Monday, July 20, 2015

Talking sex toys on Dan Savage's podcast


I had the pleasure of recording a guest segment on Dan Savage's Savage Love podcast this week, answering two caller questions.  It's live now: Episode 456. I'm on the Micro (free) version for 10 minutes and on the Magnum (paid subscription) for more than 20 minutes.

At the end of our Magnum segment, Dan asked me for some quick vibrator recommendations for the over-50 crowd. Here are the ones I mentioned, with links to my reviews so that you can learn more about them:
Magic Wand


Magic Wand (rechargeable): It has everything we loved about the Original Magic Wand plus new attributes that make it the ideal sex tool for those of us who need really strong vibrations.


Sybian
 Sybian: Can I call a 22-pound, vibrating, mountable, power tool a "vibrator"? That's like calling the Sydney Opera House a music device. Straddle the Sybian, turn the dial to control the sensations, and enjoy.


The Pulse


The Pulse: A pulsing, oscillating, amazing vibrator for penises that does not require an erection for his pleasure!




Here are some more favorites that I would have added if we had more time:
Eroscillator


Eroscillator: Especially fabulous for clitoral stimulation during partner sex because it doesn't get in the way of two bodies.
Private Gym



Private Gym: A penis workout for stronger erections -- including weights. This is no gimmick!


Womanizer

Womanizer: A sex toy that sucks your clitoris -- and that's a rock-your-world sensation!
Palm Power



Palm Power:  A lightweight, travel-friendly, ergonomically designed vibrator that packs incredible power into a small, silicone topped sex toy.



If you're new to my blog, it isn't just sex toys all the time, but yes, I do review sex toys a lot, and always from a "senior perspective."


What's a "senior perspective" and why do we need it?
  • Our need for long, slow arousal requires a vibrator that doesn't overheat, run out of battery charge, or burst into flames if we need to use it for a long time. 
  • We want sex toys that don't strain arthritic wrists. 
  • They must be made of body safe materials, especially with our thinning genital tissues.
  • We want to be able to see the controls without having to put on our reading glasses. 
  • Above all, we need intensity: strong vibrations. We're battling our (lack of) hormones. And we're winning!

If you're new to Dan Savage, he's super smart and sex-savvy. Check out the free mini-version of his weekly Savage Lovecast. Even better, in my opinion, is the paid Magnum version that's twice as long and ad-free. If you don't yet subscribe to the Magnum version, it's well worth the small amount of money to hear the longer version each week. Plus when you subscribe, you get to listen to ALL the past episodes -- years of them! You can read Dan's sex advice columns here. Dan is over 50 now -- welcome to our world, Dan!

Joan and Dan, showing actual height difference


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Getting Your Mojo Back: Excerpt from The Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50


Getting Your Mojo Back

Excerpt from 
by Joan Price  

I used to be eager for sex, easily aroused. My desire dipped after menopause and now barely exists. I can go weeks or more without desiring sex or thinking much about it. The funny thing is, if I get started, I like it, but it’s so hard to get in the mood. 

 The number one sex problem that I hear from women is the lack of desire for sex. They do still enjoy sex once they get started, they tell me, but they’re seldom in the mood ahead of time. It isn’t just a problem for women—many men also report decreased desire—but for women, it’s the primary complaint. The problem is that if we wait for the mood and don’t make sexual pleasure a priority, we’ll rarely have sex.

There are lots of reasons that you may be feeling decreased desire, but let’s cut to a solution that works first, and figure out the reasons afterward:

 Instead of waiting for the mood, start getting yourself sexually aroused—on your own, with a partner, or with a vibrator. Just do it. The physiological arousal will trigger the emotional desire.

That’s the opposite of the way it used to work! When we were younger, our hormone-induced sex drive bombarded our brain and body with desire—especially during our most fertile times. This was simple biology. A glance, a thought, a murmur, a fantasy, or a touch sparked the mood. Once in the mood, we opened ourselves to the pleasures of physiological arousal. We got turned on, our arousal built, and we crashed joyously into orgasm.

 But now, this all works the other way around. Instead of waiting forever for the mood to strike, we can induce the mood by letting ourselves get physiologically aroused as the first step. Arousal will lead to mood and desire, instead of vice versa. Here are your new mantras:

  • Desire follows action. 
  • Use it, don’t lose it. 
  • Just do it. 

