This important topic comes up so often when I speak or give interviews that I’m republishing this post from Oct. 2017. Please comment!
When do we lose the right to sexual expression? If we’re lucky enough to be active and independent now, we’re smart enough to realize that a time may come that we no longer can live on our own. What will you want for yourself? For your loved ones? How can you make sure that your wishes are respected?
Take some time to think about these ideas and questions:
- When do we lose the right to sexual expression?
- Does our right to sexual expression end if/when we can no longer live independently? If so, why?
- Who determines whether we can still express ourselves sexually, and by what guidelines do they make that decision?
- Do elders with dementia have the right to sexual expression? Who decides that, and on what basis?
- If staff members have a different personal belief about what’s appropriate sexual behavior (or non-behavior), do their values override our own?
- If family members are uncomfortable with us having a sexual relationship, should their wishes supersede ours?
Personally, I want the right to decide when and how I want to be touched sexually — whether by my own hand, a partner I’ve chosen, or a sex toy that they’d better not pry out of my arthritic hands — for the rest of my life. Don’t you?
If I end up living in a care facility, I imagine I won’t submit to rules easily, unless they are as progressive as the Hebrew Home at Riverdale (NY), which has had a sexual rights policy since 1995, and updates it periodically. Until other homes catch up, it’s up to us to make our wishes clear.
Have you written your Advance Directive for Sexual Rights? Here’s mine:
- Make sure I have an outlet and batteries to keep my sex toys in working order.
- Do not interfere with any warm connection I may be enjoying with any companion I choose, in any way I choose to express that connection.
- If I’m involved with a sexual partner, make sure I have easy access to safer sex protection.
- When I close the door—whether I’m alone or with another person—give me privacy.
- If I’m still capable of sharing information about senior sexuality with residents and or staff, provide me with opportunities to do that.
What are yours?
[Excerpted from The Ultimate Guide to Sex after FiftyHow to Maintain – or Regain – a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life by Joan Price]
Lynn Brown Rosenberg, age 76, writes about a safe way to have sex with strangers — in online chat rooms:
I had gone 12 years without sex, and I didn’t want to live that way anymore.
I changed psychological medications and that made a difference right away. But I also realized I had been repressed sexually for decades. That began to crystallize when I told my urologist I hadn’t had an orgasm in many years. She suggested I get some porn and a vibrator. I did exactly that!
Although reluctant at first to discuss my sex life, or the lack thereof, with my therapist, I began to relax after he reassured me, “Don’t worry, I’ve heard it all.” I learned from him about porn you can watch in the Internet.
I watched some pretty interesting stuff and became especially intrigued with one video where the woman talked to the man, telling him what she was going to do to him and asking him if he liked it. She stroked him as she talked, and this was all he needed have an explosive orgasm. This aroused me — it was sexy, safe, and the kind of part-way point I needed to get back to sex.
During another session, I told my doctor I missed having no one in my life to talk to about my sexual desires. He told me about sex chat websites like BeNaughty.com and Flirthut.com. What?! There was no way I was going to talk sex with strangers. And besides, what in the world would I say?
And then I remembered the woman who talked and brought the man to ecstasy. I went back to that video and wrote down word-for-word what she said. Having the words pushed aside my unease. Sure, I was nervous, but willing to give it a try.
There’s not a lot of chit chat on these sex chat sites. The goal is arousing each other to orgasm. After introducing yourselves, you get right into it.
“Are you horny?” I asked.
The conversation that followed was raw. Graphic. Forbidden. Exciting. I was on an exhilarating ride. After escalating the dirty talk, he came hard, and thanked me profusely. Should I be thanked for such a thing?
Through this and future chats, I felt my sexuality was validated. In fact, I wanted to explore the dynamics of my sexuality even further. How far could I take this? How far was I willing to take this?
Sometimes I wasn’t the only one fantasizing. I titled this “Ben’s Fantasy” in my book. An instant message (IM) from a fellow I had chatted with made me light up. His message read: “I was fantasizing about you today.”
