B. G. from Raleigh, North Carolina:
    I'm 68, happily married for 35 years to the same wonderful woman, and have been
    pleasuring myself since I was 13. I've always been very open about this with my wife,
    and she's fine with it. We simply realized a long time ago that I needed it more than
    she did, and going outside our marriage was never going to be an option. Our
    marriage vows meant too much.

    My wife and I usually have sex 1-2 times a week, which is less than we used to, but
    still very satisfying. In addition, I sometimes also enjoy pleasuring myself at least 2-3
    times a week. Sometimes my wife joins in by touching, stroking or tonguing me.
    Sometimes not. We don't make a big deal out of it either way.

    My question probably seems absurd to you after all  the interviews you've conducted,
    but am I abnormal in wanting it so much? More to the point, is it strange for a guy my
    age to do this often, especially getting my own rocks off? I guess I just want some
    reassurance that I'm not a weird old guy with too much sex on my brain.

    Jeoffrey and Renée:
    Self-pleasuring is pretty much universal. Surveys regularly show that nearly everyone
    pleasures themselves, including those who are involved in relationships that include
    intercourse or oral sex. Frequency varies widely, but close to 30-percent of adults
    admit pleasuring themselves on an average of 1-2 times a week, in addition to
    whatever intercourse or mutual self-pleasuring they engage in.

    Put your mind at ease, because in addition to being safe and harmless, there are
    many psychological and health benefits to self-pleasuring:

  • It helps you become a better, more seasoned lover, especially since it is great, ongoing training for better
    control,overcoming premature ejaculations and learning what helps you reach the most satisfying climaxes.
    To use a sports analogy, practice really can make you better and more capable during the "big game."
    Practice may not always make perfect, but practice (in this case) is a lot of fun!

  • It's a good workout for very, very important muscles in your pelvic, stomach and buttock regions. Regular
    sex in any form is excellent to help prevent erectile dysfunction, incontinence and atrophy.

  • Many believe that it prevents cancer. A 2003 Australian study was one of the first to reveal that men who
    ejaculated more than five times a week through sexual intercourse and/or self-pleasuring were substantially
    (up to 33-percent!) less likely to develop prostate cancer. Additional research has shown that the toxins that
    often cause disease tend to build up in a man's urogenital tract, and these are flushed during ejaculations.
    Apparently, more really is better in this case!

  • It helps promote immunity throughout your system. Each ejaculation is believed to increase the level of the
    hormone cortisol, which (in the small doses connected with ejaculations) is believed to help produce a
    better environment to regulate and maintain an optimum immunity.

  • Both during the build-up, during the actual ejaculation and afterward, the process of self-pleasuring
    releases neurochemicals such as oxtocin and dopamine throughout your body, which in-turn boosts
    feelings of euphoria and satisfaction. Gloria Brame, Ph.D., a clinical sexologist, has famously quoted, "An
    orgasm is the biggest non-drug blast of dopamine available!"

So quit beating up on yourself. Use that energy for creative stroking, touching, deep breathing and...!

T. S. from France (no city given):
Is it just me, or do other men have this same problem? I'm healthy, work out five times a week and still have an
ample appetite for making love. My wife, on the other hand, isn't as healthy and has very little desire for sex. This
is nothing new. We are both 72, been together 49 years, and came to grips long ago with the fact that we have
very different needs. I have never cheated on her, but I've also made no bones about the fact, pardon the word
choice, that if she prefers not to have sex as often as I need it, I feel it's okay to take things into my own hands.

Now, I prefer intercourse with her. I romance her daily. But she simply doesn't want it more than twice or so a
month. When we do it, she seems very satisfied and expresses that she is. But...  

What isn't okay is that not long ago, she began making remarks occasionally about being a "dirty old man" and
"sex maniac" when I pleasure myself. She sometimes even does the "tsk, tsk" thing or rolls her eyes when I'm
ready to ejaculate. Wow! What a mood killer. I've started doing it when she's not around or when I'm taking a
shower, and even then she sometimes makes cutting remarks about "acting like a teenager beating your meat."
The negativity hurts, especially since we've talked openly about this through the years, and she has said many
times that she wants me to enjoy myself, even when she doesn't feel like it.

I'm in a quandary about what to do. Is her sudden distaste about self pleasuring myself something I should be
concerned about?

