I was speaking at Copperfield’s Books in Sebastopol, CA, to a roomful of eager listeners, mostly our age. My favorite part is always the Q&A segment, which this time ran until the staffer announced that we had to stop because the store was closing.

Many of the questions were from singles about dating. For example:

  • “Is it OK to lie about my age on the online dating sites?” a beautiful, vibrant woman of 70+ asked. “If I tell the truth, no one will date me.” I got on my soapbox about telling the truth, changing society’s view of older people as unsexy and undesirable by showing that yes, we’re 72 or 67 or 78 and still sexy. Coincidentally, Helen Mirren at 66 was just voted “Body of the Year” against plenty of 20-30-year-old celebrities. (I know we’re not Helen Mirren, but my point stands.)
  • “Are condoms really necessary at our age?” Yes! Most of group was flabbergasted when I told them that fastest growing population for new HIV infections was the 50+ age group. “Should I repeat that?” I asked. People nodded. I repeated it. “People with SDSs don’t tell you the truth — sometimes they don’t even know they’re infected, and sometimes they lie!” I explained why I felt it was important to have a whole chapter in Naked at Our Age about safe sex, and I gave tidbits from that chapter about having the “condom conversation” and about eroticizing condom use.

After the audience disbanded, several people, mostly unpartnered, came up to me to ask more questions. But the store was closing, and we had to stop.

Afterwards, I realized I had missed a great opportunity. I should have invited the singles to join me at a restaurant next door for dessert and conversation. I should have organized a “Senior Singles Mixer.”

So that’s what I did at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA, the following Saturday. It turned out to be more a discussion group than a “see if there’s someone here you want to date” event. We talked candidly about our personal dating experiences, hopes, apprehensions. We listened to each other with interest and compassion, and left understanding more about each other and ourselves.

I’m motivated now to announce a “Senior Singles Mixer/ Discussion” at the end of all my talks from now on, as long as the organizers agree. My next one is at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco on August 18. (See more info about this and all my upcoming events here.)

Join me?

If you’re not nearby, what would you like to discuss in a Single Seniors Mixer/ Discussion group? You can bring up topics right here.

Just when society is starting to accept that seniors are having — and enjoying! — sex, some of the most outspoken, sex-positive, seasoned women among us are not having sex. Some are choosing celibacy for now, some have fallen into it. Can we still be sex educators, sex writers, and sex activists if our orgasms are solo and we sleep with our pets? Yes!


Candida Royalleknown for pioneering the genre of woman-friendly erotic films and the Natural Contours line of intimate massagers, is the author of How to Tell a Naked Man What to Do. Candida wrote a marvelous piece for my new book, Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex (coming this June — finally!) about the importance of keeping ourselves sexually heathy when we’re not in a relationship.
How to Tell a Naked Man What to Do: Sex Advice from a Woman Who Knows
At age 59, Candida says she’s not in a hurry to find a new partner, but “I am committed to having a date with myself at least once a week to exercise my PC muscle, which runs along the pelvic floor and surrounds the entire vagina. Then I reward myself with a nice little session of self-pleasuring.”

 

Erica Manfred, divorced at sixty, is the author of He’s History You’re Not: Surviving Divorce After Forty. Erica contributed helpful tips to Naked at Our Age for getting through the devastating emotion- and ego-slamming period of a later-life divorce. 
He's History, You're Not: Surviving Divorce After 40In a recent Huffington Post article, Erica writes that at age 68, she has decided to give up on dating and sex. “It takes a hell of a lot of energy to date at my age,” the former sexual enthusiast writes. She’s not closing off the possibility of “getting my mojo back” in case Mr. Senior Right shows up at the supermarket, but she’s abandoning the online dating sites and cuddling her chihuahua.


Rachel Kramer Bussel is, at 35, the youngest of our sex-positive celibates. Rachel is an erotica author, sex columnist, and editor of 38 anthologies, including my favorite series: Best Sex Writing 2008, 2009 and 2010.

In an article she wrote for SexIs Magazine, Rachel revealed that she’s abstaining from sex and dating until her 36th birthday. (Note that the”sex” she is giving up is “physical, genital contact with another person,” leaving her free to indulge in phone sex and cybersex — fair enough.) She made this choice so that she could examine her “relationship errors” and “inappropriate attachments” and not go chasing immediately after the next hot encounter.

Is it hard to write about sex all day and not go after it at night? “Am I missing out on what’s supposed to be my sexual peak?” Rachel wonders. “Maybe friends with benefits is the best life can offer me and I’m being foolish or stupid to hold out for something more fulfilling. Or maybe I’ll find that I like being on my own so much I don’t ever want to actually join forces with someone else.”

