Me, Dan Savage, and Two 70-year-old, Lust-Crazed Cousins


8/19/14 update: I originally wrote this post on June 25. I’m moving it to the top of my blog because I’m a guest on the Savage Lovecast episode 408 that airs today, and I expect many Dan Savage fans to visit this blog for the first time out of curiosity. In the 8/19 podcast, Dan refers to a scolding that I gave him. This blog post is the scolding/ spanking he’s talking about. Enjoy! 

“Joan?
Too far outside your wheelhouse?” began Dan Savage‘s message to me. He sent me an email from a reader who wanted advice. Because the reader was 70 years old, Dan thought I’d be the right person to help him respond.

Here’s my interpretation of what I read:

A 70-year-old woman has been crazy with lust over her female cousin for the past 50 years! It turns out, the cousins discover now, that they both feel the same way! Bring it on! But since they’re both inexperienced in the ways of lesbian sex, they decide it would be cool to get a third woman in on this, to guide the experience so that the first time is stellar. Their fantasy is that Cousin #1 would watch Cousin #2 and their #3 at first, then join in.Their question: How to find this third? 

What did I actually read? This:

I’m a bit out of your demographic, agewise (I’m 70), but I am still an avid reader. This is true, not a Penthouse letter. My cousin and I have flirted and joked about getting it on together for about 50 years or more. Now, she’s divorced and having the time of her life. She told me the other day, what she’d really like is to have a “lesbian experience” with me watching and then joining. I’m so crazed with lust that I’m having a hard time thinking straight. This is a kinky dream come true. I love oral sex and with two pussies to eat, etc., the whole thing sounds just great. What I don’t know is how to contact someone to do this. I don’t want someone who’s got a disease, or someone with a boyfriend just waiting to break in and rob everyone. Or someone truly horrific for any number of reasons. How do I contact, and then arrange such a thing? How would I ensure that my concerns are dealt with? Is using an escort services any guarantee of any degree of safety? Boy, I would just love some good advice. Got any for me? If you answer, you can call me… Old But Alive.

What’s wrong with this picture? Just the gender of the letter writer, that’s all. Turns out that my assumption that Cousin #1 (C#1) is female was wrong, wrong, wrong. C#1 is a man.

Dan knew that. I didn’t. It never occurred to me that I had the gender wrong. He didn’t realize that I didn’t know.

So I sent my advice, which included:

  1. “I hope you’re indulging that lust with plenty of hot talk, make-out sessions, and role-playing as you figure out how to make your fantasy a reality.” (Good advice.)
  2. “Start hanging out at lesbian bars and other social venues. Don’t go in aiming to pick someone up right off the bat—you don’t want to come across as predatory and creepy. Instead, go on a date with your cousin, dance, chat up women who are friendly. You could make great connections if you’re open and take your time.” (Good advice if C#1 is a woman. Horrible, clueless, shudder-worthy advice since he’s a man. No, no, no.)
  3. “Another way to go, as you suggested, is to hire someone. The advantage of a paid escort is that you can choose the woman and spell out exactly what fantasy you want her to provide. She’ll be experienced, creative, and totally focused on your pleasure.” (The best advice of all.)

Dan sent me back a quick email that he disagreed with some of what I said, but he didn’t tell me what. I was puzzled — what could he possibly disagree with?

The column posted today — you can read it here. To my shock, Dan broke into my lesbian bar advice with “About the only thing lesbians hate more than opposite-sex couples prowling for ‘thirds’ in their bars are sharp fingernails digging for clams in their pants.” 
Huh? Where did he get the idea this was an “opposite-sex couple”?
Later in the post, talking about safer sex, Dan says, “Use condoms, Gramps.” Who’s he calling “Gramps,” and where would these lesbians put the condoms (unless they’re sharing sex toys)?
So it all comes out. C#1 is indeed a man*, and I’ve just gone from respected sex educator to clueless in the eyes of all the Dan Savage fans and Dan himself.
* (But Dan, don’t call him “Gramps” anyway — that’s ageist and condescending. Whether or not he has grandchildren has nothing to do with his sex life.)
Once Dan and I realized what had happened, he apologized profusely, both to me for not clarifying the gender of C#1 and to his readers via a “Dear Readers” update. 
He told me later:

I thought it was obvious the letter writer was male — his cousin wanted a lesbian experience, which he couldn’t provide. That’s why they needed a third and he would watch while the cousin had her lesbian experience, then join in. And he mentioned having two pussies to play with… not three.

So, that’s the story, and now I can breathe more easily and sleep tonight. Now that I see it all in perspective, it’s pretty funny that I jumped to the conclusion that the letter writer was female. I can laugh about it now. 

