that broke up, I went a bit crazy with the excitement of multiple partners. This was my real coming of age, sexually. I discovered the glory of powerful orgasms, whether alone or with a partner (or series of partners), filling my drawers with vibrators and my datebook with eager men.

During all this time, my hormonal, biological urge was propelling my sex drive. After menopause, all this shifted.

I was a post-menopausal single woman, needing lubricant, taking longer to get aroused and reach orgasm, and as eager as I was to keep my sex life going, often I felt invisible to potential partners. I still felt youthful and vibrant in my mind (still do, at 64!), but my face started showing my age, and boom, men were no longer interested. It was amazing to me, really.

Then at age 57, I fell in love with Robert, who was then 64. Our love affair was the reason I wrote my book, Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty. My sex drive was no longer hormonally driven. Rather, it was driving by love, the yearning to bond deeply, and a deep commitment to my lover’s pleasure as much as (sometimes more than) my own. We married when I was 62, he 69. Ours has been the great love of both our lives. It has also been the best sex, because joining together is a culmination of everything we’ve experienced in our lives as well as our deep love for each other. It’s spiritual as well as physical.

How would YOU answer the question, "How has your idea of what 'sex' is changed over your lifetime?"

For the rest of the interview, please click here.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Elder Porn in Japan

According to Japan's Booming Sex Niche: Elder Porn in Time Magazine, Jun. 17, 2008 one of the most popular porn stars in Japan is Shigeo Tokuda, a 74-year-old actor. In his latest films, he plays a "tactful elderly gentleman who instructs women of different ages in the erotic arts," Time tells us. The shocker, though, is this:

Shigeo Tokuda is, in fact, his screen name. He prefers not to disclose his real name because, he insists, his wife and daughter have no idea that he has appeared in about 350 films over the past 14 years.

Now that is puzzing! How does Mr. Tokuda manage to keep his double life secret from his wife and daughter when his photo (above) appears on DVD covers and, since the Time article came out, all over the Internet?

Not that Japan is usually seen as a model of elder-sex acceptance. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report from March 2008 cited in the article, "One in 4 married couples in Japan had not made love in the previous year, while 38% of couples in their 50s no longer have sex at all."

Yet porn videos are a billion-dollar industry in Japan, with "elder porn" one of its rising categories. One of Tokuda's film titles is "Forbidden Elderly Care" -- can you imagine our youth-obsessed American culture clamoring to view that? Apparently Japan is not so elder-phobic.

What about elder women in Japanese porn? Most films still feature women in their teens and 20s, hundreds of adult videos feature "mature women" up to their 70s.

Unfortunately, though, "a popular young actress can earn up to $100,000 per film, while a mature actress is paid only $2,000."

I'm sure you'll have something to say about this! Bring it on!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Listen to Joan's podcast

I was honored to be invited to be a part of the marvelous Seal Press "By Women For Women" podcasts, presenting interviews with Seal authors. Please click here to listen to the podcast, where I discuss some lively strategies for keeping sex spicy and satisfying.

After you listen, I hope you'll comment here and share what you think.

The podcast mentions a free download of a nicely formatted, print-worthy .PDF of my Tips for Hot Sex After Sixty. To receive the Tips, please email me with your request and I'll send the tips to you as a .pdf attachment.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Man, 20, loves "slow burning flame" of late-40's lover

I received a powerful email from Elliot, age 20, who is in a passionate relationship with a woman in her late forties. He writes:

My lover and I are very affectionate, very loving and ultimately very content with each other. Personally, I enjoy the pace, as I am not given a time limit on anything, much less anything sexual. I am given a reign of freedom that most men would divorce for, and my lover herself is so passionate yet so trusting and warm, and dare I say it, cuddly, that she presents the very thing that I have yearned for, yet never found in women my age!

This slow-burning flame I have the fortune to enjoy day after day is something I find much more cosy, more inviting, but finally something that can truly blaze with raw passion, rather than the all-consuming forest fires I seem to find so common in anyone my age. After all, I want to be warm, secure and loved, not burnt over and over again.

