Many of us over 60 are widowed, divorced, or maybe single our whole lives. We’ve gotten used to being independent. We’ve created a life for ourselves, with our own routines, habits, activities, and friends. We’re happy living on our own.
Then we meet someone — and ka boom!
Hearts aflutter, sex drive in high gear, intimacy is ours. We fall in love. Our closeness grows. We feel a strong commitment to each other. Our next step must be…
No, no, no! We don’t want to get married. We don’t even want to live together.
We relish our visits — especially the overnight ones! — and we equally relish the return to our own home afterwards. For many of us, the idea of marriage or even cohabitation may be unattractive, undesirable, or unworkable. Because of our personalities or our circumstances, we don’t want to mingle homes, finances, and legal obligations. Fortunately, there’s a lifestyle choice and relationship modality that describes what we want, and many of us are living that way now.
LAT is shorthand for “living apart together.” LAT is a long-term, committed, romantic connection without an intent to share a home.
LAT presents an attractive long-term relationship alternative to traditional marriage. It is a lifestyle choice—a new emergent family form, especially among older adults.
In a LAT relationship, a couple who’ve developed strong, loving feelings for one another nevertheless choose to reside separately. Usually, they get together on a regular basis, but each retains a separate abode. People in a LAT relationship treasure their times together, and they equally value their autonomy and alone time. LAT offers the separation that complements our need for togetherness. For many, it provides the best of both worlds.
Why might you, as seniors, prefer a LAT relationship over marriage or living together?
- You each maintain your own home and private space.
- You each retain and interact with your own friends and social network.
- You each keep control over your own finances.
- You each pursue activities and hobbies which may not interest the other partner.
- You rely on each other for emotional intimacy and support without being together all the time.
- You celebrate your personal autonomy concurrent with the joy of regular close companionship.
- By not cohabiting 24/7, the time you spend together is ever sweeter.
Does LAT appeal to you? Do you live that way now? Any tips for readers who are considering LAT? We welcome your comments, experiences, and questions.
Mac Marshall, PhD is a retired anthropology professor, researcher, and author who is delighted to explore sexuality studies at this time of his life.
My vulva and I first encountered the Touch and Tango external vibrators from We-Vibe in 2012. The Touch quickly became my favorite travel vibrator because the small size bestowed powerful vibrations. Over the years We-Vibe improved these two fine vibrators by making them more rumbly, more powerful, more ergonomic, easier to charge. The new Tango X and Touch X are the latest iterations of these pleasure tools, and they’re marvelous.
So much to love about the Touch X! Despite its tiny size, the vibrations are strong, and the shape is ideal for a senior vulva that needs strong stimulation. You can use it several ways:
- Cup the clitoris in the curved, shallow, bowl-like section.
- Hold it upright with the pointy tip on the clitoris or the clitoral hood.
- Cover the clitoris and labia with the Touch held lengthwise, pointy tip either at the entrance to the vagina or on the clitoral hood, your choice.
- Give the clitoris extra stimulation during partner sex (penetrative or not).
- What else? Let me know in the comments how you like to use it, if you’re willing to share.
I don’t know if this will be an annoyance for you, but as you can tell if you enlarge the photos, the Touch X is a lint magnet. Just wash it before use as well as after. The feel of the matte silicone is worth it. Use plenty of water-based lubricant for optimal pleasure.
Use Tango X’s pointy tip, flat end, or the whole surface area for external stimulation however and wherever you want it: clitoris, vulva, nipples, penis, scrotum. Use it solo or with a partner during PIV or any other preferred sexual expression.
The redesigned Tango X sports a silicone handle which makes it easy to hold, even with lubed fingers. The earlier plastic Tango models, while enjoyable, were super slippery to hold while using lubricant. If I didn’t hold it tightly, it might jump right out of my hand and send me scurrying to capture it in the bedsheets.
If I did hold it tightly, the vibrations transmitted directly to my hand, intensifying my wrist arthritis and making it problematic to hold for any length of time. Although I still feel the vibrations in my hand with Tango X, the intensity is dampened by the silicone layer, so it’s less bothersome. This is a huge improvement for those of us with arthritis.
Both Touch X and Tango X
Both Tango X and Touch X will delight you with 8 vibrational intensities and 7 patterns, and these can be combined. In other words, if you like the boop-boop-cha-cha-cha pattern, you can make the intensity subtle or yowza or anything in between. Earlier models let you choose an intensity or a pattern, but not both.
The controls have been redesigned and are much improved. Earlier models had one control button at the end. You pressed it for different intensities and patterns, cycling through the possibilities to find the right setting. The Tango X has raised buttons for “+” and “-” and a separate “~” button for patterns, making it much easier to find a preferred setting.
