Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dr. Carol Queen reveals the History of Vibrators

Carol Queen, PhD, one of the learned sex experts in Naked at Our Age and Good Vibrations Staff Sexologist, explains the History of Vibrators:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sex Toys: 2010 Holiday Recommendations

As a sex toy reviewer, I'd say it's been a great year! Here are a few of my recommendations, with links to my original reviews. From there, you'll find links to retailers I endorse.

Most of my recommendations are new toys in 2010, but not all of them. Just in case you haven't been following this blog religiously for the past four years, I don't want you to miss some all-time favorites that might be new to you, so I've included a few of them, too.

Realize that all the toys I recommend get high marks from a senior perspective: they're strong (most are really strong!) to compensate for our slowing arousal pattern, reliable, comfortable to use (even for athritic wrists), orgasm-inducing effective--and they don't balk at long use times. Bonus points when the controls are easy to figure out without reading glasses.

I only recommend high quality toys, made of body-friendly materials and designed to last. They won't overheat or turn themselves off if we need to keep them running for a while. Because of the standards of design, function, and materials, these aren't cheap. They're like us -- high quality, durable, and ready for pleasure.

Jimmyjane Form 3: Put your finger into the indentation of this sweet vibrator and voila! You get a softly cushioned, intensely vibrating finger.  

LELO Siri:  A clitoral massager that curves over your clitoris and labia with delicious results.

LELO Gigi: I reviewed this G-spot/vaginal vibrator in 2009, and despite the many newer toys I've received, I find myself reaching for this one frequently, pairing it with various clitoral stimulators. I like the slender shape and the design of the G-spotting tip really does aim perfectly.

LELO Lily: Another 2009 favorite, smaller than the Siri, yet still strong. Try this during partner sex -- it's small enough that it won't get in the way, and it will intensify your pleasure.

Vibratex Mystic Wand: I was so surprised by the strength of this vibrator! I often find myself reaching for it instead of the Hitachi Magic Wand when I need a super-strong assist. It's almost as strong as the Hitachi, which seems impossible because it's powered by just 4 AA batteries, and there's no cord to get in the way and no need for an electrical outlet.

Petite Couture Enchanted: Cute enough to make you laugh, but potent enough to make you squirm, this vaginal vibrator is shaped just right to hit the right spots and stay in place almost hands-free. I love the squishiness of this toy, enjoyable--even before its designated use--to just hold and squeeze.
Snow Bunny: I tried rabbit after rabbit, convinced I couldn't find one to fit me, and  then I found the Snow Bunny!

Eroscillator: Long before I started reviewing sex toys, I discovered the Eroscillator and used it for more than a decade. It's great between bodies for partner sex, because the wand is slim enough that it doesn't get in the way. Be sure to try the "marshmallow" attachment -- my favorite!   

My list here is far from comprehensive. Please click here for all my sex toy reviews and commentary -- keep scrolling down and click "older posts" when you get to the bottom, because there are many reviews, and one that was just okay for me might be the one you've been wishing for.

In addition, I have a collection of toys I received in 2010 that I haven't yet reviewed. Look for an update as I discover new ones I have to tell you about.

Your comments are welcome! (But please don't try to use my blog to send my readers to other retailers than the ones I recommend. Those comments never see the light of day.)


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Put Your Head on My Shoulder

12/14/10 update: I wrote the memory below last March 7, first in my personal journal, then as a blog post.

Later on, working on the last chapter of Naked at Our Age, I realized it also needed to be the ending of my book.

Today, I was finishing proofreading the designed pages that Seal Press sent me and simultaneously struggling to figure out how to make today -- which would have been his 74th birthday -- special.

As soon as I read this memory at the end of the book, I decided to share it with you again:

Put Your Head on My Shoulder

One day I was rushing about, I don’t remember for what, maybe preparing for a trip. I was stressed, crashing about, full of nervous energy. Robert caught me in mid-flight, taking my hand. “I’m so busy,” I protested.

“Just for a minute,” he said quietly, leading me into the living room.

He switched on the CD player, and Michael Bublé began to sing, “Put Your Head on My Shoulder.” Robert enveloped me in his arms and began to dance me around the floor. My body melted into his strong embrace and his graceful rhythm. I started to cry, feeling his closeness and knowing that nothing was more important than holding this man I loved in my arms. I continued to sob, and he didn’t need to ask why. He just cradled my head into his shoulder and kept us dancing.

I don’t remember what I was rushing to that day, but I do remember every moment in Robert’s arms, the feel of his chest against my face and his body leading mine until our rhythms melted into one being. Yes, just like making love.

I would do anything to dance in his arms again. I narrate this special moment to remind you to stop, take time with your lover if you’re fortunate enough to have him or her with you, and never take for granted that there will always be time later on. Now is all we have. Treasure each other.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Love Dances In: Dec. 10, 2000

December 10, 2000 -- ten years ago exactly -- turned out to change my life in every way: my emotions, my personal growth, my sexuality, my view of aging, even my career. That was the evening that Robert's life journey landed him in my line dance class. He had recently moved to Santa Rosa and was looking for a place to dance.

Here's how I tell it in Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty (the book that never would have been written without that eventful evening):

Love Dances In

The day that Robert walked into my line dance class, my hormones thought they were twenty years old again. His smile, fit body, and grace of movement caught my eye immediately.

Then, when he started to dance, his years of tap, modern dance, and ballet training were revealed in every movement, and I was lost at sea. His nimble feet, muscled thighs, and sensually mobile hips commanded my attention. I wanted to touch the inviting curl of chest hair that peeked through the open top buttons of his shirt. I met his dazzling blue eyes and pretended to breathe. For the rest of the evening, I kept losing my place in the dance I was teaching because I couldn’t take my eyes off him.