While I’m on the subject, finding a paid escort is less problematic than you’d think via the Internet or referrals – these women have found ways to advertise their availability, or they wouldn’t be in business. Kendra Holliday, who describes herself as a sex worker from St Louis, tells me, “You can track down sex workers in your area online and run your scenario by them. If the sex worker is not into that kind of thing, she can float it by her network. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool in the sex worker realm.” 

Thank you, Dan Savage, for all you do to create a sex-positive world! (See my review of Dan’s book, American Savage, along with a gratuitous photo of his husband Terry in a swimsuit, here.) While you’re at it, do subscribe to the paid version of his Savage Lovecast — it’s well worth the small subscription fee to get almost 1.5 hours of Dan every week.

62-year-old Woman Seeks Man for Sex

Lucy, age 62

Lucy, a 62-year-old woman from Santa Fe, NM, wrote to me:

Joan—I’m bisexual and have always loved sex with men. Unfortunately as I age, I find men in my age group don’t have much interest in getting right to sex — they just want to “date”—interminably.

 

If there were just places where a woman could safely buy a man’s time, tell him what she wants, and then complete the transaction I would totally do that. I did find Cowboys4Angels, which advertises “Straight Male Escorts For Women,” but the closest one is in Las Vegas.

 

Am I crazy? Why is it men can buy sex anywhere but women have to “date”? And yeah, I know I’m old, but I’ve been asking this question for decades. I don’t want the man, I want the fucking (and I swear this is a legit letter). Please answer.

I went first to my colleagues and followers on my Naked at Our Age Facebook page, where I can always count on a community willing to share knowledge, opinions, and experiences. Here are some of their suggestions:

One reader wrote, “I’ve heard men from Rentboy.com — which is a gay male service — say they either happily take female customers already, or they would be happy to take female customers.”

Headshot of sex educator and presenter Sabrina Morgan
Sabrina Morgan

Sabrina Morgan, sex and dating coach and sex workers’ rights advocate, agrees. “Contacting a guy on Rentboy.com and asking if he’s comfortable with female clients is a great first step, as is looking for straight male escort directories. There’s ConciergeDuMonde.com, which has several reputable independents.”

 

Hercules Liotard

How do you find an escort? “If you do a web search for ‘straight male escorts’ or (although I hate the term) ‘gigolos’ and the closest large city, you will get various agencies and independent providers that will come up in your area,” suggests Hercules Liotard, The Pleasure Coach.

You said you wanted full-on partner sex, but if you or other readers would enjoy an erotic, intimate massage (highly recommended, as you’ll read in Naked at Our Age!), check out providers like Hercules, who is based in Los Angeles. Search “intimate massage” and your city to find a provider near you.

Whether you’re hiring an intimate massage practitioner or an escort, Hercules has this advice about safety:

The number one key factor for women who hire men for sex is the trust factor. Is this person safe? When talking with the women I work with, this comes up almost every time in the conversation. They chose me because my site was inviting and interesting. I answered their questions and concerns in advance and did not try to rush them into an appointment. I had reviews and a good standing in the community, and that all made them feel safe.

 

So I would say that any woman should look for these same qualities when contacting anyone. Shop around!

 

Photo Credit: Peter Hellberg
Pamela Madsen

Pamela Madsen, Sex and Intimacy Coach and Co-Director of Back to The Body: Sensuous Retreats for Women, shared these thoughts:

Many women work with Sacred Intimates, Escorts or Sexological Body Workers. It’s not so underground anymore! The rules for sexual interaction change from man to man and practice to practice. Sexological Body workers can provide an amazing experience for women who want to experience one-way touch in a very safe environment with boundaries. Women who are looking for two-way touch experiences such as intercourse and oral sex would be better served by working with a Sacred Intimate or an Escort.

 

No matter who a woman chooses to work with, it’s important for her to find out the practitioner’s boundaries, STD status, and get references — as well as find out about pricing ahead of time. Many female sex coaches, like myself, work with men who work erotically with women, and can provide direction and referrals.

Do you have to hire someone if you want a sexual encounter? No. You can find casual sex online with like-minded partners without hiring a professional. Craigslist has a personals ads category titled “Casual Encounters.”  (Yes, there’s a Sante Fe section, Lucy.) Some of the ads are pretty raunchy, others are straightforward (“looking for…”), and some are quite plaintive (“not much sex from my partner no matter how much energy I put out”). You can search by age if you wish.

Personally, I’d feel nervous and vulnerable using Craigslist for a casual encounter, because you don’t know anything about the person placing the ad, but clearly most people do get the results they want, or it wouldn’t be as popular as it is. Do I sound unnecessarily cautious, readers?

Sometimes approaching a man whom you meet in your daily life can lead to an interesting and satisfying connection. Seth, a man of our age, emailed me to share his experience:

My casual sex partner is a lady who walked up to me while eating dinner at a restaurant and asked if I could give her a ride home. Wonderful conversation, and when I dropped her off, she asked if I wanted to come in. Conversation continued, and when I got up to leave, she asked if I would like to stay. I did.