Jeoffrey and Renée:
We've talked with several leading counselors, sexologists and psychiatrists, and their advice is to simply ask her
about the sudden change in attitude. Maybe she will say that she feels left out of an area of your life that
obviously gives you great pleasure. Maybe it has something to do with other stress factors related to her health
or fears of the future. Or maybe it is related to unpleasant memories of her childhood or teen years...things that
are perhaps just now beginning to surface. Maybe she doesn't even realize that what she is doing seems the least
bit judgmental. If she remains unwilling to talk about what is bothering her, please consider talking with a
counselor or sex therapist who understands the special problems faced by seniors. Self pleasuring can be a very
healthy solution for couples who simply have different sexual appetites, so suddenly changing her attitude toward
something that has worked for decades seems to be a warning signal for something else going on in her life. We
wish you both the best.

S.B. from Los Angeles, California:
I have a friend who is eaten up with guilt for pleasuring himself from time to time. He's 66, for crying out loud. I
think he should just enjoy himself without all the doubts and guilt. What say you?

Jeoffrey and Renée:
Self-pleasuring at any age is a wonderful means of sexual exploration, whether its done with a partner or alone,
offering increased sexual awareness and satisfaction. More importantly, there are many health benefits, including
stress relief.

    Maybe you could give your friend a book on solo sex. Betty Dodson's Sex for One is excellent.
    She explores the myths and taboos, as well as providing techniques for more pleasurable and
    intense orgasms through self-pleasuring.

    Depending upon your relationship with your friend, especially if you are intimately involved,
    perhaps you can express your own feelings about self-pleasuring...why you enjoy it, how it
    excites you sexually and how it makes you feel about your own well-being and contentment. This
    should be done without a hint of judging or condescension.

    Self-pleasuring isn't for everyone. Some people simply can't (or choose not to) get past incorrect
    information or beliefs. That's okay.

    Information is power. The more information you can share with people who want to receive it, the
    more you can impact people for good. Hopefully that will invite exploration and bring happiness.

    L.A. from Binghamton, New York:
    I'm so glad I discovered Seasoned Romance, Book 1. Actually, I should fess up and say that
    my wife ordered a copy after several of her bridge club were talking about it. My wife and I
    are both 70, and since we've been reading the interviews, we've discovered a lot about
    each other and what we enjoy, both individually and together. One thing we've finally
    become very honest about is that she likes for the sexual feelings to build up over a week
    or so, and then says it feels so much better to her than if we do it more often. I, on the
    other hand (pun intended), like it every day or so. And the more I read about the subject, it
    seems very healthy for a man to ejaculate fairly frequently. No arguments here!

    My question is about something I've enjoyed doing since I was in my late teens. Before that
    time, I beat my meat as quickly as possible. There was always the fear that someone would
    hear me in the next bedroom or when I was in the shower. So it was always about speed
    and silence. No problem. That was fun enough.

    But when I went away to college and eventually got my own apartment, I read a book about
    the value of learning how to pace yourself and seeking to gain more control over my
    ejaculations by slowing down, thinking about other things, doing math mentally, whatever it
    took. I learned to go real slow for awhile, doing a slow up-stroke, then a fast down-stroke
    and other changes. (Am I getting too graphic? Maybe you'll want to edit some of this out.)

    What I discovered is that sometimes when I went for a half-hour or even a full hour of
    building up to the edge, then stopping, then starting over again, when I finally decided to
    let it fly, it was truly mind-blowing! Sometimes I actually almost lost consciousness, it was
    that good. And no, there were no drugs or anything else involved, even though it was in
    the Sixties.

    After I got married, I didn't do it that way for a long time. I began re-discovering it when I
    was in my fifties when my wife spent extended periods taking care of her parents who lived
    in another state.

    Now that my wife and I are getting more open about what we like, I have three questions for

Firstly, in all the research that you've done, have you heard of anything similar? Do other men do this? (It's not the
sort of topic that comes up over backyard barbeque or the office coffee machine.)

Secondly, Is it okay to do? Or is it unhealthy in any way?

Thirdly, do you think this is something that I should mention with my wife? I'm going to keep doing it from time to
time, no matter. But it might be fun to involve her, especially toward the end. What do you think?

Jeoffrey and Renée:
First, what you have described is certainly not unique. There are many instances in cultures around the world that
point to prolonged sex during both intercourse, oral sex and self-pleasuring. The technique that you have used
successfully for prolonged sex is similar to the one Franco described in Chapter 9 of
Seasoned Romance, Book 1
(pages 268-271).

    Secondly, as long as you enjoy it and going a long time shouldn't cause
    any harm to your genitalia, it should be quite okay. Check with a trusted
    health-care provider if you have any questions. From what you've
    described, you'd better be prepared to answer a long of his questions,
    too! You enjoy what a lot of other men might like to do if they knew more
    about it.

    Thirdly, only you can make that decision. We believe in openness and
    honesty, of course. But we also believe in tactfulness and timing.
    Depending upon what your wife feels about concerning self-pleasuring,
    this could potentially be a wonderful subject to explore.

