#009

Joan Price on Ageless Sex and Dating

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Joan Price

“It's ageism in this country, and it is ageism of a particular kind. It's what I call the “ick factor,” and that is that people younger than we are, they'll think of seniors having sex and they'll go, "Eew, eew, how disgusting, how ludicrous." They'll make jokes about older people who are interested in sex, "Oh, look at that old coot and why does he just lock himself up?" "Oh, look at her. Who'd want her?”

It is a really terrible thing because we don't age out of sex and we have to unlearn those lessons that we're taught by our society that if we are desirous of sex, that we are icky and creepy and need to be just rolled up in the rug and put out. That's part of my work is helping people unlearn that. Of course, I would say to young people, "At what age do you plan to retire your genitals?"

-Joan Price

Joan Price is an author, educator and self-described advocate of ageless sexuality who loves helping people have and maintain healthy sex lives throughout their lives, but especially as they grow older.

This episode will give you an insider’s view into sex as we age, with your partner, by yourself, sex when you’re single, dating websites, sex after the death of a spouse, hormones, scheduling sex, and a whole lot more.

Joan Price on Ageless Sex and Dating

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Quotes:

“If one partner is insisting on things that just no longer serve you, then it might be really important to see a counselor, see a sex-positive and age-positive counselor, they're not all that way, or a certified sex therapist, if the partner is willing to go and to get some help, to get some help on the communication, get some help and seeing how important it is going forward, because there's great intimacy that comes with sex and great sex that comes with intimacy. If you are cutting off that lifeline to the intimacy in your relationship, then it can be seriously destructive.”

-Joan Price

“There are people who feel guilt, survivor's guilt, because how can I move on? I promised faithfulness until death, but realize, and I don't mean this to seem harsh, please. I have great compassion. I've been there. I am there. You promised, you promised faithfulness until death. You didn't promise that you would be only with that person or with the memory of that person for the rest of both your lives, even if death did take one of you. I want to say to you, Matt, when you said you don't want to imagine what it would be like to lose your wife. I don't want you to imagine that, but I do want you to do this. I do want you to sit down with your wife and say, "When one of us loses the other, hopefully, not for a very long time, but can we have the conversation now? Can we give each other our blessing to go forth when it feels like you're ready and to share joy and love with someone else?"

This is the greatest gift you can give each other, because one of the things I encounter over and over and over from people who contact me and I hear from grievers a lot, and I sometimes do personal consultations with grievers who are feeling, "I don't know how to move past this feeling that I would betray my wife, my husband, my partner, if I was sexual with someone else." If you can give that gift of saying, "I give you my blessing. I want you to find joy again. I want you to find love again."

-Joan Price

#009

Joan Price on Ageless Sex and Dating

Selected Link from the Episode:

Show Notes:

0:00 Intro

1:31 Joan as an Advocate for Ageless Sexuality

4:04 Ageism and Sex

5:47 Sex at 55, 65, 75

9:12 Being Open-minded

10:26 Society's Idea of Desire

11:22 Physical Changes as We Age

14:17 When One Partner Shuts Down

16:10 When Sex Therapy May Help

18:35 Single Older Adults and Sex

23:54 Sex After Grief

28:21 Survivor's Guilt and Sex

33:09 The Importance of Scheduling Sex

39:11 Getting Out of a Rut

42:20 Finding a Good Sex Therapist

51:31 Show Close

Full Show Transcript:

00:00 / 52:31

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Matt Feret (00:10):

Hello, everyone. This is Matt Feret, and welcome to another episode of The Matt Feret Show, where I interview insiders and experts to help light a path to a successful retirement. One of the reasons I created The Matt Feret Show was to highlight older adult issues and themes you couldn't readily find anywhere else. This episode is a perfect example of that, and to be honest, it's a really good one, not just for older adults, but for middle-aged, and even young adults, too. Joan Price is a self-described advocate of ageless sexuality, who loves helping people have and maintain healthy sex lives throughout their lives, but especially as we grow older. We cover sex as you age with your partner, by yourself, sex when you're single, dating and websites, sex after the death of a spouse, hormones, scheduling sex and a whole lot more. There's none of what I would consider course language, just very direct language about sex and human anatomy. If you've got kids listening, I'd save this one for when they're not around. Enjoy.

Matt Feret (1:22):

Joan, welcome to the show.

Joan Price (01:26):

Thank you, Matt. I'm happy to be here.

Matt Feret (01:29):

So tell everybody what you do.

Joan Price (01:31):

Happy to do that. I call myself an advocate for ageless sexuality. What I mean by that is I talk out loud about senior sex. What I mean by that is I'm a writer, a public speaker, and I have, as you see behind me, a number of books and a film about older age sexuality. I write many articles. I have a couple of columns. I answer questions, and this is my world, helping people enrich or regain their sex lives, whatever their age.

