Vaginal dryness and senior sex orgy? Reader Q

Here’s a reader question that will intrigue you! My response follows.

Q: I have recently started to have a physical relationship with a more mature woman. She happens to be 12 years my senior. I normally use lubricant because she is normally dry, regardless of how much foreplay we engage in. She has approached me about engaging in a small orgy. We were wondering if there would be any issues with a few men?

My response:

 By “any issues,” I can’t tell if you’re asking whether her vaginal dryness might be exacerbated by having intercourse with more than one man, or whether you’re concerned that enacting this fantasy might be emotionally problematic for her, for you, or for your relationship. Since I’m not sure which you’re asking, I’ll answer both.

It’s completely normal for women to need lubricant for sex as they age. A woman can be extremely aroused and still not lubricate the way she used to. You’re right to use lubricant, as you’ve discovered already. Prolonged intercourse – whether with one man or “a few” – will require frequent application of lubricant.

Besides the dryness, though, she may find the group sex she’s considering physically uncomfortable sooner than she expects because of the thinning of her vaginal walls. If you plan to go ahead with this scene, be sure everyone understands that not every sex act has to culminate in intercourse, and make sure the other men involved agree not to push that part of it.

For everyone’s health and safety, be sure that condoms and dental dams (or the female condom, which works for both uses) are within easy reach and used with every interaction. Don’t forego this because the other men insist that they are “safe.” Your sexual health and your partner’s are your own responsibility. (Please read the FAQ, “Six Basic Facts Seniors Need to Know about STIs”)

I can’t tell from your question whether your partner has had sex with multiple partners before and wants to do it again, or whether this is a fantasy of hers that you’d like to help her indulge. Don’t go into it lightly. Talk a lot first. Try roleplaying, just the two of you, pretending you have a third (or fourth) by “talking dirty” about what you’re fantasizing is going on. That may help you each understand what you’re imagining and wanting from expanding your relationship.

I could write pages about the issues to think about and talk about, how to negotiate what’s okay and what’s off limits, how to choose and invite new partners, how to test your fantasy in stages, how to make sure your partner (or any of you) can stop or leave if it doesn’t turn out to be right after all, how to care for each other afterwards.

As you see, I’m not moralizing – if you both really want this and it fits with your own beliefs, go into it thoughtfully and with plenty of dialogue and preparation.

If I’ve left you worried, frightened, or dismayed, then maybe this would be too big a step for your relationship to handle.

This question and my response were first published on the Safer Sex for Seniors website where this question was originally submitted — direct link to this Q &A here. Here’s what I wrote about this site when it first went live.

I’d love to know what my readers think about this topic and my response. Please comment!

Fun is Sexy: Making Love Before Making Love

Fun is sexy. Create ways to incorporate fun into your relationship each day, and your laughter and silliness will relax you and reinforce your bond.

Robert and I had rituals, made-up words, silly secrets, and special games that warmed us with laughter, kept our intimacy strong, and made us feel like we were making love all day long. Silly things, sometimes – like “Panda.”

Robert and I used to exchange a tiny toy panda with paws that clutched tightly, permitting us to attach it to objects. I’d leave Panda attached to Robert’s shoelace, on his toothbrush handle, under his pillow, peeking out of his bathrobe pocket, even on top of the coffeepot — anywhere he’d find it unexpectedly and enjoy the surprise.
He’d do the same for me, leaving it in my key ring bracelet, on my sock, or clutching the edge of a vase of flowers he left in my bathroom. Every so often one of us would find a hiding place that was too good, and the other would go around the house calling, “Where’s Panda?” It was a cute game, so easy to do, and it nurtured the fun in our relationship.

Then when one of us would find Panda astride our favorite vibrator, or holding onto the lubricant nozzle, or on the pillow, little legs up, we’d understand the special invitation!

Sex after Menopause: Good Vibrations magazine

I was pleased to be interviewed by The GV Weekly about sex after menopause. Excerpts are reprinted below — you can view the whole interview here. Update: this interview is no longer on the original site, sorry.

Menopause Q&A with Joan Price

Recently The GV Weekly sat down Joan Price,, advocate for ageless sexuality and author of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty, to clear up some of the mysteries surrounding sex and menopause.

1) What are some of the possible effects of menopause on sexuality? What sorts of things can folks expect and what are some ways to respond to them?
Many women experience hot flashes, night sweats, sleep deprivation, and mood swings – which sometimes feel like PMS on steroids! – and who can get in the mood for sex with all that going on? Trust me – it gets better after menopause, once your system calms down and adjusts to hormonal changes. Meanwhile, communicate clearly with your partner and your family, and try to take time for yourself – a “pause” – while you’re going through this emotional and physiological upheaval.

