Friday, May 29, 2009

Joan Baez's 96-yr-old mom wants 97 men next birthday

I enjoyed this quote from Joan Baez about her mother in the San Francisco Chronicle:

[She] just turned 96 and had a giant birthday party. She had 96 cupcakes and next year she wants to have 97 men.

I'll bet she wanted 96 men this year instead of cupcakes!

I couldn't find a photo of Joan Baez's mother -- or even her name -- but Baez herself sure looks good after 50 years in the music business:

Her latest album, recorded at age 67, is Day After Tomorrow, filled with the kind of mellow songs of spiritual awakening and social activism that we expect from Baez.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Read this blog on your Kindle

I have to admit that I was skeptical at first -- why would you pay 99 cents a month (as tiny a charge as that is) to view a blog in black-and-white that you can read in color on the Internet for free.

To see the appeal, I signed up for the trial subscription to my own blog and to several others. I really like it!

New posts deliver automatically to my Kindle as soon as they go live. The value of this blog is the content, so who cares if the photos and background are in color or not? I was pleasantly surprised to see that my subscription includes not only the current post, but also the 25 most recent posts. I don't see a way to view the comments, however, so subscribers need to read the Internet version occasionally to catch up on what other readers have to say.

If you're a Kindle reader, go ahead and try the 14-day free trial subscription to this blog and others that interest you. As long as you cancel before the end of the trial, you're not charged a cent. Who knows, you might not want to cancel!

If you're reading this on your Kindle, a warm welcome to you. Here's one more way to open society's mind about sex and aging, one reader at a time.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Vibrating with the Hands-free Cone

My first introduction to the Cone Vibrator was at the 2008 AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists) convention. Lively and handsome sex educator Cory Silverberg powered on the Cone, set it on a table, and invited us to gather round.

It must have looked like a futuristic seance -- a group of adults, college age to elders, circling a table, our hands resting on the edges of the table as a bright pink cone-shaped device whirred on top. The Cone sent vibrations through the whole table and into our hands. We all mouthed "Wow!" and I could see the gleams in dozens of eyes as we put the Cone on our "I want one of those!" list.

But at $130? Would it be worth that price? (Oh, yes, I discovered.) And how exactly do you use a cone-shaped vibrator that measures 4-1/2” tall, and 7-3/4” in diameter?

Lucky me, I received my Cone from Good Vibrations and after, uh, studying its appeal for a few weeks, I'm happy to review it for you. (What a job I have!)

First of all, forget all previous notions about what shape a vibrator should be. It doesn't need to look like a penis or a massager -- or a duck, bullet, or lipstick, for that matter. The Cone was designed for utility. It vibrates hard or gently or anything in between, with 16 different settings from which to choose. Start with a purr and graduate to a hum and ultimately a howl. Those are your noises, not the Cone's -- it stays steadily noisy, but you won't care.) Or you can go for the goal right away. Your choice.

The shape lets you use it in all sorts of ways. The tip can penetrate if that's what you like, or you can press any part of the Cone against your clitoris for extreme and focused sensation. You can lie on your stomach or your back with the Cone between your legs, or sit on it, or use it in any way that strikes your fancy.

Here's what makes it special for our age group: Those of us with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or any other condition that makes it difficult to hold an intensely vibrating object for a long period of time will welcome this device. Our arousal generally takes longer than younger folks, and we need more intense stimulation. That sometimes means that our wrists give out before the crashing waves arrive, or we keep going and then can't type or lift weights for the rest of the day. The Cone operates independently of our wrists. We put it where we want it, and it settles in nicely and stays there, freeing our hands for other activities.

Do you own the Cone? Please share your experiences with it!

* Please note: posts on this blog may only be republished with permission. To request permission, email me with the header "permission to reprint." Thank you for respecting my copyright. -- Joan

Monday, May 18, 2009

He thinks he can't please her without an erection, so why bother?

An important question was posted as a comment to my blog interview with Michael Castleman who answered my questions about erectile dysfunction. Here's what a reader asked:

I've been in a loving relationship for over two years, its been great. Until now, its taken a complete turnaround. His thinking is because he can't get an erection he's a failure in pleasing me. No matter what I say, his comment is "why bother". I have been completely satisfied with our love making up until now, I am completely confused. Our love and intimacy made our relationship what it was, now what? What do I do?

This question moved me and I asked Michael Castleman if he would answer this reader He promptly replied:

I feel for you. When men develop erection difficulties and withdraw from lovemaking, they often seem completely shut down and unreachable, and no amount of reassurance seems to help.

