Sunday, 30 August 2015

Pink Viagra, Dildos and the Mystical Super Clit: Self Assembly Required

By Kathryn Tafra


Whilst waiting for the MWF session In Their Prime: Sex After 60, I was amused to find the ACMI free public wifi blocked the sessions page - presumably because of the inappropriate content.

Needless to say, my interest was well and truly piqued.

The session was a wonderfully engaging conversation between three intelligent and articulate women: Monica Dux, Renata Singer  and Rose Stone. The focal point was Singers book Older and Bolder: Life after 60. The conversation ranged from pink viagra to dildos; mythical vaginal atrophy to the super-clit; and traversed the broad landscape of what sex means, physically and emotionally, to women and men of all ages. All in just an hour!

The theme to which the conversation kept returning was the lack of frank conversation about sex. Stone was aghast that, when conducting interviews for her book, Singer didnt immediately ask her subjects about sex. Singer confessed to some regret at not inquiring directly of Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen whether she missed sex with her infamous husband, Joh.

Stone gave a brief yet fascinating view of her experience in the 70s, when she left her husband and discovered sexual liberation. In Stones experience, married women would not speak to their husbands about sex. Specifically, they would not tell their husband if sex was unenjoyable. The reasons for this were many and complex, but boiled down to fear: fear of upsetting their husband, fear of admitting (perceived) inadequacy, fear of being the only one in the social group who wasnt enjoying sex. Stone found that, after leaving her husband and taking a series of younger lovers, she suddenly had the power in her relationships. She had the freedom to choose who she had sex with, and when, and where, and how often. She was no longer afraid to say when sex wasnt good enough. She had the opportunity to learn what she liked, and to teach her lovers how to pleasure her - providing valuable experience to both parties. In Stones words, You have to teach a man, otherwise they dont know either.

Despite being a prominent feminist, it was interesting to see Singers self-consciousness when discussing the ins and outs of sex. She was self-aware of her lingering conservatism, and pointed out the lack of adequate language to discuss sex frankly - noting a tendency to fall back on humour and euphemism even in such an open forum. Outercourse is a term the audience were asked to take away with them and share - a word intended to capture the physical intimacy a couple (of any age) can share without having actual intercourse. Singer spoke about the ick factor when discussing sex and seniors, and the lack of visibility we have of elderly people expressing their sexuality.

The conversation was artfully guided by Monica Dux, who added her quirky humour at just the right moments. One of my favourite moments occured after Dux, momentarily forgetting that Singers husband was in the audience, recommended Singer not wait until she is a widow before trying a vibrator, Try it now - Peter will like it too!


After witnessing this amusing and thought-provoking discussion, I came away with the reaffirmed belief that sex is a normal, fun thing to do at any age, and that we should all be talking often, openly and without shame about sex.        

Edited by Cassie Chilcott       

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