So what, in the above paragraph, involves some sort of magic age limit? Where does the question of age come into this? As I write this, I found myself needing to ask my lover what her age actually was, as we see it as something so inconsequential, something so trivial and ultimately so near enough to pointless that I don't even try to remember it. If my wants and desires are met, does it matter if that person is anything between 18 and 65? Of course not. If I find the perfect lover, her age is practically meaningless..

I want a woman who I can cradle lovingly in my arms and read quietly to, so that she will dream a wonderous dream while she sleeps. I want a woman who can be so very vixen in her nature, but so very kitten in her love when she chooses either. I want a woman who is as intelligent as she is loving, with a quiet intensity, but most of all, with a love for being orally pleasured until she passes out after god only knows how long. Where, I ask you, can I find these qualities in a better way than choosing an older woman?

I honestly believe that I must have undergone some major task, some amazing feat in a previous life, to be rewarded with an almost perfect bliss day after day. No, I choose to keep my bliss close to my heart, rather than trying a younger girl, and honestly? When I masturbate when she is not with me, visions of younger girls don't do it for me anymore. She's the one flame I have eyes for.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Sex after Menopause: Good Vibrations magazine

I was pleased to be interviewed by The GV Weekly about sex after menopause. Excerpts are reprinted below -- you can view the whole interview here. Update: this interview is no longer on the original site, sorry.

Menopause Q&A with Joan Price

Recently The GV Weekly sat down Joan Price,, advocate for ageless sexuality and author of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty, to clear up some of the mysteries surrounding sex and menopause.

1) What are some of the possible effects of menopause on sexuality? What sorts of things can folks expect and what are some ways to respond to them?
Many women experience hot flashes, night sweats, sleep deprivation, and mood swings – which sometimes feel like PMS on steroids! – and who can get in the mood for sex with all that going on? Trust me – it gets better after menopause, once your system calms down and adjusts to hormonal changes. Meanwhile, communicate clearly with your partner and your family, and try to take time for yourself – a “pause” – while you’re going through this emotional and physiological upheaval.

Once the extreme changes have ebbed, the ongoing challenges from diminishing estrogren at menopause and beyond include decreased vaginal lubrication and thinning of the labia and vaginal tissues. These changes can result in painful intercourse, a burning or stinging sensation, or even tearing. In addition, we may take much longer to become aroused and, after arousal, to reach orgasm.

For both of those challenges, it’s crucial to use a good, slippery lubricant. Even if you think you’re wet enough, your natural lubrication has changed – it’s thinner and less protective for your more delicate tissues. So experiment with a slick lube that feels good and doesn’t dry out or get tacky quickly. Personally, I love both Liquid Silk, which feels most like natural lubrication and stays moist through prolonged sex, and Eros, which is very slippery and comfortable.

Never use Vaseline, baby oil, cooking oil, or other greasy stuff you might have on hand. These are difficult to clean out of your vagina and can cause irritation or even infection. Use a lubricant made specifically for sexual comfort and pleasure.

You can buy samples of several different lubricants to find the one(s) that you and your partner prefer. Rather than being embarrassed about needing lubricant, make it part of your sex play by letting your partner apply it gently with caresses.

2) What are some of the relationship changes that people going through menopause might be dealing with? How might they choose to address them?

The hardest part is talking about it. If you feel less sexy, or more self-conscious about your aging body, or frustrated with your changing sexual responses, talk to your partner and plan ways that your new needs can be incorporated into your love play. For example, you may need to communicate that you need longer foreplay, with more whole-body touching before your lover arrives at your hot spots. You may need to change the time of day that you have sex to times that you feel a combination of relaxed and alert – maybe morning, maybe late afternoon.

It’s also helpful to do other physical activities together, such as dancing, hiking, working out or even walking the dog. Being physical together – even when the activity is not specifically sexual – can lead to a enhanced body awareness and closeness. Exercise also increases blood circulation, which – ahem! – sends more blood to your genitals and brain as well as to your muscles! You may find that you feel sexier after exercise, more open to sensual exploration, so make use of it!

Realize that as our biological drive gets less urgent, we may find that leisurely sex is more satisfying than the frantic sex that was so exciting in our youth. Even something as simple as making love in the daytime instead of after dinner (I find I can’t digest and have satisfying sex at the same time!) may make a huge difference.

