Masturbation is a harsh-sounding word for an activity that’s immensely pleasurable and self-loving. It’s sex with the person who knows you the best: yourself. Self-pleasuring is delicious sex, and it doesn’t matter how old we are, what gender, whether or not we have a partner, if arousal and orgasms are our happy place or we’ve grown up to think of masturbation as shameful. Sexual pleasure is within our own power.
Here are some reasons that we, as seniors, might want to enjoy solo sex:
5 Reasons to Self-Pleasure
- What used to bring you to orgasm doesn’t do it anymore. Our responses change as we age, and what aroused us in the past may not work best for us now. The best way to figure out what does work now is to experiment on your own. What kind of touch do you like? Where, exactly? What pace? What intensity? The most direct way to stay in tune with what you need for sexual pleasure is to experiment with your own hands — and, of course, sex toys. Once you find the path to pleasure on your own, you can teach it to your partner if you have one. And if you don’t, that doesn’t have to mean a lack of orgasms!
- You don’t have a partner. Many of us have no sexual partner at this time in our lives. Too often, I hear this from older women: “When I meet someone, I’ll think about sex again. Until then, it doesn’t matter.” It does matter. If we put sex on hold for months, years, decades, it will be much more difficult to enjoy sex if a partner does show up later on. It’s up to us to stay healthy and sexually vibrant with regular arousal and orgasms. Even if you don’t care about being partnered again, sex with yourself is important for health and wellbeing.
- You have a partner, but little or no sexual interaction, or it doesn’t lead to orgasm for you. Many of us can’t have full sexual expression with our partners due to medical or relationship issues. Perhaps one partner has lost interest or is no longer able to engage sexually, so the other gives up on sex. Or you and your partner are no longer sexually attracted to each other, but for other reasons, you want to stay together. Maybe what you need is not what your partner is able or willing to give you, or you don’t know how to ask for it.
- Orgasms are gifts you can give yourself. Our reason to masturbate doesn’t have to be because something else isn’t going well. It can be because we like it, we know how to please ourselves and we’re good at giving ourselves orgasms. It can be as simple and as joyful as that.
- Best reason of all: it just feels good!
How to Make Solo Sex Work for You
From planning to sex toys, take these steps to give yourself the best chance for an orgasmic experience.
Make a date with yourself. Don’t leave self-pleasuring to chance. Our arousal capability ebbs and flows, so schedule your dates with yourself during the time of day when you feel most sexually charged: your “tingle time,” as I call it. Not sure when that is? Orgasms are easier before a meal, not afterward, and not when you’re tired. You might get aroused most easily in the early morning after your first cup of coffee, or just before lunch, or after a quick afternoon nap. Experiment to find out what your special time is. Set aside enough private time to enjoy the experience without rushing.
Exercise first. Be physical in your daily life. Exercise increases blood flow. This translates to sexual arousal, because the blood flows to your genitals as well as to your muscles, making arousal easier and faster. For surprisingly effective results, exercise right before your solo sex time.
Prepare. Have everything ready that you might want: lubricant, a small towel, massage oil, pillows for hip, back and neck comfort. Leave your phone and computer in another room, gather your favorite sex toys and settle in for pleasure. You don’t have a favorite sex toy, or you’ve never used one?? Read “Vibrators for Seniors – especially for first-timers.”
Set the mood. Read erotica if you enjoy it (try Ageless Erotica, by and for our age group!), play music, write sexy thoughts in your journal, take a bath, massage your body slowly—whatever turns you on. You might like candlelight, lingerie, visual stimulation…Let your imagination run wild.
Choose your lube. A lubricant that keeps you moist and slick will increase comfort and intensify your pleasure. Keep the lube within reach so you can reapply frequently. Choosing a lube that contains only healthy ingredients is important: try Wicked Sensual Care’s simply® timeless line developed for menopause and beyond!
Explore your body slowly. Sometimes racing to an orgasm is fun, but at other times, take time to slow down and explore all your erogenous zones and the kind of sensual stimulation you like. Maybe you like your breasts or thighs stroked, or maybe there’s a special place on your neck or the inside of your wrist that makes you shiver when touched just right. You may discover that the kind of touch that turns you on and/or the places you like to be touched are different now than they used to be, so don’t rely on past history.
Use sex toys and other erotic helpers. Our hormonally challenged bodies often need extra help to reach orgasm these days, and our wrists may tire before we reach our goal. That’s where your vibrator comes in. Use it on a low speed to get aroused, then turn up the intensity to take yourself to orgasm. Or you might experiment with having an assortment of toys charged and ready, and switching as you wish.
