NOBSTOPPERS FOR GEEZERS LIKE ME?
L. Q. from Rome, New York:
    I always hated condoms, even back when I was a teenager and later in the Army. That was the
    first place I ever heard them called "nobstoppers" (a British slang term for penis is "nob"). I
    heard guys say that it was like taking a shower in a raincoat, and I even used that line on a few
    women myself to keep from rubbering up. Now that I'm a widower and in a senior residence, if I
    meet the right woman and it's under the right circumstances, I'm thinking I'd like to give it a go.
    However, I keep hearing about all the STDs and even HIV on the rise among seniors. Using a
    rubber seems very strange and unwieldy at my age, especially since I've don't have as good of
    an erection now than back in my younger days when fumbling around with the "love glove," as
    we used to call it. How do I handle this, wondering if I can get it up enough to keep the damned
    thing from slipping off? Sometimes I wonder if it's worth it, under the circumstances.

    Jeoffrey and Renée:
    You've touched on two subjects that should be very important to all seniors,
    especially if you don't know a full medical history on your sexual partner. In a
    sense, when you have unprotected sex with a new partner, in a very real way,
    you may be having sex with every one of her lovers. The rates of sexually
    transmitted diseases have doubled among 50- to 90-year-olds in the past
    decade, and the number of new HIV diagnoses in people over 50 has also
    doubled during the past decade.

Why? Baby Boomers have grown up with a more lenient attitude toward sex, and that attitude tends to mean more
sex among Baby Boomers who now are reaching and enjoying retirement age.

Condoms, while certainly no longer needed by seniors for birth control, remain the best protection, superseded
only by abstinence. Thankfully, today there are many different varieties of condoms of various sizes and materials,
including those worn by women. Check with a physician who caters to healthy, sexually-active seniors, and ask
lots of questions.

Read...there's lots of information, both useful and not, on the Internet. Practice on your own while self-pleasuring.
Then, when you decide to move forward in any new relationship, you'll be better prepared to do as the old saying
urges,  "Before you slip between her thighs, condomize."


SENIORS AND CONDOMS
J. R. from Dublin, Ireland:
I've read your book, Seasoned Romance, and I really like it. It's given me so much to think about. I'm 77 years old,
and I've been a widower for over a year. Someday I'd like to begin dating. Here's my question that I've never seen
answered by you or anyone else before.

Things weren't so good, health-wise, the last few years of my marriage, so I've only done self-pleasuring, as you
call it in your book, for the past 7 or 8 years. I can still get a decent erection when I touch myself, which I do at
least once or twice a week (the number has gotten better since I bought a few things, including the Fleshlight
from the men's section of your Hot Links page, which works very well). But I'm not sure how it will go when I'm with
a woman again.

I want those feelings again, being close, moving inside a woman, and feeling the charge that comes from knowing
that I'm giving her pleasure.

    Here's my quandary: All the senior sites talk often about the rise of
    sexually transmitted diseases, and they say that you should use a
    condom...but I'm not sure how that's going to go since I'm not
    normally as hard as I was when I last used a rubber (as we used to
    call them) in the early years of my marriage.

    I'm a bit red-faced to ask, but how in the hell do you put on a condom
    when you're worried about getting an erection (and keeping it),
    wondering if the damn thing's going to stay on in case you don't stay
    completely stiff, applying lubrication and all the while trying to keep
    everything going in the romance department with the woman?

Has anyone else my age ever asked this question, or am I the only one who worries about things like this as I
venture out into the dating world?

Jeoffrey:
This isn't the kind of thing that either men or women necessarily want to admit...that they don't have the arousal
they had when they were 21.

Truthfully, your question was phrased so openly and honestly that I decided jump right into the fray and seek to
provide a few suggestions.

Should men and women over 50 be concerned about Sexually Transmitted Diseases with new or possibly non-
monogamous partners? Absolutely! The statistics are frightening, and condom use is still the best (next to
abstinence) for preventing the spread of STDs.

Granted, many men of all ages say they do not like using condoms, prophylactic use is increasing sharply since it
is a primary strategy for STDs and AIDS prevention among people of all ages.

So, what's a male seasoned senior to do?

I've asked several well-known sexual therapists who admit that very little research and discussion has taken
place on the subject of condom use for seniors. Here are a few of the best suggestions we've gleaned:

First, it's always best to check with your physician before you make lifestyle changes that can include strenuous
activity. Sex is no exception. And be open if you feel that you need something to help with erectile dysfunction
(ED, impotence, inability to get or keep an erection...whatever you call it). And while you are there, ask to get your
testosterone levels checked.

    Second, practice! Get a variety of condoms (there are different sizes and
    features) and try them on for size and feeling while you are self-
    pleasuring. It's not like the old days when you had to buy them from a
    drugstore and Aunt Mildred might be standing in the next aisle listening in
    shock to your conversation with the druggist. The great variety of
    available styles can be liberating, as well. If a condom is too tight, it can
    choke off blood supply and contribute to erectile dysfunction. A condom
    that is too large can slip off during intercourse which defeats the purpose
    of wearing it in the first place. Common condom mistakes include putting
    the condom on upside down, unrolling the condom before trying to put it
    on, and not leaving space at the tip of the condom for movement and your
    ejaculate. Figuring out how to put your condom on in front of your partner
    can be embarrassing, so read the directions and practice putting your
    condom on during several trial runs. Practice makes perfect, right?

    Third, be sure to practice with lubrication. Condoms come with or without
    lubrication, and when a condom isn't sufficiently lubricated, erectile
    trouble can  be worse. Also, if you plan to use a latex condom, be sure to
    only use a water-based lubricant. Practice to see if it feels better to put a
    few drops of lubricant inside the condom at the tip. Some men like this,
    some don't. You won't know until you try it several times each way.

Fourth, you mentioned that you already have a Fleshlight. That's an excellent sex tool to experiment with, in terms
of condom use. Granted, you don't have all the feelings and arousal of being with an actual woman, but many men
report that the fit and sensations can be tantalizing.

Fifth, many men find that using a penis ring (sometimes called a cock ring) helps solidify one's erection and help
keep it up when you apply your condom. These come in different sizes and configurations, and are based on the
principle that the blood flow into your penis is deeper, while the blood flow out of the penis is more on the
surface. It's definitely worth experimenting with, and you may even decide to buy a penis pump to use along with a
penis ring. By the way, there are many kinds of penis rings that also include a small, battery-powered vibrator that
can stimulate the woman's clitoral area. It's worth a few trial runs to see if it works for you and your partner. Make
experimentation fun.

Sixth, if you have unresolved issues with ED or condom use, don't hesitate to talk to a competent physician and/or
sex therapist, especially if you can find one who is sufficiently informed and aware of senior challenges. There are
many answers and therapies (from testosterone and ED treatments to topical creams) that can provide solutions
for you.

Seventh, be very open with your partner if you do face erection challenges while using a condom. There are lots
of other ways to satisfy each other (touching, vibrators, sharing a bath...use your imagination). We've found that
older romantics usually find a way, even if it's not exactly the way they might have done it at 21!

Eighth, (just like your Dad or health education teacher probably said when you were 16), wait until you are married
or monogamous (bolstered by tests for STDs to give both of you added confidence and safety) before having sex
without condoms.

Realize that this is just a quick list that is admittedly incomplete. There are undoubtedly many men like you who
have faced this challenge successfully, and we trust that you will check back often as we update this page.

Thanks for your honesty and openness, J.R. There is no telling how many other men (and women who love those
men) who were helped by your question!
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