Robert kept coming to class and danced into my heart. I tried to engage him in conversation after class occasionally, and he responded almost warily, answering me but not giving me any signals that my attentions were welcomed or reciprocated. I wondered:  Is he gay? Attached? Or simply not interested in me?

I started inviting him for walks after class, which he accepted. We talked, but never very personally. I told him about the Internet health book I was writing, and he told me about his art and the English gardens of his travels. There was no touching, no eyes locking, no double entendres, no intimate details revealed.

We choreographed a line dance together, which felt extraordinarily intimate to me. We were using our bodies to communicate and showing each other movements, which was very sexy. But the harder I tried to push to the next stage, the faster he retreated.

Then what? I am tempted to tell our whole story here, but I'd rather you enjoyed it yourself in Better Than I Ever Expected.

Now, ten years and a lifetime later, Robert has been gone for two years and four months, his life ended by cancer. He is still strongly present -- my house filled with his paintings, my mind filled with memories, my heart filled with love. I am struggling to move forward, starting to date again, opening myself to what life holds for me. I am forever grateful that Robert chose December 11, 2000, to wander into my dance class and that he found something there that kept him coming back.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Great Sex after 50: A Woman's Guide to Getting Her Mind, Body and Relationship Ready for Pleasure by Dr. Pepper Schwartz

Great Sex after 50: A Woman's Guide to Getting Her Mind, Body and Relationship Ready for Pleasure  by sexpert Dr. Pepper Schwartz,  is an e-book in PDF format about our sexual issues, problems, and pleasures. Vibrant Nation, an online community for women over 50 that I enjoy immensely, published this book.

Dr. Schwartz is a professor of sociology, author of many books, and the AARP sex & relationships expert. You've seen her on Oprah, Dateline, Dr. Phil and Lifetime programs. She knows her stuff, and she's fun to read.

My favorite of her books is Prime: Adventures and Advice on Sex, Love, and the Sensual Years, a memoir about her sexual adventures at age 55+ after ending a 23-year marriage. So much fun to read, with good tips, too, and you'll be planning a trip to Bali before you finish it!

When I heard that Dr. Schwartz's new book about sex after 50 had just come out, I was, at first -- I'll be honest -- worried. Would this book duplicate ideas in my own  Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty? Or anticipate what I cover in my upcoming book, Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex?

But no, although the topics overlap quite a bit, the treatment is very different. Dr. Schwartz offers tons of statistics -- who's doing what, what are we enjoying or not enjoying in sex, what problems are we facing? The book is not dry in any way, it's warm and friendly, with tips for improving whatever is ailing our sex lives, such as boredom, lack of communication, pain, and much more. Some of her advice is geared to couples, some to singles. Her chapter about dating is full of good advice presented in a warm, upbeat style.

But my goodness, this book is way overpriced -- 54 pages for $29.97? And it's just in PDF format, so if you want a paper copy, you have to print it out yourself. I'm all for e-books -- I buy them all the time and read them on my iPad, where I read this one. But even full-length e-books are generally priced at $10-$12, not $30. Please, Vibrant Nation, this book is too useful and well written to price itself out of the market.

Vibrant Nation also offers a useful, free report: Top 5 Treatments for Vaginal Dryness and Dyspareunia (Sexual Intercourse Pain).

Thursday, December 09, 2010

When Penetration Hurts: Vulvar and Vaginal Pain

One of the most helpful chapters in Naked at Our Age (coming June 2011) addresses vulvar/vaginal pain, a complex issue. You'll read real-people stories from women whose vaginal or vulvar pain prevented them from enjoying penetration, or who learned how to renew their vaginal health, plus information and direction for getting your own pain diagnosed and treated. Although you'll have to wait for the book, until then, these posts about vaginal/vulvar pain will be helpful, and here is a list of websites that offer more information and/or referrals to knowledgeable professionals:

• American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists:

• American Physical Therapist Association, Section on Women’s Health:

• American Urogynecologic Society:

• International Society for the Study of Vulvar Disease:


• National Vulvodynia Association:


• Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute:

• Secret Suffering: Helping Women Cope with Sexual and Pelvic Pain (patient site):

• Vulval Pain Society:

• Vulvar Pain Foundation:


Saturday, December 04, 2010

Love Ranch - Helen Mirren deserves better

I had great hopes for Love Ranch, a film that takes place in a brothel, starring the beautiful, talented, and sensual 65-year-old Helen Mirren as the madam. Hurray, I thought, Mirren is playing a sexy, older woman. I heard that her character had steamy sex with a man decades younger -- go, Helen!

The film started slowly -- plodded, actually, though I laughed and applauded when Mirren's character's husband, played by Joe Pesci, challenged her, "Who do you think you are, the Queen of England?" Mirren is beautiful despite mostly conservative clothing and smudged lipstick, and the closeups of wrinkles made me happy that yes, finally, an older woman is being celebrated without trying to hide her age.

The film is based on a true story about the first legal brothel in Reno, Nevada. The script isn't worthy of Mirren. It's hackneyed, predictable, and not all that interesting. In fact, I have the movie on "pause" right now, minutes from the end, dreading the obvious finale.

There is one brief but steamy sex scene, all too short (hey, she's an older woman -- let's take our time!), which seems thrown in so that people would be shocked by the show of passion between a young Argentine boxer (actor Sergio Peris-Mencheta) and a woman more than twice his age. Peris-Mencheta didn't strike me as sexy or appealing, and she deserved more -- both as a sensual woman and as an actress.

It's astonishing to me that the director, Taylor Hackford, is Mirren's husband. That's likely the reason she agreed to do Love Ranch. It certainly wasn't the flaccid script.

See a trailer here. The film is available from Netflix.