Matt Feret (02:04):

Talk to me about how you came to where you are today with a bunch of books and a website and a lot of ideas. How did this all start?

Joan Price (02:13):

I started this work when I was a mere youth of 61. I'm now 78, and I started writing about older age sexuality because I was in a relationship that was astounding. I met Robert when I was 57 and he was 64, and long about age 61, I said, "Why is it such a secret that sex at our age can be so hot, so spicy, so satisfying> is it the same as younger age sex?" It is not. It has its challenges, but my goodness, we are not dried up and blowing away in the wind. We are seriously enjoying our sex lives and I don't understand why there are no books about that. Robert said, "Well, you are the writer. Write your own." Well, I did what I thought would be one book turned out to be four books and counting. I didn't know that this would become an entire new career. Interestingly, this is the only career I know of where the older I get, the more credibility I have. Now at 78, I speak globally. I write globally also, and I just love being able to help people.

Matt Feret (03:39):

Why does it seem to me that most of the conversations in, let's say, I don't know, "the media" why is it rarely talked about? When I hear about it, I hear about male performance enhancement and menopause, and that's it. Why is that? Is it so taboo, or is it ageism in this country? What is it?

Joan Price (04:04):

You just hit it. It's ageism in this country, and it is ageism of a particular kind. It's what I call the ick factor, and that is that people younger than we are, than I am, I'm certainly quite a bit older than you, but younger than I am, they'll think of seniors having sex and they'll go, "Eew, eew, how disgusting, how ludicrous." They'll make jokes about older people who are interested in sex, "Oh, look at that old coot and why does he just lock himself?" "Oh, look at her. Who'd want her? It is a really terrible thing because we don't age out of sex and we have to unlearn those lessons that we're taught by our society that if we are desirous of sex, that we are icky and creepy and need to be just rolled up in the rug and put out. That's part of my work is helping people unlearn that. Of course, I would say to young people, "At what age do you plan to retire your genitals?"

Matt Feret (05:20):

That's that's awesome. Not to make it about me, but I didn't even think about that, and I think the answer's never.

Joan Price (05:30):

There you go then. If someone 20 years older or twice your age is still interested in sex, why don't you go, "Oh, cool. Show me how. Teach me how you do that?"

Matt Feret (05:47):

It seems again, you're talking about society and the media. It seems as if once you turn 50 or 55, that becomes a subject that is just, "Sex is just for young people," but clearly, as you just mentioned, hopefully it's not. So how do you help people get over the hump of that whole self-doubt or self-deprecation or the mental space of, "Well, I'm 55, I'm 65. I'm 75, I'm no longer desirable, or I don't think I am?" Where should someone start with that journey?

Joan Price (06:23):

There are a few things that are important. One is to educate yourself about how aging does affect sex and what you can do about the challenges. If erections are not reliable, what can you do about that? Well, the answer is not necessarily going for the pill. The answer is expanding your idea of what good sex is so that you can be having very satisfying sex, whether or not there is an erection in play. There are lots of other ways to have great satisfying sex. If a vagina is no longer accepting of penetration, that doesn't mean sex is over. It means let's expand the kinds of sex that will bring you pleasure. How do you feel pleasure and arousal and sensation? How do you reach orgasm, and that's for any gender. It's unlearning that goal-oriented idea about sex, that it has to look a certain way and happen a certain way, and it may not now. It may be different. That doesn't mean it's less. That doesn't mean we're having oh, deficient sex. It means we're just having different kinds of sex.

Matt Feret (07:38):

Yeah, the physical component of sex, both for male and female. Talk about maybe a decade- by-decade and if that doesn't work, talk about just some of the changes and how people can think about them. Again, not to harp on it, but if society and media says, "You're too old, we don't talk about sex anymore," what about those physical changes and how can people help, or how can people think about those?

Joan Price (08:09):

I've written a few books about that.

Matt Feret (08:12):

Yeah.

Joan Price (08:14):

Not to be, yes, I am self-promotional, but the ultimate guide to sex after 50, for example, has a lot of medical issues in a very friendly lay reader accessible way how medications might interfere with your sexual function or your sexual pleasure, what you can do about that, how you can talk to your doctor, how you can talk to your partner about new ways that sex might be more pleasurable, that maybe the ways that, let's say, you're in a long-term relationship and your partner has always been very eager to please you and has gone along thinking that the partner knows how to please you, and maybe that's, excuse me, not the best way to please you these days. Maybe you want to explore different kinds of touch.

