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November 19, 2010

Who Knew The Best Sex Education Classes Were at Temple?

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/who_knew_the_best_sex_education_classes_were_at_temple_20101119/

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Last week I was invited to be the featured speaker for a single’s event put on by Stephen S. Wise temple, here is Los Angeles.  They have a singles group called “Social Circle”, and it’s for people who range in age from 45 to 65, give or take a few years on either side.

I was a little nervous because I was not sure if the guests were familiar with my blog, my perspective, or my honest and open style of writing, which happens to also be how I speak.  I write about dating, sex, getting older, and raising a boy to be a man, but what would I talk about?

I was a little panicked as I drove up because I imagined there would be me and one other person there.  I had invited a few friends to come along so when it was cancelled, because nobody cared about what I had to say, we could all go out for dinner and have a good laugh at my epic failure.

I parked my car, and as I looked around to see where I was to go, a couple parked next to me and I asked if they were going to the singles event, they were, and we walked in together.  They were a smidge older than me and so I began to wonder if I could talk about sex and dating with this group.

It turned out there were about 50 people there, and the average age was around 62.  A little older than me, or the age of men that I date, but it was a nice group and even though I was nervous, and dealing with a bad cold, I got up, with my friends cheering me on, and jumped right in.

I spoke a little bit about my blog, my dating disasters, and my hope to one day fall in love again.  I spoke of how great it was to reach a point of comfort in your own skin, to be uninhibited, and to own your sexuality, only to realize there are not a lot of options at this age for an active sex life.

As soon as I said it I got nervous again.  What was I doing talking about sex with a group of 60 somethings?  Before it really sank in that I had just crossed a line, the hands went up and what happened next was the most fascinating and fabulous conversation I’ve had in a long time.

We talked about sex and dating.  It turns out fears and frustrations are the same whether you are 20, 40 or 60.  The women wanted to have sex, and often, yet were hesitant to give themselves permission.  The men were open to having sex, but not that into having a relationship.

One woman came up to me and privately asked me if it was okay to have sex if it was just going to be about sex, and not be a relationship.  After I got over the initial desire to hug her, I gave her permission.  I think it’s so sad that she needed permission from anyone.

I don’t think sex is bad, and I don’t think women should think badly about themselves for being sexual.  There is a huge difference being sexually promiscuous and simply being sexual.  At this stage of my life I thought it would get easier but it turns out it just stays the same.

The women shared that even in their 60’s, men want to hunt.  Then after they have sex, proving they can still do it, they become more focused on having a companion, so the sex becomes less important and less frequent.  I was told older men have infrequent sex.

How heartbreaking that you reach a point when you can swing from the rafters, but there is nobody to swing with.  Dating a younger man is not my thing.  I could meet the man of dreams, he could be 60, and according to some of these ladies, I would never have sex.

I had a great time with the Social Circle group.  They meet often and I look forward to going back and picking up our discussion where we left off.  I arrived thinking I had a lot of answers and left with a ton of questions.  At 44 years old, is the best part of my adult sexual life over?

In the end, while my speech was well received, the real winner was the Q & A part.  People want to talk.  They want someone to open the door to a frank discussion about love, sex, dating and self worth.  We all want to be with someone, and I guess sometimes we need permission.

I hope that my sex life is not over.  I hope that I have the spunk that this group did when I am in my 60’s.  I hope I meet a man who wants a relationship that is sexual, not a sexual relationship.  I hope I find him before I buy another cat because at that point it will all be over for me.

I think I should make the rounds on the temple singles circuit.  I had the best time, and feel it’s time to start talking about sex in these forums.  It is an empowering thing to help someone allow themselves to be sexy, and also an opportunity for me to learn something new.

What I walked away from the evening with is this: meeting new people, and sharing stories of what it’s like out there in the real world of dating and sex, is fantastic.  People are willing to listen, and crave the opportunity to talk about it.  It was an awesome night and I left keeping the faith.

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