40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Sex in the second half of life,
This review is from: Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex (Paperback)
Back in 1975, I read Studs Terkel's Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day an organized set of interviews which focused on "real people," and how their jobs affected their lives. In a similar vein, Naked at Our Age, appropriately subtitled "Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex", also spotlights real people's experiences, feelings, thoughts, and concerns about sex in the latter half of life. For me, Terkel's book highlighted the tension between the way a job could be unsatisfying yet also provide vital self-definition. Price's book elaborates on the multiple physical, social, and emotional tensions arising from expressing one's sexuality as an elder.
Some of her respondents are older people who have worked through the wounds of earlier years and are ready to "get it on." The courage expressed by the women and men who have survived betrayals and violence, and not abandoned the human connection of sexual play is inspiring. Those sections are a welcome restorative to the culture-wide notion that older folks are dead below the waist. I respect Ms. Price for not limiting her sample to conventional couples -- a few of her respondents practice BDSM, are polyamorous, or live in non-traditional arrangements.
For me though, the sections about seniors who are dealing with the downsides of aging are particularly rich. Several chapters which describe declining libido (whether resulting from emotional stresses, illness, or the side effects of medication), or declining physical capability -- ED and EDis, vaginal dryness and tearing, consequences and complications of chemotherapy and surgeries -- also provide resources to help. The chapter on partners with Alzheimer's is worth the cost of the book. Books written from a more youthful perspective would not discuss sexuality in facing long-term illness, death and grieving. I particularly liked the wide variety of ways offered to bring up and negotiate complex, risky, and often embarrassing or painful topics with a partner. Noteworthy is a chapter devoted to safer sex and STDs; the statistics for sexually active seniors are sobering, and the insistence on being responsible about fluid barriers and blood tests is sensible.
Ms. Price is very open about her own history in addressing the joys and pains of a romantic and sexual relationship which began when she was fifty-seven, her grief at death of her lover, and her life afterward. If you're under fifty, this book will both reassure you and alert you about your future. If you're over fifty, read this book to learn you are not alone in coping with the challenges of aging, and to find resources, especially medical advice and support groups. The overall message is that love, particularly sexual love, does not disappear in the face of aging, sickness, and death.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 21, 2011 3:10:18 PM PDT
Joan Price says:
Zhang Yu Huan, thank you so much for writing this review! I was delighted by how detailed and positive it is. I agree that the reader stories are the essence of the book -- I am grateful to the people who were willing to share so candidly with me and with readers. And I'm grateful to you for caring enough to write this review.
Author of Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex and Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty
Posted on Aug 1, 2011 12:53:53 PM PDT
What a great comparison to Studs Terkel's Working! Never thought of that before. Great analogy.
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