7/31/19: I wrote this post in January 2017. I’m bringing it to the top again because this research is still sorely needed, and I don’t see the issues changing. Please feel free to contribute your thoughts!
I’m not looking for statistics, such as how many of us are having sex. Doesn’t that depend on (a) how the researchers and the subjects define “having sex” and (b) whether we have what we need (partner, privacy, physical ability, emotional intimacy) to have the kind of sex we want?
I’d like to see research into how we think about sex now, what determines quality of sex, what’s missing in our sexual worlds, what we’re learning about sex and about ourselves during our later years.
So while we’re waiting for the right research to be done, here are some questions for you if you’re over 50, 60, 70 and beyond:
1. If a researcher asked if you are “sexually active,” how would you answer? What would you mean by that answer?
2. How has the definition of “what is sex?” changed or evolved for you over time? What did it used to mean? What does it mean now? What made your definition change (if it changed)?
3. If you could be in any kind of sexual relationship you wanted, what would it be? Never mind how you might be judged — what would be ideal for the real you, maybe the secret you?
4. What would you like to tell our society about sex and aging?
I asked the good folks who follow my Naked at Our Age Facebook page, “If researchers wandered over here to learn what studies we’d like to see conducted about sex and aging, what would you suggest?” Here are some of their suggestions:
- “Studies toward normalizing serial monogamous relationships. As we age, the chances are that we will lose our partner. When that happens, it should be easier to establish new relationships without feeling that we are betraying the partner who has died. We don’t have to give up our former love in order to love another person. I think we can keep the truth and warmth of the past love, have an additional love or two, without feeling that we have violated the truth of the first.”
- “I’d love to see more of an in-depth study on how illness/ disability/ aging affect our sexuality and sex lives.”
- “How about a serious, non-judgmental look at the multi-faceted, complicated reasons for diminished libido as we age? (Hormonal, psychological, physiological.) Why it affects some and not others and methods – again multi-faceted – for those who indeed want to revitalize their libido.”
- “Can ingrained sexual scripts be changed enough so that new ways of ‘having sex’ aren’t seen as less satisfying than former ways?”
- “What is the most effective way to help older adults get on board with safer sex?”
- “The best ways to empower older adults to set, communicate, and respect sexual boundaries.”
- “I’m fascinated by what seems to be a growing popularity of consensual non-monogamy, open marriages, and open relationships in the over 50 crowd. Is this just anecdotal or have others noticed it too?”
- “Re-defining what ‘satisfying sex’ is to align better with how bodies change with age. This could go hand-in-hand with the ever-popular yet hardly discussed question, ‘What is sex?’ It can be so many things.”
- “Seniors discovering and accepting polyamory.”
I’m eager to hear from you, whether you’d like to answer one of my questions or add to the list of what researchers should study. Please post a comment and include your real age.
Let’s keep talking. The conversation has just begun!
P.S. When I invite you to comment, I’m inviting you — real people — to share your personal views. I’m not inviting ads for escort services, ED “cures,” cam sites, or other commercial enterprises. I shouldn’t have to say any of this, but the number of comments I have to delete indicates otherwise. [I know, the trolls and robots aren’t even reading this, but I have to try.]
At age 75, I posed in lingerie with the extraordinary photographer Perry Gallagher. It was my fourth time in fancy underwear in front of a camera. The previous three were at age 65 and 68 with photographer Ruth Lefkowitz, and at age 72 with Perry. I had no idea the first time that this would become a regular event every few years.
It’s fascinating to me to watch my aging process over a decade of being “old” and to affirm that sexiness can be both internal and external. We’re so judgmental about ourselves, especially our bodies!
Oh sure, when I saw the 240 proofs, there were many that made me wince — did my thighs really look so puckered? But there were also many that made me smile and even laugh with joy. It was difficult to narrow down my choices because so many left me awestruck.
Once I made my choices, Perry went to work. When he showed me the first edit, I said no. He had aged me backwards about 15 years by smoothing out the wrinkles, eliminating the skin spots, tightening the midriff. The photo was beautiful and glamorous — and know that he can do that for you, too! — but I wanted authenticity. I told him to edit much more lightly, because I wanted to celebrate aging, not erase it. The photos you see here are the result. I’m thrilled with them.
