Old People Sex
(with apologies to T.S. Eliot)
by Shamus MacDuff
It starts with talk—a conversation—
At which we set a date for play
Often a day or two away.
Time passes, anticipation simmers,
Thoughts unfold, excitement builds,
And then the chosen time arrives!
Showers happen, nothing’s rushed.
Sheets are pulled back, lube’s at hand,
And sex toys to match our ken.
We begin with talk—a loving flirtation—
Back and forth about who’ll go first,
Taking turns is very sexy!
The receiver makes requests; the giver
Complies gladly. Our “joint undertaking”
May require repositioned stiff knees.
Kissing, touching, then more kissing,
And more touching, all slow and easy,
No hurried strokes, no rush.
Responsive desire fires mutual pleasure,
Slow, gentle, sensuous, and exhilarating,
Spiced with smiles and laughter.
Activities vary, we experiment as we play.
PIV seldom happens; other ways
Prove more pleasurable and fun.
We finish with orgasms, hugs, spooning,
And more conversation—sharing thoughts about
Our past and present lives.
And this is how our date ends, this is how our date ends
This is how our date ends,
Not with a bang, but a cuddle.
I’m often asked what I mean when I say that I review sex toys “from a senior perspective.” What’s a “senior perspective” and how do our senior needs differ from younger folks?
- We need vibrators that can go as long as we need to arouse our slow-burning bodies without overheating or running out of charge.
- We want ergonomic sex toys that don’t strain arthritic wrists.
- We need sex toys made from body-safe materials. (Aren’t they all? No.)
- Vulva owners who enjoy vaginal penetration may require a slim fit for comfort.
- Penis owners with erectile challenges need sex toys that don’t require an erection to use it.
- We want to see and differentiate the controls without putting on our reading glasses.
- We want to be able to adjust the controls by touch, despite slippery, lubed fingers.
- Above all, we need intensity: strong vibrations. We’re battling our (lack of) hormones, people.
That’s why I say I review sex toys from a senior perspective. Is there anything you would add to my list?
To see the whole list of vibrators and other sex toys reviewed on this blog, click here. Keep scrolling to “older posts,” because I’ve reviewed a lot of them! You’ll also find my webinar “Sex Toys for Seniors” informative and enjoyable.
I welcome your comments on my reviews, whether you agree or disagree. I’m just one person, and our preferences vary. Whether a toy works for me may depend on “fit” as well as preference, and it’s useful for all of us if you post your own experience in the comments section.
7/19/2020: I’m updating this post from 2011 to answer a reporter’s question. You might have wondered this also!
Until a year ago, at age 75, my only anal experiences consisted of childhood enemas administered by my mother and prostate examinations given by my doctor. Prostate massage toys never crossed my mind.
In my naiveté I never considered my anus or my prostate to be erogenous zones. But then I read The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure: Erotic Exploration for Men and Their Partners by Charlie Glickman and Aislinn Emirzian, and my curiosity was piqued. Wishing to explore and expand my own sexual repertoire, I obtained three prostate toys: Pleasure Plug 1 from Fuze, Pure Wand from njoy, and Helix Trident from Aneros.
I tried each toy with much trepidation and lots of lube, not knowing what to expect. Those initial experiences were disappointing. I had anticipated an immediate “buzz” or feeling of intense sexual excitement, and when I didn’t, I thought prostate play was not for me.
I left those three toys unused in a drawer for many months. Then, still curious, I read Joan Price’s interview of Charlie Glickman, “Prostate Play for Pleasure and Health.” I decided to give the toys another try. This time around, “curiosity thrilled the cat!”
So what had changed?
- I learned that a host of other prostate owners derive great pleasure from stimulation of the prostate.
- I realized that I needed to experiment more.
- I understood that lying prostrate to access my prostate—the position I’d used in my earlier exploration — wasn’t the best position. If instead I inserted the toy while standing, I could alter its placement easily with a hand free for nipple and/or penis play. Introducing any of the toys into my anus from that position brought my penis almost instantly erect, the more so when I moved the toy around or in and out. None of these actions alone produced an orgasm, but they primed me, and a well-lubed hand job led quickly to ejaculation.
The three toys are different.
- The Pleasure Plug is essentially a 4-1/2-inch silicone butt plug—it’s straight, only slightly flexible, and because of the shape, it doesn’t reach my prostate.
- The Pure Wand is 7-1/2 inches of stainless steel and weighs a hefty 2 pounds. It is curved, so it can be positioned to touch the prostate directly.
- The Helix Trident is 4 inches long, made of non-porous FDA-Approved Acetal plastic. It features a special Aneros design that stimulates multiple anal sites. (See more Aneros prostate massagers here.)
Both the Pure Wand and the Helix Trident can be maneuvered to push on, stroke, or massage the prostate to produce extremely pleasurable sensations. Those sensations are quite distinct from penis-oriented ones—they’re deeper, subtler, and more diffuse.
My newfound knowledge led to a fantasy. I imagined how it might feel to insert either the Pure Wand or the Helix Trident while standing erect and having a partner perform fellatio as I wiggled the toy about. To my great joy this fantasy came true! Having inserted the Helix Trident with plenty of lube, I stood over my partner seated on a chair. She played with my penis lovingly while I maneuvered Helix Trident in my anus, and before long I exploded in a wonderful orgasm. The orgasm was so powerful that on release, it mostly extruded the toy!
At age 76 I’ve discovered my prostate and a whole new world of sexual pleasure that I didn’t even know existed. If you experiment, you may also be equally fortunate.
— Shamus MacDuff, age 76, was oblivious to the delights of sex toys for his own pleasure until about two years ago. He’s been making up for lost time! Read Shamus MacDuff’s other posts.
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/.)