Hello! Can we talk about sex, please?

men and sex, male sexuality, dating for seniorsLast week I went to New York City to give a talk on dating for seniors. It was my first trip to the city without friends or a conference to attend so I spent way too much time stressing. How comfortable would I feel wandering around alone? What part of the city should I stay in? And so on.

As it turned out I shouldn’t have worried a bit. I’ve been to big cities alone, but New York seemed bigger and more formidable. It was a piece of cake. My boutique hotel was in a lovely part of Manhattan–a block away from the Peninsula and St. Regis hotels and situated near nice restaurants on safe streets. Yes, I went to the Peninsula–most expensive glass of bourbon I’ve ever had. 

But what was more memorable, in some ways, were the varied conversations I initiated with the men I ran into along the way. Wednesday night a nice looking guy leaned away from his dinner meeting, at the table next to mine, to catch my eye and talk a little. I had overheard him say something about sex and swinging, I think, so I started that conversation. Sadly, he was married.

Thursday night I gave my presentation at the Center for Ethical Culture, a block away from the Lincoln Center. After running overtime answering questions and listening to the crowd of older women (and 2 men), I wandered up the street to a recommended bar where I ran into the prototypical Sleazy Man in a Bar. In his mid-40s, he lacked discernment, sensitivity and the ability to keep his mouth shut. Or his hands to himself. The only positive I can find in this is that he was undeterred by my age! Fortunately, the nice couple to my left rescued me, offering me a ride in their taxi, as Mr. Gold Chain kept moving in, arm around my chair, leaning in and protesting that he’d be glad to give me a ride. I’m sure I could have managed the situation, but it was nice to have someone come to my rescue. Mr. G. C. was a good example of how not to pick up a woman…and for  women, a study in how to tell if a man will be a good lover or not. (Article to follow)

The mistake was mine, so I accept that the above man may have misinterpreted me. He asked me what I did? Why was I in NYC? Yada, yada, so  I told him. He heard the word SEX and took off from there!  I need to craft a plausible alternate story for the next such occurrence.

I like telling people what I do because of the conversations that typically follow. I’m not embarrassed about my work, to the contrary, I could become the Sex Ambassador to compliment my title of Sex Goddess. After leaving the bar, my rescuer escorted me to his cab, dropping me off about a block from my hotel. I wasn’t sure whether to go left or right and it was too late to be fumbling around with Google maps so I stopped 2 nice guys on the street (gasp) and asked directions. They offered to walk me down the street and we had a conversation that started with, Where are you from? And, what are you doing in the city?  We ended up in a bar at my suggestion where one of the guys bought us a round of drinks and we talked about sex. Delightful to hear their perspective. One of the guys, I’m guessing mid 30’s, was really proud of his ability to get an erection–8 times in one night and wanted to share that with me. My suggestion that ‘we’ broaden our idea of good sex to incorporate more than intercourse fell on deaf ears. Fascinating. It was a late night, but great fun. And informative.

Saturday I met one of my editors at a cute little coffee/pastry shop in Soho, Once Upon a Tart. If I were blogging again that would be the name I’d choose. After our visit, I meandered around Soho and popped into a hip restaurant for a late lunch where I met 2 male couples; all four dressed in navy blue shirts. I had to ask! They had come to NYC to see Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga and were full of energy and chit chat. The man closest to me began talking about sex from the point of view of his experience growing up in an open household, as compared to his partner’s very conservative upbringing. Again, a glimpse into the world of male sexuality.

What I loved about the whole big-city experience, aside from seeing the look on someone’s face when I explain my work in sexuality, was the ease with which people were able to talk about sex. Sure, in a couple of cases it was ego-driven. Overall, there was a sincerity about it that revealed a genuine desire to understand our sexuality. I think I make people comfortable by normalizing sex and taking it out of the prurient and making it accessible. And acceptable. Men open up to me; they ask questions and they talk about sex as it really is–a real life, normal thing.

