Sex After Grief Navigating Your Sexuality After Losing Your Beloved

by Joan Price (Mango Publishing, 2019)

Sex is complicated enough when it’s easy—but when we’re in grief, it’s especially mysterious and confusing. How do we nurture ourselves as sexual beings when we’re grieving the death of a partner? Why does taking care of ourselves sexually even matter at a time when we’d rather hide under the covers and wail? What do we do with those sexual feelings that arise despite our misery? How do we know when it’s time to open ourselves to a new sexual relationship, whether it’s a friend with benefits or a new love connection? And how do we do it?

There are many books about grief, but they almost never mention sex, and if they do, it’s cursory. Sex After Grief is the first book to address sex and grief together and treat sex as a normal, positive, life-affirming part of emerging from grief.

In Sex after Grief, the top expert on senior sex, Joan Price, describes her own experiences as a widow since 2008, when she lost the love of her life to cancer. She shares her own raw grief journey, her sexual reawakening (and the many stumbles along the way), her attempts to dip back into the dating pool, along with excellent advice on how to handle each step.

Joan Price’s revelatory approach to sex after loss includes excerpts from many other grievers’ personal stories. These narratives from folks of all genders and orientations who have grieved have much in common, yet also much that’s different. Some jumped into sex quickly. Some took years. Some withdrew from sexual possibility. Some shared their bodies but not their hearts. As these people open their private lives and thoughts, you’ll come away realizing that no one is wrong, and no choice is defective or shameful.

Sex After Grief

Sex After Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality After Losing Your Beloved by Joan Price  is available now! Order your autographed copy:

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There’s no right or wrong method or timeline for bringing your sexuality back to into your life, whether it’s with your own hands, a hook-up, a new companion, or any combination. You’ll learn many options, and, thanks to the self-help take-aways at the end of each chapter, you will feel better ready to choose for yourself.

With warmth and wisdom, Sex After Grief offers you:

  • Inspiring tales of how different people brought sex back into their lives after the loss of their spouse or partner
  • Guidelines for dating again and getting sexual with a new person
  • Reasons that solo sex is healthy and can be the path to feeling sexual again
  • Descriptions of non-traditional sexual relationships, such as the “Pilot Light Lover” and friends with benefits.
  • Advice from therapists, grief counselors, and sex coaches
  • Self-help takeaways for creating your own action plan

Sex After Grief is a small book -- 5" x 7" -- 170 pages packed with information: my story, excerpts from your stories, helpful quotes, and tips from me and other sex educators who know grief intimately. Each chapter has a self-help "take-away" at the end to help you formulate your own plan. Whether you've lost your beloved or you know someone who has, this book shows grievers the steps towards reclaiming sexual pleasure in their own time, in their own way.


I am thrilled to tell you that Sex after Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality after Losing Your Beloved won the 2020 service/self-help Book Award from ASJA: American Society of Journalists and Authors!



Read "Myths about Sex and Grieving," an excerpt from Sex After Grief.


Hear Joan Price read from Sex after Grief

Praise for Sex After Grief

“Joan Price is so smart. She puts her mind to a subject and gets right to the point. If she weren’t so compassionate and loving she might be too to the point, but the overall impression when you get finished is that somebody who knows what she’s talking about and has the strength to live an honest life has your back…She gives enough examples of the unique way that each individual manages grief that this reader felt permission to grieve however the hell she wants. Or he — men get equal treatment in her books. She backs up the anecdotal evidence with the observations of psychologists and researchers who have studied grief. No stone is left unturned. For all its heavy subject matter, it is a quick and engrossing read. Lots of honey makes the knowledge go down, and every griever should sit down with it one afternoon. You’ll feel much better after reading it.”

Ann Anderson Evans

“Thank you for writing Sex After Grief. Your book is a gem and much needed. I hope to have a life and love again, including having a great sex life. I am joyfully sharing your book with a few girlfriends who lost their loved ones, too. I will reread the book again and again.”

A Reader

“I read your book on Sex After Grief in one sitting. Right now, I have so many family and friends who are recent widows or widowers. I know of death. I know of loss. I know of grief. There are no rules. I want to thank you for writing about sex. I especially want to thank you for writing about sex after grief.”

