The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50

Whether coupled or single, you can maintain or regain a spicy and satisfying sex life.
By Nancy Weber

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Give The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50a new book by sex guru Joan Price—as a Valentine to everyone you love. And then buy another dozen copies and give them to the people who annoy you, like the crab cake from 17G who pulls other people’s wash out of the communal dryer and throws it in a crumpled heap on the folding table. Once she reads Chapter Four, Sex with Yourself and Toys, goodbye crab cake, hello sunshine!

But why this particular book? Does it bring news? And is the news really, truly all that good? You could be forgiven for thinking Price had already published the ultimate guide, what with titles such as Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk After Sixty; Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex; and Ageless Erotica (an anthology of fiction and memoir, in which this reviewer has a story). And as Price indicates in her thorough endnotes, the marketplace runneth over with other authors’ upbeat, reliable books about sex after midlife.

What distinguishes The Ultimate Guide is its vast embrace and urgent warmth: its humanity. Whoever you are, Joan Price loves you—sometimes almost to the point of hysteria—and wants you to be happy, as long as you don’t hurt yourself or anyone else.

Have orgasms—you need them the way a plant needs light and water! Practice safer sex with new lovers, even if you’re 100! Turn on the lights, splurge on lingerie, because you—I mean you, with surgical scars and hair in the wrong places—are gorgeous! Don’t let your prince feel like a toad: there’s sublime sex without intercourse, delicious orgasms without erections. Slutty is cool, but if you want to borrow someone else’s lover, be a lady and get the okay first.

For my taste, Price errs on the side of quoting too many experts (insecure, perhaps, about not being Dr. Price?), but I wish she had included a line from Tennessee Williams’ Night of the Iguana that could be her own mantra. “Nothing human disgusts me…unless it is unkind or violent.”

She’s magnificent in her advocacy on behalf of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender elders. I was moved to tears by her support of sexual expression for Alzheimer’s patients and residents of assisted living and nursing homes. This is major stuff, worthy of its own book.

But what about the straight white seventy-six year old woman who fondly remembers her erotic past and now, please, just wants to tie a velvet ribbon around the memories and put them forever away? Is there room in Price’s broad embrace for her?

Oh, sure, she gets a hug. But then Price shakes her by the shoulders. “We’re sexual beings from the day we’re born until the day we die,” writes Price, quoting former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders. Even reading ink on paper, you can hear the pepper in her voice as she twits reporters who keep asking her when sexuality ends. “I’ll let you know if I ever find out,” she writes.

Don’t hold your breath.

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The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50 How to Maintain—or Regain—a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life, by Joan Price. Cleiss Press, 396 pages, $22.95 (trade paperback).

“Sex changes with aging, but for every problem, there is a solution,” says Joan Price, a highly regarded author on sex for the over-fifty population. Her definitive guide to sex and aging has it all: medical challenges, loss of libido, loss of intimacy, dating, elusive orgasms, erectile dysfunction, vaginal pain, self-pleasuring, sex toys, kink, and more. The Ultimate Guide to Sex After Fifty delivers solid, practical information in a friendly, accessible style to help women who are coupled or on their own enjoy sexuality for the rest of their lives.

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Nancy Weber’s novella Ad Parnassum, a mosaic-like homage to Paul Klee, has been published by Underground Voices.  Her story Little Dan will appear in Between the Shores, edited by Alex Freeman and T.C. Mill for the New Smut Project (March 2015).

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