Your Questions about Senior Sex
When I give a talk about senior sex, my favorite part is answering your questions. I feel both proud and humble that you trust me (and the audience) enough to voice your concerns.
I’ve been traveling to tell people about my new book, Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex and talking at bookstores, sexuality shops, a senior center, a restaurant, and my 50th high school reunion (!) about the myths and realities of older age sexuality. Here are some of the most frequent questions and topics you’ve been sharing:
The #1 question from partnered seniors is how to revive a dull, infrequent, or nonexistent sex life. I talk about scheduling sex and understanding that at our age, desire often follows physiological arousal rather than the other way around. In other words, getting started with touching and kissing will get you in the mood after your body starts responding — don’t wait to be in the mood.
- Single seniors ask about the importance of safe sex, hoping (from the wording of your questions and the looks on your faces) that I’ll tell you we probably don’t need condoms at our age. I tell you the opposite of that — yes, we need to use condoms, and we should do so whether someone tells us his or her health history or not. The fastest growing population for new HIV infections is the over 50 age group.
Women whose partners experience erectile difficulties often don’t understand what’s going on (“Is it because I don’t attract him any more?”) or what to do to keep the sensuality going in the relationship (“Isn’t it cruel teasing if I want to touch and be touched?”).
Both men and women scoff at the idea of sex toys until I tell them why a well-placed vibrator can mean the difference between orgasm or not.
Is it any surprise that that one place people were reluctant to ask questions was my high school reunion? It’s understandable — we were with people we hadn’t seen since we were 17 and our main sex problem was how to hide our activities from our parents! When I saw that my classmates were uneasy about asking questions, I said, “If you’d rather talk to me privately, I’ll be giving consultations in the corner.”
For the rest of the weekend, people came up to me to request their “consultation in the corner”!
Your comments are welcome. If you were in my audience, what question do you hope I’d answer? If you’re brave, include the answer you think I’d give!
If you want to be in my audience for real, click here to see my upcoming events. I’d love to meet you!
I think I know why people were so reticent about asking questions. It's one thing to reveal problems in your sex life when you're in a group of strangers, quite another when you're surrounded by your high-school classmates! In fact, I think every one of us surrendered a bit of dignity just by showing up …
That said, I found what you had to say both enjoyable and enlightening.
— a high school classmate and reunion attendee
There are so many aspects to senior sex! So many ways things can go.
For some, it can be a time of liberation, as it was for me. It was only in the year I turned 50 that I began a relationship with a man who truly enjoyed the delight of all the ways that one body can give pleasure to another one. Orgasms came eventually, but along the way… Our first time together was glorious but also somewhat sad as I thought: Oh! So that's what all the fuss is about!
Now I'm 62 and involved in a very non-standard relationship. My sex life may be unusual but it is not at all dull.
Joan generously said I could mention my blog: submission & metaphor , with ruminations and poetry about my life as a submissive in a relationship with a highly dominant man who is very smart, very sexy, very sweet, and (with others, at least) very sadistic. If that's not quite your thing, you might at least enjoy the post entitled "Senior Sex? Who You Calling a Senior?"
I do have one bit of hope about the future. The advancing age of the baby boom generation. (That's me, for one.) There are a lot of us. And we tend to be much more open and much more activist about personal issues than previous generations. We do talk about things. So I'm hoping that older people will continue to speak more openly and candidly about sex and what we're doing and what we aren't and what we need. Just another way of continuing the sexual revolution.