Friday, December 21, 2012

Ageless Erotica coming soon!

I'm thrilled to announce that Ageless Erotica will come out at the end of February 2013 from Seal Press! In this groundbreaking anthology, 29 writers age 50+ write steamy erotica featuring sexy characters who are also age 50+.

This is not your usual erotica with a few wrinkles slapped on -- these are stories that show how hot sex can be at our age. This collection embraces the agelessness of sexuality while still realistically acknowledging the changes that accompany aging.

Some selections are tender and loving, while others are edgy and kinky. But whether characters are going solo, having spicy sex with partners they love and have loved for decades, or engaging in casual encounters, every story included in these pages aims to arouse and to rejoice in the sensual side of aging.

Ageless Erotica is a stimulating celebration of the many pleasures of “well-seasoned” sex.

Check out the contents:

TO BED Erobintica
LADY BELLA I.G. Frederick 
HAND JOBS Kate Dominic
TONY TEMPO Tsaurah Litzky 
MY NEW VAGINA Audrienne Roberts Womack
TRAIN RIDE Harris Tweed 
PEAS IN A POD Maryn Blackburn
GEORGE Lorna Lee
BY THE BOOK Rae Padilla Francoeur
BLIND, NOT DEAD Johnny Dragona
MORNING Belle Burroughs Shepherd

I'll share excerpts and tell you more about the writers soon. If you'd like to be emailed when Ageless Erotica is available for purchase, please email me with "Ageless Erotica notification" in the subject header, and I'll let you know the moment copies are available. You can also pre-order on Amazon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sexy Seniors' Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Usually when I write a gift guide for you, I compile the best of the sex toys, books, and other items that I've reviewed all year. This year, I'm spotlighting some fabulous products that I haven't reviewed yet, along with some favorites of the year. 

I've tried a few different clitoral arousal gels, and they all provide a bit of a tingle. The new wOw Max O from Wet is a whole different species.

I've been using it for several months, and haven't reviewed it yet only because I can't figure out how to describe the sensation. It's more than a tingle -- almost a sting, but in a lusciously arousing, sexy way. It contains two vasodilators which bring blood to the surface of the skin -- important for arousal and orgasm -- and  peppermint creates the more-than-tingly sensation. It feels really, really good. (If you can figure out how to describe the sensation, please let me know.) If you like the idea of extra clitoral arousal, but you want a gentle assist rather than the power of the Max, Wet also makes a milder version, called wOw Gentle O. Although the tube looks small, Wet says women typically get 75 applications from one tube.

Wet also makes 14 different kinds of lubricant, depending on your preference, whether you're using it with latex condoms or silicone toys, whether you want thicker and slicker or more natural feeling. My favorite is the "Ecstasy Xtra Cooling Lubricant."

When Good Vibrations heard that I was doing a Gift Guide, they rushed to send me some new products. Many insertable sex toys are too girthy for some of my readers who prefer or require slimmer toys for comfort. These two will please, and they're lot less expensive than most of the vibrators that pass my review test! Both are hard plastic, use batteries, and have a dial at the end for intensity. (They're labeled waterproof, but I didn't test them this way.)

Silky G Waterproof G-spot Vibrator. This is a terrific vibrator for a woman who likes G-spot stimulation without girth. It's just 1.25" in diameter at its widest. We're all shaped a bit differently, but for me, the curved tip hit my G-spot perfectly. Yum.

Easy Glider Waterproof Vibrator.If your giftee wants a slim, insertable vibrator but doesn't care about the G-spot curve, this bright, translucent vibrator has bloops for varied sensations. At its widest, it's only 1-1/8", and the tip is much smaller for easy, gradual insertion.

If intense, diffused stimulation of the clitoris and much of the vulva is more important to you than size or silence, the Acuvibe has become one of my all-time favorite external vibrators. It's strong, really strong, and because it's rechargeable, there are no cords to get in the way while you use it. Yes, it's heavy. So worth it!

