Senior Sex Educator Joan Price Discusses Needs of Older Couples
Joan Price is the premier advocate for ageless sexuality. She is the author of the new “Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50: How to Maintain — or Regain — a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life,” in addition to other books on sex after a certain age. She also speaks and holds workshops on the subject internationally, and has a relevant and zesty blog, NakedAtOurAge.com where she has been offering senior sex news, views and sex toy reviews for 11 years.
I had the opportunity to ask Joan some questions about herself and her work.
XBIZ: Did something occur in your life that motivated you to forge a career in educating people over 50 about sex and its possibilities?
Joan Price: Yes! I fell in love when I was 57, with a man who was 64. For both of us, our later-life relationship was the love we had always searched for. And the sex was exhilarating and very hot. I was surprised because I never knew that older-age sex could be that good. So I made it my mission to open up the topic and to change society’s view of senior sex.”
XBIZ: Had you written or spoken before you embarked on this career?
Price: I was already a professional writer. My topic was health and fitness. Before that, I had been a high school English teacher for 22 years, which is where I learned to make what I said matter to an audience.
XBIZ: What keeps your passion alive to continue to do this?
Price: What keeps my passion alive is hearing from people that what I taught them matters. When I get an email from a reader, saying, for example, “You may have just saved my marriage,” or “Your book has restored my sex life,” I feel that all the hard work is worth it.
Once I was in a clothing store in New York City and a security guard, a man of about 55, pulled me over. “Thank you for the work you do,” he said softly. He had recognized me from watching an online video of my speaking. Wow.
XBIZ: What effect do you think seniors have on the retail market, i .e . toys, erotica in film or in books, and porn?
Price: There is a huge market, and some retailers are finally starting to see this. Several sex toy manufacturers and retailers are very eager to have me review their products on my blog, NakedAtOurAge.com so that they (a) get access to my audience, and (b) get my opinion on how well these items work for our age group. Some are advertising with banner ads to reach my blog readers.
The sex toy needs of my demographic are specific and crucial, and if you give us what we need and let us know you’re doing that, we’ll buy from you. It’s that simple. When I say I review sex toys “from a senior perspective,” here’s what I mean: Our need for long, slow arousal necessitates a vibrator that doesn’t overheat or lose its charge if we need to use it for a long time. We want ergonomic sex toys that don’t strain arthritic wrists. We want to be able to see the controls without having to put on our reading glasses. Even better, if we can just feel which control is which, with lubed fingers. We want body-safe materials. If it’s a penetrative toy, we often need a slimmer model. Above all, we need intensity: strong vibrations. We’re battling our (lack of) hormones, people.
For those who are not yet on board with products that are senior-friendly, what are you waiting for? And while you’re at it, make your website senior-friendly, too. If all your photos are young people, and if the font is small or the colors make us squint, we don’t feel welcome there.
XBIZ: Are there some common issues among seniors that keep cropping up? Do you find seniors who are interested in BDSM, or is that not a subject that comes up?
Price: Yes, I often get asked the same questions. That’s okay, I’m happy to answer them. Some common questions relate to lack of desire, difficulty with arousal, erectile problems, communication with a partner about sexual issues, relationship conflicts that result in the lack of sex or bad sex, trying to date at our age, medical issues that affect sex, body image, lack of attraction to a longtime partner, sex after cancer treatment, vaginal pain. Although these topics come up over and over, every question is different and every person is different.
Regarding BDSM, some seniors are interested in it. Some always have been, some have come to it more recently to spice up their relationships or because they need more sensation.
XBIZ: Were you always so open about sex, or has this developed over a period of time?
Price: No, I was a product of my upbringing. I was born in 1943 and grew up when the only thing I learned about sex was that I wasn’t supposed to do it. I knew nothing about our capacity for sexual pleasure until I discovered it on my own. I teach people now that we have to unlearn our upbringing, because it doesn’t serve us. It never did, but now we have choices.
XBIZ: What is your greatest satisfaction/excitement with doing what you do?
Price: I love writing and speaking about sex and aging. I especially love it when I’m giving tips to an audience and I see people light up at one of my suggestions, think a moment, and then madly scribble a note to themselves. I imagine that they’re writing, “Try this tomorrow!” I aim to help people understand what is going on with their bodies, minds, and relationships as they age, and what they can do to enrich their sex lives. I love that we’re talking out loud about this topic … finally!
For more information, visit JoanPrice.com.
Lynn Brown Rosenberg is a sexuality speaker, and the author of “My Sexual Awakening at 70.” She can be contacted at LynnBrownRosenberg.com. Her memoir can be found on Amazon.com.