2. Enjoy solo sex during high energy times. When do you feel most sexually charged? When you first wake up? After morning coffee and a good poop? Mid-afternoon? That’s when to indulge in a solitary romp, rather than after a meal when you’re digesting or at night when your sensations are shutting down. When you feel the tingle, indulge it!
3. Create your own foreplay. Do sexy things that get you in the mood. Remember hot times with a special lover. Read erotica, play special songs, watch porn (or, if you prefer, a movie with a star who always turns you on), write sexy thoughts in your journal, take a waterproof vibrator into the bath or shower — whatever starts your path to arousal. Appreciate, decorate, and celebrate your body with lingerie, silk, velvet, massage oil, candlelight–whatever feels good and puts you in the mood.
4. Use a silky lubricant. Don’t just settle for the drugstore variety — there are many different varieties of lubricants for moisture and slickness that feel great and bring back the joy of friction, whether we’re using our hands or a toy. Experiment to find your favorites. Keep the lube within reach so you can reapply frequently.
5. Explore sex toys and other erotic helpers. Our hormonally challenged bodies may need extra help to reach orgasm these days, and our wrists may tire before we reach our goal. Women: try a clitoral vibrator, with or without a dildo, depending whether you like the feeling of a full vagina. (Read the many vibrator reviews on this blog to help you choose.) Men: try a sleeve, cock ring, or prostate stimulator. Lucky for us that sex toys for both genders are easy to find, fun to try, and wow, do they work!
6. Fantasize. Let yourself explore fantasy scenes and partners, no limits. Let your brain (your main sex organ!) indulge in whatever arouses you. Be open to whatever comes into your mind, even if it is something you would not do in real life or with someone you consider off limits. No fantasy is “wrong,” and no one has to know what images or scenarios turn you on. Just go with it.
7. Be physical in daily life. Walking, biking, dancing, yoga, Pilates, lifting weights, and other forms of exercise all enhance blood flow and get you in touch with your own physicality. This translates to your sexual arousal because the blood flows to your genitals as well as to your muscles, making arousal easier and faster. Plus you mentally feel “in your body.”
8. Realize that your solo practice not only gives you pleasure, it’s important for health. Experts recommend at least one orgasm a week for both men and women for genital health and for heart health as well. Weekly orgasms keep the pelvic floor strong and the nerves firing, boost the immune system, and reduce the risk of incontinence, depression, and heart disease. Men – regular orgasms are important for prostate health.
9. If you think you’re not in the mood, do it anyway. It’s too easy to put solo sex on the back burner, and once we’re out of the habit, it’s harder to get revved up again. This is especially true at our age, when our hormones are no longer screaming for release. So reread tips #1-8, and just do it. You’ll find that the physical arousal will happen, that that will trigger your emotional arousal, and that triggers more physical arousal, until it’s all working just right.
10. Don’t think of solo sex as “settling for” a substitute for partner sex. You’re celebrating your own sexuality, glorying in your body’s capability of pleasing you, and enjoying the journey. This is a gift you can give yourself whenever you want, and isn’t that wonderful?
(These tips are copyright 2010-2011 by Joan Price and may not be reprinted without permission from Joan Price. Thank you!)
Q: My man says I should reach orgasm “naturally” and not have to use a sex toy. But I just can’t come during intercourse unless I add my vibrator at the right moment.
A: I hate those “should’s.” Most women do not come through intercourse alone, and that gets truer the older we get. Point out to him where his penis contacts you during intercourse vs. where your clitoris resides.
And when he arouses you manually, which I hope he does, point out that he’s less likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome from your long arousal time if he incorporates a vibrator in arousal play.
That’s right, it’s not a choice between him or it — make it a threesome: the two of you using the vibrator together.
Q: Are there any good sex toys for senior men?
A: Oh, yes! Male bodies have the same issues as female bodies with different visible results — decreased blood flow and hormonal changes make it more difficult to get or sustain an erection. Men may need longer arousal time and extra stimulation.
There are sex toys made especially for penises, such as masturbation sleeves and cock rings. A prostate stimulator can make a huge difference in sexual enjoyment. A cock ring placed on the erect penis can help keep the blood from draining away.