 

We have both continued our connection. It’s very straightforward. She calls and asks if I would like some loving. There are times I’ll say no. Both of our needs get met. We don’t discuss our connection with anyone. So delightful to walk in with sex  on both of our minds. Clothes come flying off. We both enjoy our sexuality. Then we both go back to running our businesses.

 

What didn’t work is a woman who sat down next to me and started a conversation that made it clear she was hitting on me. “Gigolo?” she asked. That felt strange to me and I didn’t pursue that line of conversation.

A reader who wishes to remain unnamed recommends AdultFriendFinder.com,a huge sex site with 55 million members that aims to help you find “worldwide sex dates, adult matches, hookups and fuck friends.” My reader says,

I was 61 when I started “playing” with AdultFriendFinder. But, of course, you have to be very good at vetting the men who e-mail you. If you do a good job of vetting, you will find that there are a lot of very nice men on there who want to give a woman pleasure, as well as getting their own pleasure, with no strings attached.

 

Also, you can find no strings attached sex on some of the free regular dating sites, such as Plenty of Fish and OKCupid. One of the interesting things is that there are so many younger men who are looking for older women. On POF, I found a 31-year-old with whom I had a 4-month dalliance, until he found a woman he wanted to marry, then he broke it off with me. He was very sweet.

 

I asked several of the younger men who e-mailed me why they were interested in a woman who is so much older than they are. They all gave pretty much the same reasons: “Older women don’t play games. Older women know how to please a man. Older women are comfortable in their bodies.” Yup, we are hot stuff!

“Hot stuff” indeed! Let us know how your quest turns out, Lucy!

I welcome your comments, but I do not permit solicitation or attempts to draw my readers to sites for porn, escorts, or any retail sites I have not vetted. If you wish to advertise on this blog to reach our sex-positive seniors, email me. Don’t try to submit a comment aiming to get free advertising for a site I haven’t approved. It won’t work, and it makes me extremely cranky.  

Practically Sexless Marriage? Laurie Watson Advises

“Brad” wrote to me because he and his wife “Angie” are in a practically sexless marriage. I consulted AASECT-certified sex therapist Laurie Watson, author of Wanting Sex Again: How to Rediscover Your Desire and Heal a Sexless Marriage, to offer some advice. Obviously the couple’s problems are too complex to solve with one blog post, but I hope that Laurie Watson’s advice and, her book can help Brad and Angie take the first steps towards developing a sexually vibrant relationship.

Brad’s Story

My wife Angie and
I are in our fifties and been together since college. I’ve always loved her
dearly. I’ve always found her to be desirable and let her know it. She is my
best friend. Through almost all of that time, I’ve been dissatisfied the
frequency and amount of passion in our sex life.
To say that the
two of us have different sexual appetites is an understatement. Most of the
time Angie says she simply isn’t interested or too tired for sex. I, on the
other hand, have offered and made myself available to her sexually. Despite
being willing to attend to her needs, she has rarely reciprocated that
willingness. 95% of my sexual release throughout my sexual history has come
from masturbation.
I tell Angie that
I love her, desire her, feel passionate about her, and I’d like to work on
improving our sex life. She acknowledges that work needs to be done but usually
says that now is not a good time, she’s too tired, or she feels uncomfortable
being sexual with the kids in the house. (Our two grown kids moved back to our
small house for financial reasons.) When I ask how I could help resolve these
issues or make suggestions for solutions, she generally discounts them or said
she’s at a loss about what to do.
Things hit a
further low point sexually about eight years ago. I was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer (prostatectomy). I now have
difficulty maintaining erections and too often there is an aching pain in the
pubic region immediately after orgasm.
I’m unhappy about
our lack of passion, intimacy, and sensual play (while acknowledging my
shortcomings due to ED, low testosterone, and mild depression).  I’ve told Angie that I want to bring back more
of the fun of sensuality and passion rather than concentrating on “the
act.” She continues to come up with the same excuses I’ve heard numerous
times before.
A therapist years
ago told us that Angie was depressed. She doesn’t get treatment for her
depression, although she’ll often self-medicate with marijuana. I think I’m
depressed, too. We’ve always struggled financially. I lost my job during the
recent recession and was out of work for over a year. I am now working
full-time but my wages are substantially lower.
The last time we
had sex together was a few months ago, at a hotel. I found it satisfying (any
sexual contact is appreciated!) and she indicated that she found it satisfying,
too.
 I want to turn things around, if it’s not too
late. I feel as if I’m running out of time. How do I go about improving the
passion and sensuality between us? I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that
the only person I can work on is me. I cannot offer advice or solutions where
it will not be wanted or accepted.