“You may have just saved my marriage,” a woman told me after I gave this suggestion at a presentation. Try it—you may feel the same!


 What to Do Instead of Waiting to Be in the Mood 

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to approach our sexuality in this new way: Relax, start getting physically aroused, emotional arousal will happen, and voila, we’ll be in the mood. So the key is to commit to regular sexual pleasure, partnered or solo. How does this translate to real life? Here are some tips:

  • Schedule sex dates with your partner and/or with yourself at least weekly, more is even better. 
  • Exercise before sex for faster arousal and easier orgasms.
  • Create rituals with your partner that signal sex would be welcome. 
  • Allow plenty of arousal time -- no rushing, no goals except pleasure. 
  • Make sexual arousal and orgasm a habit, whether you're partnered or on your own. 
Make sexual pleasure a habit. Give yourself sexual pleasure frequently, and you'll find that you'll become aroused more easily and enjoy sex more! 


Learn more about 

Order here for an autographed copy, purchase from your local independent bookstore, or order from Amazon.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Best Sex Writing of the Year 2015 review

I love the Best Sex Writing series from Cleis Press. I've been a loyal reader since the first edition in 2005. I collect them, give them as gifts, read them cover to cover. This year's edition (titled inexplicably "Best Sex Writing of the Year, volume 1" instead of "2015"), edited by Jon Pressick, has the breadth and quality I've come to expect.

Realize that this series isn't erotica (although Cleis is known for erotica) -- it's a collection of non-fiction essays about all colors and stripes of sex-themed topics. Some of the essays are intensely personal (e.g. my own contribution, "Sharing Body Heat"), some are commentary on sexual issues in the news, some are sex-nerdy opinions, many open windows to sexual practices and worlds that might be new to you.

The best way to convey the range of topics and writers is to share the chapter titles with quotes from a few of them:

  • Foreword • Belle Knox
  • Captain Save-A-Ho • Fiona Helmsley
  • How a Former Porn Star’s Sex Tape Helped Him Reclaim His Sex Life • Christopher Zeischegg aka Danny Wylde: "I'd done it a thousand times with people I'd barely met, and in the most stressful environments. Yet, I couldn't get my cock hard while in bed with the girl I loved."
  • What Should We Call Sex Toys? • Epiphora: "I own over five hundred dildos, vibrators, and anal toys, which I routinely hold against my vulva (not my 'lady bits'), stick in my vagina (not my 'vajayjay'), press against my clitoris (not my 'love button') and push up my butt (not my 'backdoor')."
  • We Need a New Orientation to Sex • Cory Silverberg
  • I Am the Blogger Who Allegedly “Complicated” the Stuebenville Gang Rape Case—And I Wouldn’t Change a Thing • Alexandria Goddard
  • Porn Director: I Changed My Mind about Condoms • Nica Noelle
  • Pregger Libido • Ember Swift
  • The White Kind of Body • Alok Vaid-Menon
  • Sex, Lies and Public Education • Lynn Comella
  • Sharing Body Heat • Joan Price
  • Being a Real-Life Accomplice • Cameryn Moore
  • Oops, I Slept with Your Boyfriend • Charlie Nox
  • Pump Dreams • Mitch Kellaway: "I don't have a clitoris. Or, rather, I used to have one. But since starting my gender transition a year ago, my relationship to it has become quite complex."
  • Prostitution Law and the Death of Whores • Laura Agustín
  • Fisting Day • Jiz Lee: "What I love about fisting someone vaginally is feeling them take me in. There's a moment where the person just opens up to you. Once inside, they're so warm, wet, and every little movement you make can be felt."
  • Tell Me You Want Me. • Mollena Williams: "What about submitting, what about service, what about taking a thorough flogging, what about menial chores, what about being useful, is sexy? Why is it eroticized? What makes it hot? In a word? Passion."
  • The Gates • Tina Horn
  • The Choice of Motherhood and Insidious Drugstore Signage • Stoya
  • Kinky, Sober and Free: BDSM in Recovery • Rachel Kramer Bussel: "Can you be clean and sober and still engage kinkily?"
  • Crazy Trans Woman Syndrome • Morgan M. Page
  • Let’s Talk about Interracial Porn • Jarrett Neal
  • When I Was a Birthday Present for an Eighty-Two-Year-Old Grandmother • David Henry Sterry [see below]
  • What an Armpit Model Taught Me about Sexual Language • Jon Pressick
  • Growing Through the Yuck • Ashley Manta
  • I Was a Teenage Porn Model • Lux Alptraum
  • Disability and Sex • Jason Armstrong
  • Fumbling Towards Humanity: How “Trans Grrrls” Helped Me Open Up to My Partner • Amy Dentata
  • In Defense of Celibacy • Lauren Marie Fleming aka Queerie Bradshaw: "There are times in your life when a quick fuck can be beneficial, but sometimes all sex does is add to the confusion that is life. Sex with others muddies the emotional waters; take sex away and there's a better chance of finding clarity within yourself."
  • No Restrictions • Dee Dee Behind: "My very first session with a client with severe disabilities was while I was working as a professional dominatrix on the third floor of a dungeon in an elevator-less building."

