Thursday, April 21, 2016

How to Put a Condom on a Soft Penis -- With Your Mouth

Those of us in our 50-80+-year-old age group who are dating or in non-exclusive relationships need to take safer sex seriously.

Yet how often do we face the challenge that the penis owner in our bed loses his erection (or thinks that he will, or doesn't have one in the first place) when we want him to don a condom? We can have plenty of sexy fun with or without his erection, but what do we do about barrier protection?

In honor of STD Awareness Month, I'd like to share with you an easy and sexy way to put a condom on a soft penis -- using your mouth. With the help of the delightful Kendra Holliday (who told me, "I've never done this before!), the perfectly flaccid Sailor Soft Pack from Good Vibrations, and an expired condom (don't we all have those?), I presented this demo during my "25 Tips for Sexy Aging" presentation at CatalystCon Midwest.  Here are the step-by-step instructions. (Practice on a dildo, soft packer, or consenting vegetable first.)

1. Start to unroll the condom, just enough so that you're sure of the direction it unrolls. Squeeze out any air in the tip. (That doesn't matter for the demo, but it's important when you do it in real life.)

2. Perch the condom on top of the head of the penis and roll it down just a little, keeping it in place with your fingers. If the penis is soft, the condom won't go down much -- that doesn't matter. You're just getting it in position

3. Put your mouth over the tip of the condom-clad penis head, leaving the rim of the condom outside your mouth. Use your fingers to keep the rim in place. Start to suck.

4. Keep sucking gently. Use your fingers to assist the condom to roll down over the penis, which is disappearing into your mouth, much to the enjoyment of its owner. As you continue to suck and the penis gets pulled into your mouth, the condom will continue to unroll over it -- magic!

5. Keep going until the condom is fully unrolled. Keep it in place with your hand as you remove your mouth -- if indeed you want to remove your mouth -- from the well-clad penis.

Doesn't that sound like fun? Oh, it is! Thank you to the lover whom I will not name who first introduced me to this trick.

Many thanks to Kendra Holliday for her willingness to learn this method in front of an audience. Kendra is a sex surrogate in St. Louis and co-leader of SEX+STL (Sex Positive St. Louis). She blogs as The Beautiful Kind.

Thanks also to Randy Austin-Cardona for photographing this process, and to CatalystCon for inviting me to give my "25 Tips for Sexy Aging" at this conference.

Note to meeting planners who were considering hiring me to speak until they read this -- don't worry, this demo is optional! As always, my talks are personalized for your audience and your needs and preferences. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Scary Old Sex by Arlene Heyman: book review

Media of Scary Old SexI was prepared to love this book even before I opened it. Scary Old Sex -- what a title! -- and it was written by Arlene Heyman, who had been a classmate of mine at Bennington College in the 1960s. We didn't know each other well (maybe she didn't know me -- Joan Kassman at the time -- at all), but her reputation as a brilliant writer, certain to succeed, was well-known even then.

Now Heyman, a therapist/psychoanalyst in New York City, has written a stunning collection of stories, some (not all) of which feature people our age. What I love most is that her characters, whether old or younger, have bodies and sex drives and sometimes quirky ways of living with both.

This collection is not erotica, and many of the stories are not directly about sex at all. Some of the characters are old; others are not. But overall, the characters' sexual behavior and longings; their feelings about sex, their own bodies and their partners' bodies; the effects of the passing of years on sexual expression and desire; and how relationships work (or not) -- all of this provides both chaos and clarity about how we age as sexual beings.

For example, in "The Loves of Her Life," 65-year-old Marianne needs both Vagifem and a progression of explicit fantasies in order to make love with her second husband, 70-year-old Stu. "For them, making love was like running a war: plans had to be drawn up, equipment in tiptop condition, troops deployed and coordinated meticulously, there was no room for maverick actions lest the country end up defeated and at each other's throats."

