Women age 60-plus grew up not knowing much about our own capacity for sexual pleasure, let alone how to make it happen.

We were discouraged from experimenting. Our sex education, such as it was, never included the concept of pleasure, whether with a partner or on our own. 

As adults, many of us broke loose of our repressive upbringing and created our own sexual revolution, discovering the joy of orgasm and our potential for sexual delight. Now we’re aging and our hormones are no longer propelling us to crave and relish sex. Do we need to wind down and give up one of life’s most succulent pleasures? 

Indeed not. To put it bluntly, at our age, a well-chosen, well-placed sex toy can make the difference between arousal and orgasm -- or not. It’s sometimes that simple. 

Yet I hear from many women my age who say that sex toys are “unnatural” and if arousal doesn’t happen on its own, so be it. And I hear from men who fear that if their partners enjoy sex with a vibrator or dildo, then the man becomes dispensable. 

I argue that both views are self-defeating and just plain wrong. Even if you have never used a sex toy and never planned to, I invite you to keep an open mind and a sense of adventure.

Here’s why this matters

As we get older, most of us find that sexual arousal takes longer and orgasm is harder to achieve due to age, illness, medications, or the emotions that interfere with sexual experience and/or satisfaction. Both women and men of our age often need an extra assist. 

Sometimes a patient lover or extended time for self-love is all we need. But if arousal and orgasm are difficult, the right sex toy can send you into orbit in a way you thought had left your life forever. No kidding: Modern sex toys are that good. I speak from plenty of personal experience. 

Women sometimes write to me about their reluctance or guilt about using sex toys, as if needing extra stimulation is an admission of a personal failing. We don’t object to putting moisturizer on our faces or a brace on our knee—so why not use sex toys to keep orgasms coming? Orgasms are important for keeping the genitals healthy and the sexual response strong. Think of it as physical therapy. 

Some men worry that using a vibrator or dildo will spoil a woman, who will then prefer it to a man. A sex toy may give us quicker or more dependable 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 sex toy is really boring. It either buzzes or it doesn't. It's a dull companion -- except when we need a sexual assist. 

Sex toys don’t ruin relationships—they enhance them. 

Sex Toys for Single Seniors

Some men feel the need to write and inform me that nothing substitutes for the “real thing.” Granted, but many women do not have a “real thing” relationship, and many who do still require a bit of buzzing to reach orgasm. If you are single and your sex life is solo, sex toys can enhance this experience and make that elusive orgasm easier to achieve. Personally, as an unpartnered widow of four years, I would be in bad shape if I didn’t use them. I know women of our age don’t usually talk about this, but I think we should. 

In fact, I’ve made my solo use of sex toys quite public. I write about my sex toy use, reviewing toys from a senior perspective. Ironically, it took being a widow to feel comfortable about writing about my personal experiences. I knew that I had the responsibility for my sexual health, and sex toys were my tools for keeping my sexuality alive. 

I used toys from my past, and I started exploring new ones. I found, through my personal trial and error, that some worked really well for the special needs of an aging body and others didn’t. Were the vibrations strong enough? Could it go long enough without overheating or becoming uncomfortable for arthritic wrists to hold? Was it made out of safe material? Could I figure out the controls without wearing reading glasses? Was it comfortable for thinning tissues? 

Often before I bought a toy, I read reviews online. They were very helpful (not to mention great fun to read), but they never addressed the questions an elder user might ask. So I started reviewing toys from a senior perspective on my blog. No one else was doing this. I became the “senior sex-toy reviewer” of the blogosphere. Retailers and manufacturers now send me sex toys in return for an honest review. I don’t have to like what they send me; I just have to help my readers sort through the hundreds of available vibrators and accessories so that they can make informed choices. I hope you’ll read my sex toy reviews at Click the label sex toys “sex toys” in the right-hand column. 

Making sex toys part of a regular health practice (and I do see it that way) helps the blood circulate to the genitals and helps sexual thoughts circulate in our brains. And the right sex toy feels so darned good and leaves a smile on our happy, relaxed, glowing faces. 


© Tantus, Inc. 2012. Some portions of this were adapted from Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex by Joan Price, (Seal Press 2011).

Joan Price ( calls herself an “advocate for ageless sexuality.” Joan has been writing, speaking, and blogging about senior sex since 2005. Formerly a health & fitness writer (and before that, a high school English teacher!), she switched topics to senior sex with her spicy memoir, Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty (Seal Press, 2006), to celebrate the joys of older-age sexuality. After hundreds of readers wrote Joan with questions and concerns about their own senior sex life, she wrote Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex (Seal Press, 2011), to address the problems of sex and aging. She is editing a senior erotica anthology (Seal Press, 2013) and continues to talk out loud about senior sex with seminars and workshops.

Visit Joan's award-winning blog about sex & aging:


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