Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Senior Sex & Vibrators: Myths & Facts

I updated this published post because you continue to ask me intriguing questions about sex toys, both out loud and by email. I continue to hear some misconceptions I'd like to clear up. As always, I welcome your comments.

Q: Doesn't using a vibrator decrease sensitivity in women over time so we won't have orgasms as easily?

A: Actually, it's the opposite. As women's bodies age, we get less blood flow to the clitoris and vagina, and the vaginal walls get thinner. Most of us need more arousal time and more time to reach orgasm after we're aroused. Vibrators enhance sensitivity by increasing blood flow to the genitals quickly and powerfully, and by directly stimulating the clitoris. (The clitoris is our #2 pleasure hot spot -- #1 is our brain!)

A well-chosen, well-placed vibrator can mean the difference between an orgasm -- and no orgasm. The more orgasms we have, the more easily we reach orgasm the next time. So using a vibrator to get us over the edge actually enhances sensitivity and ease of reaching orgasm.

Q: My husband is worried that if I use a vibrator, I'll prefer it to him. (Another version of this question that I receive from men: I've heard that once a woman gets a vibrator, it's bye bye Charlie -- no way I can compete with that thing.) 

A: Not a chance. A vibrator may give quicker orgasms (that's what it's made for, after all), but it doesn't cuddle well or kiss or laugh, and pillow talk with a vibrator is really boring. It either buzzes or it doesn't. It's a dull companion -- except when we need a sexual assist.

If a woman prefers a sex toy to the exclusion of her lover, it's a signal that there's a bigger problem in the relationship than sex toys.

Q: My man says I should reach orgasm "naturally" and not have to use a sex toy. But I just can't come during intercourse unless I add my vibrator at the right moment.

A: I hate those "should's." Most women do not come through intercourse alone, and that gets truer the older we get. Point out to him where his penis contacts you during intercourse vs. where your clitoris resides.

And when he arouses you manually, which I hope he does, point out that he's less likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome from your long arousal time if he incorporates a vibrator in arousal play.

That's right, it's not a choice between him or it -- make it a threesome: the two of you using the vibrator together.

Q: Are there any good sex toys for senior men?

A: Oh, yes! Male bodies have the same issues as female bodies with different visible results -- decreased blood flow and hormonal changes make it more difficult to get or sustain an erection. Men may need longer arousal time and extra stimulation.

There are sex toys made especially for penises, such as masturbation sleeves and cock rings. A prostate stimulator can make a huge difference in sexual enjoyment. A cock ring placed on the erect penis can help keep the blood from draining away.

If this is new to you, please visit an education-focused sex toy store such as the ones I recommend and ask a staff person to help you understand what the toys do.

Q: I had two friends who burned themselves with sex toys. Aren't they dangerous?

A: The cheaper ones are cheap for a reason. They generally have no quality standards in materials or construction -- they're called "novelty items," and I don't recommend them.

If your eyes widen at the price of the vibrators I recommend on this blog, consider that I only recommend safe products of medical-grade materials, careful construction, and the best design and function for our older (still sexually passionate!) bodies.

You're paying for research and development and high-quality material that won't degrade, melt, leach nasty chemicals into your body, break, overheat, or burn. That's also why I recommend shopping in woman-friendly sex shops (brick-and-mortar or online) with an emphasis on health and education, like the ones I link to.

Q: You recommend going into a sex toy store and asking questions. But when I do, I see workers who are the age of my grandchildren! I'd be horrified to talk about sex with them.

A:  I'm often invited to visit education-focused sex toy stores to help the staff understand our needs better. I'm always impressed by how well-trained they are already, and how seriously they take their mission to provide sex education to everyone.

We mistakenly assume that if they're the age of our grandchildren, (a) they don't know much; and (b) we can't possibly talk about our sexual concerns with them.

But in reality, they're smart, well-educated "sex nerds" -- meaning that they find sex information the most fascinating topic ever. They have knowledge that will help us enrich our sex lives. They want us to feel comfortable asking them questions. It's up to us to meet them with a smile and a question, and give them a chance to help us.

Please see my many other posts about sex toys here, including reviews of specific products, with links to retailers I personally endorse because they value women and men of our age and treat us well.

Note to retailers: Do not spam my comments section, because I'll delete any comment that takes my readers to a retail site I have not endorsed. (If you're noticing that there are fewer comments here than a day ago, I just caught another commenter who tried to hijack  you to a commercial retail site that I do not endorse. Sorry I missed it the first time.)  If you think you should be included in the retailers I endorse, contact me personally. Thank you.  -- Joan


  1. Curious, age 64June 23, 2009

    This was fun to read and did clear up a misconception I had. But what's with the lamb in your recent photos? Is the lamb a sex toy of some sort? Or does he/she like using sex toys?

  2. Robert gave me the toy lamb about four years ago, when I was traveling without him to promote my book. He said it would protect me on my travels, remind me of him, and give me something cuddly to sleep with.

    I recently bought a digital camera, and I include the lamb in photos because it reminds me of how Robert supported my work, as embarrassing as it was to him sometimes. And it makes me smile!

  3. This week I am going shopping for a dildo or vibrator for my wife (aged 50). It will be her first. We haven't had sex for several years because she says I am too "big" (rubbish say I). Hence I want to get her a toy that she can "exercise" with. Any suggestions - and please don't say take her with me because she would never go into a sex shop (think UK, represed, single sex boarding school, Victorian values, etc). I love her to bits and this is driving me mad

  4. jekandhyd, you really need your wife's input before picking out a sex toy for her. It needs to be something she wants, otherwise it will feel to her like pressure to have sex.

