Lately, all I think about is sex.I confess it's consuming my brain. And for those of you with a "tut-tut" at the ready, let me hasten to explain that I set myself the task of reading all the newly published books on midlife sex for women that have landed on my desk over the past few weeks. There are six -- count 'em, SIX -- of this genre, leading me to wonder whether there's some sort of sex emergency I'm unaware of.While that's certainly possible, a phone call to a publishing expert revealed it's more likely just savvy marketing."If you target to women in their 50s and 60s, that's a big, prime, book-buying population," said Sara Nelson, editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly. "It's well-known in publishing that women buy more books than men. And these books are about sex. That's the perfect storm! They're about sex, they're geared toward women, and we know women buy books. You wonder, what took them so long to come up with this idea?"And so now that they have, someone must burrow into the bookbag and separate the tame from the titillating.I nominate me. Even if it does mean I have sex on my mind morning, noon and night.Six on Sex "Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk About Sex After 60" "Unaccompanied Women: Late-Life Adventures in Love, Sex and Real Estate" "Love in the Second Act, True Stories of Romance, Midlife and Beyond" "Why I'm Still Married: Women Write Their Hearts Out on Love, Loss, Sex and Who Does the Dishes" "Daring Wives: Insight into Women's Desires for Extramarital Affairs" "The Hormonally Vulnerable Woman"Randy ReviewsBetter Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After 60 (Seal Press, 2006)
By Joan Price I found this book both uplifting and horrifying -- uplifting because of author Joan Price's frank optimism and practicality, horrifying because of the challenges to successful coupling that most of us are apparently going to face. In addition to the normal aches and pains associated with aging, Joan covers loss of libido, catastrophic illness, impotence, painful intercourse and the post-menopausal issues of vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal walls (which can result in tearing). Yikes!While the glimpse into the future was daunting, I was again and again heartened by Joan's grace and courage as she delved into the particulars of traditionally awkward subjects, addressing each with the comforting light of acceptance and education. Her observations are interspersed with comments from women she interviewed on topics such as using sex toys, the challenge of finding a partner, spicing up a long-term relationship, solo sex and more. Of the six books, this is the most specific, the most upbeat and perhaps the most helpful. Unaccompanied Women: Late-Life Adventures in Love, Sex and Real Estate (Random House, 2006)By Jane JuskaThe yearning, single-and-70 Jane Juska gives heart-rending voice to every woman's fears: fear of aging alone, of a deteriorating body, of never being loved again, of not finding a degree of permanence. Though she sometimes focuses obsessively on sex, Jane balances her physical yearnings with sharp insights about woman's changing place in the world, and her own as well. The revealing tales of her tomboy youth are particularly engaging.
Jane's first book, A Round-Heeled Woman (Random House, 2004), chronicled the men who came into her life after she placed an ad in The New York Review saying: "Before I turn 67, I would like to have sex with a man I like. If you want to talk first, Trollope works for me."A flurry of publicity was inevitable, since that book (and this new one, which chronicles the ways her life changed after publication) was unashamedly forthright. Jane spares herself nothing in her excruciating honesty about her body's needs, flaws and limitations. It's a sobering look at life alone for a vital and still-seeking woman.Reading her first book, I never felt sorry for the author, but as I read "Unaccompanied Women," a tender sympathy for this intelligent, conflicted woman surfaced. She could be any of us. Love in the Second Act, True Stories of Romance, Midlife and Beyond (Thomson Gale, 2006)By Alison Leslie Gold Here are the tales of redemption and second chances; the stories ofhope for the heartbroken, joy for the cynics. After the break-up of a12-year relationship, the author bristled at a friend's suggestion of afix-up. "Where were you when F. Scott Fitzgerald said that there are no secondacts in American lives?" she barked. But then Alison Leslie Gold foundherself responding to love stories "both bitter and sweet," and theidea for her book was born.
