Saturday, June 23, 2012

X1 Orgasmatron review: If a jackhammer is sexy

When "Dr. X. Treme" offered to send me the X1 Orgasmatron for review, I jumped at the chance.

It's a funny looking contraption -- one of my Naked at Our Age Facebook followers asked if I got it from Woody Allen when I posted a photo.

The actual machine resembles a black plastic light bulb, over which you fit a bubblegum pink dildo. The light bulb has one cord, but you have two more cords to attach before you can plug it into a wall socket.

Yes, three cords, total. Once you're all plugged in, so to speak, you dial up the intensity you want, and supposedly get a physics-law abiding orgasm.  According to the inventor's website,

This vibrator's design is based on an understanding of the applied physics of sex machines... Most vibrating machines only move a tiny patch of skin on the tip of the clitoris. While this part of the body is incredibly sensitive, the clitoris is like an iceberg. A vast structure of nerves exist beneath the surface of the skin that are not stimulated by a typical small-mass vibrator.

I'm sorry, I really wanted to like the X1 Orgasmatron. But it didn't work that way for me. If my clitoris was an "iceberg," the X1 Orgasmatron was a giant jackhammer battering away at it--and at my hand which was trying to hold it. I don't usually post videos when I do reviews, but I thought you needed to see this guy in action:

I have no idea how it might have worked as a dildo, because at 1.9 inches in diameter, it was much too girthy for me. Dr. X. Treme assured me, 

The "dildo" can also act as a mechanical finger on the outside of the clit, and that is how some users exclusively use it, as well as turning the whole human hand into a vibrator. 

 So that's what I tried to do.

Unfortunately, it was uncomfortable to hold, the "fingertip" was very hard (consider a softer, slightly squishy attachment, Dr. X.), and the combination of the noise, the silliness of having three cords to contend with, and needing to use both hands just to keep it from escaping as it clattered about made the experience too unsexy to continue.

Yes, I tried dialing down the intensity, but then it was just one more toy that didn't deliver. I wanted the intensity -- but not in the style of a silicone jackhammer.

Did you notice that the slogan of XTreme Orgasmatronics is "Less pants, more science." What did you make of that? I had to ask Dr. X. Treme, "I don’t understand 'less pants' – do you mean fewer trousers, or less heavy breathing?"

He replied, "The idea of the tag line is that when one applies physics to sex toy design it's still real science but trousers are no longer needed in order to go to work." Oh.... May I respectfully suggest that Dr. X. rethink this tag line? One more thing to rethink: the X1 Orgasmatron retails for $180.

If a sex toy doesn't work for me, I try to figure out who would like it. After all, I'm just one person with particular tastes, and just because I'm ready to pull out all three cords doesn't mean you won't love it. If my jackhammer analogy made you squirm with delight rather than recoil, you'd probably have fun with this. Whether you'd have $180 worth of fun, I can't say.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Reader: "Replacement girlfriend? Since when are wives disposable?"

I am one of the sex educators who answers question sent to the Safer Sex for Seniors website. I just answered this one and wanted to share it with you, too. It's an issue that either has or will come up for us, unfortunately:

I'm 74 and my wife is 78. She is a resident of a care center while her hip heals from being broken and I'm still at home. She also has dementia! I'm being advised to put her into a senior home for the balance of her life and go find a replacement girlfriend.

My question is: Now that I'm at this age I've lost or forgotten how to find an acceptable date. My friends and family think it's outrageous for me to replace my wife. But our state case manager is strongly backing the suggestion for a new girl in my life. Since when are wives disposable -- except until death do us part? 

 Joan Price answers:

This is a sad and scary time for you, I understand. Your wife is badly injured and suffering from dementia, and others are advising you to let her stay in a residential facility where she can be taken care of – not temporarily, but for the rest of her life. I can understand how upset you must feel. This isn’t what you and your wife thought your golden years would be.

If you’re asking whether you should start dating, only you know whether that’s the right step for you. No one is suggesting that your wife is disposable, though they may sound that way to you in your grief.

I think those who are advising you to date are trying to let you know gently that your wife will not be returning to your home or to your relationship, and when it feels right to you to find companionship, it’s okay to do that. They’re not encouraging you to “dispose” of your wife or your vows. They’re trying to look out for your emotional well-being by letting you know that if you do want to explore finding a new relationship now or in the future, there’s nothing wrong with that.

I can see from the way you state your question, though, that it’s probably too soon to take that suggestion. Perhaps better right now would be a grief support group. Although your wife has not died, you have lost her companionship and even her presence in your life. A grief counselor or support group could be immensely valuable to you.