Joan Price (09:12):

Maybe you need to bring a vibrator into your sex play for arousal and for orgasm, and that's true for any gender. It isn't just women who often need vibrators in order to reach orgasm. Men can also benefit from the wonderful sex toys that are made for penises, so to be open-minded; to be open-minded about what we might need, how we can communicate about it, practice communication. Practice asking, "Do you like what I'm doing right now? Is there something you'd like better? Is there something else you'd like to try today?" To invite your partner, to communicate and not to take it personally if you get something that you didn't expect, not to say, "Well, so you don't like what I've been doing for the last 45 years? Well, thanks so much for letting me know before this." Instead, just receive the communication and say, "Thank you. Thank you for helping me know how to please you better. Let's try that."

Matt Feret (10:25):

Very interesting [crosstalk 00:10:26] Yeah.

Joan Price (10:26):

So that's a part of it, and the other is that we need to not accept society's idea of what makes us desirable or not. The idea that wrinkly body, I have so many wrinkles now that my wrinkles have wrinkles, my cleavage have wrinkles, who would've guessed cleavages would have wrinkles? So I have two ways to respond. I can be totally embarrassed and cover up and not let anyone near me, or I can say, "Well, look at that. Isn't that funny that with all these wrinkles I'm still capable of great pleasure, of giving it and of receiving it?" So which way serves me to say, "Oh no, don't come near me. You wouldn't like what you see," or to say, "Ooh, look at that. Isn't that interesting. Old people sex, always a new surprise."

Matt Feret (11:22):

If I'm in a relationship, and let's just say it's that long-term relationship you talked about and I've been doing the same thing the same ways for 45 years. We've been dialed in, but the physical changes have been happening or are happening, and how do you start approaching those subjects? That's a very different change of when you're, I don't know, 25 to 45 to 75, how do you become comfortable if you're not talking to your partner or bringing those things up when you haven't necessarily had to, or have done over the last 20, 30, 40 years of your relationship?

Joan Price (11:56):

Well, that's a super question. Before I answer that one, I'm going to say to people who are younger who are listening to this, start now. Start before you need it. Start when things are going well, as far as you know and say, "How else can I please you? What else would you like to try?" Practice listening without judging. Practice, giving that information to a partner without embarrassment and without blame. You're not saying "You don't know how to please me anymore," you're saying, "My body would like to try this too."

Joan Price (12:39):

Then if you get to the point where certain ways that you've always reached orgasm are not working for you anymore, you can say, "My body's changing. I've been reading about it. Look at this book, for example. Let's read this chapter together. This is what's going on for me. Can we try some new things? Can we try, for example, scheduling sex? Can we talk about what responsive desire is, because I think that's, what's going on for me? Can we plan a time to talk about other things we might try? Can we look at a couple of sex toys we might want to bring into our relationship," or, "When I use this vibrator, I'd like to introduce it into our sex play together. Hello, meet buzzy."

Matt Feret (13:47):

What if one side of the partner isn't as open as that, or can't get there, and one is willing and one is unwilling or uncomfortable, or one feels okay about their physical appearance and is at peace with it, and the other is not? What kind of dynamic does that set up? Is it the similar advice to openly communicate, or is it a different approach?

Joan Price (14:17):

If you've tried what I'm suggesting and it doesn't work, if one person has closed down and is either saying, "I don't want sex anymore. I'm not finding it pleasurable, let's not do this anymore," and believe it or not, I hear that from many, many people where one person in the partnership is saying, "I'm done with that," and the other one's saying, "Hello, I'm not. What about me?" Or, if the person says, "Well, I don't like what you're suggesting. No, no, that's not natural to have a vibrator. When we're making love, it should be natural. No, not scheduled sex. It should be spontaneous."

Joan Price (14:56):

If one partner is insisting on things that just no longer serve you, then it might be really important to see a counselor, see a sex-positive and age-positive counselor, they're not all that way, or a certified sex therapist, if the partner is willing to go and to get some help, to get some help on the communication, get some help and seeing how important it is going forward, because there's great intimacy that comes with sex and great sex that comes with intimacy. If you are cutting off that lifeline to the intimacy in your relationship, then it can be seriously destructive.

Matt Feret (15:48):

Seems like it's a very vulnerable time, as well. You really have to open up and be more communicative, especially if physically things aren't the same as they were, but also there's a relationship issue there as well, is that one part of the partnership may be in a different mental space as the other. There's a lot of vulnerability there.

Joan Price (16:10):

Well, that's right. That's why good therapy can be extremely useful, that you don't have to be able to do this on your own. Definitely try the self-help methods, read the books, open the discussion, try some of the exercises that I have in my books that help communication open, and share the information that you're learning. But if that doesn't work, it doesn't mean, "Oh, well, I guess I have to either give up on sex or leave the relationship." Give therapy a try. It is true that not all relationships are going to last for the rest of your life. There is also that possibility that the relationship has outlived its usefulness to the two of you.