Let's say your giftee likes vaginal or anal sex toys and maybe even doesn't need them to vibrate. Tantus produces an astonishing array of dildos, vibrators, butt plugs, and some items that defy categorization. Some are phallic shaped, like the Vamp pictured here -- it's sparkly, which doesn't show in the photo, and the color and name whimsically call to mind a vampire's phallus (not that I've ever seen a vampire's phallus).

Others are shaped for anatomical pleasure rather than realistic appearance. Tantus has always taken a stand for body-safe, medical-grade, platinum-based silicone products, even when most sex toys used to be cheap and toxic. (FYI, the Vamp is too girthy for me -- 1.75" -- but I like to look at it. Tantus does make smaller toys, but I thought you might like to look at the Vamp, too.)

When I was planning this gift guide, I was going to introduce the Crave Duet here. But once I tried it, I enjoyed it so much that I decided it needed its own review, which I appears here. If the woman in your life wants strong, direct clitoral vibrations in a tiny, practically silent vibrator, the Duet makes an elegant gift. 

Playboy's Greatest CoversI've given you a lots of gift ideas for women, but how about the fellow in your life? If he's told you stories of hiding his copies of Playboy under his mattress when he was a boy, he'll appreciate this coffee-table size ( 9.4" x 12") book: Playboy's Greatest Covers, by sex, tech, and pop culture writer Damon Brown.
Tenga Egg Masturbation Sleeves - Click to enlarge

A man can't have too many eggs -- Tenga Egg Masturbation Sleeves, that is. "It provides marvelous sensations, comes in a wide variety of interior ribbing designs and as a bonus, is usable even by men suffering from erectile dysfunction, raves my male reviewer, sex therapist David Pittle. Read his review here.

A Joyful Pleasure glass toy is a lovely gift that will keep on giving. These look like works of art, but their purpose is vaginal or anal pleasure. Read my review of some of these glass toys here, or see the whole collection here.  

Blossom Organics makes smooth, body-safe, natural feeling lubricants so you can enjoy your sexual sensations with a partner, a toy, or your own fingers, even if your vagina doesn't lubricate easily any more. As the name implies, these are made from natural and organic plant-based materials that are gentle even for sensitive vaginas. Choose from natural moisturizing lubricant, warm sensation moisturizing lubricant, or warm sensation oil. (The oil is not latex-friendly; the others are.) Be sure and try the Pure Pleasure Arousal Gel for extra tingle!

I've been praising the Liberator Wedge for years. It's a sex cushion, just the right shape, size, and support for getting into your favorite sex position without stress to your (or your partner's) knees, hips, or back. No need to put it away between sex dates -- it's also a nice reading pillow! I like the 24", but for large-sized bodies or a greater variety of sex positions, you might want another size or shape or a combo.

Of course, my own books make great gifts, and they're available as paperbacks, e-books, and audiobooks:

What do you think of this year's selection? I invite you to add your comments. (Please, no retailers that I don't endorse trying to pull my readers to your sites.)

Please also enjoy my past gift guides:

Monday, December 10, 2012

He Danced into My Heart: Memories and Reflections

Tomorrow, December 11, is the 12-year anniversary of the day that I met Robert Rice and my life -- personal and professional -- flipped itself upside down. Robert walked into the line dance class I was teaching, and I tried to remember to breathe.

It was lust at first sight... on my part. He, I learned later, was just looking for a new place to dance.

I didn't know that night that I'd fall in love with this man. I only knew that his blue eyes and warm smile melted my world, and I had a sudden urge (which I resisted) to touch the chest hair that peeked from the V of his shirt. When he started to roll his hips, revealing a lifetime of dance and a self-assurance in his 64-year-old dancer's body, I felt my own hips strain to match his rhythm.  I kept forgetting the steps to the dance I was teaching.

It took nine months before I finally caressed that chest hair and our hips matched rhythm horizontally instead of vertically. I, whose motto had been "the only problem with instant gratification is that it takes too long," pursued a man who didn't believe in rushing anything. (Our complete story is in my first book about senior sex: Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty.)