Reader, age 73

“The principal issues in this journey involve feelings of shame or guilt about the body’s or the mind’s desires. Some grievers think that physical intimacy with someone new is disloyal, that you need to wait until you are no longer grieving or to wait at least a year before having sex with a new partner, and then to be sure that the new partner is a potential next mate. The reality is that there is no specific moment when grieving is over; caring for oneself is not disloyal, and the physical acts and responses may well be an outlet for powerful needs.”

George Szasz, CM, MD, BC Medical Journal

Senior Sex and Grieving

“There are so many things I absolutely loved about this book. Some include:

  • ‘A Griever Shares’ sections interspersed through all the chapters where real people are quoted to illustrate different topics.
  • The inclusion of a wide range of sexualities including queer, heterosexual, and polyamorous relationships.
  • The raw, honest, and vulnerable excerpts from the author’s grief and memory journals and her own insights in her struggles and journey working through grief.
  • A myriad of resources throughout the text—I wrote down four more books about grief I want to read!

“Overall this book covers so many aspects of grief and sexuality while nurturing a shame-free philosophy. The author emphasizes that grief (and sex) is personal and unique to every individual, deserving respect and exploration.

“I am so happy this book exists in the world. I think it is a solid resource written in a way that is inviting and not overwhelming. I hope libraries add it to their collections and grievers can find and be helped by this book.”

Leandra Vane, The Unlaced Librarian

Book Review: Sex After Grief”

Sex After Grief is another jewel in Joan Price’s crown. Throughout this book Ms. Price combines her personal experience of loss, her wisdom, expertise in matters of senior sexuality, and the experiences of others who have lost a loved one. She also brings in viewpoints of noted experts. It’s the back-and-forth storytelling that draws you in and holds you. Despite the subject matter this is a book that is easy to read. When finished I think that you’ll find yourself comforted and reassured.  While most who read this may be of an older demographic, this book also touches upon those who’ve also lost their beloved at a relatively young age. There is so much to learn from this book no matter what your age, situation, sexual orientation, and gender. I was drawn to the previous works of Joan Price because of her extraordinary gift of common sense and sound judgement. Reading this book continued to reinforce these conclusions for me.

Randy Austin-Cardona, M.Ed

“This is a terrific road map for the newly widowed/widower. From the first page to the last, I couldn’t put this book down. It’s like there has been a fly on the wall of my life these last seven years, so much of what Joan has written is what I’ve been going through. My husband and I had been together for 33 years, before he left this plane of existence.  I know he’s on this journey with me as I have explored FWB, solo sex, my (New) First Time, The Pilot Light Lover and more. This book validates everything I’ve been going though, including my hesitancy of possibly creating a new relationship. I highly recommend reading this book, and reading it more than once. After all it’s a map to find your direction ❤️👍❤️”

Barda Allen

“I’m reading your book, Sex After Grief, and it’s wonderful. Even though it’s been so long since I lost my husband, it still resonates. Congratulations. And thank you for including my thoughts and feelings.”

Lynn Brown Rosenberg, author, My Sexual Awakening at 70

“Joan Price is one of the nation’s most prominent experts on sex and aging.”

Psychology Today

“The many voices in this book are smart, well-spoken and insightful…White-knuckle grief, ‘skin hunger,’ guilt, disloyalty, loneliness and isolation, and even loving memories clog the path forward…Every loss is unique, every person is unique and, therefore, every journey is unique. Price’s chapters about myths, grief counselors, dating and “pilot light lovers” (those who ignite dormant passions) are all especially meaningful in that they explore experiences, sexual orientation and concerns.”

Please read the rest of this beautiful review here.

Rae Padilla Francoeur

“I just finished Sex After Grief last week. I laughed and cried, and enjoyed every page! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to see sexuality through a perspective I haven’t experienced ❤️”

Katarina Swaringen

This week the slutty scholars are joined by author, speaker, and ageless sexuality advocate Joan Price (AKA a conversation about all things sexy for seniors). Obviously, this episode is helpful for older adults, but it is invaluable and wise because we ALL get old! Also included: sex after grief and losing your beloved, what makes an ergonomic sex toy, the problems with desexualizing older folks, and how to have an orgasm without an erection!