Juicy is an attitude, I’ve come to realize, based not on the flow of our vaginal secretions but on physical well-being, emotional state, mental attitude, and love of sex. Here’s to post-menopausal zest – and understanding lovers!

"Better Than I Ever Expected": Top 100 Seniors Site

What an honor! This blog made's Top 100 Seniors Sites -- one of only six sites in the sex/dating category.

Seniors for Living helps seniors and their families research, evaluate, contact, and compare Senior Housing options. How refreshing that this website realizes the important of intimacy and sexuality at all stages of our lives by including the category in its search for the most interesting and helpful sites for its readership. Thank you, Seniors for Living!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Eye-Catching Thong Worn by 52-yr-old Woman

A 52-year-old woman is suing Victoria's Secret because a metallic ornament popped off a thong she was trying on and hit her in the eye, damaging her cornea, according to

I read the article, then started perusing the reader comments. I stopped in my tracks when I read this:

this woman is to old to be wearin a thong , eeeeeeeewwwwwwwww. what she needs to be wearin is some big grandma underwear. 52 years old is to old to try and look sexy at that age.

It seems I can't go a week without encountering anti-sexual, ageist stereotypes like this. The flying ornament aside, can we focus for a minute on what this reader is saying (with apparent disgust and shock): a woman over 50 is too "old to try and look sexy."

It's what I call the "ick factor": society's view of aging women as either sexless or ludicrous and pathetic if they see themselves as sexy. No wonder women fear aging and do everything they can to hide it, convinced they lose their attractiveness at age 50 (or 40!). They fret that they can't look sexy for themselves or their partners if they have a few wrinkles or their bottoms and bosoms hang heavier than they used to.

I've railed about this before, and I'll keep on railing as long as I keep reading statements like "eeeeeeeewwwwwwwww...52 years old is to old to try and look sexy"!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Trolling for Dates... for Dad

Father and son, they're an odd pair to be enmeshed together in the dating scene.

Bob is gay, 40, erudite, picky, fashion-snooty, and he recoils from dating anyone who resembles him. Joe is 81, a widower, sloppy, grudgingly willing to brush the accumulated trash off the passenger seat for a date (though not willing to turn off the baseball game), seeking a nice, Jewish woman who plays bridge and is willing to do more than hold hands.

Joe sends Bob into a squirming fit by telling him he wants Bob's help answering the personals ads.

Assisted Loving is a thoroughly delightful and funny memoir of Bob and Joe and their dating travails. More, it's a story of how Bob, so judgmental at first that you wonder if he even likes his father, comes to see Joe's deeper qualities -- and his own. Highly recommended.

Of course I must chastise Bob for seeing his father's desire for sex as "unseemly" and embarrassing. Joe had an affectionate, dynamic relationship with Bob's mother, and of course he would want to share this kind of intimacy with someone else rather than stay lonely. (We understand this better than Bob did, I think.) Why should sex be "unseemly" just because Joe has wrinkles, a paunch and a hip replacement, and talks with his mouth full? More power to him if he feels sexual vigor and wants to express it, don't you agree?

If you're a dating, elder dad, this book would be a marvelous gift for your grown kids! Be sure to visit Bob Morris's website, too -- it's very funny.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Please tell me: Why do women bikini wax?

OK, here's the question I've always wanted to ask someone who would answer me honestly -- maybe my readers can help me out: Why oh why do women get "Brazilian bikini wax" treatments?

I understand bikini-line hair removal if you're talking about the hair that shows when you're wearing a bikini. (Duh.) But I DON'T understand why women are waxing the whole pubic area (or creating cute designs). To make sure I wasn't misunderstanding, I went to's Beauty site and read this:

Basically, with the Brazilian, hair is removed in the front, back & everything in between. Most of the time a 'landing strip' is left in the front, but some clients opt for everything removed.

Whoa. "front, back & everything in between"? How can our most sensitive areas withstand this kind of torture? Are women who inherited the perks of our feminist crusade putting themselves through procedures more painful than four-inch heels? Is it for a lover's delight? Is it to -- oh dear -- look prepubescent as a thrill? I don't get it.