Our first kiss didn't happen for nine months -- but once we started, we never stopped kissing.

I lost Robert to cancer on August 2, 2008 -- exactly seven years after our first kiss.

Today, I made myself coffee in the coffee pot that he had used, held my cup to my cheek as he had done. I thought of the post I had written in 2010  -- “I’m Going to Make You Coffee….”

I thought first that I would republish that post today. But another two-plus years have passed since I wrote that. As strong as the memories are still, and as freely as the tears flow at those memories, my grief has more layers of time cushioning it. The grief isn't so raw and I'm not powerless or joyless from it. It still floods over me, but not all the time, and when it does, I know how to swim to the top and breathe again. My muscles are strong from practice.

For those of you who have lost a loved one, I think it's important to share this with you: It does get easier. We all proceed in our own time frame. There's no "right" amount of time to grieve, and anyone who tells you, "you should be over it by now" should be educated (first I wrote "pilloried," but I changed my mind).

I've also learned that we can move forward and hold onto the memories at the same time. I'm listed with three online dating sites, and I'm enthusiastic about welcoming male company into my life. I still miss Robert every day. I am not looking to replace him -- couldn't be done even if I wanted to, and I don't want to. Any new man I get involved with will have to accept that I'm not going to take Robert's paintings off the wall or hide the urn that holds his ashes.

I'm 69 -- I bring my whole lifetime of experiences with me into whatever path I take next. That includes my memories of the man who taught me how richly I could love and be loved.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Crave Duet: a most unusual vibrator

The Crave Duet completely surprised me! I had seen photos of this unusual clitoral vibrator and read reviews, so I thought I'd like it -- but I had no idea I'd love it.

I originally planned to include it in my holiday gift guide 2012, but after testing it, I knew the Crave Duet deserved a complete review.  

The two-prong shape is the most unique quality of this delightful little vibrator. The dual motor makes each prong vibrate independently, and when the prongs surround your clitoris, it's a wild sensation indeed!

If you like strong, pinpoint pressure on your clitoris, you can pinch your clit with the prongs -- they open and close a little bit (do not force it to open more than pinky-width) -- if that's what you like.

Or, to stimulate a larger area and not pinch anything, you can nest it horizontally between your labia so that the prongs surround your clitoris and hug much of the vulva. This worked for me! This would also work during partner penetration when your clit needs an extra assist. 

The Duet is also unusual because it charges via your UBS port. Pull apart the silver part from the silicone, plug the USB in, press the center button, and Duet recharges in an hour or two. No cords or batteries needed ever.You can buy a version of the Duet that acts as a real flash drive, too, but why bother? Do you really need to carry your work files in your vibrator?

Before I tried the Duet myself, I read some early reviews. Some reviewers said they wanted to love the Duet, but they didn't because it either wasn't strong enough or, because the prong tips were practically touching,  they pinched their clits uncomfortably in the normal position.

Crave listened to reviewers and customers and resolved these problems admirably in the second generation Duet. Now there's an extra-strong "turbo" setting -- which is strong enough even for me! The shape has been redesigned with a wider gap, so it hugs instead of pinches, unless you intentionally close the gap.  (Anyone who bought the first generation may receive a free replacement -- now that's customer service.)

One con: The controls at the end of the shiny part are impossible to distinguish unless you're peering at them up close with your reading glasses on. The middle one is obvious: press for off, on, or to change patterns. But the "+" and "-" are easily confused, and you don't want to turn it down when you intend to turn it up.  (You can see the controls here -- I was unable to get a clear photo myself.)

My suggestion: Start with it on the highest "+" setting you might want, and leave it there, adjusting sensation by pressure. Either that or memorize which side the "+" button is on before you get started.

I don't usually discuss packaging in my sex toy reviews -- it's usually a "who cares?" aspect of a product. But the Crave packaging is laudable: instead of a big box with lots of plastic around the product, the Duet arrives in a tiny cardboard box, with a "quick start guide" printed right on the box.