When you’re ready, you don’t need to feel guilty about your own need to be close to another person emotionally and sexually– that’s natural and a part of being human. You would not be trying to “replace” your wife in any way, just taking care of your own social and intimate needs. You may need to explain that to your family (or let them read this) if they still think it’s “outrageous” that you might look for a relationship.

I wish you the best. I know this is the hardest of times.

[Originally published at]

Readers: I invite your comments

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What You Should Never Say/Send to a Senior Sex Educator

I make it easy to contact me via email or Facebook because I do want to hear from you. I love reading your stories, questions, and concerns. 95% of you are totally respectful -- you understand that I'm on a mission of senior sex education -- not titillation or exhibitionism -- and you engage with me on that basis.

But part of making myself easy to contact is that sometimes (rarely, thankfully) I get creepy emails and inappropriate messages.

Here's a sample. They're all real. I couldn't make this up. Names withheld so the writers won't be more embarrassed than we need them to be:

  • "i must say nothing more sexy then some one over 60 nude i just love it. ever get to pa" and later he added, "could i say you would not need that toy" Uh huh, and what have you told me that will make me want to get nude with you in Pennsylvania?  Listen, guys, just because you can type without capital letters and you feel like propositioning someone, that doesn't mean you should. And even if you're God's gift to women, don't presume that you'll replace my Hitachi.
  • "I like what you said tonight. Okay if I send you some drunken, dirty texts?" This was said to me after I gave a bookstore reading. No, thank you, do not send me either drunken or dirty texts, and certainly do not combine drunken and dirty. That will never interest me in the slightest.

  • Do not ever, ever send me a picture of your penis. I like penises a lot. Some of my best friends have penises. All of my lovers have had penises. But that's the thing -- I like penises that are owned by men I like. A photo of a penis all by itself, hanging out of unzipped jeans (as was the one a 22-year-old man sent me recently), will never make me go, "Yum."  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Report from a Sex Educators' Conference

What do sex therapists, counselors, and sex educators do at a conference? No, they don't hold orgies or kiss-and-tell or take off their clothes in public. They don't snicker or tell off-color jokes. Rather, they learn, they teach, they keep themselves updated on new developments in their field, and they network -- just like any conference. 

The difference is that every topic is related to human sexuality, and for everyone there, talking and teaching about sex is their day job. 

I just returned from the annual conference of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) in Austin, and I’d like to share some interesting morsels with you. 

Personally, the most significant moment for me was when I received the 2012 AASECT Book Award for Naked at Our Age and I read the inscription on the plaque: "For a major contribution toward understanding the sexuality of seniors." Can you tell from the photo how thrilled I was (and am!)?

Thank you, all the readers who sent stories and questions and all the experts who provided answers and advice. This is not just my book – it’s yours, also. Senior sex is not only out from under the covers, it’s receiving major attention now. I loved hearing this from the therapists: “I bought your book and love it. I keep it on my desk to show my clients.” 

I had the pleasure of talking to Betty Mooney, an 86-year-old sex-ed university professor who received the Distinguished Service Award. (See a clip of her teaching her class here.) Betty told me, "I have no wish to retire. This is more than what I do -- it's what I am." I get that.

The conference dealt with all aspects of sexuality, but I’ll share just a few tidbits that apply to our age group.

Ellen Barnard is one of my favorite sex educators – you’ll find her savvy tips all through Naked at Our Age. Ellen, co-owner of A Woman’sTouch  in Madison, WI, works with cancer survivors to help them reclaim their sexuality. “Oncologists are there to treat your cancer and save your life--it’s not within their job description to talk about sex,” Ellen told us in her session on Sexuality and Cancer. So it's up to people like Ellen to do the talking about sex. (Her PowerPoint outline is available here.) A Woman’s Touch is a superb resource for sexuality topics, especially for our age group. See the list of educational brochures here. You’ll learn cutting-edge information that your doctor didn't tell you about Penile Rehabilitation after Prostate or Pelvic Surgery or Radiation, for example, and the complete Vaginal Renewal program that I referenced several times in both Naked at Our Age and Better Than I Ever Expected

Barry McCarthy, Ph.D.Barry McCarthy, prolific author of Enduring Desire: Your Guide to Lifelong Intimacy (2011 AASECT Book Award winner); Discovering Your Couple Sexual Style: Sharing Desire, Pleasure, and SatisfactionSexual Awareness: Your Guide to Healthy Couple Sexuality, and Rekindling Desire: A Step by Step Program to Help Low-Sex and No-Sex Marriages talked about Sexual Desire Disorders. He explained that the "limerance" stage of a relationship -- that initial romantic and highly sexualized time --typically lasts just 6 months to two years. The challenge is how to keep sexual desire alive and empowered in an ongoing relationship, focusing on pleasure and engagement rather than performance. “Sexuality is sharing pleasure in a team sport,” he said, giving several strategies for developing comfort, confidence, and connection.