Of course, such reactions are not unique to men. Imagine that you suddenly gained 100 pounds and no matter how hard you dieted and exercised, you could not lose an ounce. Now imagine that your lover said: "It's all right. It doesn't matter. I still love you, and want to make love with you." Would you believe him? Would you want to have sex?

To most men, sex means erection, and the notion of sex without erection makes a much sense as baseball without bats. But men CAN enjoy sex--and have great sex--without erections. Erection is NOT NECESSARY for male orgasm. Vigorous fondling of the penis by hand, mouth, or sex toy can produce orgasms every bit as intense and satisfying as the ones he used to have with erections. And erection is not necessary for female pleasure or orgasm either. In fact, only 25% of women are reliably orgasmic during vaginal intercourse because the old in-out doesn't provide much clitoral stimulation. Many women prefer a man with a talented tongue and fingers to a guy who just sticks it in.

Of course, it's a major adjustment for men to decouple sex from erection. Given how adamantly your man has been saying "why bother?" I think your best bet would be to try to coax him into joining you in consulting a sex therapist. To find one near you, visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists or the Society for Sex Therapy and Research.

If he refuses to go, then I urge you to go by yourself. The therapist can help you cope, and make suggestions you might try at home with him. And the fact that you're going may show him how important the sensual side of your relationship is to you, and eventually he may relent and join you. Good luck!

Michael Castleman, M.A., is "one of the nation's top health writers" (Library Journal). He has specialized in health, medicine, and sexuality for 36 years. He is the author of Great Sex: A Man's Guide to the Secrets of Whole-Body Sensuality. From 1991-95, he answered the sex questions submitted to the Playboy Advisor. Visit his Web site about sex after midlife,

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sex Cushions for Comfort

"Don't forget to tell them about the sex pillow!" Robert always reminded me as I was leaving to give a workshop about senior sexuality. Indeed, if you experience discomfort due to a medical condition, or just the aches and pains of living and loving in aging bodies, experiment with firm, ergomically shaped pillows made especially for sex. You'll find an amazing difference once you've found the one that works best for you.

For us, our friend the Wedge (photo, right) was our regular companion, permitting me to lie comfortably on my back with a lifted bottom and allow Robert free movement on his knees. This has especially helped us during episodes of back injury, knee pain, and arthritis flares, as well as delightful encounters when we have no aches or pains. Using a firm, specially shaped cushion also provides optimal comfort and convenience for enhancing lovemaking with a favorite sex toy. (Our personal favorite, as you must know by now -- the Eroscillator, the only sensual product endorsed and recommended by Dr. Ruth Westheimer.)

Have you experimented with different types of pillows and cushions for comfort and pleasure? Let me know your favorites!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Podcast: Sex & Intimacy, Senior Style

Hear life coach Chip August interview me for his Sex & Intimacy podcast series on Personal Life Media. We chatted about senior sex, what it was like to write Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty (especially for Robert, an artist and a private person, who found himself negotiating which details about our sex life would appear on the printed page), and helpful tips for a better sex life at our age.

We discussed, for example, that an older women's lack of lubrication does not mean she isn't sexual aroused, and how applying lubricant can bring back the joy of friction and become part of the love play. I tell men "what we women really want" (listen up, guys!) and why sex toys can take us over the top.

Chip August is a marvelous interviewer -- lively, informed, sex-positive, and smart. Do listen to the podcast, which you can hear online or find on iTunes.

Never too late for love: wedding couple aged 80 + 84

I was catching up on a week-old Sunday New York Times on my Kindle. I came upon the wedding announcements, which I usually skip -- when I spotted this one:

Anne Wallach, Gerald Maslon
... The bride, 80, is an author in New York... The bridegroom, 84, is a retired lawyer.

The couple met at Harvard in 1947, when they were both dating other people, whom they would later marry. The two couples stayed friends. Wallach was widowed in 2003; Maslon in 2005. Afterwards, they began dating. On May 1, 2009, they married.

Age is certainly no barrier to love. According to The New York Times,

Ms. Wallach said she still sees Mr. Maslon as he was when he was a law student — with dark hair and carrying a green book bag.

She says she wonders if he sees her in the same way and even addresses that thought in a novel she is writing: “Jack and I were young together. He’s always that boy in a tweed jacket swooping toward me on his bike. Am I a girl with a smooth face and long blonde hair to you, Jack?”

“She asks me that all the time,” he laughed. “Yeah, but I like her the way she is now.”