A more detailed user's guide is online, and the URL is engraved on a tiny charm. The charm idea is cute but silly, because you can't attach the charm to the zipper pull of the case (I tried). So you'll probably just lose it unless you wear it on a chain as statement jewelry or put it on a key ring. Let me save you some trouble: here's the user guide:

The Crave Duet comes with a slim, discreet storage case that you can fit in a purse, pocket, or laptop carrier, making the Duet easy to carry with you should the need arise before you get home (nothing's that urgent for me these days, but your urges may vary!) or in case you anticipate an interesting date. I'll definitely carry the Duet on my next trip!

The business end of the Duet is silicone, so be sure to use water-based lubricant with it -- not silicone lube. The whole thing is waterproof -- just be careful that it's all the way closed so the seam is sealed before taking it into the tub with you or washing it. It's also very quiet!

I hope you'll try the Crave Duet and let me know if you enjoy it as much as I do. Happy buzzing!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Penis Power: Interview with Dudley Danoff

Urologist Dudley S. Danoff, MD, FACS, is the author of Penis Power: The Ultimate Guide to Male Sexual Health (Del Monaco Press, 2011). It’s an upbeat and even entertaining guide to the complexities, myths, facts, and vagaries of owning a penis (or, in my case, liking penises and being endlessly fascinated by them). Dr. Danoff covers how they work and what’s going on when they don’t work—psychologically as well as physiologically.

My male readers often write me with age-related questions about their penises: what’s a “normal” change with age vs. what’s a medical problem, how they can deal with erection difficulties, how to negotiate new needs and issues with a partner. “We are tragically ill-informed about the penis,” says Dr. Danoff, and he aims to change that.

 Although this book is not specifically aimed at our age group, all of it applies to us, and I guarantee you’ll say, “I didn’t know that” several times as you read, even if you’ve owned a penis for 50, 60, or 70 years.

I invited Dr. Danoff to answer questions that specifically address men age 60+ and the women in their lives. I welcome your comments.


Q: What is your big message to our older men? 

A: Sex is good for you. It maintains overall physical strength and cardiovascular health, and most of all, it keeps you invigorated. A man’s penis is there to serve him from puberty to old age.

 Q: What are the most common misunderstandings that men age 60+ have about their penises or about their sexuality in general? What do you wish all men knew as they aged? 

A: By far, the most frequent complaint I hear from men is that they do not have the same level of sexual desire they used to have. It takes longer to get an erection, it takes longer to ejaculate, it takes longer to get aroused again after they make love, and their erections are not as firm. These conditions are all predictable changes that occur as men get older.

Attitude is the key to penis longevity. My super-potent patients tell me that sex gives them as much joy at 70 as it did at 20. Some say the sex is even better! Equal pleasure can be obtained from occasional, prolonged intercourse with one orgasm as with frequent, rapid intercourse with multiple orgasms.

All men, as they age, deserve active, healthy sex lives as long as they remain physically fit. Do not expect to do at 60 what you did at 40. Adjust your sexual activities as your body changes, just as you adjust other activities. Look upon the adjustment as both a new challenge and a new opportunity.

As you age, learn to use your mind and imagination to make up in creativity what you may lack in physical strength. As long as you are able to breathe, move your extremities, maintain relative control over your bodily functions, remain alert enough to identify the date and day of the week, and sustain a positive mental outlook, you can continue to exercise your penis power indefinitely.

Q: What would you say to many men age 60+ who tell me that they don’t get good information or direction from their urologists when they report undependable or nonexistent erections? They are commonly told, “Well, you’re older now,” or “It’s ED,” without a medical workup to see whether some underlying condition is causing the ED.

A: Find another urologist who is knowledgeable about erectile dysfunction and is willing and able to thoroughly evaluate you. A comprehensive evaluation, including a full cardiovascular evaluation, by a qualified urologist is essential. Endocrine issues, such as low testosterone or unrecognized diabetes, can then be treated, and erectile dysfunction will improve. Knowledge is power. There are many treatments on the urologic menu for erectile dysfunction, but first you need a proper diagnosis to identify the underlying cause. Treatment is both available and effective in almost all cases and will result in satisfactory erections.

