Monday, November 23, 2015

"Friends with benefits" -- do we need a new term?

Question to readers: I know that many people in our age group have "friends with benefits," or would like to. Do we need a new term for it?

I'm talking about a relationship that is sexual but also a solid friendship -- we like each other in and out of bed -- yet it's not a committed relationship and will not become one.

We're not partners and we're not dating exactly -- we just get together when we both want to, and sex is usually part of the package. We stay in touch in between times together. We're both free to pursue and explore other relationships. We don't have goals of our FWB becoming more (or different) than the way we're enjoying each other right now. It is what it is, and we like that.

It's not the same as a "hookup" or "bootie call" because we share an emotional closeness -- yet without any expectations or restrictions about what we do when we're not together.

What do you think? Is "friends with benefits" a good enough term? Or does that sound too casual or non-caring? One person suggested "limited relationship" as opposed to "committed" or "primary" relationship, but that seems to emphasize what it isn't rather than what it is. I suggested "lover-friends." I hope you'll add your point of view.

I hope you'll post a comment using a first name of your choice (choose something other than "anonymous"), plus your age, please, so we can see how our generation thinks.

Feel free to add your FWB experience after age 50, if you care to share. I think this kind of relationship is far more common than we know!

Notes about comments:

Thank you in advance for commenting! Some people have reported problems commenting. If this happens to you, please email me your comment (with the name under which you want it posted and your real age) and I'll post it for you. I delete comments that attempt to spam my blog or hijack my readers to a commercial site that I do not endorse. 

Friday, November 06, 2015

This Thing We Call Sex by David Steinberg: book review

David Steinberg has compiled a brilliant book of essays and erotic photographs in This Thing We Call Sex: A Radically Sensible Look at Sex in America.

Steinberg, now 71, has been writing about sex since 1985 and photographing couples being sexual at home since 1999. In This Thing We Call Sex, he describes many types of sexual awakenings and insights: his first swing party; his first sexual encounter with a trans woman, where he discovered how much he's turned on by a woman possessing both feminine energy and a penis; the gift of a gang bang for his partner's 52nd birthday; learning to slap a woman he loved because it excited her; and much more. Through Steinberg's candor and beautifully crafted writing, I felt I was getting more than a window into his views and activities -- I was experiencing them myself.

Steinberg grew up in the same era I did. We came of age when sexual repression was the norm, and we were foot soldiers in the sexual revolution (though I was far less adventurous, even in what I considered my wilder days). In 1963, when both he and I were in college, "rumblings of sexual change could be heard on the cultural landscape if you listened really hard, but they were distinctly muted to say the least."

David Steinberg
Steinberg puts his experiences and reflections in the context of discovering our sexuality despite our society's sex-negative view. Sexual acceptance has improved greatly since we were growing up, but sex negativity still persists. We're shamed for wanting what we want, called perverts and worse if what we like is outside the very small box of what society condones. Here, I'll let him say it his own way:

  • "Who are we. really, when it comes to sex? Do we ever really get to know the full range and depth of our sexual desires and possibilities for pleasure? If we could strip away the rules, the moralizing, the early antisexual childhood training, the internalized raised eyebrows, what might we find of ourselves underneath?"

  • "Sex is such a powerful and unpredictable arena for psychic discovery; it's no wonder it scares us to death. When we let the proprieties drift out the window, when we face our individual menageries of urges and desires without the referees of reason and reasonability, we are apt to uncover the most surprising and disconcerting things about ourselves -- things we don't even begin to understand, things we may well not want to acknowledge."

  • "We are told repeatedly, and we come to believe ... that if we acknowledge, honor, and embrace the erotic impulses of our sensual selves we will destroy the order in our world and be cast into chaos. This terrifies us. We turn against desire itself, against our erotic impulses and feelings, as well as the erotic expressions of others. we set ourselves the task of keeping the erotic down at all cost."