And the whole process was fun! Perry loves his work and it’s clear that he really does see his subjects as beautiful. We joked and played seductive verbal games. I felt completely at ease with him and with myself.
Here’s what I learned from this photo shoot and from the previous three:
- We are our own worst critics when we assess our own bodies.
- The eyes of a skilled photographer reveal us to ourselves in ways we can’t see on our own.
- Whatever our age or the state of our body, we have beauty.
- Being photographed by a skilled photographer who sees our beauty is empowering.
- We don’t age out of sensuality or sexuality.
Perry Gallagher is a visionary, and I’m proud and honored to be part of his vision. If you’re in or near LA, I hope you’ll contact Perry and book your own photo shoot. Whether you want your photos to be boudoir ( lingerie), fine art nude, portrait, or wedding, I guarantee that Perry will put you at ease and produce beautiful photos. When you meet him, ask him to tell you the story of how he got his first camera.
By the way, I have a standing date with Perry for my 80th birthday!
All photos here by Perry Gallagher Photography except for this one by Mac Marshall:
- Sex after Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality After Loss of Your Beloved, Joan’s newest book, coming August 2019.
- The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50: How to Maintain – or Regain!– a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life, her most comprehensive senior sex book.
- Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex, winner of Outstanding Self-Help Book 2012 from the American Society of Journalists and Authors and 2012 Book Award from American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.
- Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty, Joan’s spicy memoir celebrating the joys of older-age sexuality.
- Ageless Erotica, a steamy senior sex anthology which Joan conceived and edited.
explores each topic with the same distinct blend of knowledge, experience, and good humor, which led Dee Dennis, the founder of sexuality conference CatalystCon, to praise her as “an amazing sex educator and speaker, who represents a new direction and is breaking new ground” in the sexual self-help genre. The series’ volume on Fellatio earned AVN’s 2012 Best Educational Release trophy, “Anal” was named XBIZ’s 2012 Specialty Release of the Year, “Anal Sex for Men” received AVN’s 2014 Best Educational Release award, and “Plus Size” earned XBIZ’s 2015 Specialty Release of the Year. For more information, visit GuideToWickedSex.com, Facebook.com/GuideToWickedSex, Twitter.com/Guide2WickedSex.
Price, please contact:
Review of JETT from Hot Octopuss
by Shamus MacDuff
“Gentlemen, start your engines!” begins the famous Indianapolis 500 automobile race. With the JETT, the wonderful new sex toy for penises from Hot Octopuss, you can start your own engine, and really rev it up.
JETT’s dual engines are vibrating silver bullets powered by four AA batteries. One “engine” contains a motor that produces treble vibrations, and the other yields deeper, more rumbly bass vibrations. What makes this innovation exciting is that you control the intensity of each motor. You can play with and set the levels of treble and bass intensity against 10 built-in vibration patterns to provide a wonderfully wide range of stimulation.
JETT has an expandable, circular silicone sleeve positioned directly above the dual jet engines into which you place your penis — flaccid or erect. The sleeve surrounds the frenulum on one side and the ridge atop the penile head on the other. When JETT revs up, the sensations are multiple and magnificent. The real fun with this toy comes (pun intended) in locating precisely the right treble and bass frequencies, paired with one of the 10 vibration patterns, that launches you into the JETT stream.
soft packer from Good Vibrations
When I used JETT for solo sex, I loved the way I could stretch out the glorious sensations by switching intensities and vibration patterns. I tried it starting with a flaccid penis (flaccid didn’t last long!), and next time with a semi-erect member. JETT’s “dual exhausts” quickly brought me to orgasm in both cases.
I thought JETT was solely for masturbation until my female partner asked to observe it in action. To my immense pleasure, she discovered that fellatio on the protruding tip of my penis sent me into an ecstatic state and rapid ejaculation. So there is a place for JETT in partner sex as well as solo.
dildo from Tantus
Twice when I tried to change from one vibration pattern to another, JETT simply stopped on me, and I had to restart it. Also, be aware that a battery-powered device is not waterproof. But these are minor inconveniences compared to the enormous positives that surround this delightful and fun new sex toy for penises. It is also priced affordably at just $69.
Shamus MacDuff, age 75, was oblivious to the delights of sex toys for penises until about 1-3/4 years ago. He’s been making up for lost time! Read his other posts here.