Matt Feret (17:02):

In that way, does sex as you get older has become more of a focus on the health of your relationship or less because the love matures?

Joan Price (17:19):

Both, and isn't that sex has less effect, but it's that spontaneous sex may not be happening; spontaneous sex, meaning, "Ooh, I am so in the mood, come here, take your clothes off. Let's do it right now. I can't wait another minute," that kind of sex was hormone propelled. Those hormones are not what is driving sex anymore the older you get. Instead, what's driving sex is pleasure, intimacy, love. Oh, there's so many benefits. You feel better after an orgasm. You feel better during sexual interaction with yourself or a partner. Let's hear it for solo sex too. That's super important too. Not everybody is in a relationship right now. That doesn't mean they can't have great sex, and I've gone off your question now-

Matt Feret (18:21):

No, no-

Joan Price (18:21):

I don't remember where we started with that question.

Matt Feret (18:24):

No, but actually that's a perfect segue way, because my next line of questioning was, okay we've talked about couples in relationships, but let's talk about if you are single-

Joan Price (18:33):

Yeah.

Matt Feret (18:33):

... single and seeking or single and not seeking.

Joan Price (18:35):

That's right. Single and seeking or single and done with seeking, you still can have wonderful solo sex. You need to plan for it because again, don't wait till the hormones say it's time, because the hormones are somewhere else driving some younger person than you. However, you can set aside time for self-pleasuring, for nurturing yourself as a sexual being, for making sure the sex toys you want to use are charged and ready for having good lubricant ready, for turning off the phone, closing the doors, not answering the door, just making it you time, time for you to nurture yourself, to give yourself that pleasure that your body wants and your mind wants, because there are emotional components to it too. You will feel better. It enhances a sense of well-being.

Matt Feret (19:40):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joan Price (19:41):

It diminishes depression. It enhances pleasure. It lets you sleep better. I'm not saying necessarily to have your solo time at night, because sometimes that doesn't even work. It's better during the day when you have high energy, but it will last through the day. You'll have a spring in your step and a glow in your face and a light in your eye as you go about your day.

Matt Feret (20:15):

What if you're seeking? What if you're single and seeking? You talked a lot about communication and different ages and different levels of health, again, physically and mentally, how does that change? When does sex come into the picture and how do you communicate or not about that?

Joan Price (20:36):

I love those questions, and it is exactly for those questions that I created a 90-minute webinar called How the Heck Do I Date At This Age? When I travel and give workshops, it's one of my most popular workshops because there's so much to go over. Yes, there are new rules of dating and no one knows what they are; however, that doesn't stop us from doing our best. In this workshop, if you go to joanprice.com and then the speaking tab, you'll see there's a dropdown menu which includes webinars, and this is my 90-minute workshop in a webinar version that you can access anywhere you have the internet. It is fee-based, but well worth the small fee. In that I cover the different ways you can meet people at our age, and I do promote online dating because that's where the single people are. That's where they're looking for you.

Joan Price (21:42):

You can sit in your favorite coffee shop all day long, you may not meet the person in your very own town who is looking to meet you, but was at another coffee shop across town and is not going to find you that way, but with online dating, you can find each other. I'm not talking about the swipe left swipe right, automatic, "If you look good enough, I want to meet you, and if it's convenient, otherwise, forget it," I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the dating sites, where you create a profile, where you are able to learn a lot about the person before you decide whether to reach out. I talk about in this webinar, how to create your profile so it'll work and the mistakes people make, especially at our age, also at all ages, but especially at our age when they are creating a profile without understanding how that's going to come across to someone.

Joan Price (22:46):

I also have a system, a step-by-step system for figuring out what you're looking for exactly, and then weaving that into your profile so that the people you're looking for will say, "Oh my gosh, she's looking for me. Let me answer. I'm the one. That's what she said there," and "oh my gosh, doesn't she look interesting? She doesn't make any of those mistakes of saying all the blah, blah, blah, blah. I am honest and I want someone with sense of humor, and I like long walks on the beach." Oh, put me to sleep now. Put me out of my misery. Come on. You got to stand out in that crowd of people who are saying, "Yeah, yeah. I'm honest. I'm caring. I like someone ... " Get the point?

Matt Feret (23:38):

Yeah.

Joan Price (23:39):

I'm going on and on, but-

Matt Feret (23:41):

No, that's great.

Joan Price (23:42):

... I do go on for 90 minutes with what you need to do, and I create step-by-step process. So that by the end of it, you're going, "Okay. I understand how to do this now."

