Sunday, February 21, 2010

Worst First Dates age 50+

My new book, Naked at Our Age, deals with many issues that aren't the least bit funny -- physical and emotional challenges of aging that affect your enjoyment of your sexuality. I don't joke about these issues.

But I think the dating chapter needs (and deserves) some humor. (If not there, where?) If you've dated after age 50, you're the one who can provide it.

Tell me about your worst first date as a single senior. Just a couple of sentences or so, enough to make us shudder and be glad we weren't there. Post here (I'll assume I have permission to use your worst first date anonymously in my book), or email me. Thank you!
Rescue Me, He's Wearing a Moose Hat: And 40 Other Dates after 50
Sherry Halperin filled a book with her dating disasters in her hilarious Rescue Me, He's Wearing a Moose Hat: And 40 Other Dates after 50.

I'm also interested in hearing the worst first dates you avoided by not responding to bad matches from online dating profiles and emails -- what did they say that let you know you'd rather sit alone with your cat forever than have even one coffee date with this person?

To get you started, here are a few responses I got from another site where I posted this request and from email:

1. He spent the entire dinner complaining about his ex: "She just wasn't really proactive about furthering the relationship. Women over a certain age should be confident enough to take charge!" He went on and on... about how women in general expected men to take charge of everything, pay for everything, yada, yada, yada.... I stopped answering Mr. Boring and Self-Absorbed's calls after that.

2. I lived in the heart of the gay community in a very gay-friendly city. Mr. Bible Thumper was slightly shocked when he saw two men holding hands walking down the street. "Homosexuality is an abomination against God!" he declared. Well, alrighty then -- glad we cleared that up. Being an agnostic and also the sister of a late in life lesbian, I was so not in the mood for this. I asked him what difference did it make to him? How is it any skin off your nose? "I shouldn't have to be subjected to it." Oh brother. I stopped answering Mr. Bible Thumper's calls after that....

3. This was probably my thirtieth or so date when I started computer dating in my late fifties because I had decided I didn't want to live alone anymore. This guy, who was certainly presentable, and had seemed literate and sane in our email conversations, spent the first thirty minutes of our coffee date describing his medical problems in details (all I remember, mercifully, at this point is that he had had at least two heart bypasses). He told me all his numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. On and on and on. Finally, he seemed to remember that he's supposed to show an interest in the other person, so he brightly asked: "And what about you? What are YOUR health problems?"

4. He wore slippers...enough said.

Your turn! Come on, share!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentine's Day Gift Guide, pt. 2: Favorite Sex Toys

Every day is Valentine's Day when we're giving love and pleasure to ourselves or sharing with another. Here, as promised, are my absolute favorite pleasure enhancers. (The links go to my original reviews or to the retailer directly, depending on whether I've reviewed this product on my blog.)

I took so long posting this because I kept wanting to include more toys, and finally realized I'd never get it written unless I limited my choices. So these are what I would want with me if I were stranded alone on a desert island that had a wall socket, a supply of batteries, and a comfortable pillow for my arthritic neck.

We're all different, so just because a particular product is my solo sex partner of choice, that doesn't mean you won't prefer another. To see other toys I've reviewed or my tips about choosing and using toys, click here.

Pleasure giving sex toys: Joan's favorites

Advanced ResponseIn Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty, I raved about The Eroscillator, the vibrator that Robert and I enjoyed together, especially with the soft, "marshmallow" attachment -- be sure to get that one! The vibrations -- oscillations, actually -- are very strong, yet the wand is light to hold and because of the slim design of the attachment that touches your sweet spot, it can be used for clitoral stimulation during intercourse without getting in the way. The only thing I don't like about it is that it can only be used plugged in, so we were always flipping the cord out of our way. A minor distraction compared to the pleasure the Eroscillator gives!

I'm not the only one who loves the Eroscillator: Dr. Ruth Westheimer endorses it, and one of my readers wrote about how this supertoy gave his wife her first orgasm in six years.

For super-intense clitoral stimulation and an inevitable happy ending (not always assured at our age, you know)  the Hitachi Magic Wand is, well, magic! It is heavy and loud and has to be plugged in, but so what? It ranks right up there with the automobile and the iPod as one of technology's greatest inventions. Read my review here.

