Report from a Sex Educators’ Conference

What do sex therapists, counselors, and sex educators do at a conference? No, they don’t hold orgies or kiss-and-tell or take off their clothes in public. They don’t snicker or tell off-color jokes. Rather, they learn, they teach, they keep themselves updated on new developments in their field, and they network — just like any conference. 
The difference is that every topic is related to human sexuality, and for everyone there, talking and teaching about sex is their day job. 
I just returned from the annual conference of the American Association of Sexuality
Educators, Counselors, and Therapists
(AASECT) in Austin, and I’d like to share some interesting morsels with you. 
Personally, the most significant moment for me was when I received the 2012
AASECT Book Award for Naked at Our Age and I read the inscription on the plaque:
“For a major contribution toward understanding the sexuality of
seniors.” Can you tell from the photo how thrilled I was (and am!)?
Thank you, all the readers who sent stories and questions
and all the experts who provided answers and advice. This is not just my book –
it’s yours, also. Senior sex is
not only out from under the covers, it’s receiving major attention now. I loved hearing this from the therapists: “I bought your
book and love it. I keep it on my desk to show my clients.” 
I had the pleasure of talking to Betty Mooney, an 86-year-old sex-ed university professor who received the Distinguished Service Award. (See a clip of her teaching her class here.) Betty told me, “I have no wish to retire. This is more than what I do — it’s what I am.” I get that.
The conference dealt with all aspects of sexuality, but I’ll
share just a few tidbits that apply to our age group.
Ellen Barnard is one of my favorite sex educators – you’ll
find her savvy tips all through Naked at Our Age. Ellen, co-owner of A Woman’sTouch  in Madison, WI, works with cancer survivors
to help them reclaim their sexuality. “Oncologists are there to treat your
cancer and save your life–it’s not within their job description to talk about
sex,” Ellen told us in her session on Sexuality and Cancer. So it’s up to people like Ellen to do the talking about sex. (Her PowerPoint outline
is available here.) A Woman’s Touch is a superb resource for sexuality topics, especially for our age group.
See the list of educational brochures here. You’ll learn cutting-edge information that your doctor didn’t tell you about Penile Rehabilitation after Prostate or Pelvic Surgery or Radiation, for example, and the complete Vaginal Renewal program that I referenced
several times in both Naked at Our Age and Better Than I Ever Expected
Barry McCarthy, Ph.D.Barry McCarthy, prolific author of Enduring Desire: Your Guide to Lifelong Intimacy (2011 AASECT Book Award winner); Discovering Your Couple Sexual Style: Sharing Desire, Pleasure, and SatisfactionSexual Awareness: Your Guide to Healthy Couple Sexuality, and Rekindling Desire: A Step by Step Program to Help Low-Sex and No-Sex Marriages talked about Sexual Desire Disorders. He explained that the “limerance” stage of a relationship — that initial romantic and highly sexualized time –typically lasts just 6 months to two years. The challenge is how to keep sexual
desire alive and empowered in an ongoing relationship, focusing on pleasure and engagement rather than performance. “Sexuality is sharing pleasure in a team sport,” he said, giving several strategies for developing comfort, confidence, and connection.
There was so much more — but I hope this gives you a taste!
I wore my Naked at Our Age shirt quite a bit. One attendee
read my shirt and told me, “You sure look good for
– whatever age you are.” Struck me as funny!
I couldn’t write about sexuality and Austin without posting a photo I took of the Austin Motel. No, I didn’t stay there, but I did stare for a while at the sign (which was huge, if size matters)! 

Naked at Our Age wins AASECT book award

“Dear Ms. Price,” the email began. “It is my honor to notify you that your book, Naked at Our Age, was selected by the AASECT Awards Committee as the 2012 Book Award winner.”

The email listed the AASECT members who had nominated and endorsed my book, and continued,

This award is presented to the author(s) of a book that makes a significant contribution to AASECTs vision of sexual health and to the clinical and educational standards of the field. The nominated book can be written for a professional audience or for a general audience and must have been published in English in 2011.

AASECT is The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists, the primary professional organization of this field. As the website explains,

In addition to sexuality educators, sexuality counselors and sex therapists, AASECT members include physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, allied health professionals, clergy members, lawyers, sociologists, marriage and family counselors and therapists, family planning specialists and researchers, as well as students in relevant professional disciplines. These individuals share an interest in promoting understanding of human sexuality and healthy sexual behavior..

Do you see why I’m thrilled by this award? These are the people I learn from at conferences and through their books and websites. These are the people who showed me the diversity of sexuality education and how much it’s needed at all points of our lifelong journey. These are the people who have chosen sexuality education as their life’s work.

And they have chosen Naked at Our Age as the best sexuality book of the year!

As proud as I am, I know it’s not just my book. It’s compelling because of your concerns and questions that comprise the 135 candid reader stories. It’s a solid guidebook to solutions for age-related sex problems because of the 45 experts — most AASECT members themselves — who graciously provided the answers to your questions. I’m also grateful to those of you who reviewed Naked at Our Age on your blogs, in publications, and on Amazon, so that potential readers learned about it.