Matt Feret (23:54):

That is wonderful. Obviously, for anybody listening and watching, we'll have the links up on the show notes for all of that. So single, moving into single and seeking, but there's a book over your right hand shoulder called Sex After Grief. What if you're suddenly single and weren't planning on seeking, or didn't think to being seeking? What are the differences there as it relates to not only relationships, but the sexuality piece around there? I'd be surprised if there weren't a lot to unpack there.

Joan Price (24:26):

There's a lot to unpack there. Sex After Grief was my labor of love, my most recent book that came out in 2019. I lost my great love, Robert. The whole reason that I started writing about senior sex and kept writing about it, I lost him to cancer after we'd been together only seven years. It wasn't until years later, more than a decade later, that I felt ready to write this book, Sex After Grief. What do you do when the person that you love, the person who's the only one you want to have sex with is dead? That's what this book does. It's a horrible journey. Nobody asked for it. Nobody signed up for it, but unfortunately this happens. We lose each other. The older we get, the more frequently we lose each other. So how do you know when you are ready to start dating again? How do you know when it's time to try to reach out to someone? What do you do with your body's messages?

Joan Price (25:47):

I want to come back to life now, dear, even when you're not done mourning, and maybe you'll never be done morning because you don't get over grief, you get through it. I'm sure you've had other people on your show who have talked about that, that grief is not linear; it's a spiral you get. It feels a little better, then you sink down again. You feel a little better, you sink down again, and this happens. But each time as my beloved uncle, who was the psychologist, Larry Lachan, who lost his wife of 58 years and going through his grief.

Joan Price (26:26):

After some years, he said to me, "I'll never get over losing Ada, but the knife goes a little less deep each year. There's not a point where there's no knife, but it's less deep." As I saw it, you could emerge from brief grief for longer periods of time before then needing to go back under there and experience that again. So how do you do dating? How do you do sex? How do you do grief when your body is saying, or your emotions are saying, "I want to be touched again?" Maybe you're saying, "I'm not ready for a new committed relationship, but I do want to share touch with someone. How do I do that?"

Matt Feret (27:21):

Right.

Joan Price (27:22):

That's what this book is about is just how you look at when you're ready, the myths that other people tell you that are destructive to you and how you answer those myths, and people judge you. If you're dating too soon, people judge you, if you're waiting too long and everywhere in between. So what do you do with that? How do you answer people? Each chapter is small, is very focused. At the end, there are take away questions for you, take away plan, something you can do, activities you can do to incorporate what you just learned. So that's a long answer to your question, but-

Matt Feret (28:05):

That's a great answer to the question.

Joan Price (28:08):

Thank you.

Matt Feret (28:11):

Again, I'm fortunate to have my wife here. We're coming up on 20 ourselves.

Joan Price (28:20):

Oh.

Matt Feret (28:21):

I can imagine it, but I don't want to, losing her. I would imagine one of the chapters in your book, or one of the conversations in your book that you're having could be around the whole sense of wanting to, but being conflicted and that conflict in terms of honoring the person that you spent that much time with. I think it's easy to boil down to how do I know when it's time, but how do you address that question of not when it's time, but how can I explore these feelings and understand this in terms of, I don't want to dishonor or I want to honor the memory for a certain amount of time? How does that work?

Joan Price (29:08):

Yeah, that is a big question. There are people who feel guilt, survivor's guilt, because how can I move on? I promised faithfulness until death, but realize, and I don't mean this to seem harsh, please. I have great compassion. I've been there. I am there. You promised, you promised faithfulness until death. You didn't promise that you would be only with that person or with the memory of that person for the rest of both your lives, even if death did take one of you. I want to say to you, Matt, when you said you don't want to imagine what it would be like to lose your wife. I don't want you to imagine that, but I do want you to do this. I do want you to sit down with your wife and say, "When one of us loses the other, hopefully, not for a very long time, but can we have the conversation now? Can we give each other our blessing to go forth when it feels like you're ready and to share joy and love with someone else?"

Joan Price (30:35):

This is the greatest gift you can give each other, because one of the things I encounter over and over and over from people who contact me and I hear from grievers a lot, and I sometimes do personal consultations with grievers who are feeling, "I don't know how to move past this feeling that I would betray my wife, my husband, my partner, if I was sexual with someone else." If you can give that gift of saying, "I give you my blessing. I want you to find joy again. I want you to find love again." Maybe you don't even feel that way right now, but think about where that feeling comes from if you're resisting it. I'm not just talking to you, Matt, but I'm talking to anyone who's listening and watching this, if you feel, "No, no, we are not going to talk about that. I don't want my partner to have anyone else." Wait a minute, wait a minute. What are you doing to that partner then?

