At age 75, I posed in lingerie with the extraordinary photographer Perry Gallagher. It was my fourth time in fancy underwear in front of a camera. The previous three were at age 65 and 68 with photographer Ruth Lefkowitz, and at age 72 with Perry. I had no idea the first time that this would become a regular event every few years.
It’s fascinating to me to watch my aging process over a decade of being “old” and to affirm that sexiness can be both internal and external. We’re so judgmental about ourselves, especially our bodies!
Oh sure, when I saw the 240 proofs, there were many that made me wince — did my thighs really look so puckered? But there were also many that made me smile and even laugh with joy. It was difficult to narrow down my choices because so many left me awestruck.
Once I made my choices, Perry went to work. When he showed me the first edit, I said no. He had aged me backwards about 15 years by smoothing out the wrinkles, eliminating the skin spots, tightening the midriff. The photo was beautiful and glamorous — and know that he can do that for you, too! — but I wanted authenticity. I told him to edit much more lightly, because I wanted to celebrate aging, not erase it. The photos you see here are the result. I’m thrilled with them.
And the whole process was fun! Perry loves his work and it’s clear that he really does see his subjects as beautiful. We joked and played seductive verbal games. I felt completely at ease with him and with myself.
Here’s what I learned from this photo shoot and from the previous three:
- We are our own worst critics when we assess our own bodies.
- The eyes of a skilled photographer reveal us to ourselves in ways we can’t see on our own.
- Whatever our age or the state of our body, we have beauty.
- Being photographed by a skilled photographer who sees our beauty is empowering.
- We don’t age out of sensuality or sexuality.
Perry Gallagher is a visionary, and I’m proud and honored to be part of his vision. If you’re in or near LA, I hope you’ll contact Perry and book your own photo shoot. Whether you want your photos to be boudoir ( lingerie), fine art nude, portrait, or wedding, I guarantee that Perry will put you at ease and produce beautiful photos. When you meet him, ask him to tell you the story of how he got his first camera.
By the way, I have a standing date with Perry for my 80th birthday!
All photos here by Perry Gallagher Photography except for this one by Mac Marshall:
Aging brings wisdom and experience — and body image insecurity. Most of us, even if we glory in our sexuality, have misgivings about our ever-expanding wrinkles and sags. Sometimes it takes another pair of eyes — whether a lover or a photographer — to show us that our outer beauty matches our inner beauty.
At age 65, then again at age 68, I stripped to lingerie for photo shoots. I learned a lot about myself from these experiences and from viewing and sharing the results. People applauded, praised me for my courage, high-fived me for encouraging others to have their own lingerie shoots.
My blog posts about these events quickly drew more viewers than any of my other posts, and they continue to place in the top four all time most popular posts. Many women shared their own experiences and photos, some privately. some publicly. I was happy that my experience had helped to empower others.
I didn’t know I would do it again. But in September 2016, I slipped (wrestled?) my 72-year-old body into lovely lingerie provided by Lovehoney.com and smiled at the renowned Los Angeles photographer, Perry Gallagher, who specializes in Boudoir, Fine Art Nude, Fashion, and Wedding photography.
How did this happen? Krista from Lovehoney knew Perry’s work and mine. When she learned that I would be in LA for speaking events in September, she offered both the lingerie and the photo shoot.
Krista explained her involvement in the project this way:
Joan is a lovely timeless spirit and I was overjoyed to work with her on a photo shoot and check out some of Lovehoney’s newest lingerie styles. I connected her with one of my favorite photographers, Perry Gallagher, to complete the vision.
Joan is not only adorable, she is also breaking down stereotypes that women of a certain age are not considered sexy or sexual. I want people to see that lingerie isn’t just for the young and pert. Lingerie, and sex toys, can enhance your sex life and increase your self-confidence no matter your age, size, shape, or ability.
What was it like to work with Perry? A ton of fun. Perry is a true professional. He knew how to put me at ease with his humor and his appreciation of the female body whatever its shape, size, or age. He give me instructions — where to turn, where to look, how to arrange various body parts — including tucking myself back into my bra when breast spillage occurred. The whole time, he clicked away.