Charging is also easier than earlier models, which had a magnetic charger that slipped off easily, leaving your vibrator sitting there uncharged. The new versions also charge magnetically, but now the magnets won’t disengage until you pull them apart.
Touch X and Tango X are waterproof for bath time fun!
Which would you like best?
That’s a matter of personal preference, of course. The two vibrators behave similarly, but with an entirely different design and therefore a different feel. If you prefer pinpoint clitoral stimulation, you’ll like Tango X . If you like more overall vulva sensation (which stimulates the internal clitoris as well as the external nub), you’ll get that with Touch X. If you like varying pinpoint and overall, Touch X does both. If you want a toy that feels especially delightful to a penis, Tango X will get your vote.
Speaking of penises!
These toys are marketed for vulvas, but the design, power, and sensations will have your penis of choice shivering with pleasure. The Tango especially is just right for your penis owner’s solo or partnered play. For partnered play, turn it on and try some or all of these:
- Roll the length of the Tango up, down, and around the consenting penis’s shaft.
- Target the consenting frenulum with the flat end.
- Use it on the scrotum during while the consenting penis is in your mouth
For an extra zing, try chilling them first: see Refrigerator Sex.
Thank you, We-Vibe, for sending me these luscious new pleasure tools in return for an honest review.
The NŌS is an outstanding new vibrating cock ring from Fun Factory. I have enjoyed it immensely during solo sex. Stretching the ring over a flaccid penis, NŌS quickly brings an erection when the motor is turned on. Moving it to different positions on the shaft yields various pleasing sensations.
My own favorite position is to point the motorized ends downward and inward so that they contact my scrotum. Revving up the power then produces wonderful vibrations all over my genitals. Rub a dab of water-based lube on the frenulum, and an orgasm will soon follow.
Generally, the controls on the center button work well. However, they are somewhat difficult to operate with lubed fingers. The solution is to start NŌS before slipping it onto your penis and before using lube. It’s then easier to change the settings with or without lube on one’s fingers.
The name NŌS derives from the Latin for “we/ours.” It also means “us” in Spanish and Portuguese. This name was chosen specifically to indicate that—in Fun Factory’s marketing lingo—it is “a cock ring for both of you.” “Both of you” clearly refers to a heterosexual couple who wish to “come together” and orgasm simultaneously during penis-in-vagina (PIV) intercourse.
NŌS is designed to facilitate this “coming together.” It fits around the penis and at the same time can hug the partner’s clitoris with its vibrating pincher-like tips. The expectation is that a couple can sync their orgasms. Fun Factory claims that “you’ll climax together harder than ever.”
The likelihood of that happening even occasionally strikes me as a tall order. Especially for us older folks, the chance of both people getting exactly the kind of stimulation they need at that same moment is unlikely and puts unreasonable pressure on the couple — and on the vibrator. Instead, experiment with the variety of ways to use the NŌS, see what feels good to each of you separately, then explore using it during PIV if you wish. Let your goal be pleasure, not a fantasy simultaneous orgasm.
To their credit, Fun Factory mentions several ways to use NŌS other than trying to produce orgasms for two people at the same time, such as wearing it on your hand as a finger vibe for your partner.
NŌS is — as Fun Factory hopes — also effective in partner sex, although not necessarily in the way they emphasize. In what my vulva owning partner and I affectionately call “old people sex,” we seldom engage in PIV, far preferring lots of stroking and oral and manual play. Two ways that we enjoy using it on me:
- Oral: NŌS is a wonderful adjunct to fellatio. Installing NŌS at the base of my penis, also touching my scrotum, my partner slowly increases the vibration level as oral sex proceeds. She giggles when she feels the NŌS-generated vibrations of my penis transmit to her mouth. What do I feel? Bliss.
- Manual: My partner holds NŌS in her hand and applies the vibrating double end to sensitive spots on my penis, scrotum, and nipples, which I find very stimulating!
NŌS is a great addition to anyone’s sex toy collection. Don’t expect it to magically provide the rare simultaneous orgasm. But do recognize it as an effective, versatile little sex toy. Some of its many qualities:
- Made of body-safe silicone
- Quiet during use
- Four speeds plus one pattern
- Recharging is easy via the included handy magnetic charger.
- Vibrations are remarkably strong for its small size
- Ideal size for travel
Note from Shamus MacDuff’s clitoris-owning lover:
I love Fun Factory toys — especially the Volta and Limba Flex! — but this one did not work for me as a clitoris vibrator. The so-called clit extensions felt hard, and it was too easy to accidentally pinch myself when trying to manipulate it for my own pleasure. I loved using it on Shamus, but for myself, I’ll grab the Volta from my Fun Factory toy bag.
