“Outstanding Self-Help Book” says ASJA about Naked at Our Age

Photo by Dorri Olds

 I wrote in an earlier post that Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex won the outstanding service (which means self-help) book award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), the nation’s professional organization of independent nonfiction writers.

Last night, I received the award in person at the ASJA conference in New York City.The award was introduced with these quotes from the judges:

Naked At Our Age: it’s a disarming title, so appropriate to a topic that’s often ignored — senior sex. Forget “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Joan reached out to older men and women, straight and gay. Boy, did they ask, and wow! did Joan tell.

 Joan is a recognized sexuality expert*, so of course her book provides educational and heartfelt advice about sex (including some very personal and moving reflections). 

If you’re thinking, “been there, read that,” think again. Joan isn’t afraid of opening the reader’s mind about how to think and talk about sex. The book is comprehensive — if you’ve ever thought about it (even in your best dreams), you’ll read about it here. Prepare to be educated, surprised, or sometimes shocked.

We’re pleased to honor Joan with this ASJA award.

Photo by Mark Bennington

*The big laugh of the evening came when the presenter misread “expert” as “subject,” saying “Joan is a recognized sexuality subject” — which sent everyone into gales of laughter, including me! Photographer Mark Bennington captured my reaction!

Then I gave a short acceptance speech, which I’d love to share with you here:

It is a profound honor to receive this award from my ASJA peers – the writers I read, respect, and sometimes envy!  

 Many of you longtime ASJA members knew me for decades as a health and fitness writer.  What happened to morph me from rah-rah-fitness-is-for-everyone to preaching and teaching the pleasures of older-age sexuality? 

Writing has always been an avenue – maybe call it a running path – for following my passion. I became a high school English teacher to be the teacher I always wished I had. Then in 1979, my daily fitness habit saved my life after a car crash – my heart was strong enough to go on automatic pilot while I waited for help, smashed and bloody – so I became a fitness writer and, once I could walk again, an aerobics instructor. 

So it was natural that when I fell in love at age 57 with a man who was 64, I turned my writing to senior sex. Our profound and spicy love affair became the inspiration for the book I wrote at age 61, Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty, to celebrate the delights of older-life sexuality. 

I started calling myself an advocate for ageless sexuality. The media called me “senior sexpert” and “wrinkly sex kitten” – I’m still trying to grow into that one. 

Many readers, however, wrote me to call me “wrong.” They told me that they were not having great sex lives. 150 readers sent me their stories and their questions. I realized that finding answers for them needed to be my next book, my most important book. 

I didn’t know the answer to every question, but I knew the experts who did, and I assembled 45 of them to write tips and answer reader questions. The stories and the expert tips, along with my candid commentary, became Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex

This book means the world to me both professionally and personally. Robert, my lover who inspired my senior sex writing and who became my husband, died when Naked at Our Age was a book proposal. Writing it was my way to paw my way through grief and re-commit to my mission to help others through my writing. 

Not usually at a loss for words, I don’t know how to express how much this award means to me. Thank you.

Thank you, Dorri Olds and Mark Bennington for permission to use your photos here.

If you’d like to purchase Naked at Our Age from Amazon, here is the direct link.


  1. Alexandra Owens on May 1, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Congratulations again, Joan! ASJA is proud to have you as a member and pleased to give you this richly deserved award. It was great to see you! And your pictures are gorgeous. 🙂

  2. Mark Bennington on May 1, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Congrats Joan!! and so wonderful to meet you!! All the best! -Mark

  3. Jennifer Margulis on April 30, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    A well-deserved award, Joan. I am looking forward to reading this book. I loved your last one.

  4. Anonymous on April 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Naked at our Age began educating me by page 8 and never stopped. I'm 66 and very grateful for the education and increased pleasure in my life. Your book award is richly deserved and I'm glad (almost wrote gland) your fellow writers recognized its value and honored you in New York. Congratulations, Madam! Like Better Than I Ever Expected, another superior achievement.
    –Charlie P.

  5. calana on April 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    The only thing better than hearing your speech was reading it. Perfect. Sincere congratulations for this well deserved award.

  6. Toni Goldfarb on April 29, 2012 at 2:33 am

    Joan, I'm sorry I couldn't be there to see your joy in receiving this award, and hear your heartfelt response. Your comments are an inspiration for young writers trying to find their niche, and for senior-writers like me who continue to conquer challenges in our lives and in the changing world of publishing.

    As a member of the judging committee, I was delighted that my very positive comments were used to introduce you at the ceremony.

    Wishing you continued success and fulfullment,

  7. Cheyenne Blue on April 29, 2012 at 12:59 am

    Congratulations, Joan! Very well deserved.

  8. Chantill Lopez on April 28, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    God, Joan, you are an inspiration! Congratulations. You're one of my heroes. I hope I keep getting better…like you do.

  9. Dan G. on April 28, 2012 at 6:15 am

    A lovely response to a richly deserved award.

  10. Brenda on April 28, 2012 at 4:48 am

    Congratulations, Joan! I'm so happy for you and proud to know you.

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