pressick(1)
Jon Pressick
Who could resist a book with this range of topics from such a variety of writers, sex educators, performers, sex workers, and other juicy, sex-positive activists? As Pressick puts it,

Some of the topics you will read about here are very specific while others speak to all of us. Bringing them together is an attempt to throw open those doors. Pull the thoughts out from under the mattresses. Talk about sex in meaningful, thoughtful and creative ways.


David Sterry
One of my favorite essays -- you might guess this! -- was "When I Was a Birthday Present for an Eighty-Two-Year-Old Grandmother." Author David Sterry was 17 when he was hired as a sexy birthday gift for a woman who was 65 years his senior. Although he told his employer yes, his brain was imagining "an ancient naked wrinkled saggy droopy granny spread-eagled in front of me and my poor placid flaccid penis ...a lifeless piece of useless meat... What if she wants to do some weird old person sex thing I don't know about?" The experience, of course, was nothing like his nightmare-fantasy, but I don't want to reveal more and ruin the surprise.



I consider myself a sex geek. I'm interested in all things sexual. Whether or not I'm personally interested in exploring a particular behavior, belief, or milieu, my mind wants to take it all in. This book really satisfied my sex geekery. Thank you, Jon, contributors, and Cleis Press.

Order Best Sex Writing from your local independent bookstore or at this Amazon link.


Monday, July 06, 2015

Blogging about Senior Sex since 2005!

Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight talk about sex after sixtyI've been blogging about senior sex since October 2005, when the topic was rarely discussed or written. My first senior sex book, Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex after Sixty, was about to be published. I don't remember why I started a senior sex blog except that no one else was writing one.

My first post was read by 30 people.  Ouch, my first two months of posts averaged 22 readers each. It was a lonely endeavor.

But I stuck with it, learned what you wanted to read about and how to reach you, and, thank you, you started following this blog to get news and views about older-age sexuality. Now it's not rare that a post gets thousands of readers, occasionally 10,000 to 40,000. These days, you come here most often to read my sex toy reviews and to find information about concerns such as erectile problems, vaginal pain and how to enhance sexual pleasure.

I'm amused that the most-read post (48,000 readers) was titled "Looking for 'Granny Sex'?"  -- when the whole point of that 2007 post was asking why so many people used "granny sex" as the search term that led them to my blog! Now that there's so much "granny porn" advertised, searchers of "granny sex" no longer land on my blog. I suppose that's a good thing.


Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50Buy nowOver the ten years since starting this blog, I've written two more senior sex self-help guides and edited an anthology of senior erotica. Learn more here.

I no longer feel like a solitary voice. Other writers, speakers, and organizations have joined me in spreading the word that older-age sexuality can be a source of lifelong pleasure. We're now a movement.

Thank you all for following this blog and continuing to support my mission. Do you remember how you first found this blog, what you were hoping to find, or what captured your interest? I'd love to know. Please comment.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Are you having sex? What does that mean?

It's important for us to redefine what we mean by "having sex" and being "sexually active," especially with our changing bodies, relationships, and circumstances as we age.