If this is new to you, please visit an education-focused sex toy store such as the ones I recommend and ask a staff person to help you understand what the toys do.
Q: I had two friends who burned themselves with sex toys. Aren’t they dangerous?
A: The cheaper ones are cheap for a reason. They generally have no quality standards in materials or construction — they’re called “novelty items,” and I don’t recommend them.
If your eyes widen at the price of the vibrators I recommend on this blog, consider that I only recommend safe products of medical-grade materials, careful construction, and the best design and function for our older (still sexually passionate!) bodies.
You’re paying for research and development and high-quality material that won’t degrade, melt, leach nasty chemicals into your body, break, overheat, or burn. That’s also why I recommend shopping in woman-friendly sex shops (brick-and-mortar or online) with an emphasis on health and education, like the ones I link to.
Q: You recommend going into a sex toy store and asking questions. But when I do, I see workers who are the age of my grandchildren! I’d be horrified to talk about sex with them.
A: I’m often invited to visit education-focused sex toy stores to help the staff understand our needs better. I’m always impressed by how well-trained they are already, and how seriously they take their mission to provide sex education to everyone.
We mistakenly assume that if they’re the age of our grandchildren, (a) they don’t know much; and (b) we can’t possibly talk about our sexual concerns with them.
But in reality, they’re smart, well-educated “sex nerds” — meaning that they find sex information the most fascinating topic ever. They have knowledge that will help us enrich our sex lives. They want us to feel comfortable asking them questions. It’s up to us to meet them with a smile and a question, and give them a chance to help us.
Please see my many other posts about sex toys here, including reviews of specific products, with links to retailers I personally endorse because they value women and men of our age and treat us well.
Note to retailers: Do not spam my comments section, because I’ll delete any comment that takes my readers to a retail site I have not endorsed. (If you’re noticing that there are fewer comments here than a day ago, I just caught another commenter who tried to hijack you to a commercial retail site that I do not endorse. Sorry I missed it the first time.) If you think you should be included in the retailers I endorse, contact me personally. Thank you. — Joan
8/18/11 update: I’m bringing this older post to the top because it answers so many of the questions about erectile dysfunction that my readers are asking. Michael Castleman is also one of the experts in Naked at Our Age and I respect his knowledge and ability to convey important information simply and compassionately.
So many readers–both male and female–have been asking for information about erectile dysfunction that I asked Michael Castleman, a sex educator, counselor and journalist specializing in men’s sexuality to answer some questions. His interview starts here and continues here.
Q: Explain erectile dysfunction (ED) and why it happens.
MC: Only a small fraction of men from age 45-60 have true ED. A larger but still modest fraction of men over 60 have true ED. True ED is the inability to raise an erection despite vigorous extended hand massage of the penis. True ED is usually the result of a medical problem, either a problem with the nerves that control erection, or more likely, narrowing of the arteries that carry blood into the penis. Like the arteries of the heart, the arteries into the penis can become narrowed by atherosclerotic plaques. Causes of plaque formation: heart disease, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high-fat diet, sedentary lifestyle. In other words, all risk factors for heart disease are also risk factors for ED. In addition, ED can be caused or aggravated by stress and anxiety, which constrict the arteries and limit blood flow into the penis.
Q: What about men who are capable of erections, but they’re less reliable than they used to be and require more stimulation?
MC: While only a fraction of men over 45 experience true ED, just about every man experiences what sex therapists call “erection dissatisfaction” (EDis). After 45 or 50 or so, men with EDis can still raises erections, but they don’t rise as quickly as they used to. They no longer rise from fantasy alone–seeing an attractive woman or some erotic scene. Men begin to need direct penis stimulation by hand or mouth. When erections rise, they may not look/feel as firm as they were in the man’s 20s. They may also droop from minor distractions, anything from donning a condom to hearing a motorcycle roar up the street.
The good news is that EDis is a normal and natural part of aging. If older erections wilt a bit, hand massage and/or oral stimulation bring them back up again–IF the man remains relaxed and patient with himself. If the man gets stressed and anxious, this reduces the likelihood of a return to fullish erection.