I’ll receive this award personally at the AASECT conference in Austin next month — where I’ll also present a session on blogging about sexuality.

Thank you for making this book what it is, and for recognizing it with this honor.

“Outstanding Self-Help Book” says ASJA about Naked at Our Age

Photo by Dorri Olds

 I wrote in an earlier post that Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex won the outstanding service (which means self-help) book award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), the nation’s professional organization of independent nonfiction writers.

Last night, I received the award in person at the ASJA conference in New York City.The award was introduced with these quotes from the judges:

Naked At Our Age: it’s a disarming title, so appropriate to a topic that’s often ignored — senior sex. Forget “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Joan reached out to older men and women, straight and gay. Boy, did they ask, and wow! did Joan tell.

 Joan is a recognized sexuality expert*, so of course her book provides educational and heartfelt advice about sex (including some very personal and moving reflections). 

If you’re thinking, “been there, read that,” think again. Joan isn’t afraid of opening the reader’s mind about how to think and talk about sex. The book is comprehensive — if you’ve ever thought about it (even in your best dreams), you’ll read about it here. Prepare to be educated, surprised, or sometimes shocked.

We’re pleased to honor Joan with this ASJA award.

Photo by Mark Bennington

*The big laugh of the evening came when the presenter misread “expert” as “subject,” saying “Joan is a recognized sexuality subject” — which sent everyone into gales of laughter, including me! Photographer Mark Bennington captured my reaction!

Then I gave a short acceptance speech, which I’d love to share with you here:

It is a profound honor to receive this award from my ASJA peers – the writers I read, respect, and sometimes envy!  

 Many of you longtime ASJA members knew me for decades as a health and fitness writer.  What happened to morph me from rah-rah-fitness-is-for-everyone to preaching and teaching the pleasures of older-age sexuality? 

Writing has always been an avenue – maybe call it a running path – for following my passion. I became a high school English teacher to be the teacher I always wished I had. Then in 1979, my daily fitness habit saved my life after a car crash – my heart was strong enough to go on automatic pilot while I waited for help, smashed and bloody – so I became a fitness writer and, once I could walk again, an aerobics instructor. 

So it was natural that when I fell in love at age 57 with a man who was 64, I turned my writing to senior sex. Our profound and spicy love affair became the inspiration for the book I wrote at age 61, Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty, to celebrate the delights of older-life sexuality. 

I started calling myself an advocate for ageless sexuality. The media called me “senior sexpert” and “wrinkly sex kitten” – I’m still trying to grow into that one. 

Many readers, however, wrote me to call me “wrong.” They told me that they were not having great sex lives. 150 readers sent me their stories and their questions. I realized that finding answers for them needed to be my next book, my most important book. 

I didn’t know the answer to every question, but I knew the experts who did, and I assembled 45 of them to write tips and answer reader questions. The stories and the expert tips, along with my candid commentary, became Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex

This book means the world to me both professionally and personally. Robert, my lover who inspired my senior sex writing and who became my husband, died when Naked at Our Age was a book proposal. Writing it was my way to paw my way through grief and re-commit to my mission to help others through my writing. 

Not usually at a loss for words, I don’t know how to express how much this award means to me. Thank you.

Thank you, Dorri Olds and Mark Bennington for permission to use your photos here.

If you’d like to purchase Naked at Our Age from Amazon, here is the direct link.

Naked at Our Age: Best Self-Help Book Award from ASJA!

I just learned that Naked atOur Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex won the outstanding self-help book award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), the nation’s
professional organization of independent nonfiction writers.

I actually broke into tears at the
news. This is the greatest honor to have Naked at Our Age chosen as the
best 2011 self-help book by ASJA: my professional peers and
the writers I’ve admired (even envied!) my entire writing life.
I thank all of YOU who sent me your stories, asked questions, cheered me
on, contributed expert tips, and shared news of Naked on
your many networks. This was never a one-person project, and the award goes to everyone who helped make 
Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex a reality.

The awards will be presented on Thurs. evening, April 26, as part of the members day opening the 2012 ASJA conference in New York City. I was told I’ll get to give an acceptance speech! My first personal red carpet event!

I’m so happy – not only for
myself, but also because this award embraces and advances my mission to educate people about sex
& aging, to normalize and celebrate older-age sexuality, and to help our
generation resolve the challenges!


The 41st annual ASJA writers conference is at the Roosevelt Hotel, New York City, April 26-28. If you’re a professional writer, or you’d like to be, this conference is the best investment you can make in advancing your career. You’ll learn from editors and writers who earn their living in this profession, even in these turbulent times. Check out the myriad topics this year: Publishing for First-Time Authors, Fabulous Book Publicity and Marketing, Men’s Markets, Women’s Magazines, Writing about Politics, Writing from the Heart — even Writing about Sex (my panel!). Besides learning from the pros during two days of informative sessions (three days for members), the networking with writers, editors, and agents is itself worth the price of admission.