REVIEWS
Still Doing It

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On seeing a beautiful woman, a ninetysomething Oliver Wendell Holmes is said to have commented, "Oh, to be 70 again!" The writers (60-plus to 80-plus) of Still Doing It all enjoy a rich sexual life. Some write about sex with a longtime partner and how they use fantasy, costume, videos, and sex toys to keep their relationships new. Some have multiple partners (including a few who "swing"), or describe their search for partners. Some choose self-pleasuring.

Be forewarned that these erotic stories are extremely graphic, with take-no-prisoners descriptions of body parts, arousal techniques, connections, positions, and releases. The writers' sexual orientations are an assortment of straight, gay, and bisexual. Some are into bondage and discipline and sadomasochism. What makes these stories different from usual erotic literature is that age is a major player. Whether the writer is having sex after heart surgery, self-conscious about a wrinkly stomach hanging down, making love without an erection, experiencing leg cramps in certain positions, or worrying about the dentures ("What do I do with them when my lover's staying overnight?"), age is an unabashed participant in the sex act. Yet despite the challenges, most report that sex after 60 is the best they've ever had.

The stories are full of emotion, love, mature understanding, and consideration for self and partner, as well as descriptions of sex acts. "Most important, we love each other and still love doing it," writes an 81-year-old man. "I am getting hornier as I age, not less so," says a 60-year-old woman who discovered "crashing orgasms" at 55. "A day without sex is a mistake," insists a 66-year-old woman. Many of these writers treat their aging with humor: "We had to do it twice when we couldn't get out of the tub."

Editor Joani Blank (who's over 60 herself) is a sex therapist/educator who has been a sex-positive crusader since the early 1970s. She started Down There Press, wrote nine books on sexuality, and opened San Francisco's Good Vibrations sex-toy store for women. Open-minded readers over 60 will find a sense of camaraderie and plenty of good, erotic pleasure from these stories. Younger readers will see their elders in a new way, and look forward to their later years differently! --Joan Price

From the Publisher
"You're singing my song," writes Helen Gurley Brown, the 78 year-old editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan. In a recent edition of Newsweek, she directed a spotlight on older women's sexual activity. "Women our age should indulge. Sex is healthy, revitalizing, energizing, nurturing if you are of a certain age and still enjoy sex you are exemplary a role model for other women. If there was ever any doubt in my mind that sex does not wane as we grow older, this book has certainly put the matter to rest. It was, in short, a joy to read, and there is inspiration in it. It served to strengthen my view that sexuality is and remains a powerful force in out lives and our bodies and minds are best served if we embrace it."

Amber M., About.com "If youre thinking about that getting older means giving up Eros, read this book."

Can't think about your parents or your grandparents having sex? What about when you reach that golden age? A recent survey conducted by Modern Maturity and the American Association of Retired People (AARP) found that elders are livelier than most of us have wanted to think. More than twenty-five percent of Americans over the age of 75 indulge in sexual activity at least weekly. The secret is coming out about sexual pleasure over age 60. Joani Blank, ear to the pillow of sexual America, presents anecdotal evidence supporting these dry if tantalizing statistics and affirming Brown's sexual statement. Three dozen women and men over the age of 60 share their stories of their partnered and solo sex; their gay, straight or bisexual experiences will make you think twice about what it means to age sexually. Tender, funny, frustrating, spiritual, each contributor offers a bold and reassuring new vision of pleasure and satisfaction as they describe leaving behind years of celibacy, dealing with medical issues, and overcoming our society's aversion to open sexual communication. Opening the doors to what the future can hold for all of us, several contributors honestly describe finding sexual satisfaction with a new lover while others recount how they've kept sex alive and fulfilling after many years with the same partner. Each provides a reassuring model for others facing similar situations. Still Doing It shares personal accounts that expand sexuality beyond youth, deepening our understanding of how we grow sexually. Disclosing the endless variety of sexual experience, Blank hopes that these stories will help oldsters who are still sexually active to realize that they are far from alone, and that others in their age group are engaging in as great a variety of sexual practices as are their younger counterparts.

Most of all, she hopes to reassure all of us thatthings do not inevitably get worse with age indeed sex may get a whole lot better! Still Doing It is an empowering account of sexual intimacy in our later years, giving us permission to seek lifelong sexual pleasure.

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Still Doing It Edited by Joani Blank (Down There Press, 2000. ISBN: 0-940208-27-X. 198 pages, softcover, $12.50)

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