In my view, "having sex" means doing whatever arouses and pleases us sexually, whether partnered (any gender) or solo, with or without sex toys, with or without orgasm, in any manner that turns us on. 

Did I leave out anything? 

It's annoying and it doesn't serve us when "having sex" or "sexually active" only refers to partnered sex, and especially when it only refers to PIV (penis in vagina) sex. Media, researchers, survey takers, doctors, please take note!

I'd like to invite a discussion here. Answer #1 and any of the others that interest you with as much information as you're willing to share:

  • How old are you, and how would you define "having sex" or being "sexually active" at this age?
  • Do you consider solo sex to be "real" sex? Why or why not?
  • If you were surveyed about whether you are sexually active, how would you answer? What would you mean by that answer?
  • Has your doctor or other medical professional asked you about whether you're sexually active? 
  • If you asked your doctor or other medical professional about a sex-related concern? How did that go?
 
Please post your answers as comments here, or if you're confused about how to do that, email me with "post on blog for me" as your subject header, and I'll do it for you. (Include a first name of your choice -- it doesn't have to be your own.)

Thank you. I look forward to sharing views with you about this important topic.


#AdultSexEdMonth

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Remembering Robert today

I'm missing Robert terribly today. Tomorrow is Father's Day. I'm reminded of the beautiful photo that his son, Mitch Rice, posted on his Facebook page last Father's Day.

I never knew Robert as the dashing 50-year-old dancer in the photo -- he was 64 when we met (still dashing and still a dancer!), and I was 57. Looking back, we were youngsters. I'm now 71; he would have been 78. How I wish we could have grown old together.

In case you're new to our story, Robert and I had exactly seven years together -- first kiss to last kiss -- before we lost him to cancer. Our love story catapulted me into this world I inhabit now, the world of writing and speaking about senior sex. This August, I will have had as many years without him as with him. 

Today I bought a new car. I sold Robert's 2006 Volvo, which I had been driving since he died. It felt like one more letting-go to sell his car. A few months ago, my 16-year-old cat Amo died. Robert had never liked a cat before, let alone loved one. He loved Amo.

I know that my memories of Robert won't fade just because my cat died and his car is gone, but it feels like some pages of our time together have been ripped out, or maybe I'm living chapters of a new book that doesn't include him. I don't know if I'm making sense, or even if it's a good idea to write this for my public blog instead of my private journal -- perhaps you'll tell me.

And yet, much as I still ache to hold my sweet Robert, to kiss his warm lips and hear his loving voice, I'm never truly without him. He's here in my house with his art adorning my walls. He sends me bird chirps and flowers and the occasional salamander. He rustles the trees and smiles at me on the dance floor. He tells me how proud he is when I finish a new book -- a book he'll never get to read.

Driving my new car home, I was nervous. I've been in two extremely serious automobile accidents. They were both the fault of other drivers, but still, I don't trust my driving skills, and driving a car I'm not used to makes me anxious. I was trying to relax, when suddenly I felt that Robert was sitting in the seat beside me. 

I don't mean I was hallucinating. No, I knew the seat was empty. Nevertheless, he was there, and he reassured me in a gentle voice. 

"Are you here to make sure I'm safe?" I asked him.

"Yes," he said.  

For the rest of the drive home, I played songs that he had loved, or that we had danced to together, or that reminded me of him for some other reason. 

Thank you, Robert, for loving me so deeply and teaching me to love fully. I take that with me on my path.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sybian Sex!

I have a new lover, pet, and housemate. Its name is Sybian.

How do I describe Sybian? Can I call a 22-pound, vibrating, mountable, power tool a "vibrator"? That's like calling the Sydney Opera House (which I plan to visit in September!)  a music device.

The Sybian is a big, curved apparatus designed to be mounted. You attach the attachment of choice, apply lubricant to the attachment and to yourself, straddle the Sybian, sit on it, turn the dial to control the sensations, and enjoy.

You can rock or you can just sit upright and let the Sybian do all the work. It's not a bucking bronco -- you won't be tossed off.