Pair that Magic Wand clitorally with the LELO Gigi vaginally, and you've got double magic. All the LELO pleasure objects are fantastic, and you might like the size or shape of one of the others more, but I love the slim size and G-spotting design of this one the best. Read my review here.

I've tried a few "Rabbits" (dual-action vibrators), and the only one that sent me to outer space was the Snow Bunny. The size, shape, distance between parts, and vibrational intensity were right for me. Your mileage may vary, and luckily, there are many Rabbits to choose from if the idea of clitoral stimulation + penetration in one toy appelas to you. Read my review here.

And don't forget the lubricant:

Liquid Silk is my favorite lubricant to enhance the joy of friction with a partner or a favorite sex toy. It's creamy, feels natural -- smooth without being overly slick, and doesn't get tacky. Maybe best of all, it won't harm silicone toys (as silicone lubes will), yet feels better than the other water-based lubricants I've tried. If you haven't settled on a personal favorite, I always recommend trying a sampler selection from a favorite online or walk-in woman-friendly sex toy shop. Don't rely on the selection available at your local drugstore.

Happy Valentine's Day, dear readers! Take pleasure today -- and often.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

"I wish I had used condoms!"

My new book, Naked at Our Age, is filled with real stories from real seniors and elders about their sexual experiences, challenges, and attitudes.

For my Safe Sex chapter, I have several stories from seniors who are dating and having sex, don't use barrier protection and don't think they need to. I have other stories from seniors who are dating and use condoms every time with every new sexual partner.

I need to hear from people age 50-80+ who didn't use condoms and now wish they had. Maybe they had sex with someone who was dishonest about revealing sexual history, STIs, HIV status. Or they didn't ask, the partner didn't tell, and now they've contracted HIV, herpes, or some other STI. Maybe they've unknowingly infected other partners. 

If you're willing to share your story confidentially in order to help other people who think that safe sex isn't important for seniors, please email me. Thank you!

-- Joan Price

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Valentine's Day Gift Guide, pt. 1: Favorite Books

Since I started this blog in November 2005, I've written 350 blog posts, including 43 book reviews, and 20 vibrator reviews. Valentine's Day is coming in a week -- which, in my view, is for celebrating our capacity for love and passion, whether we're partnered right now or not.

In this post are a few of my favorites among the books I've reviewed, with links to my original review.  Some of these books are spicy and explicit, others are subtle enough to leave on view if you're expecting company, and some are so informative that you'll want to talk about them at the water cooler.

Tomorrow I'll post some favorite sex toys!

Spicy and/or informative books:

Autumn Romance: Stories and Portraits of Love after 50 by Carol Denker: A beautiful coffee-table book with stories and photos of later-life romances.

X: The Erotic Treasury: 40 Sexy Stories ed.Susie Bright. Explicit, edgy, hardcore, and beautifully bound.

Best Women's Erotica 2010 & other books from Cleis Press. If you want books with explicit sex -- maybe a special preference or kink -- check out Cleis.

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach. Entertaining and informative, filled with the weirdness of both the procedures and findings of sex research.

Getting Naked Again: Dating, Romance, Sex, and Love When You’ve Been Divorced, Widowed, Dumped, or Distracted by Judith Sills. The subtitle says it all!

Rescue Me, He's Wearing a Moose Hat: And 40 Other Dates After 50 by Sherry Halperin. Come on, we have to keep a sense of humor about this dating stuff -- and Halperin does.

Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty, my own book of my love story with Robert, celebrating the joys and addressing the challenges of senior sexuality.

Read more of my book reviews here.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Finding Love in Later Life

When Carol Denker interviewed me for her magnificent Autumn Romance, she started with this prelimary questionnaire. I came across it today and wanted to share it with you, as Valentine's Day approaches:

CD: What advice would you give to individuals over 50 who are looking for love?

JP: Participate in social activities that you love, and you’ll meet people with similar passions. In my case, I loved line dancing -- in fact, I taught line dancing.

