Aging and Sexuality: Recommended Books for Geriatric Intimacy

In Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex after Sixty, I recommended an assortment of helpful books for women and men interested in having great sex and geriatric intimacy. I thought it would be useful to reprint this resource here. I’ll divide the books by category, and I’ll add new books that have crossed my path since Better Than I Ever Expected was published. Let me know about a special book you’ve enjoyed that belongs here. (Keep checking back — this list is just the beginning!)

I’ve included links to these books on for your convenience and to read more customer reviews, although I encourage you to purchase from your local independent bookstore when possible.

And of course, if you don’t already have it, I hope you’ll read Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty! Order a personally autographed copy directly from the author here, or order from Amazon here.

Better Than Ever: Love and Sex at Midlife by Bernie Zilbergeld, Ph.D., (Crown, 2005). A guide to sexual enjoyment in the second half of life, including overcoming health challenges and staying sexy in long-term relationships, based on 145 interviews with men and women ages 45 to 87. This is an excellent book from the male point of view. Unfortunately, Zilbergeld died before this book could be published. We are fortunate to have his last work.

Dr. Ruth’s Sex After 50: Revving Up Your Romance, Passion & Excitement! by Dr. Ruth Westheimer (Quill Driver, 2005). Smart advice from Dr. Ruth about health issues, physical changes, and keeping your sex life with your partner interesting and fun, with stories of real couples.

The New Love and Sex After 60 by Robert N. Butler and Myrna I. Lewis (Ballantine, 2002). A geriatric physician and a psychotherapist discuss how sexuality is affected by physical aging changes, medical conditions, medications, emotional issues, and relationship changes. Rather dry writing style, but it covers the ground.

Sex Over 50 by Joel D. Block, Ph.D, with Susan Crain Bakos (Parker, 1999). Frank self-help book aimed mostly at couples, with tips (“sizzlers”) galore for recapturing romance and passion and dealing with the sexual challenges of midlife and older, plus anecdotes of geriatric intimacy.

Still Doing It: Men & Women over 60 write about their sexuality, ed. Joani Blank (Down There Press, 2000) Real people 60-plus to 80-plus tell bluntly and in graphic detail (and graphic language) what they do and what they like, including an array of sexual styles.

Rescue Me, He’s Wearing a Moose Hat: And 40 Other Dates After 50 by Sherry Halperin (Seal Press, 2005). Fifty-plus widow’s adventures with online dating mismatches. Fabulously funny and often poignant. With dating catastrophes like these, single life doesn’t look so bad.

Revolution in the Garden: The Memoirs of the Garden Keeper by Dell Williams and Lynn Vannucci, autobiography of founder of Eve’s Garden, New York women’s sex shop, written at age eighty-two. Her reminiscences include losing her virginity in date rape in 1940 and attending Betty Dodson’s masturbation workshop in 1970.

A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance by Jane Juska (Villard, 2003). Sixty-six-year-old woman overcomes a restrictive sexual upbringing and places personal ad: “I would like to have a lot of sex with a man I like.” She gets plenty of responses and trysts, but the results mostly aren’t very satisfying.

Still Sexy After All These Years? The 9 Unspoken Truth about Women’s Desire Beyond 50 by Leah Kliger and Deborah Nedelman (Perigee/Penguin, 2006). Empowering self-help guide to understanding your changing sexual desire after fifty, with excerpts from interviews.

Unaccompanied Women: Late-Life Adventures in Love, Sex, and Real Estate
by Jane Juska (Villard, 2006)). Juska chronicles how her life, dating and otherwise, has changed since publication of Round-Heeled Woman. If you enjoyed RHW, you’ll enjoy this one, too.

All Night Long: How to Make Love to a Man Over 50 by Barbara Keesling, Ph.D. (Harper Collins, 2000). A sex therapist and former sex surrogate explains what a woman should understand about an aging man’s sexuality, his “temperamental penis,” and how to keep the focus on “lovemaking, not erections–partnership, not performance.” Practical, frank, and helpful.

Great Sex: A Man’s Guide to the Secrets of Total-Body Sex by Michael Castleman (Rodale, 2004). Castleman writes with warmth and honesty about issues that concern men at any age: their own and their partner’s sexuality and pleasure. An excellent book for the man in your life.