Copyright (c) David Steinberg, 2000

And the photos! Deliciously erotic and intensely personal photos of faces smiling, grimacing, laughing in ecstasy; intimate gazes; entwined bodies. The diversity of the people in the photos is startling because it's so rare. As David told me in an email interview,

One of the core statements that I hope my photographs of people being sexual makes is that we all can be vibrant, alive, sexy, sexual people, despite the cultural biases that would restrict that appreciation to people who are young, thin, physically fit, etc. I make a point of including as wide a range of subjects as possible, including people of all ages, body types, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities, and sexual proclivities. I have photographed people ranging in age from 19 to 75, from 90 to 300 pounds, and over a dozen couples that include someone with a physical disability.

Hopefully, when people see my photographs they think, "Oh, look, this is someone like me being wonderfully sexual," rather than seeing someone whose sexuality confirms all the insecurities and self-doubts that we are encouraged to have about ourselves almost from birth.
Copyright (c) David Steinberg, 2007

I'm a sex geek -- I'm fascinated by all things sexual, and I love learning about how people think and express themselves sexually. In this book, Steinberg educates and fascinates me. I wholeheartedly recommend This Thing We Call Sex to my fellow sex geeks.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

L'Amourose Rosa Rouge: a heated vibrator for hot solo sex

There's much to love about the  L'Amourose Rosa Rouge Heat Up G-Spot Vibrator, a sex toy from that warms up as you use it!

I don't mean that it absorbs your body heat -- better than that: it has an internal "Thermal Regulation System" that gradually heats it to 40-42 degrees Celsius/ 104-107.6 degrees Fahrenheit. I didn't know whether I'd like this -- I feared that the heat would be irritating. Was I wrong! The warmth feels really good, and as important, it increases blood flow to the genitals, which our aging bodies need.

The versatile design lets you use it several ways:

1. Insert the long part vaginally. (1.5" diameter at widest part). This felt good to me as long as I wasn't trying to make the base add clitoral stimulation. Supposedly, the base can rest on your vulva, stimulating your clitoris while the longer part is penetrating vaginally. My body didn't work that way. If the inserted part was comfortable and in contact with my g-spot, the base hovered in the air above and didn't come close to contacting my vulva. If I forced the base down, the end of the inserted part hit painfully. We're all different, and since it's called a g-spot vibrator, I have to assume this may work for many of you.

2. Use the base as a handle and rub or nestle the long part over your clitoris. This worked really well for me. You can get pinpoint stimulation with the tip if you like, but I preferred letting the Rosa Rouge curve around my vulva, stimulating the largest area possible. The narrowest part of the neck has a bit of flexibility, so you can make its curve adjust to your own.

3. You can also use it anally, though I didn't try it that way.

The vibrations are rumbly rather than buzzy, and although they aren't Magic Wand intensity, they're strong enough to win me over. I'm about to turn 72, and intense vibrations are key for me, as I know they are for many of you in my age group. There are two motors and nine functions, including running one motor and not the other, or both, and several patterns as well as intensities.

Charging is easy -- you perch the vibrator in its elegant charging base, plug it in, and let it recharge. After you charge it and take it off its base, it's waterproof!


Good luck trying to see the practically invisible controls. You'll need both your reading glasses and a bright light. You won't be able to feel the difference between "+" and "-" either, especially when your fingers are lubed up. I suggest you memorize where the controls are, re-memorize them after you get it in position, and hope that you don't accidentally turn it down or off when you're ready for extra intensity for the Big Moment.

Yes, it's expensive, $259.99. It's a classy, luxury vibrator, and the heat adds to the price. If you like the design and don't care about it heating up, there are two other, less expensive versions: 

I first discovered L'Amourose Rosa Rouge after reading unusually gushing (so to speak) reviews from several sex toy reviewers whom I enjoy and trust to be as critical as a toy deserves: Dangerous Lilly, The Redhead Bedhead, and Epiphora, among others. In fact, a couple of these reviewers recommended it to me, and the good folks at made sure I had my own. Thank you!

And if you don't love  L'Amourose Rosa Rouge Heat Up G-Spot is that rare sex toy retailer that offers your money back, whatever your reason for returning it, as long as it's within the first year. Read their return policy here.

[Aaarggh, I'm frustrated that although I've re-positioned all the photos a half dozen times, as soon as I save the post, the photos pop back to where I didn't want them. Blogspot, what are you doing to me? I'll try again tomorrow. ]