Friends told me, “You’ll never meet a man line dancing!” It was true that 90+% of line dancers are women, but one evening a magnificent white-haired man came to my class. When he turned his ocean-blue eyes my way, I had to remember to breathe. When he started to dance, his movements revealed a lifetime of dance training

That was how I met Robert Rice, the love of my life, a man who happened to be looking for a new place to dance in December 2000.

CD: What have you learned about love from this relationship?

JP: I had no idea how deeply I could love and how precious later-life love could be. We seemed very different at first, and both of us were fiercely independent and – we thought! – unwilling to change at this stage of life to suit another person’s needs or expectations.

But I learned that the ways I needed to change to be bonded to Robert were exactly the ways I wanted to grow – and he learned the same.

We were so in love that our differences stopped mattering, and then all but disappeared, as we learned from each other and grew together in love.

When Robert was sick and on his journey to death, I learned how selflessly I was capable of loving. I learned to be less demanding and more giving. I learned to savor every moment, knowing we were on borrowed time. All that mattered was how precious he was and doing all I could to make his last months, weeks, days as comfortable, peaceful, and love-filled as I could.

Near the end, we learned to say “I love you” through squeezing each other’s hand. When I touched his chest softly and he murmured in response, we were making love.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Pelvic Floor Relaxation: Advice from A Woman's Touch

As I write Naked at Our Age, I'm awed by the level of candor from the real people who have agreed to share their stories and the generosity of the experts who are contributing solid, helpful tips that address the problems and concerns you've sent me.

The book will come out in Spring 2011, which I realize is a long wait for those of you who are experiencing challenges now that are preventing you from thoroughly enjoying your senior sexuality. Since my mission is to help you, I want to share something that I learned from Ellen Barnard, MSSW, because you might need this information --as I did -- before the book comes out.

I wrote Ellen for personal advice -- I was startled and dismayed to discover that I was unable to insert the Teneo Smartballs comfortably -- something that would have been easy before my self-imposed, long period of celibacy following Robert's death. "I’m aghast that I’ve let this happen to me," I told her.

Here is an excerpt from her compassionate and helpful reply, which I hope will open your eyes, as it did mine:

Oh, please don't be upset - there are many women of all ages who find them to be too wide to insert comfortably unless they are very aroused. Despite the information around them, they really are not intended to be used without arousal and a lot of lubrication first.

It's not really about stretching the entrance to your vagina. The issue is how tight and how flexible the pelvic floor muscles are at the opening of your vagina. After menopause, it gets more difficult for the pelvic floor to relax unless you regularly practice doing so. Arousal helps with relaxation of the pelvic floor, thus allowing you to insert something inside your vagina comfortably, but after menopause it often takes a conscious relaxation effort in addition to significant massage for arousal.

So your task is to learn how to better relax those muscles and do so as you insert gradually wider toys.  Don't "push" against those muscles - that doesn't work, and actually causes them to tighten further. Instead, either gently slip a finger alongside your favorite toy once you are fully aroused, taking a deep belly breath and once you feel the opening relax, slip the finger inside, or take a tapered toy and insert it deeper as you breath deeply and feel the vaginal opening relax.

It's worth going to our site and downloading our revised Vaginal Renewal and Pelvic Floor Health booklets (see links under "Educational Brochures") - we address the issue of a tight pelvic floor in both of them. 

Ellen Barnard is a sex educator and counselor who believes we all deserve delightful, healthy sex lives for as long as we live. She consults on the topics of aging and sexuality, cancer and sexuality, and facilitating intimacy at the end of life. She is also the co-owner of A Woman's Touch Sexuality Resource Center.

Visit A Woman's Touch for "expertise in sexual health and pleasure."

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Elise & Form 2 & Jollie from Kama Sutra Closet

Thank you, Roylin at Kama Sutra Closet, for sending me three  new toys to review: LELO Elise, Jimmyjane Form 2, and  the polka dot Jollie Dildo.

Although I usually review each new toy in a separate review, it's getting close to Valentine's Day, and I have several toys still in the queue -- what's a busy gal to do? 

I don't want to make you wait to learn about one that might turn out to be your favorite, so I'm combining three here. That does not mean you're supposed to use them simultaneously!