Oh yes, it vibrates. Whoa, does it vibrate! It has a powerful motor, and, and depending on how high you turn the dial, the vibrations go from subtle to strong to 50 shades of holy moly!


cabinetMany of the photos and videos show a woman mounting the Sybian with her knees on the floor, but at our age, few of us would be comfortable that way. No problem -- put it on a stable, elevated platform so that your feet can be on the floor. I recommend the optional storage cabinet that doubles as 3-level risers. That way, you can straddle it comfortably while sitting upright with your feet on the floor.

The cabinet is also useful because the Sybian is big and heavy -- 22 pounds -- so it's not easy to carry or tuck away when not in use. The cabinet is built for it, hides it nicely, and has a separate storage area for attachments as well as a lock in case your visiting grandkids get nosy!

If straddling is uncomfortable for your hips, or if you can't relax that way, you can lie down on your bed with the Sybian between your legs on its power-cord end. Then tilt it forward so that the attachment contacts your genitals without putting weight on you. It's fine to use it this way -- it won't harm the Sybian or you.


Attachment Special
The attachments give you a variety of choices: two for clitoral stimulation without penetration, a variety of options for clitoral pleasure with vaginal penetration, and one with a double dildo for vaginal and anal penetration. The Basic Sybian Package comes with two attachments; you buy additional ones separately or as a kit.


The insertable attachments don't thrust. They vibrate and, using a separate control dial, they can rotate. It's a different feeling if you're used to thrusting.

You may find, as I did, that it took a half-dozen Sybian encounters to discover just the right combination of position, attachments, and intensities that work for you.

You may find, for example, that you get best results by starting with a non-penetrative attachment and switching to penetration when you're fully aroused. You may find that spending 10 minutes on a low to medium speed vibration will get you ready for a higher speed, or that you like penetration with just a little rotation or a lot, or maybe that changes as you get closer to orgasm. Explore, and don't get frustrated if it takes some experimentation before you experience earth-shaking orgasms.  Important: Read the instructions first -- don't go straight to a discovery mission.


Pros:
  • If you need strong stimulation, you can't find a sexual pleasure tool that's stronger than this.
  • You can have all the sex you want: clitoral stimulation with or without penetration, with or without a partner.
  • Attachments let you individualize it to your preference.
  • Use it solo, or have a partner participate and enjoy your pleasure by watching or holding you or controlling the dial. 
  • If you like penetration, the insertable part can be slender (the finger attachment, pictured on the purple Sybian), jumbo, or some girthiness in between, depending on which attachment you choose.
  • You can try it for 45 days, and if you don't fall in love with it, you can return it for a full refund minus a $175 reconditioning fee. That's an amazing deal.

Cons:

  • It's a learning curve -- not just how to use it (follow the instructions, please -- don't just turn it on!), but how to adapt it for your individual needs and optimal pleasure. (This doesn't have to be a "con" if you let go of expectations of instant orgasms and enjoy the journey.)
  • Heavy, making it hard to move.   
  • It's really loud. I was afraid that my close neighbors would think an airplane was taking off in my bedroom. If you don't have privacy, this will be a problem.
  • It costs $1,345.


I know I'll get some criticism for recommending a $1,345 purchase. It's not a sex toy -- it's a whole different category.

Here's an idea if you have a few friends who are interested and the cost is stopping you: get together and get the 45-day trial, purchasing extra attachments for each of you. Since  only the attachment comes in contact with your genitals, maybe you'd feel comfortable sharing the Sybian -- a few days at your house, then put in in the car and take it to friend #1's house, then to friend #2, and so on.  I know some people who bought one in common and schedule who gets it on a weekly rotating basis.

Bunny Lampert shows Joan the Sybian


The Sybian was invented by Dave Lampert in 1985, and it's still a family business. The inventor's daughter, Bunny Lampert, told me, "He was always curious about women and their orgasms -- what was happening, and why it was so difficult. What could he create that would be designed for women's sexual pleasure and nothing else?" Clearly, he figured it out!

Learn more about the Sybian here. If you have one, or have tried one, or have questions, I hope you'll add your comments below.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Years by Nicholas Delbanco


It isn't often that I find a novel to recommend to you that portrays characters our age in a way that's relevant, realistic, and insightful about aging and relationships. As a reader, I want to connect with characters and plot lines that I can relate to at this time of my life (age 71 as I write this) via beautifully crafted fiction.