Is it an age thing? Something young women do, like piercings (more than earlobes) and tatoos? Is it a fantasy thing? (If so, whose fantasy is it, and where did it come from?)

Call it a generation gap (I'm 64), but I'd really love to understand this. I think it has something to do with sex, though it's hard for me to figure out what. Seems to me that hairless friction would be rough and unpleasant on our tender "front, back & everything in between." And what happens when the hair starts to grow back bristly?

Clearly I'm out of touch. If you have an opinion or experience to share, please comment, whether you're female, male, in favor, against, waxed or bushy. I'd appreciate it if you'd state your age, just so I can get a sense of whether this is an age thing or not.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

"Best of" links added

I've been blogging here since October 2005, and recently I started fretting about the older but still relevant posts disappearing from view unless you look through the category list or the archives.

To resolve this, I just assembled a new page element -- Best of Better Than I Ever Expected (older posts I don't want you to miss!) -- which you'll find in the right-hand column. Please explore and share your thoughts by commenting -- I love to read about your experiences and attitudes from your unique perspective, and I know the rest of our community is interested, too.

If there are any other posts that you'd nominate for the "best of" list, let me know!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Older Women, Younger Men: Let's hear from the women, too

My most popular posts are the older women/younger men topics -- most viewed, most comments and emails, and most frequently searched with phrases like "older woman young man sex" and "granny sex" (which I understand is not a pejorative term in other English-speaking countries, so I'll get used to it!). Yet the comments and emails I receive are almost all from the younger men, not the older women who are involved with them. I'd love to hear from the women, too, about your experiences, your feelings at the time, and your perspective now. You can either comment here or email me with permission to post your comment.

Let me assure the women and men who write me that any identifying information will remain confidential, and of course you can comment directly anonymously or with a pseudonym.

Yes, I get requests from younger men begging me to hook them up with older women, but I don't/won't get into that. There are websites that specialize in older women/younger men, and I'd love to know which ones, if any, you've viewed and found dignified and not in any way predatory.

I'll be including this topic in my new book. I'm still accepting interviews, so please contact me if you're interested in receiving my questionnaire.

Personally, I used to date younger men almost exclusively right up until the time I met Robert when I was 57 and he was 64. (At 64 and 71, we just celebrated our second wedding anniversary!) Until Robert, I found younger men more open-minded and energetic, less set in their ways, and more appreciative of what an older woman had to offer. But this all got blown away when I fell in love with Robert and discovered the man I'd been looking for my whole life. An older man can offer all those qualities I used to seek in younger men, yet with the wisdom of experience and relationship skills.

This makes me think that a long life being single before settling down might be just right to let us experience the qualities of youth, the qualities of age, and any mixture that might entice us!

I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dr. Romance: "Joan Price's book tells it like it is"

Many thanks to Dr. Romance -- Tina Tessina, Ph.D. -- for her review of my book, Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty. Tessina, Redbook's "Love Expert," is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California, with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 11 books. Here's what she said:

This book was better than I ever expected. It's a wonderful balance of memoir, others' personal reflections, and fact. A very enjoyable, well-written, and useful read, especially encouraging and supportive for older women.

We live in a youth-obsessed culture, and too many people are afraid of growing older. Joan Price's book tells it like it is -- sex can be great after sixty, long-term relationships are worth keeping, and even senior dating can be great! This book looks at real life as we age, and sex as a reality of senior relationships. With lively interviews, expert commentary and lots of valuable information, it's a must read for anyone who is getting older -- and none of us is getting younger! Younger women will enjoy knowing that the future is positive. I will be recommending it to clients.

Tina Tessina's latest book is Money, Sex and Kids, a guide for handling marital conflict and arguments over these hot-button issues.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Best Kind of "Family Values"

I'm proud of the California Supreme Court for overturning the ban on gay marriages on May 15, 2008. It's about time. When I see the images of committed couples -- especially older couples -- hugging and crying because they finally will have the rights the rest of us have had all along, I want to sing, cheer, yell, and dance my support.