Fantasize. Let your fingers and sex toys help you imagine an intimate date with… who comes to mind? Let yourself explore fantasy scenes and partners. Your brain is your main sex organ, so invite your fantasy to your private party. No fantasy is “wrong,” and no one has to know what images or scenarios turn you on.
Why Are We Reluctant or Embarrassed to Self-Pleasure?
If masturbation is good for our physical, emotional and relationship health, why is it so hard for us to talk about or even think about it? We were brought up during a sex-negative era, meaning that we were taught that sex and sexual desire were shameful, sexual pleasure was never discussed, and our sex education was mainly “don’t do it.”
That applied to masturbation, too, although you’d think a culture that wanted us to delay partner sex would encourage this safe and private outlet. But no, we were taught that our genitals are dirty and we shouldn’t touch them, except for hygienic needs.
We’ve thrown off many restrictive teachings from our early youth, thank goodness. But for many of us, this one is especially tenacious, filled with shame and guilt. Girls, especially, were taught, “Don’t touch yourself down there. It’s dirty.” Can we change that view of ourselves and our needs now? Touching ourselves is healthy — orgasms are good for us, and hurray, we can give them to ourselves.
What To Do If You’re Not Inspired
Our retreating hormones and decreased blood flow make it easy to forget about sex, because there’s less urgency. Yet the less we experience arousal and orgasm, the more difficult it is to get there when we want to. If it’s already difficult for you to arouse yourself to orgasm, that’s a good reason to masturbate more rather than less. Sexual arousal and orgasm bring blood flow to the genitals and help to tone our pelvic floor muscles. The more we do it, the easier it becomes. Give yourself at least a couple of orgasms a week and you’ll feel the difference. You’ll find that the physical arousal will happen that will trigger your emotional arousal, which triggers more physical arousal, until it’s all working just right.
Solo sex is a lovely gift you can give yourself. Instead of seeing it as a poor substitute for partner sex, see it as a celebration that your body is still capable of such delights. Give yourself this gift often, whenever you want. I wish you joy!
Parts of this article first appeared in “A Senior’s Guide to Solo Sex” in Senior Planet, February 2017.
Lucky me, many sex toys cross my path and vie for my reviews from a senior perspective. When I’m not working on a review (“This is work?” you ask. Actually, it is, and also wonderful), I reach for my favorites. Here are the toys that win my current “keep these charged and within reach at all times!” status. A couple have been favorites for decades. Others are new discoveries. All are recommended for our age group, because of their strength, ease of use, and high quality.
Though I can’t promise that you’ll have the same experience I do, I find that these come pretty close to guaranteeing orgasms, even at our age. Check out my sex toy gift guide.
But first —
Tips for gift-giving a vibrator
- Make sure that you’re prioritizing the way your giftee receives pleasure, not what you think they ought to enjoy. Best way to find out? Show your lover this post and ask what they’d like best. Don’t worry about ruining the surprise. Foreknowledge is better than an embarrassing surprise of a vibrator that your giftee doesn’t want and doesn’t like. A gift certificate might be a good choice, if available from your chosen retailer.
- Absolutely do not look for a cheap knock-off to save some bucks. If you needed a power tool to get a job done, you wouldn’t buy one of unknown origin, from a shady vendor, with no warranty, with parts made of questionable material and a motor that sputters instead of gets the job done, would you? So why would you trust a lover’s intimate parts to a low-quality, short-lived, even potentially chemically toxic product?
- Buy quality, and please support the folks who care about your health, safety, and pleasure (such as the retailers I link to in the sidebar and in reviews) instead of an unknown vendor or the richest retailer in the world (you know who I mean).
- If you haven’t treated your own genitals to a special gift lately, find one for yourself as well! Not sure what you’d like? Read How to Choose a Vibrator and answer the questions.
Note that the first mention of each toy below links to my or Shamus’s review of that vibrator, so you can learn more before deciding if it’s for you. Within the original review, links go to retailers that I endorse and that are supportive of my senior sex pleasure and education, not just sales.