“Really?” I wrote. “What was your fantasy?”
“I was daydreaming that you invited me back to your apartment. You offered me a glass of wine. After we had some wine, you led me to your bed. We began to kiss and you unzipped my jeans.”
I pictured him in low-riders, shirt off, revealing a sculpted chest.
He described an entire fantasy scenario, while I just listened and encouraged him with words like “And then?”
Afterwards, he told me, “Since you gave me pleasure, I’d like to give you some.” But what he had in mind was meeting in person for sex, and that set off brightly flashing warning lights. “I don’t think so,” I told him.
“Why not?” he asked.
I explained my reservations, that it seemed unseemly, which didn’t make all that much sense since I was having an erotic chat with him, a virtual stranger. But that’s how I felt at the time. And I’d have to confess my real age, not an insignificant detail. I was a lot older than I had represented. I figured since I would never meet any of the men, what difference did it make?
You don’t have to use your real name on these chats, or you can use your first name only. You can have steamy, no-holds-barred naughty chats with a variety of people. To be assured of your safety, I recommend not meeting anyone in person. I confess I broke my own rules a couple of times, but that’s still my recommendation. If you want the joy and novelty of anonymous sex without risk, keep your chats to the net.
I looked at internet sex as a “filler fantasy” until I found the real thing. It was exhilarating and fun. And it allows you sexual joy on your terms.
Lynn Brown Rosenberg is the author of a memoir, My Sexual Awakening at 70. She has written articles for SALON, The Sunday Times of London, the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, and others. She will be reading excerpts from her memoir at Barnes & Noble, 6326 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach 90803, on Sunday, August 18, 2019, 12:00 noon.
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.]
“Show Bad Sex the Finger!” Hot Octopuss exclaims. Yes, there’s a new Hot Octopuss vibe in town, the DiGiT vibrator that you wear on your finger. This delightful vibrator is designed especially for clitoral stimulation during partnered sex, or solo, or both. It’s also a delight for penis teasing, nipple stimulation of any gender, and arousing any body part that likes a small, smooth, vibrating finger extension. It’s tiny and light enough to be a travel companion.
DiGiT is made to be worn under a finger, attached by a main finger loop and another curvy finger holder. The diagram on the website indicates that the main loop should
be worn around the middle finger of a larger hand or around the index finger of a smaller hand. My experience was different. I have tiny hands, and I found it awkward to control with my index finger. It was much easier, defter, and more comfortable on my middle finger, with the curvy part on my fourth finger. Experiment — there’s no wrong way to use it.
The vibrations are rumbly, which I prefer, rather than buzzy, which I usually find in a vibrator this small. The design is sleek and modern, and although the DiGiT wouldn’t be mistaken for jewelry, it also doesn’t scream “SEX TOY!” Use water-based lubricant for a smooth feel.
I almost titled this review “Lube on My Glasses.” Here’s why. DiGiT has indented ovals on the side to press to increase or decrease intensity. But there’s no way to tell by touch which indented oval is increases power and which lowers intensity! You can’t tell by feel — the two ovals are exactly the same. You can’t even tell by putting on your reading glasses (hence the lube on my glasses) and peering. Again, the two ovals are identical. Come on, Hot Octopuss, you could have given the “up” and “down” a different texture, a different shape, a different size, or at least a raised “+” and “-” as most vibrators do! As it is, you’ll need to memorize that “stronger” is the oval farthest away from your hand. (Or is it the other way around? Kidding — I’ve memorized it by now.)
Recharging is easy-peasy. Push the charger (included) pointer into the hole, plus the other end into a USB port, and you’re set.
All in all, I think the DiGiT is a fine addition to Hot Octopuss’s innovative collection of orgasm tools, especially for travel. It’s tiny, weighs nothing, yet delivers a lot of power. Please check it out! Thank you, Hot Octopuss, for sending me the DiGiT in return for an honest review.