Many (most?) older men are unclear on the distinction between true ED and EDis. Many mistakenly think they have ED when they experience the normal age-related erection changes of EDis. Now EDis can be disconcerting. I’ve been a sex educator for 30 years. I knew all about what happens to erections after 50. But when those changes started happening to ME, I found them unnerving. P.S. Erection medication (Viagra etc) helps treat EDis. In fact, most men who take erection drugs don’t have true ED. They have EDis.
Q: Many men fear that they can’t please a woman without an erection, or they give up on sex altogether. Is an erection necessary for sex?
MC: Of course not. As you know, women’s pleasure organ is the clitoris. Many women prefer cunnilingus to intercourse. Surveys show that only 25% of women are reliably orgasmic from intercourse, no matter how vigorous or how long it lasts. So women know that an erection and vaginal insertion are not necessary or sufficient for sexual pleasure and orgasm. But many men DON’T know this.
Q: How did men’s sexual education skip that important concept that women’s orgasms are based on clitoral stimulation, and that most women don’t need penis-in-vagina penetration for their pleasure?
Most men get most of their sex ed from pornography. Porn is totally penis-centered. Porn actors have monster cocks, which makes normally endowed men feel they’re “too small.” Mainstream porn includes a bit of massage and cunnilingus, but it’s mostly about sucking and fucking, so that’s what men come to believe sex is all about.
I’ve spent my life as a sex educator and counselor trying to persuade men that they’ll have better sex and get better reviews from women if they ditch their preoccupation with their penis and focus instead on leisurely, playful, whole-body, massage-based sensuality. But compared with porn, which is viewed overwhelmingly by men and is by far men’s #1 source of sex ed, the combined voices of every sex expert on earth amount to a little whisper in the hurricane of porn porn porn.
Here’s where I plug my book, Great Sex. Its message to men: If you want great sex, if you want women to sing your praises as a lover, stop trying to imitate porn. In fact, do the opposite of what you see in porn. Not only will she be happier, you will be, too. You’ll enjoy sex more and have fewer sex problems–more cooperative erection and better ejaculatory control.
This blog has welcomed thousands of new readers since I first posted these tips in April 2006, so I’m posting them again for your pleasure. If you’d like a pretty, print-worthy, colorful page of these tips in .pdf format, email me and I’ll send them to you.
1. Slo-o-o-w-w down. Yes, it takes longer to warm us up. Fortunately, one of the best things about mid-life and later-life sex is the absence of urgency for our partners, also. They enjoy slow sex as much as we do! Make sex play last hours… or days.
2. Kiss and kiss. Kiss sweetly, passionately, quickly, slowly, contentedly, hungrily, lightly, sloppily. All kinds of kisses help you bond with your partner, warm up, and enjoy the moment.
3. Appreciate, decorate, and celebrate your own and your partner’s bodies. Jewelry, lingerie, feathers, fringe, silk, velvet, massage oil, candlelight–whatever looks good, feels good,
4. Do sexy things together long before you hit the sheets. Dance together. Visit lingerie or sex toy shops. Leave sexy notes in each other’s pockets. Give each other little gifts.
5. Do sexy things on your own to get yourself in the mood. Wear sexy lingerie under your everyday clothes. Work out. Swim. Dance. Fantasize. Write in your journal all the sexy things you want to do together. Spend some time humming with your vibrator.
6. Make love during high energy times. Midnight sex after a romantic meal may work for young folks, but we’re more likely to feel full, bloated, and ready to sleep. Instead, make sex dates in the morning or afternoon. (Why do you think they call it “afternoon delight”?)
7. Explore sex toys and other erotic helpers. Our hormonally challenged bodies may need extra help to reach orgasm these days. Lucky for us that sex toys are easy to find, fun to try, and wow, do they work!
8. Use a silky lubricant. We don’t have the natural moisture we used to, but there are many different lubricants that feel great and bring back the joy of friction. When your partner applies it, it becomes an erotic part of sex play.
9. Enjoy quality snuggle time before, during, and afterwards. Holding each other, feeling the warmth and texture of each other’s skin, is one of the sweetest and sexiest parts of making love.
10. Laugh a lot. Play silly games, invent special words, tease each other, rediscover your childhood together. Laughter is bonding, joyful, ageless–and sexy.
(These tips are copyright 2006 by Joan Price and may not be reprinted without permission from Joan Price. Thank you!)