Joan’s Five Favorite Sex Toys for Vulva Owners
From my first one purchased in the “personal care” department of Macys to the updated rechargeable version from Good Vibrations, the Magic Wand has been my vulva’s solo sex companion for half a century. This version has a large, wipe-clean silicone head, and four speeds. Since it’s rechargeable, no cords to deal with when in use and no need for an outlet. It’s heavy and loud, but it does its one job very, very well, and it’s built to last for years. This is the one to reach for when you want super strong clitoral stimulation for an easy orgasm. (Note that it’s an external vibrator, which I have to mention because I get questions about how it fits in a vagina. It doesn’t!)
Eco is a beautiful, environment-friendly, ergonomic clitoral stimulator using “Pleasure Air Technology.” It feels like your clitoris is being gently sucked or nibbled and vibrated at the same time. This model is unusual because all its parts are recyclable. Like all the Womanizer pleasure tools, it’s powerful, and the sensations are unlike any other kind of vibrator. Everything about the Eco is special: the feel, the appearance, even the cotton bag. I recently reviewed three Womanizer models, and all three are treats for your (or your lover’s) clitoris.
Oh, Eroscillator, let me count the ways! This clitoral stimulator has been my orgasm tool of choice since long before I started writing about sex or reviewing sex toys. I’ve used it joyfully (a) solo; (b) with a partner for clitoral stimulation during intercourse; and (c) for clitoral stimulation during partner-assisted “outercourse.” Up to 3600 steady “oscillations” a minute make orgasm easy and thrilling. The Eroscillator comes with snap-on attachments so you can vary the shape of the head. My favorite is the “soft finger” (I call it the “marshmallow”) attachment, shown here. Caveat: it needs to be plugged in during use.
The Touch X is the ideal travel vibrator, whether you’re on a long trip or a hot date. Tiny enough to pack in a pocket or purse, the intensity is surprisingly strong — powerful enough for our slow-burning, senior vulvas. The innovative shape lets you choose to envelop the vulva or use the tip for pinpoint sensation. It’s small enough not to get in the way during penetrative partner sex, too. Compared to older versions of the Touch, this one is even stronger and more rumbly, with improved controls for ease of use. Rechargeable, completely waterproof.
Oh my goodness, the Kurve, a strong, rumbly vibrator designed for vaginal penetrative pleasure, is my clear winner for 2021 sex toy innovation. The dual motors create a party in your vagina of deep, throbby bass vibrations coupled with higher (but not buzzy) treble frequencies. It cuddles the G-spot with intense vibrations yet the pressure at the tip is soft and cushiony. This orgasm tool is for you if your vagina enjoys the feeling of fullness with vibrations, and 1.5 inch diameter of the biggest insertive part isn’t a problem. (I’ve talked to Hot Octopuss about the need for slimmer toys for many senior women — stay tuned!)
I asked Shamus MacDuff to choose his favorite sex toys, too. He selected two recently reviewed favorites and two all-time, never-fail favorites:
Shamus Macduff’s Four Favorite Sex Toys for Penis Owners
Ion is manufactured specifically to entertain a penis solo. My suggested instructions for your pleasure: (1) Lube the tube; (2) Lube your penis; (3) Insert Penis A in Tube B; (4) Fasten your seatbelt; (5) Find the “magic spot” in the ION tube that initiates the action on your frenulum; (6) Hang on for a ride!
JETT is purely a penis joy toy. Revel in the sensations of its variable bass and treble motors. Make music using JETT’s 10 vibration patterns. Its flexible sleeve fits over the penis and the two vibrating stainless steel balls scoot underneath. A separate battery-powered control box connects by cords. JETT is my “go-to” masturbation toy.
The versatile Volta vibrator was made with vulva owners in mind. But my partner and I find that it works wonderfully on a penis, either combined with fellatio or as a well-lubed stroker. Volta also feels marvelous on nipples or any other erogenous zone. It is our prime sex tool when my partner wants to pleasure me and is also fun for solo sex.
NŌS is a clever little device that fits on a penis and vibrates at different power levels. The vibrations will make you hard quickly and wearing it as a cock ring will help you keep your erection. Wear the the ring around the base of the penis with the open parts dropping down to provide delightful sensations to the testicles. Or place the ring just behind the ridge at the head of the penis to send thrumming vibrations to the frenulum and the sensitive ridge simultaneously. While marketed for partner play, it’s great for solo pleasure.
Want sex toy education and more choices?
Enjoy my Sex Toys for Seniors webinar
At our age, a well-chosen, well-placed vibrator can mean the difference between orgasm or no orgasm. What do vibrators do that a hand or partner can’t? How do I choose the best one(s)? What if my partner doesn’t want me to use a sex toy? Will using a vibrator decrease my sensitivity? Will I become dependent on a vibrator? Are there good sex toys for penises as well as vulvas?