Sluts & Scholars podcast


“Sex After Grief was incredibly insightful and enlightening. Your writing is comfortable for anyone right in the middle of grief. It is great to receive permission to enjoy sex and love again. Very sad in our society that those of us of a certain age still need permission. I can see myself giving your book to people in the future.  You revealed yourself and did what you encouraged your readers to do, and you came through a true inspiration to all of us. Thank you.”

Linda Williams

“Practical and poignant, Joan Price’s Sex After Grief is a rare book. Full of stories and quotes from other grievers, published authors, and Joan’s own journal, the book touches on many subtopics like ‘Myths about Sex and Grieving,’ ‘Dating Again,’ ‘Solo Sex,’ and ‘For Non-Grievers Who Want to Date Us.’ The book isn’t very long, but it is comprehensive and covers a lot of ground. Actually, it’s a masterpiece of brevity. The shared stories and quotes from other grievers show the reader that we are not alone, and that many others are experiencing what we are in the grieving process. I highly recommend this inspirational and comforting book.”

Barbara Aldridge

[the film]: “Making ‘Guide To Wicked Sex: Senior Sex’ with jessica drake, our sexy seniors, the professional crew, and Wicked Pictures, was the experience of a lifetime. I’m grateful and proud of the work we did together and the superb product that resulted.”

[Sex After Grief:] “When we’re in grief, we shut down in many ways. Coming back into our bodies is an important part of our learning to feel alive again. When I was reading other grief books in preparation for writing this one, I couldn’t believe how rarely sex was mentioned at all, and if it was, it was usually a warning. I’m very proud of this book. It’s much needed by grievers and the people who want to understand them.”

Hot Octopuss

Interview with Joan Price On Her ‘Completely Real and Unscripted’ Film, ‘Guide To Wicked Sex: Senior Sex and her new book, Sex After Grief,” Aug. 23, 2019

“Reading this marvelous little book is like having your hand held followed by a warm hug as you learn myriad ways to cope with the loss of your beloved. The writing is clear, accessible, compassionate, and lively. Joan Price presents much helpful information and many useful suggestions that aid us grievers in reclaiming our sexuality. Her book fills a notable void and provides much-needed advice and assistance to seniors and younger adults who lose a partner. Sex After Grief is a wonderful addition to the literature. I recommend it most highly.”

Keith Marshall

“I predict that Sex After Grief  will be one of the most important books published about death and dying. Joan’s words are delivered with kindness and her advice is true to the heart. There are two things in life that can change you: the books you read and the people you meet. Do yourself a favour, grab a copy of Sex After Grief. This book is relevant to anyone who has experienced loss of a partner, not just from death, but also after the end of a relationship.”

Susan Jarvis, The Maven, The Spicy Boudoir, Australia

“I bought Naked at Our Age, and it was an eye opener for me, 7 years divorced. It helped give me the confidence for online dating, where I met a wonderful man. I wasn’t sure Sex after Grief was going to be relevant to my situation, but how wrong I was. My boyfriend is 3 years past a sudden loss of a long-term relationship. I can see from Sex after Grief that perhaps I’ll be the one to lead the touching, and slow is good. Your book is just a treasure trove of ideas of how to proceed. Thank you so much for writing this book that I thought I didn’t need.”

“Emma” age 72

“I always love Joan’s books because they are real, honest, inspirational, and audacious. Sex After Grief will advise and surprise you, whatever your age, gender, or orientation.”

Betty Dodson

PhD, author, artist, sexologist, orgasm educator since the early 1970s

“Deeply, honestly sourced in her own experience but aware that other people’s mileage may vary, this wise, compassionate, moving, sex-positive, and so necessary book breaks silence and lucidly tackles an all-too-common source of pain and shame. Author Joan Price has stitched ‘patches of [her] grief quilt’ together with other bereaved lovers’ insights and experiences woven throughout. It will prove a source of comfort for those who are grieving, and advice and support for those who are ready to open back up to sex, pleasure and love.”

Carol Queen PhD

Good Vibrations sexologist, co-founder of Center for Sex & Culture, San Francisco