Joan Price (31:40):

Are you saying, "I want my partner to close down life. It might as well be as if my partner had died with me if I die first." Surely that's not what you want. What do you want? To have this conversation, when I talk to people who have had that conversation, they say it is such a blessing, "I have in my mind what she said to me." For example, one person said, "I was my wife's caregiver when she was ill." She kept saying to me, "When I die, don't be a hermit. Go out and find joy again." My Robert said to me, when he knew he was dying, "You have so much life and so much love still in you, don't close down." Other people have said they got this message. They treasure that. Whether it's in a letter, which is a wonderful way to do it, a wonderful way, because then you have it. You don't have to go, "Well, I don't know. Would my partner really want me to be doing this?" Here it is right here. Read it out loud again. It's such a wonderful gift, so I hope I've convinced you to do that.

Matt Feret (33:01):

You absolutely have. I will do that this evening. Thank you.

Joan Price (33:06):

Oh, I love that. Please get back to me about that, would you?

Matt Feret (33:09):

I absolutely will. You brought this up twice and it, again, flows back into all of these topics, but you mentioned scheduling sex, both as couples or as solo practitioners, as it were. Talk about that a little bit more. Why is that important? Is that because sexual desire, you mentioned hormones, you're not 18 anymore. Why should you schedule it? Does it feel forced, and if that's a bad thing, how do you get over that? Is being forced a bad thing by the way, when you're scheduling? But talk about the healthiness and the practice of scheduling sex.

Joan Price (33:50):

I love this topic, because it can be the real key to bringing satisfying sex back into your relationship if you've been letting it go, and that is because with the depletion of hormones, if we're waiting for sex to happen spontaneously, we may wait months. Many people write me, "Oh, we've only had sex four times in two years.

Matt Feret (34:15):

Nope.

Joan Price (34:16):

I know.

Matt Feret (34:16):

Yeah. That's not good.

Joan Price (34:19):

That's not good, and now we don't know what to do, but we're stuck in this rut of never having sex. It is much easier to avoid that rut, or you can break through that rut by scheduling sex, and here's why. One thing is that the spontaneous sex is not happening. The other part of it, though, is the understanding of responsive desire. If spontaneous desire doesn't happen, that doesn't mean desire and arousal can't happen. It means it happens in a different way. Emily Nagoski wrote a book Come As You Are, which explains this super well. She's a amazing educator. But the way I explain it in a simple way is if when you get started the pleasure kicks in, the arousal kicks in and then you feel desire and you want to continue to orgasm, that means that you are experiencing responsive desire, desire that happens in response to pleasure and physiological arousal. I hope that's making sense.

Matt Feret (35:31):

Yep.

Joan Price (35:31):

That is very different from the spontaneous where you're waiting for the desire to happen first, "If I'm in the mood, I will let you know." Two years later, "Wait, what happened to our sex life?"

Matt Feret (35:45):

Yeah, exactly.

Joan Price (35:46):

Now, if you schedule sex once or twice a week, several things happen. One is that you actually will have sex. The other is, if you think back to even your teen years, when you were first sexually active or your 20s, whenever that started happening and you were first sexually active, you had a date with someone you really loved, or were attracted to, or you just got turned on by, what happened in the days leading up to that state? You thought about it. You fantasized about it. You planned for it. You groomed for it. You chose your underwear with care. All of these things were going. You were engaged in what I call "mental foreplay." For days in advance, you can create that for yourself.

Joan Price (36:44):

You may not be a hormonally-driven teenager, but if you have planned a sex date say for Saturday afternoon, you will make sure that your favorite vibrator is charged in time. You will set out the basket of lubricant and a cleanup towel and maybe a sexy light ready to go on. You will make sure the sheets are cleaned and you'll decide what to wear, so some fancy lingerie you want to bring into the mix. In other words, you'll do that mental foreplay. You can also tease each other if this is partner sex you're planning for.

Joan Price (37:26):

You can say, "What will you be in the mood for tomorrow afternoon? Is there anything you want me to get ready? Is there anything you want me to wear that you especially like?" What music do you want?" Or whatever it is that gets you in the mood, you can plan for that, communicate about it. Then when it's time, you can have some surprises for your partner. You can have a blindfold on the pillow. One of the things I like to do myself, and I recommend for this is, I have a special bell in the bedroom. When I am ready for my partner to come in at the time we have planned, I'll ring the bell. My partner, meanwhile, is out in another room listening for the bell. It's time, but he can't come in until the bell rings. This is sexy, this kind of teasing, is again, you're sitting there going, "Has she forgotten to ring the bell? Does she not know what time it is? Oh, come on. Ring the bell. The bell, Yay."

Matt Feret (38:41):

There's a whole song about the bell, about ring my bell.

Joan Price (38:44):

I hadn't thought of that.

Matt Feret (38:46):

Yeah.

Joan Price (38:49):

Then our personal bells are ready to be rung.

Matt Feret (38:52):

Yeah.