Intimacy with Impotence: the Couple’s Guide to Better Sex after Prostate Disease by Ralph & Barbara Alterowitz (Da Capo/ Lifelong Books, 2004). A frank, practical guidebook to satisfying, sensual intimacy whether or not the male partner can have erections. An array of self-help strategies, from communication and creativity to medical therapies.

I hope this helps you to age vibrantly and your senior sex life! Geriatric intimacy is something to be celebrated.

Book Review: “Lighthearted, titillating and informative… inspiring… arousing….”

I was thrilled by the review of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty in the North Bay Bohemian, October 18-24, 2006, by Patricia Lynn Henley, who really understood (and enjoyed!) my book. Here’s what she wrote:

Old age doesn’t have to be dull, at least not according to ‘Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty’ (Seal Press; $15.95), the lighthearted, titillating and informative new book by Sebastopol fitness professional, dance instructor and health writer Joan Price.

This isn’t a stodgy or academically oriented self-help book; it’s a bright, witty, let’s-get-the-gals-together-and-just-gab look at keeping the home fires burning when some of the parts have shifted or sagged. It’s inspiring. It’s a bit arousing. And it’s definitely worth reading, either by women who refuse to believe their senior years have to be asexual, or by men who want to understand what’s happening in an older woman’s mind and body, as well as what excites and satisfies her.

Price shares her personal experiences along with thoughts and anecdotes from a wide range of older women who revel in their sexuality. The book covers the challenges of post-menopausal love-making together with creative and loving solutions.

“There’s nothing hotter than sex between people who know their own bodies, are crazy about each other, relish taking lots of time and honor sex as extremely spiritual and physical,” writes Price. “I just don’t think people can get there without a whole lot of life experience and a hefty dose of relationship mistakes along the way!” –P.L.H.

(Reprinted with permission of The North Bay Bohemian)

You can order Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty directly from me for a personally autographed copy, or from using this direct link. Enjoy!

— Joan

What’s in this book?

When I order a book, sometimes I feel that I’m taking a chance, because I don’t really know what’s in it–even with the editorial description, reviews, and sometimes an excerpt. I’d like to make this easier for you by posting a description of each chapter of Better Than I Ever Expected : Straight Talk about Sex after Sixty. (These chapter descriptions are also available on my website)

Let me know if this helps you make your decision — and remember you can purchase a book autographed by the author here.

Chapter Descriptions:
Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty by Joan Price
1. Tale of a Book: How This Book Came to Be. The history of this book, starting with the author, age sixty-one, affirming that she is having the best sex of her life. The surprises of sisterhood rediscovered, as women respond to her request: “Wanted: Interviews with sassy, sexy women, age 60+, who are willing to share feelings and experiences openly and anonymously in a candid, woman-to-woman book.” The discovery that women want to talk about the most intimate details of their sex lives, present and past.

2. Sex in the Golden Age. What makes sex after sixty the best sex of our lives? Great sex isn’t just about body parts. Wisdom, connection, logistics, time, intimacy, a sense of humor, ease of communication, resilience of body and spirit, no kids barging in—who needs youth? Sexually seasoned women speak about what makes sex better than they ever expected. Includes Boo Hiss Department: media messages that present older sex as unseemly, pathetic, and altogether icky.

3. My Sex Education. How and what we learned about sex in the fifties. Jaunty account of author’s early sex education: early misinformation, discovering love and sex (but not orgasm) with first boyfriend, and greatest teenage nightmare: getting caught. Includes reflections of first boyfriend as he remembers the experience and relationship. Sexually seasoned women speak about early sex ed and their experiences.

4. The Bodies We Live In. Learning to accept and celebrate our bodies’ changes. Topics include Body Image, Facing Our Faces, and What Color is My Hair? Author’s fiancé gives a male viewpoint on the attractiveness of wrinkles and wisdom. Includes author’s story of near-fatal automobile accident and reclaiming her body and her sexuality. Sexually seasoned women speak about their bodies and what they love about them.

5. It Ain’t Easy After Menopause. A lively look at the challenges of post-menopausal bodies and having zesty sex in spite of them. Topics include Hormone Hubbub, Hot Flash Flashbacks, and the author’s trials, alternatives, and personal solutions. Sexually seasoned women speak about HRT and alternatives. Expert tips: Painful intercourse problem-solving.

