Granny and Gramps Still Got Their Groove On

(10/7/13)  It may not be something people think about often, but get used to it:  The elderly in America today are a pretty frisky bunch.  Averaging several studies carried out during the past five years, about 75% of adults aged 60-85 are not only active sexually, but a large portion also categorize themselves as “frequently active” and/or including “alternative activities” in their sex lives.  This might seem to be a bit counter-intuitive on the surface, but then again, real life often is.  The bottom line:  It’s good news.

Setting aside the associated social and political issues for a moment, one of the main reasons why some may be surprised at the high numbers is the prevailing assumption of diminished physical abilities among the elderly, particularly towards the higher end of the age range studied.  While that may have been a perfectly reasonable conclusion to draw in the past, recent advances in medicine and general care (not to mention our friend, the little blue pill) have resulted in Americans maintaining their sexual health and vitality well beyond previously considered age norms.  Additionally, it’s been found that maintaining a more active sex life sustains vibrancy, offers ongoing physical exercise and counters many negative psychological impacts associated to aging.  The emotional benefits in particular are significant when it comes to both an overall sense of well being as well as a positive physical state.  While it’s true that frequency does tend to decrease as age increases, a consensus among these studies found that interest remains high throughout the range.

Another reason why there may be some astonishment is simply because, until recently, there have been very few in-depth studies done on elder sex.  Politically, it’s been more popular to fund projects that focus on sex among teens and young adults.  Socially, there’s a general reverence for seniors that stereotypically disrupts any notion that they might actually be sneaking off for a little happy-nekkid-pagan-dancin’.  In other words, any perception that seniors have long since stopped getting jiggy with it is simply because, generally speaking, no one asks them.  The irony is that the few studies done report that senior citizens are genuinely quite happy to participate and they’re exceptionally forthcoming in their responses; most noting that the response rates were higher among seniors than any other age range.  Take that, youngins’.

Frankly, although it’s a subject that doesn’t usually come up as a priority when looking at sex trends in America, a highly sexed elderly population shouldn’t be so surprising given the specific life experiences of today’s seasoned generation.  For example, a 75 year old today likely developed their sexuality during the 1960s–an era of “free love” and social rebellion.  Having come through that wild ride of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll, it really shouldn’t be that much of a stretch to believe that they’re just as into it all now as they were then.  Perhaps it’s absurd to go so far as to claim that 80 is the new 20, but it’s great to know that “young at heart” actually has some real meaning today.

Yes, it may be a little uncomfortable to think about Grandma and Grandpa “that way” but too bad.  Apparently they could care less about what anyone thinks.  And to that we say:  Good for them.  Twice.

Good Lovin’ Through Surrogate Partner Therapies

(9/23/13)  Masters and Johnson are back in the news with the upcoming premiere of Masters of Sex, a Showtime series dramatizing the lives of the sex therapy pioneers.  Accordingly, we thought it would be a good time to highlight one of their lesser known approaches for dealing with a wide array of sexual dysfunctions: The use of surrogate partner therapies.

If you saw the 2012 award winning film, The Sessions, then you have a basic idea of how surrogacy works.  Though the film is highly fictionalized for entertainment purposes and not representative of how such therapies play out in real life, it does give a reasonable example of how the approach can be powerful and transformative.  Specifically, a Surrogate Partner Therapist (SPT) expands upon traditional therapies by helping clients with exercises and experiences involving sensual and sexual touch, breathing techniques, relaxation skills and sensate focus.  Trained and certified by the International Professional Surrogates Association (IPSA) which has led this field since 1973, their work always involves the ongoing participation of a licensed mental health professional to work effectively in a therapeutic team with the client.  Ethical guidelines established by IPSA are followed at all times and clients must be seeing a therapist/counselor before starting sex surrogacy therapies.

Clients benefit by focusing on immediate, positive physical and emotional outcomes, leaving unproductive sexual thought processes behind.  Additionally, responding to the physical body helps overcome other difficulties clients may be experiencing in their lives.  Leaving the talk therapy to the therapist and dealing specifically with the body work, the triadic relationship enables clients to positively process their experience with maximum support.  Because this work is very intimate and intense, SPTs only works with licensed psychologists, psychotherapists and sex therapists.  Through thorough and specific support, the client receives maximum help and understanding.  The goal of the therapy is to understand and resolve whatever is inhibiting a person’s sexual success so the client doesn’t have to spend another day living with pain, fear or sexual discomfort.