Joan Price (38:54):

So these are just a few ideas. You'll come up with your own, and if you are listening this and going, "Huh? Well, yeah. That sounds like fun." That's what I want is not be a chore to schedule sex, make it fun.

Matt Feret (39:11):

What if you're in a rut? What if you have had been married 30 years, 40 years, 50 years, and you love each other, but gosh, you're in a rut. How do you break out of a rut? You said the setup and the anticipation. What are some other things to maybe downshift or jolt a relationship back, anything?

Joan Price (39:37):

Well, yes, you plan for the talk. Long before you schedule sex, you'd say something like, "We are in a rut sexually," meaning, "When did we have sex last? I really miss it, and could we talk about how we can bring that back into our lives?" In other words, you're not getting naked and then saying, "Hey, you know what? This isn't working." Instead, you're planning for it. You're maybe sitting down over lunch and saying, "Could we plan a time to talk about this?" and by planning it a little bit in the future, not, "Could we sometime, someday, but could we set a time this week that we'll sit down and talk about this?" By doing it that way, the partner isn't blindsided, the partner also can think of, "Oh, okay. What do I want to say? What do I want to bring up?"

Joan Price (40:34):

Then you're planning for a time that you will have privacy, and you will have an extended time without being interrupted, and you're going to then say, for example, "This is not about blame. This is just about, 'I want to explain how I feel about it. I would love to hear how you feel about it.'" When we'll decide who starts and the other person isn't going to interrupt, we'll just fully hear and then ask questions to clarify. The other person will go and ask questions to clarify. Then can we talk about what we can do to go from where we are to where want to be? Then if we can't do it on our own, if we get stuck in a rut even talking about it, can we agree that we're going to find a therapist who can get us out of our rut so that we can talk about this and have the satisfying sex life we want to have?

Matt Feret (41:46):

What kind of therapist, you mentioned earlier on in the show I think it was a designation or a certification-

Joan Price (41:50):

Yeah.

Matt Feret (41:50):

How do I go about finding that, because that's one of the things I really enjoy doing, which is here's an issue or a topic and talk to an expert like you, but how do I identify one on my own?

Joan Price (42:03):

Yeah.

Matt Feret (42:04):

How do I find one in my community? How do I know the fakers, the jokers from the smokers? How do I know who's full of it and who actually is an expert that I should listen to? How do I ask the questions? How do I discern who's an expert and who's good at this, and who's right for me?

Joan Price (42:20):

For once, I have an easy answer for you. There is an association AASECT A-A-S-E-C-T, stands for the American Association of Sexuality, Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. assect.com is their website. You can look at Find a Therapist from there. They have people who are ASSECT certified. There are different kinds of certifications you can look for. I would suggest a sex therapist, a certified sex therapist, because for them, this is their day job. They know how to do this. They've heard it all. You're not going to be shocking anyone, or you say explaining this problem. They have the tools and strategies for you and right now you don't have to meet them in person. If you are meeting with someone who is certified in your state, you can arrange to meet online.

Matt Feret (43:23):

How does that happen in stages then? Is it open communication? You find yourself in a rut, the partners, or the two folks don't see eye-to-eye and then introduce the therapist all at once? These are sensitive topics. You know this.

Joan Price (43:40):

I know. I know.

Matt Feret (43:41):

Because they bleed through all of normal daily life, and if it's not handled well or one partner's feeling not the same as the other in a bunch of different ways, it can really hurt, what's the order of operations for that?

Joan Price (43:57):

It really depends on what the problem is and how long it's been going on and what you've already tried, so it's hard to give a blanket answer to that for the order. Certainly, just try having the discussion first, but that's probably not going to be enough. That would be magic if, "Okay, we're having a half-hour discussion now everything's all better. You may even find after that half hour discussion, that leads into an hour discussion, a two-hour discussion where you feel, "Okay. I understand some things I didn't understand before, but I still don't know how to fix these things." To throw out an example, let's say, "Oh, my wife just told me that the reason she's avoiding intercourse is that it's been hurting. I didn't even realize that she just white-knuckled through it, and that's why she's avoiding sex at all. I don't know what to do about that." Now, there are lots of ways that can go. First of all, let's get a medical professional in here to find out why the pain, because there are many different kinds of vaginal pain, different causes for that.

Joan Price (45:13):

If you can get those answers, then that will be the first step. But maybe even if you get those answers, maybe vaginal penetration isn't the best way that she receives pleasure, anyway, so that's not going to be the final answer. You see how one thing then leads to another thing, leads to another thing. Now I have another webinar called Great Sex Without Penetration. This would be a wonderful way to start getting back into sex if penetrative sex has not been happening and it didn't occur to you necessarily that you can have arousal and orgasms and great pleasure in other ways, maybe go, "Oh, yeah. Well, if we don't do that, what do we do, and what does that mean? What's in it for my penis now?" So-

Matt Feret (46:02):

That's a great question.