The Years by Nicholas Delbanco is a splendid example of the kind of book I love to read. It's literary fiction, not a quick or mindless read. It's achingly honest about aging.

How did it happen, Lawrence wondered, that the person in the mirror was sprouting liver spots and wrinkles and hair in his nostrils and ears?

You'll invest some brain power in following the non-chronological sequencing. We meet Lawrence and Hermia when they re-meet in 2004 on a cruise ship after more than 40 years apart. He's 64; she's 63. The book flits back and forth from 2004 to their past. We learn how they met and fell in love in college, how they broke up and drifted apart, different relationships that shaped each of them as they journeyed through their lives, and the scars and regrets they carry with them.

They leaned toward each other, pressed against each other, and she wondered what her breasts would feel like if he kissed them as he used to, and what would happen next. She saw them in the mirror, two bent gray heads adjacent in the ornate gilt-framed glass, saw them touching lips and cheeks as though performing for the camera in some sort of time-lapse photograph, a present overlay upon the past.

Yes, we can anticipate that this chance meeting will lead to a renewed love connection, but the book is still not predictable. In the latter half of the book, we move forward through the time after they reconnect. There are surprises, which I won't reveal, and even the predictable parts are nuanced, never trite.

It's rare to find a novel that speaks realistically about love and aging and includes sex. The sex scenes are tender, slow to unfold, and not graphic. For example:

They had been passionate together the way the young are passionate, and nothing in her life before had readied her for how they fit together or how she, holding him, felt ... That passion was not spent. It was spent in the physical sense, of course; she could no longer manage, and he could not manage, the revels of the young ... But it was like The Tempest; it was everything restored, made whole, old treacheries forgiven and old arguments resolved. What had been lost was found. They were gentle together now, slow. It was strange to be so much in love with someone she had loved before and known so well and parted from and then spent more than forty years not knowing....

I found the writing masterful. I put post-its throughout my copy to remind me of pages I wanted to return to, and this photo shows what my book looks like now.

The Amazon ratings are mixed, and I'd love to know the age breakdown for those who loved and those who were bored by this novel. I suspect that the negative reviews were by younger readers or those who don't have patience for literary fiction that is slow to unfold. At our age, we know that life is slow to unfold, and we don't need to rush a book any more than we have to rush sex these days! I can't imagine readers in their sixties and beyond being unmoved by this novel.

If what I've written here intrigues you, I hope you'll read The Years and post your own comments.


Nicholas Delbanco, born 1942

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Eroscillator: buzzing solo or with a partner

5/5/15: I just returned from a whirlwind 11-day trip to St. Louis and New York City, where I gave 7 presentations and one national TV interview (more about that when I can show you the video). Over and over, I found myself recommending the Eroscillator, especially when people asked about a vibrator that could be used for clitoral stimulation during partner sex without getting in the way of two bodies trying to be as close as possible.

The Eroscillator has several attachments, but I find myself using only the "finger tip" (or, as I call it, the "marshmallow") attachment pictured here, because it's wonderfully squishy while still being intensely strong. Here are the other attachments:


I wrote about the Eroscillator in 2007 here, but the place I really raved about it in all its glory was in my first senior sex book, Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex after Sixty, published in 2006. Here's what I wrote about it then


Toys Are Us: My Personal Vibrator History

I bought my first vibrator in my thirties at Macy’s: a “personal care” product for, uh, “massage.” The instructions said nothing about using it for sex, but, wink-wink, I knew.

For decades, I collected vibrators, trying to find the model that would do it for me. I don’t remember if I started with the Wahl (which I named Wally), with its many intriguing attachments, or the Hitachi Magic Wand (named Big Buzzy), but after buying the first one, I quickly bought another.

Over the next few years, I filled three nightstand drawers with vibrators of all sorts, both plug-in and battery-operated. I had vibrators in the shape of a penis, egg, wand, rabbit, and probably more I’m forgetting. I must have tried every type of vibrator on the planet, not because I love variety but because it was difficult to find the one for me. I've always preferred the strength of plug-in rather than battery-operated sex toys, and now that I’m older, I need the most intensity possible. A “light touch” is pleasant, but if my goal is orgasm, it’s got to be strong.