Arranged in 25 interviews conducted by the author, the bookchronicles Andre Gregory's astonishment and delight at remarrying afterthe death of his wife of 33 years; Tom Kirdahy tearing up whendescribing his courtship of playwright Terrence McNally, who he marriedin 2003; Beatrix White's astonishment and hearty enjoyment of herincreased midlife libido; and Paula Thornber's two-month affair with asurgeon, the wake-up call that reinstated her sexuality after the deathof her husband.
With an approachable writing style, interesting stories and awillingness to share the details of sex and love, this author has awinner.
Why I'm Still Married: Women Write Their Hearts Out on Love, Loss, Sex and Who Does the Dishes (Hudson Street Press, 2006)
Edited by Karen Propp and Jean Trounstine
While sex is part of this book's title, it makes only rareappearances on its pages. Instead, the writing is all about marriage,and I refuse to make any jokes about why sex isn't alluded to moreoften by the essayists.
The focus instead is on the ties that bind, which come in allforms but seem to have in common an elusive power to make us feelconnected, and solid, with another person. "I stay married because thisis the one person who understands how to help make me into a betterperson," writes NPR's Maria Hinojosa in her entry, one of 24. "The bestthing about being married is companionship, the sense that there issomeone else on this earth -- even though you sometimes hate him, eventhough he's sometimes infuriating -- who is sharing the texture of yourlife," writes author Susan Cheever.
And from co-editor Jean Trounstine: "Marriage has the potential to makeus better people. It challenges us beyond what we can imagine,demanding us to hold on, to bear up, to learn. While fantasy is a warmwind in the night, with marriage, I climb to higher ground during astorm."The women's stories are engrossing, chronicling how they mettheir husbands, their prior romantic history and what keeps themtogether. Particularly poignant are the re-creations of moments whenthe bond forged with their men felt intensely deep and strong. Thosemoments, it would seem, are the answer to the question posed in thebook's title.Daring Wives: Insight into Women's Desires for Extramarital Affairs (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006)By Frances Cohen Praver Here then is the least juicy of the six books, a surprise giventhe subject. But written as it is by a clinical psychologist, andcovering as it does the history of women's subjugation, theinconsistencies of statistics on infidelity for both sexes, Freud'stake on the whole issue, plus a look at the evolution of the doublestandard ... well, perhaps this tome was destined to be dry.After wading through all the history, I was eager to get to thefirst character study, but discovered that Dr. Praver employs thebrittle, formal language of a clinician even here, and since shecreates composite characters to protect her real-life clients, all thestories wrap up too neatly, as if they're eager to illustrate theauthor's point as tidily as possible. Just as offputting are the casenotes Dr. Praver recorded during therapy, shown in italics, which areare self-congratulatory and obvious.
Still, for a thorough treatment of the subject of wives' infidelity, this is the book to buy.The Hormonally Vulnerable Woman (HarperCollins, 2005)By Geoffrey Redmond, M.D. As director of the Hormone Center of New York and president ofthe Center for Health Research Inc., endocrinologist Geoffrey Redmondbrings serious credibility to this work. Sixty pages deal directly withsex, with other chapters on birth control, menopause, estrogen choicesand hormone therapy.This doctor has a lively writing style, and he defines hormonalvulnerability as the situation in which a woman's own hormones laysiege to her body and mind. The list of what can be affected isformidable: skin tone, weight, hair growth, sex drive, sleepingpatterns, energy level, etc. Women know something is wrong, but theauthor says they rarely get satisfying answers from their doctors. Dr.Redmond says everything from fibromyalgia to polycystic ovary syndrometo acne can be traced to hormone imbalance.Any woman with perimenopausal or menopausal issues would bewise to consult this book. But since this story is specificallytargeted toward books on midlife sex for women, I'll include with thisquote from Chapter 9: "Why Have So Many Women Stopped Enjoying Sex?""Whether or not people are having more sex is a moot point;they are certainly talking about it more. In our time, not only isdiscussion of sexuality more forthright, but also women nowparticipate. This may be why women's sexual problems seem new -- onlyrecently have women been permitted to speak out concerning their sexualneeds. This greater openness is part of the enfranchisement of women'ssexuality, a recent event in human history."About time, I say.Source: Palm Beach Post. Powered by Yellowbrix.
Source: Relationships & Love