As for Mr. Gold Chain? Well, because I brushed him off, I deprived both of us of that ‘teachable’ moment where I explained how to draw a woman’s attention, not repulse her. He was never going to score with me, but I hope he has some idea of what he missed out on.

photo credit: Mini Cooper New York City via photopin (license)

June is Men’s Health Month-2015

sexual health, men's sexual health, sexuality, Private Gym, MyLAB Box, safe sex, condoms, sexuality Here’s the message behind Men’s Health Month:

The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. The response has been overwhelming with thousands of awareness activities in the USA and around the globe. MensHealthMonth.org

There is no specific reference to male sexual health, but if we’re talking health we have to be all-inclusive. The resource page talks about known sexual health issues. Let’s expand that conversation and the list of resources to include topics relevant to a satisfying sex life. It’s all part of the larger picture of a healthy life. Men who have a vibrant sex life are going to feel better about themselves, have more creative energy, (’cause who doesn’t feel better after great sex?) and feel more positive about life in general. We want to focus on doing those things that bring value to our lives as well as being proactive about health issues.

As a writer and sex educator, I am working with a growing number of companies dedicated to sexuality and sexual health. I talked with the company owners and invited them to participate in my Men’s Health Month awareness campaign by offering you a discount on their products!

I’ve written about the Private Gym before. I like their approach and the product, backed by good science and presented as a health and wellness product. Our understanding about male physiology, specifically pelvic floor muscles, is vital to our understanding of sexual functions, erectile function and a broader awareness of sexual health as a component of health. If you’re interested in maintaining sexual function throughout your lifespan you need to be aware of the male kegel exercises.  If you want to purchase the Private Gym product you’ll get 25% off with this code: HISTURN25. It’s good through July 31.

I write for the blog at myLAB Box, a ground-breaking online service offering at-home STD testing kits for prominent infections such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HIV and more. These California entrepreneurs have developed a product that allows individuals to safely and privately test for sexually transmitted diseases from the comfort of their own home. Here’s a link to myLAB Box, with more details on the company.  It’s a great idea and one that encourages us to think about being safe and having fun! You can try one of their at- home testing kits for 20% off during June and July by using the code: LAPRIDE.

Hand in hand with safe sex is condom usage. I’m now writing for GLYDE America– a vegan condom company. Here’s how they describe it, “Revolutionizing sexual health and wellness, GLYDE is the first certified ethical, vegan & fair trade premium condom brand. Crafted with patented technology and a clean plant-based formula, our products deliver a more satisfying experience while eliminating concerns about harmful additives, animal products and testing.”

So, you’ll be hearing more from me about condoms, both at GLYDE and maybe here, as I try out some of their products. If you want to check out these good for you/good for the environment natural condoms, you will receive 20% off during June and July, the code is menshealth.

So, you’re asking what I, Walker, get from this? Nothing, other than the satisfaction of providing you with resources designed to promote sexual health through reliable companies dedicated to the same causes I believe in–sex-positive, no BS, tested products. No affiliates, no rewards…just a good feeling about being able to promote sexual health during Men’s Health Month. And, it’s not just for the guys, those of us who care about the men in our lives contribute to their health and wellbeing by using safe practices as well.

Happy shopping!

The American Sexual Health Association on Men’s Health Month

Aging, Menopause and Sexuality-It’s Not All Bad News

Aging and menopause make us targets for false advertising and fear tactics. Wouldn’t we be better off not listening and adopting a positive approach to these natural transitions? I’m sharing an article I wrote for Midlife Boulevard this week, about all the negative messages we hear about aging and menopause. When’s the last time you heard someone say something positive about this? I know that menopause can be difficult for some women, let’s not discount that, but….

aging and menopause, midlife sexuality

Stop the Negative Thoughts About Aging and Menopause

What would happen if we paid more attention to the positive news about aging, menopause and sexuality? First you’d have to search around to find those headlines. Most of what we read about sex after a certain age is primarily negative. It’s sort of a doom and gloom picture. The newest pharmaceutical ads on television depict sex after menopause as painful. The prominent headlines and blog posts talk about how awful sex is for older women. I hear from women all the time who think sex is no longer worth it—and I wonder what’s behind those statements. It’s hard to feel vibrant, sexual, or even relevant, as an older woman if all you hear are negative messages.

As a society, we thrive on the negative. Those stories get top billing. Feel-good stories rarely open the nightly news. There is little money to be made in telling sweet, warm and positive stories.

The aging of the boomer generation has spawned a marketing frenzy as everyone tries to capitalize on our fears about growing old. The drug companies and the cosmetics industry are the worst. The goal is to make us feel scared, inadequate, inconsequential and a little depressed. They create messages designed to fuel our insecurities. We buy into those negative messages and feel bad about ourselves.

It saddens and angers me when I see scare tactics used on aging women. Menopause gets the most attention.I see it every time I turn on cable television or look at a women’s magazine. I see it in my Facebook groups when women start sharing their horror stories to someone who is entering the perimenopausal phase.

