THE BLOG

Sex Toys at Our Age? Yes!

11/28/2012 08:18 am ET | Updated Jan 28, 2013

Some of us have been using sex toys since we discovered vibrating "personal massagers" some 30 years ago -- or since we created interesting things to do with vegetables in our youth. But others have never used a sex toy and figured they never would.

These days, though, as our sexual arousal becomes slower and often elusive, vibrators can mean the difference between orgasm or no orgasm. It's that simple. A vibrator revs up the sluggish blood flow to the genitals and creates extra intense sensation right where we need it. Whether you're partnered or solo, I encourage you to explore how a well-chosen, well-placed sex toy can make your sexual response sizzle. (And this is true for men as well as women!)

I'd like to clear up some misconceptions:

Q: Doesn't using a vibrator decrease sensitivity over time so I won't have orgasms as easily?

A: Actually, it's the opposite. As we age, we get less blood flow to the clitoris and vagina, and the vaginal walls get thinner. Most of us need more arousal time and more time to reach orgasm after we're aroused. Vibrators enhance sensitivity by increasing blood flow to the genitals quickly and powerfully, and by directly stimulating the clitoris. (The clitoris is our #2 pleasure hot spot -- #1 is our brain!)

Q: My lover is worried that if I use a vibrator, I'll prefer it to him.

A: Not a chance. A vibrator may give you quicker orgasms (that's what it's made for, after all), but it doesn't cuddle well or kiss or laugh, and pillow talk with a vibrator is really boring. It either buzzes or it doesn't. It's a dull companion -- except when you need a sexual assist.

Q: My lover says I should reach orgasm "naturally" and not have to use a sex toy.

A: I hate those "should's." Point out to him where his penis contacts you during intercourse vs. where your clitoris resides. And when he arouses you manually, which I hope he does, point out that he's less likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome from your long arousal time if he incorporates a vibrator in arousal play. That's right, it's not a choice between him or it -- make it a threesome: the two of you using the vibrator together.

Q: I had two friends who burned themselves with sex toys. Aren't they dangerous?

A: The cheaper ones are cheap for a reason. They generally have no quality standards in materials or construction -- they're called "novelty items," and I don't recommend them. If your eyes widen at the price of the vibrators I recommend on my Naked At Our Age blog, consider that I only recommend safe products of medical-grade materials, careful construction, and the best design and function for our older (still sexually passionate!) bodies. You're paying for research & development and high-quality material that won't degrade, leach chemicals, break, overheat, or burn. That's also why I recommend shopping in woman-friendly sex shops (brick-and-mortar or online) with an emphasis on health and education, like the ones I link to.

I hope you'll explore sex toys and other erotic helpers. Our hormonally challenged bodies may need extra help to reach orgasm these days, and our wrists may tire before we reach our goal. Women: try a clitoral vibrator, with or without a dildo, depending whether you like the feeling of a full vagina. (Read the many vibrator reviews on this blog to help you choose.) Men: try a sleeve, cock ring, or prostate stimulator. Lucky for us that sex toys for both genders are easy to find, fun to try, and wow, do they work!

On my Naked At Our Age blog, I review sex toys from a senior perspective. What does that mean? Are the vibrations intense enough? Is it easy to hold with arthritic hands? Does it go on long enough, without overheating or losing its charge? Can you figure out the controls without reading glasses? There's a lot to consider, but never fear, that's my job. (It's a tough job testing sex toys but, hey, someone's got to do it!)

To read my sex toy reviews (and those of a male reviewer for men's sex toys), go to this link. Keep scrolling -- there are dozens of reviews! Enjoy!

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Ageless sexuality advocate Joan Price is the author of Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex and Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty. Naked at Our Age won Outstanding Self-Help Book 2012 from the American Society of Journalists and Authors and Best Book 2012 from the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. Visit her zesty, award-winning blog about sex and aging at http://www.NakedAtOurAge.com, where Joan continues to talk out loud about Boomer/ senior sex, partnered or solo.