Joan Price (46:05):

Yeah, exactly. Again, a 90-minute answer to that because many people don't understand that even when penises don't have erections, that they're capable of orgasms. Who knew that, right? People discover that on their own often, but who teaches you that? Generally nobody teaches you that, and there are many people who have, because of either a medical treatment or medications, or surgery, one reason or another are either not having reliable erections or not having erections at all, and sex is not over for them. They're still capable of great sensation and pleasure, and yes, orgasms; orgasms if they don't have a prostate, even. So there's a lot of information that I wouldn't say it's been withheld exactly, but often our medical professionals doesn't occur to them that if we are over 60, 70, 80, that we still want this information, it doesn't occur. They think, "Oh, well, obviously, I don't need to tell them about the sexual side effects of this procedure we're going to do." Yeah, you need to tell us, even I'm-

Matt Feret (47:33):

It comes back to that-

Joan Price (47:34):

... thinking of one-

Matt Feret (47:35):

Yeah, it comes back to that age bias or that ageism.

Joan Price (47:37):

It is the age, exactly, exactly. I also talk in all of my webinars, and really all of my workshops, how do you talk to your doctor or teach people a medical mantra, which they say to their doctor, which I'll tell you real fast, but the people can maybe replay this and learn it. "Doctor, my sexuality is important to me. Here's what's interfering with it. Let's run the tests and find out what's going on. If you can't help me, please refer me to someone who can," and it's time to respond to that in a way that will serve you.

Matt Feret (48:26):

This is good work you're doing, and you've clearly done for a long time. Thank you so much for being on this show. I hope we can do it again. As I said, I could talk for hours on this. I'm sure everyone who's listened to this point and watched to this point would agree with me, so thank you so much, Joan, how do people find you on the internet? Obviously, I'll have links on the web for all of your websites and all of your great work and your books. How do people interact with you? How do they find you? What do you want people to know about you?

Joan Price (48:58):

joanprice.com is the place to find everything. You'll find my books, the film, webinars, how to contact me about speaking or about a consultation. You can sign up for my newsletter. You can find my social media. If you do sign up for my newsletter, it's not a frequent thing. It's about once a month, and it's just news and views about older age sexuality. By the way, I don't mind the Appalachian senior. I think we can own that, and I use it because when people are looking for the information I have to give, what do they Google? Senior sex.

Matt Feret (49:37):

I get it.

Joan Price (49:39):

So joanprice.com is the place to find everything. I look forward to hearing from the people who have watched this interview or listened to this interview and being on your show again.

Matt Feret (49:53):

Joan, thank you so much.

Joan Price (49:55):

My pleasure.

Matt Feret (49:56):

My thanks to Joan, such a meaningful and practical conversation. Check out Joan's books on her website, joanprice.com. She's on Twitter and has a Facebook group called Naked At Our Age. You can also check out the show notes and links and websites discussed during the show at themattferetshow.com. Of course, please subscribe to the podcast on your podcast or platform of choice. I'd also really appreciate it. If you'd subscribe to The Matt Feret Show YouTube channel, which you can get to through themattferetshow.com, or by searching for The Matt Feret Show on YouTube. Until next time, to your wealth, wisdom and wellness, I'm Matt Feret and thanks for tuning in. The Matt Feret Show related content publications and MF Media, LLC is in no way associated, endorsed, or authorized by any governmental agency, including the Social Security Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Matt Feret (50:59):

The Matt Feret Show is in no way associated with, authorized, approved, endorsed, nor in any way affiliated with any company, trademark names, or other marks mentioned or referenced in or on The Matt Feret Show. Any such mention is for purpose of reference only. Any advice, generalized statistics, or opinions expressed are strictly those of the host and guests of The Matt Feret Show. Although, every effort has been made to ensure the contents of The Matt Feret Show and related content are correct and complete, laws and regulations change quickly and often.

Matt Feret (51:31):

The ideas and opinions expressed on The Matt Feret Show aren't meant to replace the sage advice of healthcare, insurance, financial planning, accounting, or legal professionals. You are responsible for your financial decisions. It is your sole responsibility to independently evaluate the accuracy, correctness, or completeness of the content, services and products of, and associated with The Matt Feret Show, MF Media, LLC, and any related content or publications. The thoughts and opinions expressed on The Matt Feret Show are those of the host and The Matt Feret Show guests only, and are not the thoughts and opinions of any current or former employer of the host or guests of The Matt Feret Show, nor is the Matt Feret Show made by, on behalf of, or endorsed, or approved by any current or former employer of the host or guests of The Matt Feret Show.

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