    I would guess that if she's having trouble accomodating your size, she would prefer a clitoral stimulator (used on the clitoris, not internally), rather than a dildo (used for penetation). If her vagina has shrunk, yes, small dildo-like products called dilators can help stretch her comfortably.

    But SHE needs to choose! Rather than shop in a place that feels too seedy to her, look at the online catalogues of the shops I recommend or Amazon and show her some of the possibilities.

    It might be a problem in the relationship that's making her retreat from sex, and a counselor could be a better first stop than a sex-toy shop. If it's been years since you last had sex together, it's time to find out what's the matter -- emotionally, physically, communication-wise -- and let a better sex life be a result of improving your interactions in general.

    Obviously I don't know you or your wife and can't be sure what's going on. I applaud you for reaching out for information, and I do hope your wife is willing to talk about it with you and/or a counselor.

    1. Sorry Joan, but I disagree with "you really need your wife's input before picking out a sex toy for her. It needs to be something she wants, otherwise it will feel to her like pressure to have sex." Here's why. Years ago ,my wife had a very hard time reaching orgasm. She had had a very religious and uptight it took us 3 days to consummate our marriage because on Friday it was a sin, but after the wedding...Sat night,it was supposed to be fireworks. Needless to say, this was a problem in the first few years of our marriage and any attempt to talk about it was met with pursed lips and silence. I thought I was at fault...did a lot of reading and eventually bought a vibrator and showed it to my wife. This was in the 60's.....the beginning of the ' Sexual Revolution -supposedly! After much talking and rationalizing, by wife agreed to 'Try It '.....We have incorporated the use of a vibrator in our love making for over 50 years and love making is fun....not work. We both came to the conclusion that my lover is one of those ladies who has a very difficult time..going over the edge ..
      We are truly thankful that I surprised her....prevailed upon open up to something different.

  5. To the man purchasing a vibrator for wife, so much to say. If you were not "too big" before you stopped having intercourse then she has probably gone into vaginal atrophy. More going on than just shrinking, probably viscosity change - watery. Moisturizer and lub might help, if not estriol cream prescribed by gyn would be helpful. This is a slow, gradual process of stretching the vagina. Dilators work, but they are introduced in stages, follow directions carefully. It can be frustrating at times but until your wife is comfortable with you entering her, don't. You could tear her thinning walls. I'm basing this on her age. Play, have fun, enjoy each other sexually without having intercourse, you might be surprised at all the different styles of sexplay you can create for pleasure. Good luck, enjoy!
    Susana Mayer, PhD
    Clinical Sexologist

  6. Susana, what valuable information! Would you be interested in a guest post on this topic? Let's talk by email.

  7. Great responses to these questions! :D

  8. Joan, what is that purple cone in the picture?

  9. Kim, that's the Cone Vibrator -- read my review at (If that long URL doesn't hyperlink, copy & paste, or do a search for "cone vibrator" in the Blogger search box at the top of the page.)

  10. I am 81 and haven't had sex for 20 years and now am almost obsessed with the desire for it. I have for the first time orderd vibrators which are not easy for me to use due to short arms that make it difficult to manipulate the appliance. My husband has had prostrate surgery and we don't have any sexual partnering. I just can't talk to anyone about this for fear it will be seen as lunacy on my part. I also worry that this desire might be a sign of an other health issue though I am not aware of any.Any helpful information for me?

  11. Anonymous, yes, I have lots of good information for you. First, please read Naked at Our Age, because I cover many of the topics you bring up: solo sex, vibrators, communication, prostate surgery, ways to please each other without an erection, and so much more.

    You're doing the right thing by exploring vibrators -- good for you. Did you notice that I've reviewed dozens of different vibrators on this blog? If arm length is a problem, seek out vibrators that stay put once you place them where you want them.

    If you email me directly and tell me the kind of vibrator you want to use, I'll help you find the right one.

    I also do phone/Skype consultations, if you think this would be helpful. We can often solve years of dissatisfaction with one hour of discussion. If my information isn't enough to help you bring sexy delight into your life, I'll have referral suggestions.

    - Joan

  12. What would you suggest for a woman whose husband thinks sex toys are ok as long as he gets to use them on her?

    When does her need enter the picture?

    1. Anonymous, she'll only get what she needs when she stands up for it. She can say, "We'll use them together when we both want to, but I'll also use them privately whenever I want." He doesn't get to dictate what she does in private, but if she doesn't speak out loud and clearly, he may think that she's fine with the program he set forth.

  13. Thank you for your courage in sharing your post. And I believe the more orgasms we have, the more easily we reach orgasm the next time. So using a vibrator to get us over the edge actually enhances sensitivity and ease of reaching orgasm. Keep sharing.

    1. "using a vibrator to get us over the edge actually enhances sensitivity and ease of reaching orgasm" -- you are absolutely right, Sophie.

  14. Note to "Ames": Just letting you know that I deleted your comment because your name linked to a sex toy shop that I do not know or endorse. It's clear in the guidelines that you can't do that. I'm writing because your comment was worthwhile on its own, but using it to send my readers to a commercial site I don't endorse is not okay.

  15. We are thinking about using a cock ring but I am concerned that it will inhibit ejaculation.Is this so, or can can you reach orgasm while wearing one ? My wife gets pleasure from feeling me ejaculate inside her and it usually triggers another orgasm for her.

    1. You absolutely can reach orgasm wearing a cock ring. It can delay ejaculation, and many report that it heightens orgasm.


My readers and I appreciate your thoughtful comments. Please share your views! Comments are moderated, so yours will not appear until I approve it. I'm not censoring your ideas, but I am deleting commercial messages and testimonials for penis enlargement, erectile magic, sex toys / retailers that I do not endorse, escort services, and so on.

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-- Joan