Sex Toys for Seniors webinar includes:
- Joan’s criteria for evaluating sex toys
- 8 questions to help you choose your personal vibrator.
- 5 myths and facts about vibrators.
- Show-and-tell: Joan’s highly recommended sex toys for seniors.
- Links for recommended sex toys.
Although this 90-minute webinar was made in 2017, it’s as relevant today, and you’ll likely discover a new favorite (or first favorite!) orgasm tool!
Don’t forget the lube!
For sexy times when you’re not using a silicone sex toy, you can’t beat the smooth, slick feeling of überlube silicone lube. Being silicone, it won’t dry up in use, making it perfect for both penetrative and non-penetrative sex. It’s condom compatible and never sticky. The travel-friendly refillable case with insert makes a great gift for yourself or a lover. I’ve given gifts of überlube to friends who say it immediately became their favorite brand.
It’s fun to try new brands of lubricants. Lucky Bloke offers many different lubricant sample packs. Choose from silicone, water-based, or flavored. These are great for travel, personal exploration, and to tuck in an overnight bag or purse for a date that might turn special. And if you’re single or not fluid-bonded with your partner(s), Lucky Bloke specializes in condoms of all types, brands, materials, and sizes. Try a sampler pack of condoms.
For use with silicone sex toys, you’ll want to use water-based lubricant. Wicked Sensual Care has a new line called Simply that’s pH-balanced and free of glycerin, propylene glycol, parabens, and fragrance. There are several options, and I especially recommend Simply Aqua Jelle, which is a thicker and longer-lasting formulation.
For an oral sex treat, try the remarkable flavored lubricants from Wicked Sensual Care. My favorite? Mango! Try one or both of the two Teasers sampler packs — Coffee House mix and Fresh Fruit Mix — with four luscious flavors each. Just between us, these flavored lubes don’t work as lubricants as much as “flavoring” during oral sex because they’re so tasty that you’ll end up slurping up every drop. The recipient of your oral ministrations won’t mind that one bit.
Whether you’re looking for a special gift for a loved one, for the two (or more) of you, or for your own private pleasure, here are some recommendations to put a sexy, satisfied smile on your or your giftee’s face.
If you think your gift won’t arrive in time, blame it on me for getting this Gift Guide out so late. Write a note about your intentions and welcome in the New Year when it arrives. (Or email me and I’ll hand write the note for you, scan it, and email it back to you.)
Two of our favorites have new updates:
The Pulse III * for penis pleasure has arrived from Hot Octopuss, and it’s better than ever. Now you can go from any level straight to “Turbo Mode.” An anti-stall sensor prevents any pressure from interfering with the vibrations. The Duo partner’s experience has been improved. And now it charges magnetically. Every penis owner that I know who has tried any version of the Pulse has loved it, especially because no erection is required. I appreciate that as good as it is, Hot Octopuss keeps improving this penis pleaser. Read this review of the Pulse I and II and this one of the Pulse Solo and Duo II from our contest winners. Order the new one here.
* 2021 update. This version of the Pulse is no longer available. Links have been changed to the Pulse Essential, the newer comparable model.
Do you own a Sybian? If you do, check out these two new silicone attachments to ride into orgasm: Triple Delight has soft clitoral and anal stimulating bumps at either end of a penetrative G-spotter. (Yes, you can have it all.) The Silky Smooth Flat Top is for you if you prefer your vibrations without penetration — use it in either direction and put the bump wherever you want it. If you’re unfamiliar with the glorious Sybian, read my review here (notice the discount code!) and learn about other silicone attachments here.
Here are some special sex toys that I reviewed in 2016, with quotes from these reviews and links to the full reviews:
Rumble. “Do you want a vibrator that’s well-designed, well-made, body-safe, and fairly strong — with a truly ergonomic shape, size, and weight? A solution if you have wrist arthritis or any condition that makes it difficult to grip or hold up a wand vibrator for as long as it takes to get the job done.”
|Doxie Die Cast
Doxie Die Cast. “Strong as in lie-back-and-it’ll-happen strong, even if your orgasms usually take a lot of effort. If you like a high intensity clitoral vibrator, this power tool will sing to you in great, rumbly, throbby tones.”
L’Amourose Prism V. “A curvaceous work of art that happens to be a deep, strong, and rumbly g-spot vibrator. The shape and faceted design are lovely, and it’s easy to hold.”