 

I’ve divulged my own celibacy since losing Robert — on this blog in a shy way, and with more candor in Naked at Our Age (you’ll see!). I’ve started to date again, which so far means a series of sexless first dates. I’ve had some excitement (again, you’ll have to wait for Naked at Our Age!) but without the culmination of inviting a partner into my body.

Senior sex is still my intellectual, emotional, and career passion. My mission to normalize later-life sexuality in the eyes of society is as important to me now as when Robert and I were curling each other’s toes. I know I’m getting somewhere when seniors are seen as oddities when they’re not having sex!

As always, I welcome your comments!

Better Than I Ever Expected

Becka, our intrepid senior online dating reporter, has met several men now — after rejecting far more. Three men seem to be in a photo finish for her heart, she tells us! Here’s her latest report:

PHOTO FINISH — PART 2
by Becka

I winnowed and winnowed trying to separate the wheat from the chaff and I didn’t even know what chaff was until I read some of the self- descriptions guys put on dating sites. Leo wrote that he was looking for a “soulmate to love forever” and then mentioned that his dog had passed away and “no one can replace that void.” Next!

Alex, 5′ 3” who makes less than $20,000 thought I should know that he “reads women’s magazines to study the opposition.” Next!

Sammy carroled that he wanted “to be Gomez to your Morticia.” Next!

Here’s the winner: said Donald of himself, “I am a smoker, earn under $12,000, drink a little, am passive and submissive and am looking for a woman who will finish the job my mother and sister started when I was a kid of turning me into a full female.” Neeeext!

You will learn an awful lot about yourself on this journey. Some things not so good; other things pretty damn good! I learned I liked a sense of humor but sometimes lacked one myself. It took a while for me to realize that Joe was joking when he wrote, “She must be breathing. If she’s not breathing, the whole deal is off.” Joe became Date No. 1. He does make me laugh and helps me be less uptight.

I also learned I am more of a risk taker than I thought. When Bill would not give any additional information until I revealed something of myself, I complained. He wrote, “Aw, now, why wouldn’t you want some mystery?” Bill became Date No. 2. We met the first time at a local diner and each of us wore something from Star Wars so we’d recognize the other. Okay, so now you know I’m a geek.

I like these men and intend to keep seeing them, but my favorite is Steve, Date No. 3. He is the one who offered to cook for me, massage my feet and “wander through the woods together armed only with a camera.” He suggested meeting at a hiking club event. I felt safe and knew I’d have a good time even if we didn’t hit it off. Smart man!

There are fabulous times to be had with wonderful people! To pull this off you need two senses: “common” and “adventure.” “Sixth” doesn’t hurt either. My three men are in a photo finish for my heart. My advice to you: get going!

Thank you, Becka, for sacrificing so much time in the pursuit of, uh, educating the rest of us! See Becka’s other online dating reports here.

Becka, our intrepid senior online dating reporter, sent us her evaluation of several online dating sites from the perspective of a senior woman seeking men. As always, her report is both informative and entertaining:

PHOTO FINISH — PART 1
by Becka

Let me paraphrase an old rock n roller: What a short, strange trip it’s been! A jolly, jarring, coo-coo, sweet time I’ve had meeting men on senior dating sites. From boffo to bozo, I’ve met them all – or so it seems. Too many men, too little time, not enough memory.

Eharmony probably has the best setup. They guide you through the process beautifully, with many options, and the vibes inherent in their name appear to attract a higher type of person, male and female. (That would be me, of course.) You will end up spending money unless you’re very lucky — and quick, because most of these dating sites are timed release sites. That means, they won’t release you to a fuller experience unless you are on time with a payment.

AgeMatch is just what it says. If you want a younger man but will stop short of hanging out at the local high school, this is your website. To each his own. One 30-something accepted me with the succinct phrase, “You’ll do.” I was supposed to be flattered. I was not.

On the other hand, a 20-something commented on my picture, “You look like a lovely fairy in the woods.” I was charmed. However, I couldn’t be sure it wasn’t a 10-year old using his dad’s computer.

Surprisingly I got more responses here than I did anywhere else: 67. Sixty-seven men wanted an older woman. Wow. Tell Hollywood! This may be very hopeful to those of you desiring that younger flash and dash. Or maybe youth today is just more tired than we know.

A super-friendly site is seniorchatters. It’s located in the UK, but don’t let that stop you. Plenty of Americans have joined. You get the first two weeks free, which is a plus. You can find both friends and lovers on this site and I began an interesting communication with a woman who lives in Turkey. I thought it would be neat to correspond with someone who has an entirely different life from mine. Keeps your brain alive.

I did end up going out with three men from my area and each one was a lovely person. I’ll share my experiences next time. Life is long and hectic, until you get to be a senior. Then you realize your mistake. It’s actually short and lonely. Why don’t they tell us? Don’t wait!

Thank you, Becka, for sacrificing so much time in the pursuit of, uh, educating the rest of us! See Becka’s other online dating reports here.