Before I tell you anything more about the topic of this blog post, please watch the video “Ageless” below:
- How did you react to the video during the first 35 seconds, when the message seemed to be simply that we can feel sexy in older bodies?
- How did you react when you learned that the women in the video were all living with urinary incontinence?
- What were your thoughts and feelings when the video ended?
I’ll tell you my response to all three questions: joyful. I love it when senior sexuality is celebrated, especially when the changes and challenges are normalized, accepted, and embraced. I love seeing senior women portrayed as sexy and confident.
Did that change when I realized that these women all had their “trickle of joy” or “sneeze wee” as part of their daily lives? Nope.
TENA, a global brand specializing in bladder incontinence solutions, came to my attention with this advertising campaign for women. Instead of using the video to promote their incontinence products directly, TENA wanted to increase awareness and acceptance of the sexuality of older women — even if they leak urine.
Our intention with this film is to acknowledge that many women do live with incontinence (as many as 1 in 3) and to give women the confidence to talk about it, to seek advice, and to know that they can continue living their lives as they want to. This campaign was inspired by speaking to real women and the stories they had to tell about their sexual experiences while having incontinence.
Not everyone feels so accepting. At the time of this writing, “Ageless/TENA” has 1,705,102 views, 132 “likes,” and 208 “dislikes.” Reactions in the 45 comments range from “Great ad! Love it!” to “nauseating” and “cringe worthy.” Some of the comment writers are quite upset and express themselves vehemently (and not always grammatically):
- Remove this ad! Its DISGUSTING!
- I thought the Always ad was one of the worst I had ever seen then I seen this Tena ad. It is not “completely normal” to “Whoosh” nor is there anything sexy about being incontinent so please stop trying to convince women that there is just to sell your products. It’s patronising condescending & a lie!
- I AM target market but this utterly alienates me. I will now go out of my way not to buy Tena.
Others are filled with positivity:
- Makes me want to be stunning and brave too.
- What’s to dislike about this? Women don’t stop being sexual entities just because they get older, and incontinence is no respecter of firm skin or a pretty face. I like this ❤️
- I know it’s just an advert to sell a product, but I find this refreshing, honest and beautiful. It saddens me the number of women that feel they are the wrong age, shape or size, I hope this and other adverts like it will change perceptions in time.
- This add is so beautiful and so intimate, that I feel privileged to have been “let in”. I love how these beautiful women of different ages, shapes, sizes and colours, with imperfect bodies, allow themselves to be vulnerable in public to encourage women out there to love themselves and live fully, even when they don’t match those unachievable beauty standards promoted by media. Their beauty radiates so warm and so strong that it makes me happy inside!
When I first viewed this video in March 2020, I commented,
I’d like to expand on that.
Most seniors and elders encounter sexual challenges. Aching joints, dry vagina, unreliable erections, decreased sensation, elusive orgasms, or a combination of these are common. You’ll find plenty of information about how to deal with these issues and remain sexy in my books, articles, and webinars. But one common concern that I’ve never addressed before is urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence can affect sexual enjoyment. You may avoid sex out of embarrassment, shame, self-image, anxiety. Feeling self-affirming, and sex-positive can make the difference between enjoying sex and avoiding sex. Let’s choose the former.
Worn-out stereotypes simply don’t describe how women over 50 are living their lives now. Thanks to thousands of women who shared their stories with us, it’s clear they are enjoying enriched, fulfilling experiences including sex. Incontinence doesn’t change this.
– From TENA
TENA’s campaign drew media attention, not always positive. DailyMail.com published an article titled “Women my age should not feel pressure to be sexy” by Sarah Vine, age 52, including these sentiments:
I don’t doubt the good intentions. But what if you’re not comfortable with your ageing body; what if you don’t look at yourself in the mirror and see a glorious goddess but a baggy old bag; what if you don’t find sex as pleasing as it once was?
Now your own lack of self-esteem is just something else to feel inadequate about, your lack of desire yet another example of how you’re letting the side down by being insufficiently thrilled at the thought of stuffing your crinkly cleavage into some underwiring or hauling your sagging derriere into a pair of fishnet tights.
…In this age of over-sharing, there are some conversations that should remain private. And this is one of them.
I guess Sarah Vine would consider me one of the over-sharers. I think that keeping conversations about sex and aging private — meaning not having these conversations at all! — reinforces our invisibility as sexual beings and stops us from finding solutions and work-arounds.
Society would rather not see us as vibrant sexual creatures, whether because of pee leaks or just because we’re old. We all experience sexual setbacks, that’s part of getting old(er). But making information easily available will help us overcome those problems, rather than letting the problems limit us. I vote for keeping the conversation open, loud, and frequent!
Your opinion? Please post your thoughtful comments. Respect each other, please, even if you disagree with someone’s point of view (including mine).
(For more information about urinary incontinence, see https://www.tena.co.uk/women/about-incontinence/.)
I am thrilled to announce this collaboration with a company I’ve admired and endorsed for years. Read what Hot Octopuss has to say about our Senior Sex Hub. — Joan
Sex is Back!