Look, for example, at Del Martin, 83, and Phyllis Lyon, 79, who had been together for 51 years when they were married in San Francisco on Feb. 12, 2004, a marriage later declared invalid. Now they can remarry. So can Ellen Pontac and Shelly Bailes, who have been together for 34 years, and Mason Bowling, 61, and Patrick Fitzgerald, 58, together 30 years.

This is, finally, true separation of church and state. Religions are still free to take whatever stand they wish. According to the ruling, "no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs." This is a civil matter. A matter of civil rights.

Two people fall in love, create a life together, stay in love, perhaps raise family together, and get old still loving each other. This, to me, is "family values" at its best.

I would love to hear from gay and lesbian couples over 50 who would like to share their stories and their comments. Please either post comments here or email me if you prefer.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Love After 80

Love isn't blind after eighty! I enjoyed this story which appeared in Chris Smith's column in the Santa Rosa (California) Press Democrat. I've reprinted it with his permission:

MAKING EYES: It began with small talk between two widowed strangers earlier this spring in the optical department at Kaiser. Dewey Logan, 83, and Sylvia Wyatt, 85, struck up a conversation while sitting side by side and waiting for their new specs. Then Dewey summoned the nerve to ask Sylvia for her phone number. Today they're back home in Santa Rosa after a honeymoon in Reno.

-- Chris Smith

People ask me all the time how to "meet someone." I always tell them, "Do what you love doing on your own, and you'll meet people who love the same activities." I met my wonderful Robert at my own line dancing class!

Increasingly, though, I hear stories like the one above, or like the woman who wrote in about meeting her soulmate while waiting to have her blood pressure taken. You never know where you might encounter that person who will put a spring in your step and a zing in your heart!

Do you have an unusual story about how you met your special someone? Please comment!

Younger Men Who Desire Older Women

5/15/2008 update: I'm pulling this post up to the top again because of the intriguing comments that continue to come in. For example, be sure to read Mark's second comment, where he says,

In every experience I have had, even those in which it was clear the woman was looking for little more than a boy toy, I always felt valued and well treated. I'm not sure that is always (or even usually) the case when a younger woman gets involved with an older man. Mature women, on the other hand, generally seem to take better care of everyone and everything around them, even their toys. It just seems to be part of their nature. Any thoughtfulness, respect and consideration that's directed at them is responded to in kind.

I never thought of it this way, Mark. It's true that when I was involved several times with much younger men as an older woman, I treated them with great affection and respect, and they treated me the same (except when they didn't, but those are stories that belong somewhere else). I never, never saw them as "toys," though I know some women do, but as wonderful human beings with whom it was my joy to share sensuality and intimacy.

Mark, I've discovered, has a blog of his own here celebrating his relationships with older women.

Readers, if the comments don't automatically display for you below this post, click "comments" and you'll see them. And I hope you'll post your own!

4/23/08 update: Since the January 2008 post reprinted below, I've continued to receive comments and emails from men who love older women. A few ask me to act as a matchmaker for hookups (sorry, that's not my job, but I wish you luck), but most of the men who write earnestly wish to communicate how sexy they find older women. For example, Derek sent me this recent email:

I read your posts on older women/younger men, and granny sex, with great interest and wanted to commend you on them. I'm in my mid-thirties and for many years have been attracted to women much older than me. While I've had great relationships with women my age and younger, the most satisfying relationships have been with women many years my senior. I find the combination of worldliness, wisdom, sexual experience and a lush, mature body completely irresistable. I've been with a number of women in their 60s, some of whom have been older than my mother and/or have children older than me. My lover of several years is in her late 60s, and we continue to enjoy a wonderful relationship that, in addition to friendship and mutual support, includes regular 4-hour lovemaking sessions, fantasy weekends away, and the most potent physical chemistry I've known. It's heavenly. Also, as you seem to be noticing this type of relationship, while very alternative, is being enjoyed by a LOT of people. I hope you give this topic more coverage on your blog.

My original January 2008 post follows here:

The questions and comments from young men who desire older women keep coming. They crave older women. They revere older women. And yes, they find older women incredibly sexy.