In "Dancing," Matt, who is hospitalized for cancer treatment, must devise constant work-arounds for the pain when he tries to eat. Yet he is absorbed by how to make love to his wife, Ann, despite the fear that their tongues touching might kill him, as immunosuppressed as he is. Their resolution: he triple-gloves his hand, they both wear masks (she also wears a hospital gown, hairnet and booties, taking no chances), and he brings her to orgasm manually. "And he wept. Because she came and because it was over so fast and they were back to themselves with her underpants down around her ankles, the pad beneath her, and leukemia."

Sometimes the bodies Heyman describes sound quite alien -- except that we (who have lived this long) know them to be ours: "Aged flesh is so fertile, grows excrescences: papules, papillomas, skin tags, moles that have to be checked yearly; yet the hair thins out, underarm and pubic, as if the soil had changed to one that no longer supports that verdant shrubbery, but instead nourishes an astonishing variety of wild mushrooms -- beautiful, if you have an eye."

I highly recommend Scary Old Sex if you're fond of literary short stories and you're willing to look at aging, bodies, relationships, and sex with a magnifying glass.

I invited Arlene Heyman to answer a few questions:

Image result for arlene heyman
Arlene Heyman
JP: Kudos for this collection of beautifully crafted short stories that portray our age group with compassion and insight. Your scenes of older-age sex are powerful because they are realistic and fully human – no caricatures, no derision, no skipping the joys and challenges of sex in older bodies. What went into your decision to write about “old sex” this way?

AH: I didn't decide to write about old sex. Scary Old Sex contains two stories about old people and their sexuality; five other stories are about people of different ages. There is sexuality and the body in almost all of the stories, because the body is with us throughout life and we live to a great extent through it.

JP: Were the sex scenes difficult to write?

AH: I think it is hard to write about sex at any age. The Guardian ran 3 articles about writing about sex, one by a guy in his twenties, one by a woman in her forties, one by me in my seventies) and we were all scared to death of what others would think of us. Frankly, I think it's hard to write about anything. I find writing very difficult. Some great writer said, "Oh, writing is easy. You just sit down at the typewriter and open a vein." (Note from Joan: this quote has been attributed to Red Smith, Paul Gallico, and Ernest Hemingway.)

JP: Why do you think it’s so rare to find books that treat older people as sexual beings?

AH: I think it's because of oedipal taboos that it's rare to find books that deal with old adults having sex. The little girl loves her mother, then her father; the boy loves his mother, and then again his mother until the age of 5 or 6. Everyone who has had children and was open-minded saw that the boy wants to marry mommy and the girl daddy. 

Then the passionate intensity goes underground and in adolescence the main job is breaking the passionate attachment to parents and turning the passion towards one's peers. It is a period of mourning, of giving up the parents, and it is hard.(It is also a time of great excitement because one is entering the larger world.). 

Part of the way one turns away from the parents is by finding them disgusting as sexual objects. One tries not to think of them as sexual. That barrier one has to set up to start out on one's own life remains firmly in place. And it extends throughout life: one views one's parents as asexual throughout life. Old people are people's parents. They must be asexual. 

And then old people do it to themselves; they neuter themselves as they had to neuter their parents. Hence, books about sex in old age--disgusting. And no one writes them.

JP: What else would you like my readers to know?

AH: A fiction writer doesn't have an ax to grind. I'm not a politician. I didn't write that book to propagandize anyone. As a person, I do hope to stay alive until I'm dead, and part of being alive is having a body. I wish for myself (and so I suppose for your readers) to think freely, know what I think, and to try to act on it so long as it doesn't hurt myself or another person. Life, more life!

Monday, April 04, 2016

Womanizer W500: Outstanding Clitoral Suction Vibrator!

How could this happen? A sex toy that gives fast orgasms to this aging woman? As if I didn't love the earlier version of the Womanizer enough, the new Womanizer W500, available from the lovely folks at LoveHoney.comis better. It's exceptional.