-Over 50s rejoice-
Leading sex toy brand Hot Octopuss brings sex for the over fifties back to the fore with the launch of their Senior Sex hub with the help of ‘Senior Sexpert’ Joan Price
Sex is back! (*well actually it seems it never went away!). Contrary to popular belief, sexual intimacy and enjoyment is alive and kicking amongst the over 50’s. A recent article by USA Today states that “Many adults aged 65-80 are having sex (and most are pretty satisfied)”, the article goes on to say, “Sex is not just for the young: 40% of U.S. adults aged 65-80 say they are having sex — and even more of them, 73%, are satisfied with their sex lives”, the highest satisfaction rate out of any demographic.
A topic often side stepped, it turns out that this demographic is really into sex, so much so that award-winning, London-based sex toy company Hot Octopuss has decided to embrace this by launching a dedicated hub specifically designed to offer these sex positive seniors a sexual well-being destination dedicated to their specific needs.
Leading the charge and directing Hot Octopuss at every turn is world renowned “Senior Sexpert” Joan Price, internationally acclaimed advocate for ageless sexuality, award winning author and now, in-house senior sex expert and ambassador for Hot Octopuss at www.hotoctopuss.com/seniorsex.
It’s about time that senior sex is brought out of the shadows and who better to do this than in my opinion, the world’s most progressive and inclusive sex toy brand, Hot Octopuss. I’m delighted to be partnering with Hot Octopuss on this exciting project and with my own dedicated “Dear Joan” page, I will personally be there to offer candid advice to fellow seniors who have specific questions about better sex. From hot solo senior sex, to arousal and orgasm, or communicating better in a long-term relationship, no subject will be off-limits.
As well as having the chance to receive candid advice from a world leading expert, the hub’s focus will be on providing a one-stop-shop for everything senior sex, providing in-depth coverage of topics such as post-menopausal sex, sex with ageing penises and vulvas, ED, arousal, orgasm and masturbation, as well as offering sex toy tips, suggestions and senior reviews.
Hot Octopuss Co-founder Julia Margo explains,
The sexless seniors stereotype is so outdated and simply untrue. A fifth of the toys we sell on our site are bought by customers aged 55 or over. This, along with my own experience talking to older customers and senior sex experts over the last nine years at Hot Octopuss is that information and tools addressing issues such as menopause, stiff joints and erectile dysfunction can make all the difference to an individual’s sex life as one gets older.
Unfortunately, few sex toy companies discuss any of this, or represent older people in their marketing, which contributes to the misconception that the information is unwanted, whereas this couldn’t be further from the truth. We want to do things differently and understand that no matter how old you are, you are never too old to enjoy a fulfilling sex life. We are really proud to be working with Joan on the launch of our ‘senior sex’ hub to give all our older customers the very best in advice, so that they can continue to enjoy the sex life that they want and deserve throughout their lives.”
The Hot Octopuss Senior Sex hub and Ask Joan pages launch on 5th May 2020 and can be found at www.hotoctopuss.com/seniorsex and https://www.hotoctopuss.com/dear-joan/.
About Joan Price
Joan Price is the author of four books about sex and ageing, including the award-winning Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex and her latest, Sex After Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality After Losing Your Beloved. Joan is known by global media as the voice of senior sex. Her blog has been offering sex news, views and reviews since 2005. Aged 76, Joan continues to talk out loud about senior sex, partnered or solo.
About Hot Octopuss
Founded in 2013, this award-winning, London-based brand designs innovative, cutting edge sex toys that not only look gorgeous, but are designed to work with the body. They passionately believe that pleasure is a fundamental right for everyone. Their sex toys have been taken back to the drawing board, and are developed using real people, some serious science and ingenious designs. Their collection of unique toys have been designed for everybody so whether you’re cis, trans, non-binary, have limited mobility or are older, there’s a Hot Octopuss toy to suit.
Seniors often ask me, “What’s the best vibrator?” I’m happy to help, but the answer isn’t that easy. The question usually comes from people who identify as women who never used vibrators in the past, or who tried vibrators but never got attached (so to speak) to them. Now they discover orgasms are elusive, and they need an assist to intensify sensation, ramp up arousal, and reach orgasm.
I’ve reviewed more than a hundred vibrators on this blog over the last decade, and tested many more that I decided not to review. My blog reviews screen for the best vibrators for our age group and give you the pros and cons of each. Despite all my experience, I can’t tell you which one is “best.” That’s not an inadequacy on my part, it’s because the vibrator that’s best for you depends on many factors.
Your first step is figuring out exactly what you need. We’re all different, and your own needs and preferences will determine which vibrator will become your best friend. Let me guide you through how to sort through the many possibilities.
How Do I Get Started With Vibrators?
Start by answering these questions:
- How will you use your vibrator? I know, you’ll press it against your sexy bits to give you orgasms, but how and where? Do you want a vibrator that stimulates your clitoris? Goes into your vagina? Does both at the same time? Will you use it solo or during partner sex? Do you want it to double as a back massager?