I’m not talking about age differences of five or ten years – I mean decades. Here are some samples from my email and from comments on my other blog posts:

· I am 19 years old and love older women. They are much sexier than anything else I can imagine. It’s the feeling of that they have so much to teach you sexually. I have had sex with an older woman and would do it again in a heartbeat.

· I'm male, 27, and just this Christmas had a brief encounter with a mature woman. It was wonderful. We met via internet dating, a good way to meet like-minded people, and she actually approached me first. It just so happens I like older women and she likes men around my age. We had an amazing day and later on she joined me at a hotel. It was like a fantasy come true. Amazing company, amazing sex too and a really warm and loving woman. She will turn 43 this month, and my goodness what a connection we had that day.

· I am 26 and have no problem getting dates with women my age. I'm a young professional and have confidence in my abilities with women my age. However, I am incredibly attracted to older women. I find such beauty in maturity. I work in a professional environment where I am around professional older women all the time. I can't help but fantasize about them. There is something about a woman who is well versed, educated, smart, and mature that drives me wild. Is this wrong? And if it's not, do older women even take men my age seriously?

· I wish I could find an older woman who doesn't say I am too young to have sex with her. I am 21 by the way.

· I am a 49-year-old single man, and I have always been fond of sex with older ladies. In all honesty they drive me wild. I have no interest in any ladies younger than me. Presently have a few senior neighbours.... jeez I only wish.

Some of the younger man who write tell me that their first sexual experience was with a much older woman, and they still treasure the experience:

· I lost my virginity to a woman who was 59 and it was brilliant. She was old enough to be my grandmother and I had known her since I was 5 or 6. I know many people will read this and think that I am making this up but I’m truly not. I loved having sex with her.

· I have always been attracted to older women. I had short relationships with a 60-something-year-old woman when I was 15; a 40-ish woman when I was19; and a woman in her late 30's when I was 21. For me it was a way to have sex, enjoy sex, learn about sex, and experience the whole thing in a sincere, loving way, in a stress-free atmosphere. It was so nice to make love to someone who was calm, enjoyed the experience and could be trusted. A bonus for me was that my older lovers expressed being flattered at being desired by an attractive young man. It felt great to be in this princely or studly role. I’m now 50 and have been married 27 years to my best friend. I find her even more attractive as she gets older, and she likes this.

· I'm 18. I just recently completed a life-long dream of having an older woman take my virginity and teaching me the ways. The only thing is it was a one-time deal but now I'm hooked on older women. I love their maturity and knowledge.

I often hear from single women who complain that men their age are seeking younger women and don’t seem to value what an older woman brings to a relationship, both in and out of bed. These comments from young men show an interesting flip of the coin, don’t you think? Of course I’m not recommending staking out the local teen center to get a date, but don’t rule out mature young men who express interest in you, if you feel interest and attraction, also.

I’m posting these comments today to invite more discussion from young men in this situation, older men remembering these experiences, and from women of all ages. I look forward to reading your thoughts.

(Note: On other blog posts on this subject , I discussed some of the questions these young men have, such as how to meet older women, talk to them, and read their signals.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Getting Off: A Woman's Guide to Masturbation

Getting Off: A Woman's Guide to Masturbation, by Jamye Waxman (Seal Press, 2007), is a jaunty, woman-to-woman guide to everything you need to know about how to "fiddle, twiddle, tug, rub, flick, circle, tap, and tease" -- in other words, have "sex with the one person you have to love your whole life."

Although much of the book reads like an instruction manual for young women just discovering how to pleasure themselves to orgasm, there is much of value for those of us who have been acquainted with our own hot spots for longer than the author has been alive. The illustrations by Molly Crabapple and Waxman's explanations of different techniques and toys, for example, may lead even seasoned solo sex practioners to experiment with new options.

You'll be the life of the party if you recount the history of vibrators (doctors invented them to help "cure" women of "hysteria") or the ways parents used to be instructed to stop their children from -- e.g. "Limit the amount of fluids children ingest. Urination draws too much blood -- and awareness -- to the genitals." Certainly heed the advice about choosing safe sex toys and keeping them that way, and peruse the marvelous list of sex-positive websites. A good read, with plenty of enticing ideas and tips for enjoying sexy self-love!