Caution: Cock rings are safe when used properly. Wear for no longer than 20 minutes at a time. If it hurts, remove it. Do not use if you have a blood/bleeding condition.
— Shamus MacDuff, age 77, was oblivious to the delights of sex toys for penises until about three years ago. He’s been making up for lost time! Read his other posts here.
“It’s hard for me to reach orgasm,” women over 60 often write me. “What can I do?” Although your stories are unique, the essential question is often the same: “How can I reach orgasm more easily?”
Consult your doctor for a medical cause.
- “I have a few illnesses and I’m on medications.”
- “I’ve always been able to orgasm easily but for the past year and a half, I’ve been losing almost all sensation. I have not talked with my doctor about this.”
Many of you mention your medical conditions when you ask me for advice. You need to have this conversation with your doctor who knows your condition or your pharmacist who knows the sexual side effects of your medications. If your medical professional is dismissive of you or embarrassed that you’re asking about sex, you need a new one who is sex-positive and age-positive. This is essential for your quality of life! See “Talk to Your Doctor about Sex” for help starting this conversation.
Expand your sexual repertoire.
- “I have been unable to have orgasms because my husband is impotent.”
About 75 to 80 percent of women do not reach orgasm through intercourse, and I suspect that percentage is higher in our age group. We need clitoral stimulation before, during, or instead of intercourse. Your husband’s erectile dysfunction does not need to be an impediment to satisfying sex for both of you — there are many other ways to give and receive sexual pleasure. Watch my webinar, “Great Sex without Penetration.”
Use sex toys for faster arousal and orgasm.
- “I would like to know how to reach an orgasm on my own, as my husband is not interested. I have a vibrator and sometimes it helps, but most often it doesn’t.”
- “I have started to buy some sex toys for solo play, but I just cannot get an orgasm.”
- “I prefer to use a device of some kind. But I don’t know what to look for.”
Read my advice above about consulting your doctor in case there’s a medical cause for your inability to reach orgasm. If not, it’s likely that you haven’t found the right vibrator to make orgasms happen for you. There are many different types, and each has a variety of shapes, sizes, and intensities. The vibrations can range from buzzy to rumbly and from mild to turbo-powered.
Start with my blog post, “How to Choose a Vibrator.” Then, armed with your knowledge of what you’re looking for, read my reviews of specific vibrators, all from a senior perspective. (There are many reviews, so keep selecting “older posts” at the bottom of the page.) A faster way to see and learn about a selection of my favorites is to view my webinar, “Sex Toys for Seniors.”
If you’re partnered, communicate what feels good and what doesn’t.
- “My husband is never very good at sex and consequently I suffer. I’m trying to find a way to achieve satisfaction.”
Does your husband refuse or “forget” to do what pleases you? Or does he not know, because you haven’t found a way to communicate what you need? We grew up during an era of embarrassment about sex, and for many of us, it’s still difficult to talk to a partner about our sexual needs. Work on asking for what feels good to you. My book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50, has an entire chapter on improving sex with a longtime partner, including how to find the right words for communicating your needs.
If you’re solo, enjoy self-pleasuring often.
- “My husband died 4 years ago. I haven’t had any sexual activity in about 10 years. I think I just want solo sex. Could you help me please?”
I’m so sorry for your loss. Grief often numbs our natural need for sex, though for some, it has the opposite effect. (Learn more from Sex After Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality After Losing Your Beloved.)
Be patient if you’re just getting back to sexual activity after a decade. Your body and brain became accustomed to doing without sex, and your drive and responsiveness receded. Some tips to improve this:
- Enjoy solo sex during the time of day you feel energetic and excitable. I call that your “tingle time.”
- Exercise first to increase blood flow to the genitals for faster arousal.
- Eat after sex, not before, so that the blood flow is not diverted to the digestive system.
“A Senior’s Guide to Solo Sex,” one of my most popular articles for Senior Planet (with 137 comments!), has more suggestions. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Your take-away tips:
- Consult your doctor for a medical cause.
- Expand your sexual repertoire.
- Use sex toys for faster arousal and orgasm.
- If partnered, communicate what feels good and what doesn’t.
- If solo, enjoy self-pleasuring often.
- The more sexually active you are — partnered or solo — the easier it becomes to reach orgasms.
(This article first appeared on Senior Planet as “Ask Joan: Easier Orgasms” on July 20, 2020.)