Yes, menopause can create havoc for some women. Many of us handle this change of life easily.  My transition was mild. I wasn’t chatting with others going through menopause so I wasn’t hearing all the terrible things I should expect. No one was wagging a finger in my face telling me I’d become a desert ‘down there’ and would never want sex again. Maybe the absence of all that negative chatter allowed me to enter that phase naturally and without fear? I’ve handled crises far worse than hot flashes and night sweats. Haven’t most of us?

Much of how we approach life depends on our emotional makeup. Do we fear the worst or laugh in the face of danger? Do we approach things with dread and anticipation or are we open to experiencing life fully, taking it all in stride? Practicing positive thinking, gratitude journals or rituals, and living intentionally can be useful tools for coping with concerns about aging and menopause.

When we buy into certain stories and beliefs we tend to shape our lives to mesh with those beliefs. Even when it doesn’t fit our reality. And, it’s so simple to talk ourselves into a negative place. Let’s remember that we have choices about everything we approach in life.

So the next time someone finds out you’re menopausal and starts going on about dryness or painful sex, debilitating hot flashes, moods, etc. think about what these ‘truths’.

  • No one really knows what you’re experiencing; we can sympathize, but we can’t put ourselves in your shoes.
  • Every one of us is unique. Our menopausal journey will be similarly unique. There are a range of symptoms—you may or may not experience any of them.
  • Menopause is a stage of life—it’s not a disease.
  • There are workarounds for many of the things that plague women. Some are common sense and simple to implement; others may call for more problem-solving, even medical attention.
  • Every ending provides the opening for a new beginning.

 

Do yourself a favor—be open to possibilities. The possibility that aging has many benefits. Think about the positives of a life free of menstruation. Imagine an expanded definition of sex that would satisfy you on several levels. See yourself as a vibrant woman with much to offer the world. Let yourself ease into aging and adopt a sense of curiosity. Walk away when some 20-something model is advertising anti-aging cream. Remember, the ads you see in the media are designed to sell you something you don’t really need—they’re created by profit-makers. None of these people care about how you view yourself or whether you’re celebrating life—they just want your money.

This all sounds simple enough and yet, it’s not. If you want to change your approach to aging you will have to shut out those voices. You will need to get up each day remembering the good in your life, your purpose and the dreams you’re constantly creating. This isn’t the end of the road—we’ve got a ways to go yet.

 

Stop the Negative Thoughts About Aging and Menopause first appeared at Midlife Boulevard.

Men in the News-Edition 2

News on male sexuality, ED, His Turn, penis sizeHere are some of the latest news articles on male sexuality and other topics of interest for men and those who love them.

From Dr. Justin Lehmiller’s Sex and Psychology, Scientists Measure 15,521 Penises and This is What They Found:  A study published in the British Journal of Urology International found that the average penis length is 5.2 inches.  “Just consider this: less than 5% of participants had penises larger than 16 cm (6.3 inches), and less than 5% had penises smaller than 10 cm (3.9 inches).”

Viagra Use on The Rise in China

Right, who knew? Pfizer reports a 47% bump in sales of Viagra in China for 2014.

First Penis Transplant Fully Functional

Here’s the most current medical report on the first penis transplant, performed in Africa in December 2014. Pretty amazing story.

HPV Cancers in Men Take Off

“HPV is the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. and worldwide, infecting just about all men and women at some point in their lives. Although most people clear the virus naturally, persistent infections with some strains can lead to cancer—usually cervical or oropharyngeal (affecting the back of the throat, tonsils and back of the tongue). HPV-associated cancers make up 3.3 percent of all cancer cases among women and 2 percent of all such cases among men annually in the latest available figures, yet the incidence of virally instigated oropharyngeal and anal cancers is increasing.”

Ten Erection Disappointments That Are Not “ED”

This article by Dr. Marty Klein touches on things that can lead to erectile challenges. Great read for men of all ages.

Researchers Discover Potential Vascular Dementia Treatment

Could an ED drug help stave off, or treat patients with vascular dementia? British researchers are examining the effectiveness of Tadafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, in treating Alzheimer patients.

Pentagon Spent $504,814 on Viagra Last Year

This one blows my mind. The Department of Defense began offering Viagra, “to soldiers as a medical benefit in 1998, when the drug cost $10 a pill. Due to inflation, one pill now costs $25. At the time the military’s policy only allowed for six pills a month per patient.”