There was so much more -- but I hope this gives you a taste!

I wore my Naked at Our Age shirt quite a bit. One attendee read my shirt and told me, "You sure look good for - whatever age you are." Struck me as funny!

I couldn't write about sexuality and Austin without posting a photo I took of the Austin Motel. No, I didn't stay there, but I did stare for a while at the sign (which was huge, if size matters)! 

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Ultimate Guide to Kink: book review

I was, at first, conflicted when Cleis Press invited me to review The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge, ed. Tristan Taormino. I'm so unkinky personally. I like gentle sex, and although I had a "try anything twice" motto a few decades ago, by now, I feel pretty secure in knowing what works for me, and it's decidedly, deliciously, vanilla.

However! I'm open-minded and curious about all things sexual, and I have a duty to my readers with more varied proclivities and experimental attitudes to learn everything I can and guide you to the best resources.  Whether you've been a long-time kinkster or you're wanting to try something new, this book can be your guide.

I'll admit it, I've never understood what could be pleasurable about pain. I've been in two devastating automobile accidents with residual and lifelong pain, I shattered my shoulder in ten places two years ago,  I have arthritis in my neck -- I know pain. I couldn't imagine bringing pain intentionally into my sex life. Imagine my surprise reading this in Tristan Taormino's introduction:
Tristan Taormino

When people experience pain, adrenaline, endorphins, and natural painkillers flood their nervous system. People get off on this chemical rush, which many describe as feeling energized, high, or transcendent... In the context of a sexually charged scene, some people, when they are aroused (and their pain tolerance is much higher), process a face slap in a different way: it feels good.

Oh! Now I get it. (Are true kinksters laughing at my innocence?)

I approached The Ultimate Guide to Kink knowing I'd learn something new. I had no idea how well-written it would be, how many new things I'd learn, and in what detail! The book is comprised of 20 essays on different aspects of kink, written by 15 well-known leaders in their particular brand of kink. And yes, several are our age!  Among them:

  • Patrick Califia, who writes "Butthole Bliss: The Ins and Outs of Anal Fisting" ("one of the most extreme sexual acts that one person can allow another to do to his or her body") and "Enhancing Masochism: How to Expand Limits and Increase Desire." He defines masochism as "the desire and the ability to become aroused and perhaps even climax while experiencing sensations that other people avoid." 
  • Hardy Haberman, who writes "A Little Cock and Ball Play," including household items you can use as sensation implements: toothbrush, paintbrush, nylon scouring pad, mushroom brush.... 
  • Jack Rinella, who writes "The Dark Side." As the Dark Lord, he advertised for men who desired to be "subjugated, degraded, dominated, humiliated, and violated" -- about 120 men responded. 
  • Lolita Wolf, who writes "Making an Impact: Spanking, Caning, and Flogging," including choosing an implement, techniques, and why the bottom and the top enjoy it. 
  • Barbara Carrellas, who writes "Kinky Twisted Tantra," including "The Tao of Pain."
You might be surprised at the number of folks with gray hair who have been practicing BDSM for all or most of their sexual lives, as well as the number who decided (or will decide) past midlife to enact fantasies that they kept tamped down. You'll find some of them in Naked at Our Age. This is one more hush-hush aspect of senior sex -- that some of us like our sex kinky.

Patrick Califia challenges those who brand BDSM players as "mentally ill":

The assumption that variant sexualities are mental illnesses has more to do with conservative religious values than it does with objective observation. If a mental state or human behavior is unhealthy, we ought to be able to demonstrate that it makes that person unhappy, interferes with their ability to give and receive love, prevents them from setting goals that give them a sense of fulfillment, and injures their health.

This book  is a how-to guide that answers every question you might have and many you wouldn't think to ask, from bondage techniques (illustrated by Katie Diamond) to safe fisting to training a sex slave. I recommend it whether you're already into kink, think you might be, or -- like me -- you're just fascinated by and nonjudgmental about consenting adults doing whatever they want, as long as it doesn't hurt anybody who doesn't want to be hurt. Take a look!