6. Fitness and Exercise: Our Bodies, Ourselves, Our Sex Lives. Fitness isn’t body weight or shape—it’s regular physical activity to rev up energy, self-image, and sexy feelings. Tips from the author, a fitness professional, about how exercise enhances sex, with specific exercises that enhance horizontal workouts. Sexually seasoned women speak about exercise routines that make them feel sexy.

7. Public Sex Acts and Private Preparations. Sex starts long before we get naked. What we do in public, in private, and with or without our partners to heat up in advance. Ways to be intimate outside of bed. Sexually seasoned women speak about what gets them in a sexy mood. Includes a couple of group sex adventures, to keep the chapter title honest.

8. Beds Afire: Stoking The Slower-Burning Flame. Sexual arousal after sixty is a slow burn rather than an instant flame. Adjusting to slow arousal with understanding, communication, acceptance, and sexy rituals. Topics include Kiss Me Forever, Foreplay: We Need a New Word, Lube Power, and My Brain Chemicals Made Me Do It. Sexually seasoned women describe what turns them on.

9. Plug In, Turn On: The Quick Version of Everything You Need to Know about Sex Toys. Women with decreased sexual sensation can fly high again, thanks to sex toys. Author’s frank, personal vibrator history, including involving her fiancé. Expert tips: Your First Vibrator: the Possibilities of Pleasure and Tips for Toys: A Guide for Women of a Certain Age. Sexually seasoned women speak about using sex toys.

10. Staying Sexy without a Partner. Author’s story of partner-less years, overcoming desperate attitude. How to feel sexy, attractive, and satisfied without a relationship. Includes Solo Self-Pleasure: Being Your Own Best Sex Partner and expert tips for toning, lubrication, and massage for genital health. Sexually seasoned women speak about how they stay sexy and happy without a partner.

11. Hunting Grounds: In The Dating Game Again (or Still). Author’s story of social dry spells, finally meeting the love of her life at her line dancing class. Challenges of being in the dating scene after sixty. Two stories of women who found love on the Internet and another who’s still looking. Includes Around the Block: Erotic Adventures of Single Sexually Seasoned Women.

12. Done It All—Ready to Nest. Sexual experimentation, multiple partners, sex with strangers—many of us tried it all, and now are happily settled down with one partner, or want to be. Sexually seasoned women speak about their wild, past sex lives, and compare early excesses with the contentment of a stable, monogamous relationship.

13. Late Bloomers—Ready to Fly. Women who married early and opened up sexually later report that they’re enjoying the wildest, most satisfying sex of their lives right now. Stories your grandmother didn’t tell you: surprising, real-life tales of finding sexual fulfillment after sixty in unconventional relationships, including one woman, age seventy-seven, in a relationship with a man thirty years younger.

14. Sparking a Familiar Fire: How to Spice Up a Long-Term Relationship. Satisfied women in healthy, loving, decades-long relationships describe how they keep the sparks flying with long-term partners and make sex sizzle, not fizzle. Spicy activities and fantasies that keep the fires burning. Expert tips: Keeping a Long-Term Relationship Fresh and Sexually Hot.

15. When You or Your Partner Can’t. Ways to enjoy sex (and life!) despite erectile dysfunction and other health challenges of aging that affect sex, including upbeat tale from man with ED about his enjoyment of pleasuring his partner, and a lusty elder couple overcoming a myriad of medical obstacles. Sexually seasoned women speak about how they cope with their partners’ physical challenges and their own.

Appendix A: When and How a Physician or Therapist Can Help. Not having the best sex of your life? How to talk to your doctor about your sex life, and when to see a sex therapist. Expert tips from Tina Tessina, relationship therapist.

Appendix B: Resources
– Directory of women-friendly sex shops, both brick-and-mortar and online
– Recommended books Appendix C. Interview Questions
The questions answered by our sassy, sexually seasoned women.

Reader Reactions to Book

Women aquaintances who have bought the book and read it already (everyone says they can’t put it down!) are walking up to me and talking freely about their own sex lives and relationships. It’s as if we’re continuing a conversation in progress. I love this!

I feel like I’ve opened up a topic that women were hungry to discuss. So many women are already telling me, “It’s about time!” And it’s not just the older women — younger women are saying, “I don’t plan to give up sex when I’m 60… or 80!”

I’m looking at what women say as clues to what they’d like to see in the next book. As I travel and promote the book, I’ll be noting what women ask and tell me, and when their eyes light up when I discuss something.

If you know what you would like to read in my next book, please post a comment here!