    It sounds like you are a very understanding and seasoned lover, so we
    are assuming that you've tried some of the techniques for prolonged sex
    during intercourse. If not, you might consider it.

Just remember to use enough lubrication for the marathon. Remember, as a woman gets older, the need for
added lubrication increases (sometimes dramatically), and as a man gets older, the less pre-cum he generally
produces. Both of those factors add up to a need for your preferred sexual lubricant (
click here for more
information on the subject).

Also, making "pit stops" or "lube jobs" is not unusual with older lovers. Many couples report the need to
sometimes pull out, add lubricant and begin again. Use your creativity and make it part of lovemaking.

How much (duration of sex AND lubrication) is enough? Too much? Not long enough? Only you (self-pleasuring)
and your partner (oral and/or vaginal sex) can know for sure. And the R & D (Research & Development) can be

Name, City and State Withheld by Request:
I've just read your book Seasoned Romance. Several of the chapters, including the ones about Hal (Chapter 4),
Chuck & Thelma (Chapter 8) and Franco (Chapter 9) mention self-pleasuring. Is that the same as masturbation?
And isn't it a sin? That's what I was always taught. Chuck is supposed to be a preacher, for crying out loud! How
can he be so gung-ho about something that the Bible teaches against?

Jeoffrey and Renée:
Self-pleasuring and masturbation are two names for the same thing. Masturbation has such a negative
connotation that we have chosen to use self-pleasuring whenever possible, since it is a much more accurate and
positive term for something that nearly everyone has done and a majority continue to do.

Is it wrong? A sin?

We are certainly not theologians. We are simply researchers who have recorded many people's opinion on things
such as aging, sex and even self-pleasuring. We have our personal opinion and don't pretend that what we
believe is perfect for everyone else.

What we know is that among the world's religions, views on the subject vary widely. Some religions teach that
masturbation is spiritually, emotionally and physically detrimental, while others see it as a very healthy means
toward sexual exploration and expression, regardless of age or marital status.

We included Chuck & Thelma (Chapter 8) in
Seasoned Romance, Book 1, mostly because they were such a darling,
loving couple, and specifically because of their healthy attitudes both toward differences of libido and the value
of self-pleasuring.

Though it's not in his interview, Chuck also spoke about misuse of the Bible on the subject of self-pleasuring. He
said, "If that belief is based on the passage in Genesis 38 when Onan spilled his seed on the ground, the person
that believes Onanism and masturbation is a sin should take another look at what really happened. Onan was
supposed to impregnate his dead brother's wife, based upon her wishes to continue the family's lineage. He
wasn't masturbating. We are told that the seed landing on the ground happened AFTER he "went to" her.
Obviously, he withdrew from the woman just before ejaculating. So It's such wrong-headed thinking to take a
passage that teaches one thing and make a major doctrine to shove guilt down the throats of people about the
evils of masturbation. The Bible teaches nothing on the subject, from what I can see."

Chuck spoke of Dr. James Dobson, the conservative Christian teacher, who is quoted as saying:

    "It is my opinion that masturbation is not much of an issue with God. It is a normal part of adolescence which
    involves no one else. It does not cause disease. It does not produce babies, and Jesus did not mention it in
    the Bible. I'm not telling you to masturbate, and I hope you won't feel the need for it. But if you do, it is my
    opinion that you should not struggle with guilt over it. Why do I tell you this? Because I deal with so many
    Christian young people who are torn apart with guilt over masturbation; they want to stop and just can't. I
    would like to help you avoid that agony."

We agree. From our own studies and consultations with a number of leaders, from conservative to progressive,
we think it's safe to say that on the matter of masturbation, the Hebrew and Christian Bibles are silent, neither
denouncing nor encouraging the practice.

Lusting, yes. Masturbation, no. And there is a major difference between the two. (But that's entirely another topic,
isn't it?)

That's why we believe that self-pleasuring at any age can be a wonderful means of sexual exploration, whether its
done with a partner or alone.

Can it be abused? Of course! We'd never suggest that a man or woman focus solely on self-pleasure to the
detriment of a loving relationship (sexual and otherwise) with a spouse.

We also generally deplore the use of hard-core pornography during self-pleasure (or during intercourse, for that
matter), since this form of "entertainment" is usually mindless, sometimes violent, self-centered and often tends
to depict women in very negative ways.

But self-pleasuring a sin? We don't think so. Neither do a lot of people that we respect a lot.

Still, it's a very personal question and every individual must find his or her own answer. All we suggest is that you
based your ideas about self-pleasuring on truth, not man-made dogma.
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