Needed: Your experiences and insights

I’m working on my new book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex after Fifty (Cleis Press), and I’d like to include more comments from my age 50+ readers about any of these areas where you have strong opinions or useful experiences. (All questions apply to any gender or sexual orientation unless clearly targeted otherwise)

  • What sexual activity did you discover after age 50 that became an important part of your sex life?
  • What are the special LGBT issues related to sex & aging?
  • How does your or your partner’s body image play a role in enjoyment of sex?
  • Straight older women are fearful about showing their bodies to a new partner – does that figure into the lesbian or gay male experience at all?
  • Is “lesbian bed death” real, or a myth? Do committed relationships tend to become sexless?
  • What medical conditions have impacted your sex life, and how have you dealt with them?
  • If you’re in a unsatisfying relationship, how do you decide whether to stay or go?
  • What prompted a later-life break-up or divorce in your life?
  • How did your doctor react when you brought up a sexual concern? Did your doctor ever say something ageist that led you to switch docs?
  • If you were having sexual problems, resisted going to a doctor or therapist, then finally did, and there was a treatable explanation for the problem, tell me your story. 
  • Your experiences with painful sex? What steps did you take to diagnose and treat the problem? What worked?
  • First sex with a new partner: good, bad, worrisome, fabulous…?
  • Your experiences with strap-on sex? 
  • What helps you with decreased sensation?
  • What didn’t I ask that I should have?

This isn’t a survey — just choose a question that relates to you in a strong way, and write me your experience. You can either post it as a comment here, or email me privately. By doing either, you’re giving me permission to use excerpts in my book if they fit. What you tell me may help others significantly.

If I use your comments in my book, I won’t identify you in any way, and I’ll be careful to delete any details that might lead someone else to identify you.

I’ll continue to update this list when different topics come up.  In case you didn’t see my previous request for your comments, check it out here.

Hope to hear from you.

Joan Price


  1. W.D. on December 2, 2013 at 2:12 am

    I was facing my 60's in a non-sex positive relationship of many decades when I found out I had prostate cancer. My path and my story could easily be a chapter in your upcoming book. Add to the mix of being in a "sexless marriage", having HSV2, and a strong libido, I was now facing ED due to prostate surgery. The medical establishment's way of helping me post surgery involved a sample pack of Viagra and a prescription for more. I fully believe my urologist/surgeon (who I credit with saving my life) was embarrassed to discuss sexual function.

    I decided to embark on another path. I researched everything I could find on the web ranging from surgical implants to surrogate partners and "boner pills". I have found some things that worked and some disappointments at being an underachiever at PIV sex. I worked with a marvelous sex therapist/coach who helped me connect with my spouse in session to open communications about her lack of libido. Ultimately I worked with several surrogate partners and other sex workers to regain a sense of being a sexual man in his 60's. I learned how to provide multiple orgasms to my partners and how they could best bring me to a climax–and that if they didn't it was OK.

    Just a glimpse at my journey as a man with ED issues and a good healthy outlook at sex, sexuality and connection. I am forming the basis for a series of seminars for men with ED, especially men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer or who have had prostate removal surgery. I am now gathering input, finding seminar partners from areas like sex therapist and sex coaches, surrogate partners, urologists, nurses, and psychotherapists, nutritionists and physical therapists. My first product will necessarily be a survey form. Anyone wishing to contact me about this project, hopefully will do so via you.

    • Joan Price on December 2, 2013 at 3:08 am

      W.D., thank you for sharing your story and for giving me permission to publish excerpts in my book. Your experience is valuable.

      > Anyone wishing to contact me about this project, hopefully will do so via you.

      But I don't know who you are or how to get in touch with you, so it won't help people to express interest in your survey through me — unless you email me more info. Thanks!

  2. Nessa Tailor on November 12, 2013 at 2:18 am

    This is great to discover. I enjoy reading your article. I hope that in every problem of partners can solve by reading your books.

  3. Carley Savoy on November 8, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    We at use your blog as a guide to the uncomfortable issue about sex and seniors. Thank you so much for your work. We love it! Keep it up! You make a difference.

  4. Sunnyway on November 7, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    What didn't I ask that I should have? Experience with HSV:
    I’m a 65 year old female. After being celibate for 20 years (!), I met a lovely man online. Anticipating intimacy, I wanted to be able to demonstrate that I was STI free. I asked for blood tests for STI, HIV, HSV, HPV, and Hepatitis. My doctor said that I didn’t need a HSV (herpes) test unless I had an outbreak. I insisted on a blood test anyway.

    I expected all the test results to be negative. I was stunned to discover that I have antibodies for both HSV1 and HSV2 even though I have never had a cold sore or genital herpes outbreak. Obviously, I have been carrying the virus for over 20 years. I have no idea from whom I got either, and it’s irrelevant.

    After doing a lot of research over a few days, I had “The Talk” with my friend. He took the news very well and did not panic. We discussed what it meant for our growing relationship, for sexual activity, and for his risk. He agreed to get blood tests, although he had no partners other than his ex-wife for over 25 years.

    The bottom line: It turned out that he is also HSV positive and never knew. I lucked out. What are the odds? Probably higher than we thought: we both had been sexually active in the 70’s and 80’s when easy and unprotected sex was the norm. We were young, horny, and stupid. We may have contracted herpes that far back. The good news is that we don’t have to take precautions to protect each other. The bad news is that he has to tell his ex-wife.

    BTW, the sex is great. I didn't forget a thing. I thought I was post-sexual, but retirement has seemed to recharge my libido. I'm no longer distracted by career pursuit and stress. Intercourse a bit more awkward due to my obesity and arthritis, but where there is a will, there is a way. Age, size, and physical limitations don't rule out a healthy sex life. Herpes is not the end of sex either.

    • Joan Price on November 8, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      Sunnyway, I'm definitely using parts of your story — thank you.

  5. Anonymous on November 6, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Hi, Joan –

    I like Dan Savage's take on the world (most of the time) and I found your blog through reading his column. I'm writing to say that I feel a bit marginalized by your perspective. Reading your set of questions, above, it would appear that anyone who isn't feeling sexual in their older years is lacking some sort of physical, mental or emotional health.

    I'm here to say that, as a 58-year-old woman, I'm thrilled to not feel sexual anymore. I am happily single, so I'm not disappointing a partner. I had a rich and adventurous sex life, with partners of both sexes in various combinations, up til a few years ago, and now I am LOVING the peacefulness of not having any sexual urges anymore.

    I feel as though my creativity is flowering in other realms, and that all the fierce life energy that used to get channeled into sexuality is now available to my writing and art and community and family.

    I am healthy and joyful and happily post-sexual. It would be great if you at least give a nod to people in my situation; surely I'm not the only person in this situation.

    Thank you.

    • Joan Price on November 6, 2013 at 10:22 pm

      Thank you, Anonymous. I respect your willingness to let sex go in favor of creativity in other realms. My book, however, is a guide for having the best sex possible after midlife and beyond, so I'm emphasizing sex-positive aging. I know many people of our age are happy with being "post-sexual" (great term for it!), but that's not what my book is about. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to clarify. — Joan

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