Q: Many men would rather sever their own leg than admit to a doctor that they are experiencing erectile difficulties. Why is it important to see a doctor before self-treating with drugs or other assists?

 A: Many serious medical conditions that are first manifested by erectile difficulties go unrecognized. It is absolutely essential to get a full evaluation by a qualified urologist in all cases of erectile dysfunction in order to determine the presence or absence of some serious (or not so serious) medical problem and treat it accordingly. For example, if low serum testosterone is found, testosterone replacement therapy can give spectacular results. Under no circumstances should a man self-treat his erectile dysfunction with over-the-counter preparations without first determining the presence or absence of an underlying medical condition that is correctable.

Q: How can women enhance their partner’s and their own sexual pleasure when erections and intercourse are not the main events?

 A: Most importantly, do not think old! Sexual pleasure is all about attitude. If your mind is strong and your partner’s mind is strong, intimacy and sex without vaginal penetration can be enormously pleasurable. The key is not to lament what you have lost. Be grateful for what you still have and make the most of it. Age is not a deterrent to great sex. Rather, it is a challenge and an opportunity.

If you keep your enthusiasm, you can compensate for or even delay the effects of aging. You do not stop having sex because you are old—you get old because you stop having sex! Talking candidly with your partner about aging is the best way to find a solution for maintaining a healthy sex life.

Q: What else do you want women to understand about their male partners?

 A: Older men are just as penocentric as younger men are, even though capacity may be diminished. I would encourage older women to become more “penis oriented.” Older women who are penis oriented have more fun and also have better marriages, more faithful partners, and greater personal fulfillment in all aspects of their lives. If you believe that each partner has the mutual responsibility to satisfy the other’s needs, then it follows that you will hold up your end of the bargain as a woman by making your partner’s penis one of your top priorities.

Being penis oriented does not imply a belittlement of female sexuality. It simply means learning to understand and accommodate an older man’s penis needs by approaching that task with all of the pride and skill that you would bring to any other endeavor. I assure the older woman that if you take the steps to become informed, you and your man will reap rewards you have only dreamed about.

Images are from Penis Power: The Ultimate Guide to Male Sexual Health by Dudley Seth Danoff, MD. ©2011 Dudley Seth Danoff. Reprinted by permission of Dudley Seth Danoff. Copies of the book are available at your local bookstore or may be ordered through

Monday, December 03, 2012

Healing Painful Sex: Interview with Deborah Coady, MD

Many women in our age group write me that they’re experiencing pain with sex or avoiding sex because of pain. I consulted several experts for their advice in chapter 11 of Naked at Our Age: “When Sex Hurts: Vulvar/Vaginal Pain,” but reading that chapter is just the beginning of solving that problem. You need a diagnosis – vaginal/vulvar pain can be caused by a number of medical issues, and you need to understand why you’re having pain before you can get it treated effectively.  

I was happy to receive a review copy of Healing Painful Sex: A Woman's Guide to Confronting, Diagnosing, and Treating Sexual Pain by Deborah Coady, MD and Nancy Fish, MSW, MPH. This book is entirely devoted to sexual pain in women: the myriad possible causes, how to figure out which one or combination is yours, and what to do about it.

The authors are a power team: Deborah Coady is a gynecologist and a pelvic/vulvar pain specialist. Nancy Fish is a therapist with degrees in social work and public health, and she personally experienced chronic pelvic pain until Dr. Coady helped her resolve it.

I asked Dr. Coady if she would answer some questions that women our age often ask me:

Q. Many older women are reluctant to ask their gynecologists about sexual pain because a) they’re embarrassed, b) they think this is part of aging, and c) they fear their doctors will be dismissive. What would you say to these women?