Womanizer W500. “It’s the suction. It doesn’t just vibrate (though it does do that) — it gently pulls on the clitoris, bringing blood flow, engorgement, and increased sensation. It’s not ‘sucking’ like a vacuum — it’s subtle, but oh so effective and pleasurable.”
Here are couple of new products that might strike your fancy. I haven’t written full reviews of these, but they deserve mention here:
Funkit. (Yes, that’s an “n,” not a “c,” though the logo with the “n” on its side makes you look twice.) This beautiful silicone dildo aims to please, whether you use it vaginally or anally. The end is a suction cup, so you have even more options for play. Check out Funkit’s website for many more dildo designs that show you that sex and art can be a lovely couple. They also make butt plugs, spanking paddles, and textured rings for your pleasure-giving finger.
O-Wand. Big and heavy — 1.6 pounds and 13 inches long — this elegant, powerful, silicone vibrator is curved with an ergonomic handle so you can hold it in different ways and even rest it on your body. It comes in a huge (17″), fancy box, includes a nubby cap accessory and a set of charger adapters for different countries. There’s no pouch, though, which is strange considering its high price. It’s completely waterproof, so you can take it in the tub with you. (I recommend not taking it in the shower, because if you drop 1.6 pounds on your foot, it could be serious.) Get 15% off with the discount code “BETTER15” — just for our readers.
Überlube: When you want to feel a gliding sensation of skin on skin, this luxurious silicone lubricant delivers. Long-lasting for our slow-burning older bodies, slick for our delicate tissues, and a clear favorite of mine. Available in an elegant glass bottle or a refillable travel case.
Lucky Bloke: For the best selection of condoms, Lucky Bloke has you covered — so to speak. Take their simple test to make sure you’re wearing the right size condom, then order some sampler kits and try different brands. Lucky Bloke also offers lubricant samplers.
Of course it would make me very happy if you got your giftee or yourself one of my senior sex books — the gifts that keep on giving. A good choice for a holiday gift is Ageless Erotica, a ground-breaking anthology by talented writers over 50 featuring steamy, sexy characters over 50 (sometimes decades over 50). Ageless Erotica presents sexy seniors enjoying and sharing their erotic moments in short stories and memoir essays . And while you’re looking at my books, how about giving your sweetie or yourself one of my self-help senior sex books for the new year?
This kitten is Bobby Joe, a new member of my household. He is trying very hard to take on the role of resident sex kitten.
Searching for a sexy gift for your lover or yourself?
2014 has been a great year for innovative sex toys! Here are my favorites from December 2013 to December 2014:
Doxy – a power tool: Oh my. I wouldn’t have imagined that a vibrator this strong existed. I don’t even need to take it to the highest power setting to send me spinning into space. Even the low settings are strong and they’re rumbly rather than buzzy. A really strong wand vibrator. If you or your loved one needs extra power, Doxy delivers.
Men, you’ll love the Pulse! Presenting… The Pulse, a pulsing, oscillating, amazing vibrator for men that does not require an erection for his pleasure! That’s right — unlike other vibrating “sleeves,” the penis does not have to be hard to start enjoying it. Spread open the flexible flaps, rest your penis in it, turn it on, and enjoy the sensations. The Pulse is the perfect gift for the penis in your life.
Iroha: Cutest Vibrators Ever. The Iroha Rechargeable Silicone Vibrators, available in three styles and shapes, are adorable and cushy. I want to cuddle and squeeze them. And yes, they’re dynamic little vibrators — though not turbo power. The vibrator has a cushy layer, covered by a body-safe silicone skin. It’s not soft through and through (there’s a motor in there) — just a layer — so you can press firmly and feel just a little cushioning, or press lightly, and it all feels soft. Delightful.
- An elegant bottle or refillable case of Überlube, a superbly comfortable, slick, long-lasting, silicone lubricant. (Fine with condoms, not with silicone sex toys.) You can even use it to style your hair or eliminate chafing during sports.
- Condom sampler from Lucky Bloke: great variety, including some brands you’ve never heard of. And don’t you want to do business with a company whose motto is “Have more sex and save the world”?
- Blossom Organics Natural Moisturizing Lubricant or Warm Sensation Lubricant, pH balanced for female bodies. (Fine with condoms and with silicone sex toys.) If she likes arousal gels, the Pure Pleasure Arousal Gel is, as it claims, pure pleasure, adding an extra tingle!