I felt completely comfortable with Perry — except when I worried about him climbing on a ladder to shoot me from above. (I have a fear of heights — he does not.) It was exciting to be at the center of his rapt attention, I admit that. Much of that excitement was the feeling, “I’m doing this. My 72-year-old body is fine with being photographed in skimpy bits of cloth.” It was a truly empowering experience that I’ll take with me anytime I fret about a new wrinkle or thigh puff.
Thank you, LoveHoney.com, for sending me the luscious undies and sponsoring this photo shoot. These are the products I’m modeling. Follow the links if you’d like to wear these yourself!
- Lovehoney Spoil Me Satin Babydoll Set Plum
- Lovehoney Flaunt Me Floral Lace Robe
- Lovehoney Flirty Underwired Plunge Bra Black
- Lovehoney Tempt Me Dot Mesh Bra
- Lovehoney Flirty Black Lace and Mesh Panties
[8/3/21 update: Some of the items I wore in 2016 are no longer available. See LoveHoney’s latest lovely lingerie instead.]
Thank you, Perry Gallagher, for these amazing photos and for making the whole experience fun and full of laughter. View Perry’s video here:
I would encourage other women of all ages to explore the opportunity to have just this type of experience for yourself: to be photographed and to see the inner beauty that is you, right now, no matter what age you are. Now is a good time.
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!)
Miriam Kura wrote me about her experience posing nude for photographs at age 60. Her experience was so empowering and delightfully sexy that I encouraged her to share it with you, along with the steps she followed to become comfortable enough to embrace this racy adventure.
I invite you to post your comments. Enjoy!
For my 60th birthday, I asked my sex friend if he would take nude photos of me — this was the youngest I was ever going to be again! We set a date to do it two weeks out.
During that time I looked on the Internet under “nude photos” and got ideas about props and poses, picking out what I thought fit my style – natural and elegant. I collected scarves, pearls, a white boa, a leather jacket, a man’s crisp white shirt, translucent white curtains, gold lace fabric.
When the day came, we had three hours of creative and collaborative fun. He took over 700 pictures! It was like adult arts and crafts. I felt beautiful, sensual, comfortable, sexy, at ease, and appreciated.
It was a gift I gave myself, and he gave to me. And we both enjoyed it immensely. I never could have pulled it off if I hadn’t prepared the year before to fully occupy my nude sexiness in these nine easy steps:
1. Believe your lover when he says that he loves the way your neck/ breasts/ waist/ legs/ butt/ hair/ face/ feet/ whatever looks.
2. Just do it. Look at yourself naked everyday, while you’re doing something else, like brushing your teeth. Get used to it. Blow-dry your hair while naked. Put on your makeup while naked. Make it part of your routine.
3. Go naked until it’s so normal that you don’t cringe any more.
4. Do it until you get curious about how you look at different angles.
5. Look at yourself in the mirror naked and try to see what he sees.
6. Do it until you sincerely enjoy looking at some part of yourself, with pleasure.
7. Walk naked around the house as you do some little chore, like put the wet towel from your shower into the dryer, or when you go to put some music on, or lay out your clothes. Work up to spending more time naked around the house.
8. Take time taking your clothes off when your lover sees you do it. Practice doing it in an unhurried manner. Then practice as though you enjoy him looking at you. Then start to actually enjoy it. Then flaunt it a little while he looks. Then give him a sly, proud, slow smile while you do it.
9. Ask him to take your clothes off – slowly.
This experience showed me that every body looks good from some angle. You just have to find it. Some pictures were totally not complimentary. But overall we found the angles that worked. It was surprisingly fun to see myself as the art subject.
Miriam Kura, 61, is a business owner who lives in Portland, Oregon. She contributed to the anthology, Ageless Erotica, edited by Joan Price. She is delighted to learn that sex in late mid-life is a whole lot more fun and meaningful than it was in earlier decades.