Laurie Watson replies:

In marriage, often one spouse is the pursuer, easily expressing needs, wishing for closeness, attention, and sex. The other spouse becomes a distancer, wishing for more space. Distancers often feel smothered by pursuers, who, in turn, feel starved by distancers. It can become a tug-of-war. Sexually, it can feel desperate. Examining the ways you have balanced closeness and distance might start to change things between you.

You both had an enjoyable sexual experience in a hotel, away from home, boomerang adult kids, bills, and the endless call of things to do. I congratulate you on finding a formula for great sex. As often as you can afford it, schedule a hotel rendezvous and indulge in relaxing, satisfying sex.

You’d like Angie to initiate sex and show that she desires you. Like many women, she may be more receptive, willing to be convinced, but not to initiate. Your wife may need your male energy and urgency to get her started.

Yet now more than ever, you need the reassurance that you are virile and desired after prostate cancer. How to do this without crowding the space between you and making her back up?

Try being a great seducer! The hotel adventure probably worked because you initiated a creative space for relaxation, intimacy, and sex. The chase and seduction are a good part of the turn-on. Often a woman’s craving for sex doesn’t kick in until about halfway through the experience. Then suddenly her aroused body says, “Yes, I do want sex!”

Men shouldn’t be responsible for all the work on the sexual relationship, though. Women can prompt themselves with fantasies, anticipation, and memories of exciting past love-making sessions, coming to bed mentally primed for arousal.

Prostate cancer brings its own set of challenges. Luckily, you still have desire and you still have some erectile ability. The sooner men start on penile rehabilitation post-surgery, the better their eventual outcome. Your deep pelvic pain, more common immediately post-surgery, absolutely necessitates a visit to the doctor to rule out infection, inflammation, kidney problems, and nerve damage. You may also need treatment from a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic pain.

Culturally, men are conditioned that they are good lovers if they have big, strong erections. But most women do not experience climax through penetration – only 15-20% ever do in intercourse. You can be a satisfying lover with manual and oral stimulation. With enough stimulation, men can reach orgasm with or without an erection – those are completely separate functions.

You have mentioned that your wife struggles with depression, as do you. It would be good if you both saw a therapist, seeking treatment for depression as well as your relationship issues. Even a single consultation would help a therapist see where you are stuck as a couple and guide you.

— Laurie Watson, LMFT, LPC, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, is the author of Wanting Sex Again – How to Rediscover Your Desire and Heal a Sexless Marriage. She blogs for Psychology Today Online in Married and Still Doing It. Laurie guest lectures at the medical schools for Duke and UNC Chapel Hill on sexual function/dysfunction. Director of Awakenings – Center for Intimacy and Sexuality in Raleigh, she maintains a full-time clinical practice.

Reader: “Replacement girlfriend? Since when are wives disposable?”

I am one of the sex educators who answers question sent to the Safer Sex for Seniors website. I just answered this one and wanted to share it with you, too. It’s an issue that either has or will come up for us, unfortunately:

I’m 74 and my wife is 78. She is a resident of a care center while her hip heals from being broken and I’m still at home. She also has dementia! I’m being advised to put her into a senior home for the balance of her life and go find a replacement girlfriend.

My question is: Now that I’m at this age I’ve lost or forgotten how to find an acceptable date. My friends and family think it’s outrageous for me to replace my wife. But our state case manager is strongly backing the suggestion for a new girl in my life. Since when are wives disposable — except until death do us part? 

 Joan Price answers:

This is a sad and scary time for you, I understand. Your wife is badly injured and suffering from dementia, and others are advising you to let her stay in a residential facility where she can be taken care of – not temporarily, but for the rest of her life. I can understand how upset you must feel. This isn’t what you and your wife thought your golden years would be.

If you’re asking whether you should start dating, only you know whether that’s the right step for you. No one is suggesting that your wife is disposable, though they may sound that way to you in your grief.

I think those who are advising you to date are trying to let you know gently that your wife will not be returning to your home or to your relationship, and when it feels right to you to find companionship, it’s okay to do that. They’re not encouraging you to “dispose” of your wife or your vows. They’re trying to look out for your emotional well-being by letting you know that if you do want to explore finding a new relationship now or in the future, there’s nothing wrong with that.

I can see from the way you state your question, though, that it’s probably too soon to take that suggestion. Perhaps better right now would be a grief support group. Although your wife has not died, you have lost her companionship and even her presence in your life. A grief counselor or support group could be immensely valuable to you.

When you’re ready, you don’t need to feel guilty about your own need to be close to another person emotionally and sexually– that’s natural and a part of being human. You would not be trying to “replace” your wife in any way, just taking care of your own social and intimate needs. You may need to explain that to your family (or let them read this) if they still think it’s “outrageous” that you might look for a relationship.

I wish you the best. I know this is the hardest of times.

[Originally published at http://safersex4seniors.org/are-partners-with-dementia-disposable/.]

Readers: I invite your comments