Specifically, SPTs can help with:

  • Reducing anxiety
  • Connecting with your body’s sensations
  • Shedding inhibitions
  • Releasing misconceptions about sex
  • Learning how to ask for what you want
  • Developing healthy relationships
  • Feeling more comfortable with intimacy 
  • Addressing adult virginity
  • Vaginismus
  • Erectile insufficiency
  • Early ejaculation
  • Delayed ejaculation
  • Shyness
  • Body image issues
  • Gaining self-love and self-acceptance
  • Overcoming sexual problems
  • Unlocking your unexplored sexual potential
  • Developing social skills to help with dating  

Although the approach has been around for years, it’s not without some controversy, particularly when it comes to ethics, legalities and credentialing.  Presently, there are actually very few (less than 50) certified SPTs in the country, but ensuring that an SPT is appropriately prepared is an important distinction in terms of professionalism and raising the chances for a positive client outcome.  Though no state currently has any laws prohibiting surrogate partner therapy, situational reviews do occur on occasion and tend to focus primarily on the professional competencies involved.  For example, at least two cases in California involving a therapist referring to a surrogate partner were reviewed by the state’s Licensing Review Board and in each case the board determined that no unethical behavior was present.  According to an article in the San Jose Mercury News, Kamala Harris (then of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and later, California’s Attorney General) stated unequivocally, ”If it’s between consensual adults and referred by licensed therapists and doesn’t involve minors, then it’s not illegal.” Additionally, in August 2010, the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) affirmed that if the surrogate partner is properly trained and educated, then the therapy is not unethical.

Ultimately, when applied competently, the approach has proven exceptionally effective in improving the lives of many who would otherwise suffer through a life of dysfunction.  So, if you (or someone you know) are feeling uncomfortable with your sexual orientation or gender, dealing with insecurity or lack of experience with sexuality, afraid of not being able to perform sexually or struggling with long-standing physical or emotional issues with sex, then Surrogate Partner Therapy might be a viable strategy to consider.

(Note:  We’ve provided the IPSA link above if you need general information, but if you have specific/confidential questions, just email us directly we’ll be happy to address your concerns or try to point you in the right direction.)

Building a First Toy Box

(7/15/13)  If someone is convinced that their sex-life is so utterly magnificent that they genuinely have no use for adult toys in any form, we think that’s absolutely wonderful and wish them nothing but continued happiness.  However, does that really sound like it would be the case with most of the people you know?  Probably not.

While various forms of sex toys for both men and women have been around for hundreds of years, for some reason discussing them–or their uses–may still come with some negative connotations.  As a result, there’s a lot of misinformation which causes unnecessary confusion.  Rather than spending all day identifying (and then assassinating) these silly stigmas, let’s just blow past all of that and presume that toys are supposed to be fun–and fun is good.  (In other words, if we can hang up the hang-ups, this will go much more easily.)

While the reasons in favor of incorporating toys into your sexcapades are as varied as the reasons for enjoying sex itself, orgasm assistance/enhancement is clearly among the top motives.  As a common example, many women find that using a certain type of vibrator is the easiest and, in some cases, the only way they can routinely orgasm.  Even if it’s not the case for you personally, the chances of having a satisfying orgasm greatly increase by incorporating sex toys.  If nothing else, the general imbalance between men and women regarding how much stimulation is needed to reach orgasm through intercourse can be significantly equalized by including an appropriate vibrator.

So, where do you start when putting together your first mix of goodies?  With so many products on market, the choices can easily be overwhelming.  To help get you going, we’ve put together a concise range of products in the Fallen Angel Collection, so check it out to spark some ideas.  We recommend starting with the basics, generally considering where/when you might use a particular item and whether it will be more convenient for it to be a battery operated device versus a plug-in.  There are advantages and disadvantages either way, so just think about likely scenarios and plan accordingly.  Also give some thought to where you’ll be storing your playthings in order to ensure your most private moments remain that way.

A basic toy assortment doesn’t need to break the bank, but quality should be an important factor in your product choices, particularly in terms of materials, craftsmanship and ease of cleaning/maintenance.  And while function tends to trump form for most items, we’re talking about very personal items, so design and appearance may indeed be important considerations for you.  That said, if expense is a concern, then just start with about three simple items that meet your personal priorities and preferences.  Generally, a vibrator, some health-safe lubricant and a “multi-purpose” item are good places to start.  Addressing this in a round of  He Said–She Said:

Luc says,  “If I could only have three items in my toy box, it would be a Trojan vibrating ring, a jar of raw coconut oil and a silk scarf.  The Trojan ring is, in my opinion, the best vibe ever.  Coconut oil tastes great, works beautifully for massaging and performs well as a sex lube.  A silk scarf is a versatile fetish tool such as for blindfolding, tying hands, use as a slave collar and even for whipping naughty butts softly.  On the lighter side, if I had a really large toy box, I think I’d get a sybian vibrator, a dozen red long stem roses and a Ferrari 458–all guaranteed to get a woman off.”

Alexandra says,  “I think a Power Bullet is a must-have vibrator.  It’s compact, easy to use almost anywhere and has plenty of get up and go to get you off.  I’m also a big fan of glycerin-free lubricants because they work well for different uses, so that would be a good choice.  Finally, if I could only have three items, I’d pick something that could be intimately shared, like a restraint kit.  Nothing says I love you like, ‘Stay put–I want to tease you for a while’ if you know what I mean.”

Join the conversation!  We’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions about putting together a first toy assortment as well, so please comment below.  If you have questions or concerns that you may be uncomfortable with posting publicly, feel free to contact either of us by email using the links above or at