Why do I love the Womanizer W500 so much? It's the suction. It doesn't just vibrate (though it does do that) -- it gently pulls on the clitoris, bringing blood flow, engorgement, and increased sensation. It's not "sucking" like a vacuum -- it's subtle, but oh so effective and pleasurable.  

If you read my review of the original Womanizer, you may remember that the clitoral suction made my world rock and roll, but I had to keep my eyes closed to keep from being distracted by the tacky design. This new version is better than the original for all these reasons:

1. It's stronger, with 8 speeds (instead of 5). Even this power queen didn't need to turn it up to the highest intensity, and I almost never say that.

2. There are two sizes of clitoral cup to envelope clitorises of different sizes and varied states of protrusion or retraction.

3. It's much more attractive! No more garish, girly ear thermometer -- now it has a subtler, more appealing design. 

4. It's 5 inches long instead of 6.5, a little wider, and the controls are on the back instead of the front, so an errant thumb won't accidentally turn it off. Dangerous Lilly, a sex toy reviewer whom I enjoy reading, said it was harder to use with the controls on the back, but I'd rather turn it on first and not risk the buzz kill of accidentally hitting the power button during use.  
controls on back

5. It comes with a classy, black satin storage bag instead of a bright, bubblegum pink case.

Both models come with two detachable silicone cups and a USB charger. Use a small amount of water-based lubricant to create a seal. 

If you're close to my age (72), you're probably challenged by decreased blood flow to the genitals, making arousal and orgasm a slower and sometimes more difficult process. But this gentle suction pulls the blood into the clitoris and makes arousal and orgasm happen. It just does. 

Here are a couple of ways you can enjoy the Womanizer:

* For solo sex, especially if you want a quickie, the Womanizer gets you there faster than most vibrators.
* For partner sex, make the Womanizer part of the arousal warm-up. Then once your clitoris is engorged and you feel ready, you'll find it easier to reach orgasm in any way you play.

"But is it good enough to warrant the $230 price tag?" you ask. I know: ouch. But I really do think it's worth it. I think you'll love it as much as I do.* 

Jeffrey Dean Morgan
And if you don't love it, 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.

FYI, yes, I dislike the name "Womanizer." So I renamed mine Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

Thank you,, for arranging for me to test the Womanizer W500.

*Note: Right now, LoveHoney is offering a special 20% discount on purchases over $50 with this link!

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Doctors, Talk to Us about Our Sex Lives!

4/3/16: I'm bringing this 2014 post to the top because I'm giving a talk to doctors and other medical professionals tomorrow in Milwaukee. I want these comments from my readers to be easy to find if they read my blog after that -- which I hope they will!

About half of all sexually active men and women aged 57-85 in the United States report at least one bothersome sexual problem; one third report at least two. Yet only 38 percent of men and 22 percent of women reported having discussed sex with a physician since the age of 50 years. 

Why does this information barrier exist? And what can you, as professionals, do to overcome it with your patients and clients?

These are the questions I posed to the attendees at the beginning of “Talking about Senior Sex: A Presentation for Medical Professionals, Therapists, and Others Working Professionally with the Older-Age Population,” which I presented at The Smitten Kitten in Minneapolis on June 19, 2014. I was so jazzed by the responses during that workshop that I wanted to continue the discussion, so I took it to my Naked at Our Age Facebook page (which I invite you to read and “like”).

Our community jumped in eagerly with their comments and experiences. Here are some of those:

  • It would suffice if they just asked. I think they are 1) embarrassed, and 2) afraid that a nestful of psychological tangles would emerge, which would take a lot of their time. As a doctor, you would have to believe that relationships, beliefs, and habits contributed to illness, and I think most of them are just looking for a set of symptoms. The mind-body connection is far from their thoughts. 

