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Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty

Book Aimed at Older Women Who Are 'Sexually Seasoned'

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Joan Price's book is the "Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex" for the senior set.

Image Courtesy of PriceGrabber
We live in an age when a certain little blue pill is so popular that it doesn't even have to be identified by name, yet the topic of sex after sixty rarely gets straightforward, non-sniggering attention. Joan Price gives it a respectful yet enthusiastic treatment in this book, blending her own narrative with first-person accounts from "sexually seasoned women."

How This Book Came to Be

Promoting her latest fitness book, Joan Price told an TV interviewer that she was having the best sex of her life. Price was 59 at the time and involved with a man of 66. Talking on air about her own sexual life made her wonder who else was talking about senior sex, and she went in search of books on the topic. Finding the field scarcely explored, she set out to write a book that would combine her own narrative with the experiences of other older women. She was surprised to find that women were eager to share their experiences, although Price uses pseudonyms to protect their privacy. Not a survey in any formal sense, the answers that Price received nonetheless give her readers an idea of the sensual landscape of the senior years.

What This Book Is About

In Better Than I Ever Expected, Price and her cadre explore a variety of topics. Here's a sampling:

  • Accepting aging bodies and faces
  • Dealing with physical changes that occur post-menopause
  • Making a decision about hormone replacement therapy
  • Choosing and using sex toys
  • Spicing up a long-term relationship

The final chapter concerns that elephant-in-the-room, erectile dysfunction (ED). Price tactfully titles it "When You or Your Partner Can't," and she briefly addresses all sorts of issues that can interfere with sexual functioning for men and women. For a longer and much more thorough discussion of ED, see Price's subsequent book, Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex. In the just-so-you'll-know department, both books do contain passages about same-sex relationships, self-pleasuring, swinging sex and other topics that may not appeal to every reader.

Bits and Pieces

Few grandparents are willing to be as open as Price is about sex. I certainly fall into that category, but I will share some passages that I highlighted:

  • A quotation from Isabel Allende: "For women the best aphrodisiacs are words. The G-spot is in the ears. He who looks for it below there is wasting his time."
  • From Sheryl A. Kingsberg, Ph.D.: "Women can now expect to live an average of eight-two years, which means that women will now live one-third of their lives postmenopausally."
  • From Price: "Men who started to exercise in midlife had a 70 percent reduced risk for erectile dysfunction compared to sedentary men, according to a study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association."
As one might expect, Price, a fitness professional, speaks eloquently about the value of physical exercise for both men and women. She cites the need for finding an exercise that one loves, advice that I also include in my exercise tips for grandparents. Although she is a dance teacher, she also speaks about discovering the benefits of Pilates, which I include in my list of senior exercise regimens. Among the facts that I didn't know about women and exercise: Women's sexual responsiveness is higher after 20 minutes of vigorous exercise. I guess I had better start heading straight home from the gym.

Summing Up Sex After Sixty

What Better Than I Expected teaches us about senior sex is that in some ways it's much like junior sex: highly individualistic and usually a source of great joy but occasionally a trigger for conflict. Price was an English teacher for many years, and her books are well-written, although her gung-ho enthusiasm and bare-all approach can be a little disconcerting to grandparents raised in an era when sex wasn't talked about at all. Still, Price grew up in the same era. Although her father was an obstetrician, she was no better informed than the rest of us. "I was never taught why people want to have sex and how fulfilling it can be," she writes.

I think she has figured it out.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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