- Do you care what it looks like? Some women want a sex toy to look like a penis. Others really don’t want it to look like a penis. Some want it not to look like a sex toy at all.
- How should it feel against your skin? Vibrators can be firm, flexible, cushiony, hard, soft, textured, smooth and any other tactile quality you can think of.
- How strong should the vibrations be? Do you want your vibrator to be quiet and whisper-light, turbo power, earth-shaking strong, or something in between?
- How much does noise matter? Will you worry that your neighbors in the next apartment or a family member in the next room can hear it?
- What size is too big, too small, just right if this is a penetrating toy? Sometimes a size that would have felt perfect 30 years ago is just too girthy and uncomfortable for us now, especially if we’re not having regular penetrative sex.
- Do you have mobility restrictions or other physical issues to consider? Is wrist arthritis an issue for holding a vibrator? What position will you be in when you use it?
- What else is important to you? This is completely individual. You may want it to be no-brainer easy to use: off, on, that’s it. Or you may relish multiple patterns, rhythms and intensities, and not mind a bit of a learning curve. You may want the controls to be comprehensible by touch without your reading glasses. You may want to travel with it.
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to start narrowing your choices.
Never underestimate the power of a good orgasm, whether it’s vibrator-assisted or not. At this time in our lives, catching that evasive orgasm can be difficult. Make it easier with the right tool!
How do I Choose the Right Vibrator and Purchase Online?
Read online reviews. I review sex toys from a senior perspective on this blog, taking into consideration intensity, ease of use, body-safe materials, etc. Click “vibrator review” and keep reading and scrolling until you find those that match your criteria. Links to order from the reputable retailers that I endorse are included within each review. If you’d like to compare several vibrators, choose a retailer from my advertisers and affiliates. (Find their banner links in the right-hand column of my blog if you’re using a computer, or scroll past a few posts if you’re using your phone.) These folks support me in providing senior sex education to you, and I’ve vetted each one as a high-quality, reputable online store.
The most entertaining way to learn more about some of my favorite sex toys is to view my webinar, Sex Toys for Seniors. In this 90-minute online class, I do a lively show-and-tell, covering these topics:
- My criteria for evaluating sex toys
- 8 questions to help you choose your personal vibrator.
- 5 myths and facts about vibrators.
- Show-and-tell: my highly recommended sex toys for seniors.
Subscribe to my newsletter for a special webinar discount!
You’ll also find a ton of sex toy information in my book The Ultimate Guide to Sex after Fifty, including how to buy sex toys made of body-safe materials (the cheaper ones may not be). You’ll also find info on every other senior sex topic!
I’m under a shelter-in-place order, as are most of you by now. Even before the order, I had started limiting outings and interactions because I’m in a high-risk group. I’m 76, and although I’m usually a powerhouse of energy, I do manage chronic asthma. Twice in the past 5 years, simple respiratory illnesses developed into pneumonia, one requiring hospitalization. To make life even more stressful, I’ve been recovering from injuries after a fall that put me on crutches and a knee scooter for a month.
I’m sure many of you have similar stories.
I Know We’re All Stressed, Maybe This Will Help. I’m used to working from home, so social distancing isn’t a huge change for me. If you’re new to this and can’t figure out what how to fill your time and reduce your stress, here are some tips that I hope you’ll find helpful:
- Choose one thing you’ve wished for time to do, something that would bring you a sense of pleasure and satisfaction. Maybe it’s as simple as making time to read a novel, or as complex as writing your memoir. Make this something that will bring you joy to do.
- Choose one important task that needs to be done that you can do at home. You know, a chore on that to-do list that’s been hanging over you for weeks, months, years? You might not enjoy doing it, but you will enjoy having done it.
- Build exercise into your day, every day, even if it’s power walking your house to the beat of a favorite song. Exercise is important for our physical and mental health. It’s a natural anti-depressant. For 300 ideas (yep,I counted them) for exercising wherever you are, get my 2003 book, The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book: 300+ quick and easy exercises you can do whenever you want!
- Reach out to loved ones. No, we can’t visit and hug, but we can interact via phone, Skype, Zoom, Facetime. Make a plan to contact at least one special person each day. Ask for what you need emotionally. Use the time to get closer to people in the wonderful technological ways available to us, rather than feeling distanced and isolated.
Divide your time among these four. Brag when something’s done! You’ll feel better and less isolated if you’re intentionally doing something enjoyable or important or both, rather than just passing time.
Here’s the main point: We know at our age that every hour we have matters. We can make this time meaningful. It’s our best gift to ourselves.
“But Joan, what about sex?” you’re asking. OK, let’s add sex:
- Give yourself an orgasm at your tingle time.
- Try something new during solo sex or partnered sex.
- Order a new sex toy or lubricant. Please scroll down the right-hand side of my blog for retailers who support my senior sex educational mission. Let’s support them, too, especially now.
- Learn something new about sex and aging. This blog is a fine start. Consider my books, film, and webinars, too. As long as the post offices remain open, I can ship your book and film orders (U.S. only), and my webinars are digital, so you can view them whatever your location or situation.
Please feel free to add your comments and tips.