LELO ELISE: LELO makes extraordinary products -- elegant, functional, sleek, quiet, high-quality materials and design, altogether fabulous. The Elise is amazing -- already one of my favorite toys.  It can be used either clitorally or vaginally, and the intensity is really strong -- just what the doctor ordered.

The end vibrates separately from the stem, and you can adjust the vibrations to sync together, or operate differently. I liked that it was really strong (I know, I said that, but it bears repeating in my world!), easy to hold and operate, and oh, so nice to feel. 

Like other LELO pleasure toys, the Elise charges while you're not using it, so it's cordless and batteryless while in use -- very convenient. You can also lock it when you're not using it so it can't turn on accidentally. (I used to think this was a frivolous feature until I used another toy that kept turning itself on.) 

This luxury toy is easily worth the investment -- you'll want to use it regularly, I'd bet!

JIMMYJANE FORM 2: The Form 2 from luxury sex toy designer Jimmyjane is an odd looking creature, sort of a cross between a rabbit head and a tuning fork. It's a tiny thing, but oh so strong, vibrationally! It charges, then doesn't need cord or battery when in use, and it's -- ta da! -- waterproof for intimate moments in the tub.
 The two "ears" each have a motor in the tip that vibrates intensely, and depending on how you place them, you can get your clitoris or labia or everything vibrating madly.

I confess that I thought I'd like this more than I did.The ears are somewhat flexible, so supposedly you can squeeze them to cuddle the clitoris. 

I say "supposedly," because in my experience, it was too difficult to hold the ears squeezed together. Left in the original position, they weren't the ideal distance apart for my dimensions. This toy is a great idea and could be perfect for you, though it's not my favorite.

Form 2 Update: I love it when people write me and give me tips for enjoying my toys more! Many thanks to R, who said she absolutely loves the Form 2 and was surprised at my lukewarm reaction. "Have you tried using it sideways?" she asked me. "I personally found that I liked it sideways, with one “ear” on the clitoris and the other ear toward the vagina." Actually, that hadn't occurred to me. I had tried it every which way, I thought, but lying sideways was a new idea. I tried it, I liked it -- especially circling it around in that side-lying position. Form 2 still hasn't made it up the ladder to the top of my favorites, but I enjoyed it much more using R's advice!

JOLLIE DILDO: This polka dot sea creature is so cute you'll want to show your friends. It's a silicone dildo, not a vibrator (the movement is up to you). It's anatomically shaped, the manufacturer says, "from molds of actual women."

I'm sad to say that those women were able to accomodate toys larger than I can, so I can only review the first -- thoroughly enjoyable -- inch and a half of this dildo. Then it expands too much for me -- to a 6-inch circumference, which is close to two inches in diameter.

If you're larger than I am -- and I can only assume that most women are -- and you like the feeling of a full vagina, this toy has everything you could want. For me, could they make a Jollie Junior, please?

Thank you again, Kama Sutra Closet, for a delightfully sensuous diversion from writing my book on this rainy afternoon!
Newsflash! Kama Sutra Closet is offering my readers a 15% discount on all orders. Enter code Better15.

The Clitoris, Revealed

"It’s practically a little penis under that hood," a 50-something-year-old writer who calls herself "jujuridl" describes the clitoris in "Female Anatomy 101," an informative blog post on MiddlesexMD. Take a look at this diagram of the complete structure of the clitoris, showing what goes on under the hood, literally.

Those of us in touch with our clitoris -- literally and figuratively -- know that the sensation isn't just in the little nub that's visible (the glans) -- the whole surrounding area is sensitive and sensational. That's because the clitoris and its thousands of nerve endings extend far and wide beneath the surface.

The clitoris is the only part of the human body that has no function other than giving pleasure. Women who have lost sensitivity due to aging and hormonal changes might experiment with self-touch, partner-touch, and/or vibrator-touch using pressure all around the visible part of the clitoris, not just directly on the glans. As you see from the diagram, there's quite an area to explore!

 MiddlesexMD was created by for women over 40 by Dr. Barb DePree, M.D., a women’s health provider and a menopause care specialist. Many of us are significantly over 40 and way past menopause, but DePree's information is plenty relevant to us -- and to those who love us.

In fact, is there someone in your life who might understand better how to touch you by seeing this blog post?