March 3, 2021: A year ago this month, I wrote the blog post below. It was the beginning of the pandemic, and we had no idea that a year later, we’d still be restricting our lives, wearing masks, staying home, assessing our safety with every interaction, trying to figure out how to get through this alive, crying for those who did not. Massive numbers of people have died from COVID-19: 2.56 million to date worldwide. I’m spotlighting my March 2020 post because everything I said then is even truer now (except that I’m another year older and no longer needing the knee scooter). I’ve learned new ways to cope — so have you. Feel free to share your advice in the comments section.
March 18, 2020: 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.
Hot Octopuss is best known for sex toys for penises. Now they’ve taken the bass-treble dual motors used in the popular JETT and placed them in a smooth, elegant, penetrative vibrator for eager vaginas. This means you have two motors vibrating at different frequencies. The bass is rumbly and throbby and altogether wonderful. The treble is a higher frequency but not buzzy (I had worried that it would be). The two together are two musical instruments in concert.
The intensity is strong, and I mean strong! I suggest playing with low- to mid-settings before you go full throttle, even if you usually assume you need the strongest, most ferocious vibrations possible (guilty as charged). Spend several sessions experimenting to find what combination of treble-bass and more-less power for a given moment.
Even if you’re a seasoned vibrator connoisseur and you use most sex toys intuitively, I recommend that you study the one-page manual that you’ll find in the box and online, where you can enlarge it for your old eyes. I would have figured out how to turn it on (press and hold “+” for each motor) and off (press and hold “-” for each motor) and how to increase (+) or decrease (-) the intensity. But I would not have intuited that the little raised button on the treble side turns off both motors simultaneously, and the little indented button on the bass side cycles through the patterns.
Speaking of patterns! Honestly, I usually ignore patterns. Give me steady and strong, then steady and stronger. Don’t distract me with rhythms. But with the Kurve, patterns are exciting! The only one I know how to describe is #5: “beep-beep- cha-cha-cha.” With the different rhythmic patterns and the two motors that each have their own intensity choices, the combinations are plentiful. In fact, I find that every time I use the Kurve and experiment, it’s a new experience.
Why is it especially good for our age group?
- The whole design is beautifully ergonomic and suited to our genitals, from the vagina-pleasing curve to the gel-soft tip.
- The controls are super easy to see. (I’ve been asking for this!) You can even differentiate the raised symbols by touch, with eyes closed.
- The large, cushioned tip is comfortable and adaptable to our varying shapes and pressure preferences.
- It offers enough stimulation for our slow-burning bodies.
But what about the clitoris?
Personally, I had hoped it could be used externally as well as internally, making it a most versatile sex toy. Though it’s a stimulating clitoral warm-up, it does its best work internally.
Easy solutions if you need or prefer clitoral stimulation:
- Invite your favorite clitoral vibrator to join the party. Being created with two hands gives us many advantages in daily life: using a fork and knife, pouring coffee and making sure it lands in the mug, tying shoes, petting the dog while changing channels, to name just a few. I’d put on the top of that list: using a clitoral vibrator and a vaginal vibrator at the same time! Try DiGiT, Amo, Eroscillator, We-Vibe Touch, or any smallish vibe that won’t clunk against the Kurve.
- Enjoy your or your partner’s fingers on your clitoris while the Kurve is in your vagina. One partner of a vulva owner reported this technique:
“My partner had the Kurve fully inserted in her vagina on the setting she likes best. I rested the outer edge of my left hand lightly against the protruding end of the vibrating Kurve. Then, using my thumb and index finger, I stroked and manipulated her clitoris with ample lube. The vibrations from the Kurve transmitted through my hand and fingers to her sweet spot, with a lovely result.”
- The product description does not include the diameter of the largest insertable part. Since it’s not uncommon for older vagina-owners to require slim products for comfort, this measurement should be disclosed, Hot Octopuss! I measured it for you: 1.5 inch diameter. The tapered, squishy tip is squeezable and after insertion the mid-section is slender, but there’s a moment that it’s a non-negotiable 1.5″, in case that’s a problem for you.
- With two motors at full blast, the handle itself transmits vibrations, which will aggravate an arthritic hand. However, if you prop a pillow for the handle to rest on, you don’t really have to hold it. Just keep a couple of fingers on it to keep it from rotating out of position, and it will pretty much stay where you put it.
- You have to be careful not to accidentally hit the controls in the handle when you’re in the throes of passion.
- I don’t much love the “KURVE is a sex toy superhero on a mission to seek out your G-spot” marketing. In my view, instead of pursuing the goal of having your body work a certain way — “Was that my G-spot? Or did I orgasm because I enjoy vaginal vibration? Or am I feeling my internal clitoris? Am I doing this wrong?” — just try it different ways and let yourself relax and enjoy.
- Waterproof! You’ll need water-based lube, though, so best to lubricate and insert it before you get in the tub.
- USB rechargeable via a charging hole.
- If you have a penis-owner lover who is jealous of the attention you get from your new toy, press the Kurve against the penis along with oral or manual pleasuring. Share the joy!
Attention Kurve owners:
Are you a vulva owner who already has a Kurve or is ordering one now? I’m leading a a private, online focus group for Hot Octopuss at the end of March to discuss user experience with the Kurve. If you’re interested in participating, please read and answer this survey, and I’ll be in touch. Participants who are selected will get an autographed copy of one of my books or a webinar as a thank you!
by Shamus MacDuff
Sunlight streams through the window by her bed,
And shimmers off her hummingbird feeder just outside.
Clad only in pearl necklaces, she emerges from the shower
With a welcoming smile that beckons me join her in bed.
Feeling both the sun’s warmth and hers, I quickly comply.
My thoughtful lover has assembled sex toys and lube,
As we lie down together, kissing, stroking, and giggling.
Soothing sunlight dapples our nipples and softens our
Old people wrinkles and blemishes as we cling together.
We are again young in the sun, two bodies eager for touch.
Our preference is taking turns pleasuring one another,
With full focus first on one person, and then on the other.
Pleasuring and being pleasured in full sunshine is a treat
In that beautiful wood-paneled bedroom where we meet.
Slowly, gently, lovingly, we exchange climaxes in the sun.
Filled with afterglow, when spooning, we catch movement
Out the window as an iridescent hummingbird hovers.
While we hug and talk we count the hummers’ visits,
Thrilling over how they glisten in the sun’s afternoon rays.
Their allure accentuates the radiance of our own sunny love.
— Shamus MacDuff, 1/23/21
1/24 update. I published this post in April 2020. I’m getting so many questions about this topic that I’m moving it to the top of my blog.
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!