A decade ago, I cleaned out my drawers, threw out the thirty-year-old attachments that had deteriorated into flakes of plastic, discarded the toys I didn't really like, and kept only my favorites. I hated to throw this large collection in the trash, but I figured neither Goodwill nor my local consignment store would accept used sex toys, and they weren't old enough to donate to Good Vibrations antique vibrator museum.

I decided I didn't need all these extra toys anymore because I've discovered my favorite: the Eroscillator, an oscillating plug-in designed for clitoral stimulation. It feels great—intense and focused, with its smooth, rotating motion—and it is easy to hold, easy to aim, and easy to adjust intensity during the act. A twelve-foot-long cord makes it work in hotel rooms, where the outlet might be half a wall away. Best of all, the long, slim handle and small vibrating part make it simple and comfortable to use with a partner. It’s expensive—$120 to almost $200*, depending on attachments—but worth every penny.

Because the Eroscillator is endorsed by Dr. Ruth Westheimer and her picture is on the box, I named mine “Dr. Ruth.”


Electrifying Sex: Using Sex Toys with a Partner

At some point after Robert and I became sexual, I asked if he’d be open to using a vibrator with me. His response was a definitive, absolute, “No! I don’t want a machine in the middle of our lovemaking!” He had had no experience with what he called “appliances,” and they didn't fit with his feelings about lovemaking as natural and spiritual. When I showed him my vibrator, it seemed like a noisy, mechanical thing.

Robert would make me come with his fingers before or after intercourse—I couldn't come during intercourse at all. My sensations just weren't strong enough anymore to bring me over the top unless I had really strong, direct, and focused clitoral stimulation. He kept asking if there was anything he could do during intercourse so that I could come that way, and my answer was always, “Only if we use a vibrator at the same time.”

Finally, he agreed to try it. The ease of giving me an orgasm and the intensity of my pleasure won him over. We've used it ever since, and it’s part of our love play. Now Robert will say in the middle of sex, “Let’s get my buddy, Dr. Ruth!”

- from Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex after Sixty (2006)

* 2006 prices. Now $140 to $250.

Note: I kept this excerpt in present tense although some crucial things have changed:
1.  I lost Robert to cancer in 2008, but I still love remembering precious moments like these, and I couldn't bear to shift the ending of this excerpt to past tense. 
2. I now have several favorite vibrators. The Eroscillator is still in the top four for solo sex and top two for partner sex!


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Sunday, May 03, 2015

#FreeSexAdvice in New York City with Francisco Ramirez


I had the delightful experience of sharing Francisco Ramirez's #FreeSexAdvice in Union Square, NYC. If you're not familiar with Francisco's events, he sets up two chairs in a park along with a sign offering free advice about sex, relationships, and dating. Then he sits down and waits for people to join him and ask their questions.

Yesterday -- Saturday, May 2, 2015 -- he brought a third chair. A chair for me. We had decided to take advantage of my visit to New York to offer park visitors a sex educator duo. We set up and Francisco tweeted that we were ready.

I thought I knew what to expect, but I was surprised and thrilled that people would actually sit down in the chair and, with very little prompting, start confiding their sexual concerns, stories, and questions. They shared confidences that their partners (if they had partners) didn't even know. We heard these types of stories, among others:

  • I love my partner but we don't live close enough to see each other regularly. I'm cheating when we're apart, feel guilty about it and keep promising "this is the last time," but I can't seem to stop.

  • I was brought up in a church that condemns same-sex relationships. I know I'm a lesbian and I want a wife. But I love my religion!

  • Will masturbating to x-rated man-woman pornography make me a pedophile? I've heard that porn does that.

  • I live with a younger man. It was okay at first, but now it's just blow jobs and giving him money. I don't leave him because I'm afraid of being lonely.

  • I don't have much trouble finding people for hook-ups, but I'd like a real relationship. Should I be pickier?
Often people talked to us for 15 minutes, getting deeper into their stories, as Francisco and I asked questions to clarify the issues and offered advice. Sometimes the people arrived at revelations and conclusions that they hadn't expected, and after they left, Francisco and I turned to each other and said, "We really helped someone just now." It was deeply satisfying to how good information and a new perspective could change people!

Many thanks to Francisco for including me in this great adventure. We've already agreed that we'll do it again next time I'm in New York.