Open letter to Miley Cyrus about sex after (gasp!) 40

Really, Miley Cyrus? You think sex ends at 40? You told Matt Lauer that at 55, he was “definitely not sexual”?

On what planet? Oh, right, the youth planet!

Miley, you could teach me plenty about fame, music, handling bad publicity, and, I suppose, twerking (if I thought that I needed it to feel sexy, which I don’t, and if my 69-year-old back would handle it, which it wouldn’t).

But I could teach you a thing or two about sex. 

My day job is writing and speaking about senior sex, which you think doesn’t exist. Here are just a few facts about it:

  • Sex can be better after 40, 50, and 60 than it ever was in our 20s. Then, we as young women were driven by hormones, anxious about our partners liking us or finding us sexy enough, and not terribly good at communicating what we needed to reach orgasm. Our partners, also hormone-driven, rushed to their own finish, often leaving us behind. Often, our fear of pregnancy outweighed our enjoyment.
  • Now, we’re no longer propelled by our hormones — we’re having sex for other reasons: sexual pleasure and release, intimacy, joy, bonding, emotional well-being, and about a gazillion other good reasons. We know how to slow down and enjoy the sensations and the feelings. 
  • Is sex the same at 50 or 70 as it was when we were your age? No. We do have challenges. We also have the knowledge (or know where to find it, such as in my award-winning book, Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex) to overcome those challenges, and the communications skills to deal with them. 

If you’d like to discuss this or battle me in a televised face-off (with Matt Lauer moderating), please have your people contact my people. I’d be delighted.

Please slow down and hear this:

If you want your sexual exuberance to match mine three decades after age 40, start listening to your elders — at least the ones who are winking at each other after hearing your statement about sex ending at 40!

Miley, I’ll be happy to send you a copy of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty to further your education (and, I hope, delight you), if you send me your mailing address.

You’re welcome.

Brian Alexander, a top sex and science journalist, interviewed me yesterday about this. Please read his smart and sassy article here. “You’re going to laugh about what Miley Cyrus just said,” he said when he called me. Yes, I laughed, I commented, and it got me so revved up that I had to expand my views here a day later. Thank you, Brian.


  1. Anonymous on October 17, 2013 at 12:32 am

    I'm way, way over 40 … in fact I am fast approaching 72, and am having more and better sex than ever! I am sexier, more confident, and more driven than ever … all of which add up to making me come off as one sexy woman! But …. I will never defend Miley nor her naive opinion … I really never understood this at age 20 or 30 or even 40. But it is true!!!

  2. Anonymous on October 15, 2013 at 10:01 am

    This makes me grin – a debate would be fabulous!
    Time for ol Billy Ray to have a talk with his kid – time for her to grow up – and oh how this one is going to bite her in the tush in oh twenty years or so.

    Her stupidity is really on the billboard here – so if being stupid is sexy, I'll take 'old' any day.

    p.s. Matt Lauer is ten times sexier now than he was twenty years ago!

  3. Anonymous on October 10, 2013 at 3:17 am

    Pretty lady; pretty dumb lady. I was soooo stupid about sex and so blow and go boring at age 40. Wasn't until age 54-59 that I was able to go naked to a place she's most likely never been naked I'll bet. Mystical places. Pity the pretty. Blog on Joan. I think you are 10x more sexy than Miley Cyrus could dream.

  4. Derek on October 9, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Right on, I love it; you're the articulate spokesperson/ advocate for all of us “over 40” still wearing a smile. I watched the video. She comes off as an aging teen, still cute in her short shorts, but uninformed and self satisfied in her ignorance, nervously wagging her foot while making stupid, hurtful statements.

    Don’t think it’s likely she’ll take you up on your offer for a discussion/debate and anyway what’s the point? She’s a one trick pony making the rounds on the talk shows and will soon disappear like spit on a griddle.

  5. Remi Newman on October 9, 2013 at 5:48 am

    Well said Joan! I was fine with Miley getting her sexy groove on however she wanted to, but saying that sex ends at 40– I am not fine with that. Nor should anyone be. Thanks Joan for offering to educate her. Even if Miley doesn't personally get the message, hopefully lots of others will.

  6. Adriana on October 8, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Well done! Hope she takes you up on your challenge. I'm part of the "better than I ever expected" camp, but I will admit to having had no idea in my twenties how wonderful it would be in my sixties.

  7. Penny on October 8, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Great post Joan! I so wish I could see a televised face-off between you and Miley! 🙂

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