  • It may be difficult for physicians to broach topics on sex because of their lack of education on sexual matters - not just with senior sexuality. Often such topics are delegated to nurse specialists or physician assistants. There are also shades of sexuality beyond the range of physiology, endocrinology, anatomy, and other hard sciences that are beyond the scope of topics covered in med school and continuing medical education. We need to take charge and help drag medical providers along with us on this topic.

  • Sex over 55 is often challenging if your parts are in perfect working order, but if they are not, then it’s an entirely different ball game. As someone who has lived with a sexual challenge for 20 years (and who is now 67), I found, in the beginning that it was helpful to write a letter to the doctor prior to the appointment - an ice-breaker. Now, however, after such a long-term medical problem, I am really very open with all the doctors I see and they either handle it or they don't - they can choose!

  • We live in a culture that allows only a few sexual subjects to be discussed and those in limited ways. Having lived a lifetime hiding or being ashamed of our sexual natures, it can be a huge challenge to just start talking about "it" when we reach those years. The mechanics of sex may be easier to discuss than unmet needs and innate desires. It is a gift to be sexually sovereign in our culture.

  • In my case, no doctor ever broached the subject. I was always the initiator. After 12 years of fertility work, four ectopic pregnancies, numerous spontaneous abortions and nerve damage resulting from a rape, surgeries and malpractice (they refused to remove the infamous Dalkon Shield IUD after the rape and subsequent STD infection), it's not a stretch to understand why I had a damaged libido. Only with recent help from two amazing physicians, with whom I can discuss anything, have I begun to find help! Finding this and other groups online has also been salvation of yet another kind. Thanks for opening so many doors to those of us who have foundered for so long!

  • Actually, it was through conversations with my nurse practitioner that my road to sexual freedom opened up. Also through my wonderful husband's patience, and Joan's book, Naked at Our Age. There is a taboo about sex at a certain age, but for us it has just been renewed!

  • Particularly as sex and disability is also a taboo subject and many people will have genital dermatoses and that will make it even harder for them to open up to anyone. I am 67 and despite lichen sclerosis, I remain sexually active.

  • The doctor needs to be calm, confident and comfortable with the subject. If the doctor is squirmy and clearly uncomfortable, it won't help the patient to open up. Speaking for myself, if I'm a little squirmy and hesitant, I'd appreciate it if the doctor would give me the time and space to squirm a little and build up my courage. I had that experience with a doctor; he asked what was clearly a scripted question, I hemmed and hawed a little struggling to express an answer. Since the answer wasn't immediately forthcoming he just jumped right to the next question. I got the distinct feeling he really didn't want to hear it, so the subject was dropped. On the other hand, a doctor might ask a question and get a very forthright answer they weren't expecting. They better be ready for that too; no eyes bugging out, no jaw dropping, no flinching. They might need to develop the 'warm positive regard' thing that therapists are taught.

  • I’m 73, have an older woman doctor trained in Europe who brought the subject up in the course of an annual physical, and was quite matter of fact about it, made me quite comfortable discussing the subject, and referred me to an endo.

  • I'm not your target age group but my nurse practitioner at Kaiser simply asked if I was happy with my sex life and, after I affirmed that I was, proceeded to tell me that orgasm was good for my vaginal health (not to mention my psyche) and encouraged me to take charge of my pleasure because it would help make perimenopause easier to take, keep my bladder where it belongs and generally support my wellbeing. Hell yeah -this I knew - but what was even better was that she made it clear that she was there to help. My sexual health was not some secondary aspect. It was a full-fledged piece of my gynecological workup. To which I say - well done!

  • I'd like to see it simply become a matter of routine during all regular check ups, or anytime the visit is for more than a sniffle really, as well as anytime mental health/ relationships are discussed. We need to be in the habit of treating the whole person, not just fixing bits and pieces and mending boo-boos.

I hope you’ll continue this important conversation by commenting here. (And if you’d like me to bring this presentation to your organization, please contact me.)