Once the extreme changes have ebbed, the ongoing challenges from diminishing estrogren at menopause and beyond include decreased vaginal lubrication and thinning of the labia and vaginal tissues. These changes can result in painful intercourse, a burning or stinging sensation, or even tearing. In addition, we may take much longer to become aroused and, after arousal, to reach orgasm.

For both of those challenges, it’s crucial to use a good, slippery lubricant. Even if you think you’re wet enough, your natural lubrication has changed – it’s thinner and less protective for your more delicate tissues. So experiment with a slick lube that feels good and doesn’t dry out or get tacky quickly. Personally, I love both Liquid Silk, which feels most like natural lubrication and stays moist through prolonged sex, and Eros, which is very slippery and comfortable.

Never use Vaseline, baby oil, cooking oil, or other greasy stuff you might have on hand. These are difficult to clean out of your vagina and can cause irritation or even infection. Use a lubricant made specifically for sexual comfort and pleasure.

You can buy samples of several different lubricants to find the one(s) that you and your partner prefer. Rather than being embarrassed about needing lubricant, make it part of your sex play by letting your partner apply it gently with caresses.

2) What are some of the relationship changes that people going through menopause might be dealing with? How might they choose to address them?

The hardest part is talking about it. If you feel less sexy, or more self-conscious about your aging body, or frustrated with your changing sexual responses, talk to your partner and plan ways that your new needs can be incorporated into your love play. For example, you may need to communicate that you need longer foreplay, with more whole-body touching before your lover arrives at your hot spots. You may need to change the time of day that you have sex to times that you feel a combination of relaxed and alert – maybe morning, maybe late afternoon.

It’s also helpful to do other physical activities together, such as dancing, hiking, working out or even walking the dog. Being physical together – even when the activity is not specifically sexual – can lead to a enhanced body awareness and closeness. Exercise also increases blood circulation, which – ahem! – sends more blood to your genitals and brain as well as to your muscles! You may find that you feel sexier after exercise, more open to sensual exploration, so make use of it!

Realize that as our biological drive gets less urgent, we may find that leisurely sex is more satisfying than the frantic sex that was so exciting in our youth. Even something as simple as making love in the daytime instead of after dinner (I find I can’t digest and have satisfying sex at the same time!) may make a huge difference.

Juicy is an attitude, I’ve come to realize, based not on the flow of our vaginal secretions but on physical well-being, emotional state, mental attitude, and love of sex. Here’s to post-menopausal zest – and understanding lovers!

Does Your Doctor Talk to You about Older-Age Sexuality?

Have you ever consulted your doctor about your changing sexual responsiveness or about reclaiming your sexuality when you have a medical condition that makes sex more difficult?

What happened when you asked your doctor for advice about sex? How did he or she respond? Did you get the information you needed? And for the benefit of the medical professionals reading this — how would you have liked your doctor to respond to questions about sex? What advice would you give professionals about how and when to talk to their older patients about their sexuality?

I am planning to write a magazine article about this topic, so please feel free to comment here or email me and let me know if you’d be willing to be interviewed.

As background, I wrote the post that follows in March 2006, and I’d like to revive it now that I have many more readers. I invite your comments.

[post originally dated 3/29/06:]

I’ve been speaking to groups in the midwest and the San Francisco Bay Area, and corresponding with readers who send me emails. Over and over, this comment comes up: older-age sexuality is a huge gap in the education of medical professionals.

I keep meeting doctors, nurses, therapists, and alternative practitioners who are hungry for information for their patients and clients — and often for themselves. One woman’s eyes got teary when she said, “I’ve been so lonely wishing I could talk to someone about this.”

I’ve heard from women who have read my book and ask, “Why didn’t my doctor ever tell me that I have to ‘use it or lose it’?” These are usually older women who are not in relationships right now and didn’t realize the importance of internal massage, regular orgasms, and Kegels to keep their vaginas tuned up and healthy, or penetation in the future might be painful. (For more information about what to do, read Vaginal Rejuvenation & Health from A Woman’s Touch, a wonderful sexuality resource center which I had the pleasure of visiting in Madison and Milwaukee.)

I’m also talking to many women over sixty who didn’t know that lubricants and sex toys can enhance their sexual pleasure — solo or with a partner — by heightening arousal and speeding up orgasm. They thought that slow arousal and difficulty reaching orgasm were a part of aging that they had to accept. I’m distressed that many doctors tell women this — often without running tests to see whether hormone levels or other conditions which may be treated might be affecting sexual response.

I’m not dumping on doctors, just on their training. I’ve been thrilled by the response of medical professionals to my book. One Santa Rosa, CA gynecologist bought 14 copies of my book for her patients — and then, after she had given them all away, she bought 10 more!

Several readers have written in about their medical challenges since this post originally appeared. To read more on this topic, check on “medical attitudes towards sex and aging” or “cancer” in the “labels” column to the right, and you’ll see other related posts.