A: These feelings and fears are completely understandable. Unfortunately, the medical profession has until now given too little attention to the sexual concerns of women as we get older. Women often are dismissed or rushed when they bring up their problems. And this is not the fault of the patients: A recent survey of gynecologists by Stacey Lindau, MD of the University of Chicago hints to their discomfort, as well as their lack of experience and formal training in this area of medicine. While 60% responded that they did ask about sexual problems at the first visit, only 14% asked about pleasure with sexual activity. It is often up to women themselves to be pro-active, ask the hard questions, and remember that they are entitled to medical therapy for this medical problem, or referral to an MD who can help.

Q. My readers sometimes report that after a long time without sex (due to lack of a partner or disinterest from a partner), they try to have sex again -- and they can’t: It’s too painful. What should a woman do about this?

A: On average, about 5-6 years after their last menses, most women develop thinning of their vulvar and vaginal tissues, often causing pain with sexual touching or intercourse, or with urination after sexual activity, or itching, burning and even surface bleeding after sex. This can occur even in women taking systemic estrogen therapy. As estrogen levels decline both the surface skin and underlying connective tissues thin, shrink, and lose elasticity. Most pain is actually located at the vaginal opening itself, rather than deep inside the vagina as previously thought. The good news is that since these tissues are exquisitely hormonally sensitive, even small doses of estrogen, with or without testosterone or DHEA, applied to the vaginal opening (the vestibule), can reverse these changes within 2-4 weeks, and then even lower doses can be used to maintain the improvement. Some women with severe loss of elasticity will also be helped by a course of pelvic floor manual physical therapy, to help normalize the connective tissue, and relieve the reflexive muscle spasms that some women develop due to their pain.

Q. I like your questionnaire (107-111) because women often don’t know how to pin down just where and what the pain is that they’re experiencing. I recommend that women scan or photocopy that questionnaire to show their medical professionals. Would it be a good idea to carry a copy of Healing Painful Sex to the appointment, too, in case the doc hasn’t heard of your book?

A: One of our missions in writing the book is that women would have it as a resource to get their gynecologists informed and up to speed on treating sexual pain.  Many patients have done just this, and their MDs have actually been grateful for the introduction to the book.

Q. If a gynecologist says, “You just need lubricant” or – worse! – “Well, at your age, you can expect that,” what should an older woman say to get diagnosis and treatment? I tell women to say, “If you don’t know how to help me, please refer me to someone who does,” but that might seem more confrontational than you would recommend! What would you advise her to say?

A: I would advise her to say exactly that.  We have to advocate for ourselves and we deserve up-to-date treatment for sexual pain.  A healthy sexual life is a basic human right, even defined as so by the World Health Organization!

Q. How can a post-menopausal woman weigh the benefits of HRT vs. the health risks if she’s experiencing vaginal thinning and tearing?

A: There is absolutely no evidence that the small amount of estradiol or estriol available for use at the vaginal opening is absorbed to any degree that would induce breast cancer. The doses are tiny compared to HRT doses that are meant to be systemic, that is, to go to all parts of the body. To help hot flashes the doses need to reach the brain in quantities much much higher than the topical estrogen will ever give. And with the evidence now showing that estrogen alone does not increase the risk of breast cancer anyway, women can be assured that topical therapy, especially if mostly applied to the vaginal opening, is safe. It is also now known that the thicker and more estrogenized the vulvar and vaginal tissues are, the less absorption into the body.  So a stable constant regimen is better than going on and off the topicals, with the tissues thinning again in between.

Q. How do we educate our medical professionals to stop being dismissive and take our sexuality seriously, whether we’re 60, 70, or 80?

A: This is a work in progress, but educational outreach through professional societies like NAMS, the International Pelvic Pain Society (IPPS), and the International Society for the Study Of Vulvovaginal Disorders (ISSVD), as well as patient advocacy organizations, especially the National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) is helping. The websites of these societies all list health professionals by area to help patients find a knowledgeable MD. We also need to devote more time to formal education on sexuality and pain in medical schools and residency programs.

As always, I welcome your comments. If you’re experiencing pain with sex, I hope you’ll read both Naked at Our Age and Healing Painful Sex. Then please carry both books with you to show your doctor!