Wellness expert Q&A: Your top questions about sex toys

Apr 23, 2022
Source: Getty Images.

If there’s one thing our Starts at 60 team has learned about women’s health, it’s that we’re our own best advocates. We are lucky to have a network of brilliant, inspirational women with a wealth of information to give, especially when it comes to wellness, and our interview with sexual health and wellness expert Susan Jarvis is a perfect example of this.

Susan owns an online sexual health and wellness store for older people and people with a disability. Her products have been carefully chosen to suit the issues associated with ageing and decreased mobility, such as weak wrists or arthritis.

We learned so much from our chat with Susan, and we know you will too! So without further ado, here are your top questions about sex toys answered.

 How old is too old? Is there an age limit?

According to Susan, there isn’t. While our sex drives tend to decline as we get older, it isn’t exactly a straight downward slope. 

For females, their sex drive may peak much later than men. A female’s libido tends to increase as fertility declines, then it dips after menopause.

A person’s sexual appetite can change based on your mental state, stress levels, and hormones and while sexual dysfunction and chronic illness become more common after the age of 60 it shouldn’t hold you back from exploring your body as you get older. 

What used to bring you pleasure before may not do it for you anymore. Your responses change as you age and the best way to know what does work for us is by experimenting. 

The most straightforward way to stay in tune with your sexual needs is experimenting with either your own hands or with the use of sex toys. 

What’s a good introductory product if you are new to this?

If you’re ready to partake in intimate self-loving, Susan recommends doing your research beforehand. She says to avoid raunchy magazines and instead, look at reliable health websites or speak directly to a sexologist. 

Sexologists are trained professionals who focus on human sexuality and sexual behaviour. They can help offer compassionate and research-backed advice to help those address a wide range of concerns including issues about sexual desire, ejaculation-related problems, trouble orgasming, and painful sex. 

Susan also advises that first-timers start out small and recommends using the Melt pleasure stimulator by We-Vibe. Melt uses subtle changes in air pressure to gently massage the clitoris, without actually touching it, which helps to avoid numbing and overstimulation. 

For women who want to explore their bodies but experience vaginal dryness, Susan suggests using Australian made natural HappyPause Balm. 

This vaginal balm is formulated with sensitive skin in mind. The preservative-free vegan certified goodness lasts for hours. Unlike other vaginal creams which may feel gross and sticky, HappyPause Balm uses ethically sourced hand-pressed coconut oil with plant-derived natural ingredients to seal in moisture in your intimate areas with no nasties. 

How do you stop the fear of trying something new?

In the words of Susan, “you only live once!” She explains it like this “while it’s exciting to jump out of a plane on your 80th or 70th birthday, exploring these sorts of products is a lot safe and a lot less expensive.” 

Though self-pleasure is a common, natural, and healthy way to explore one’s body, some individuals experience issues like anxiety or guilt with the idea. 

Anxiety from self-pleasure may stem from feelings of guilt tied to spiritual, cultural and religious views. If you find yourself feeling anxious or guilty over the idea of self-exploration, talk to a healthcare provider or a sexologist about your feelings. Together, you can work on ways to prevent or minimise these thoughts and learn how to have a positive, healthy self-pleasure experience.  

How does it help your health? Can everyone use these products?

Research has shown that sex toys and intimate health products can help alleviate some physical conditions of aging. No matter what stage of adulthood you’re in, sex toys can be fun! And your advancement in years doesn’t mean an end to sexual pleasure, but rather it’s an opportunity to continue to explore intimacy. 

Being intimate with yourself or with a partner can be a satisfying and health bolstering activity. Even self-pleasure releases feel-good oxytocin into your system, which can help ease insomnia and act as an effective pain reliever. 

For senior pleasure seekers, all the sexual health products available at the Starts at 60 Marketplace can be used by anyone and everyone! Choosing which product to purchase all comes down to personal preference. 

What will other people say? Is it normal/common to use sexual wellness products?

When it comes to society having the conversation about sexual wellness, Susan says Australia is catching up with America in terms of older-aged sexuality.

Pop culture and shows like Grace and Frankie have broken down the wall on the taboo topic of sexuality as you get older, generating more of a conversation about the topic. 

Again, Susan emphasises the importance of reaching out to a sexologist or an expert to talk to if you find yourself in a position where you may not have a circle of friends you feel comfortable talking to about the sexual things you want to try. 

Can you use these products with a partner?

Yes, absolutely! The sexual wellness vibrators and massagers available at the Starts at 60 Marketplace can be used whether you are partnered or on your own. There are products like the Melt pleasure air stimulator and the C-ring vibrator which are specifically designed for couples’ use. 

While Melt uses air stimulation for pleasure, the C-Ring vibrator targets both parties in their most sensitive areas. The stretchy ring, smooth and comfortable to wear, contains protruding pressure points to extend your pleasure for stronger erections, while also creating a non-slip shape that’s easy to remove and put on at any time

What about men, what options do they have?

Men’s pleasure can often seem one-dimensional, while women are often offered an abundance of products filled with versatile options. The truth is, there are plenty of options for men to help boost self-pleasure. 

One product available at the Starts at 60 Marketplace is the Arcwave ION, the new pleasure air stroker that generates stimulation based entirely on pulsating airwaves. 

Made with CleanTech silicone, the Ion is easy-to-clean and gives a natural feel when in use, making it the most hygienic and durable compared to industry standards. Its twist-to-open function ensures that cleaning is a breeze, and the sleek charging case naturally blends into its surroundings.

With a simple 3-button interface, that lets you control the intensity of the airwaves within the device, you can customise how you want to handle this unique stroker.

How often can you use these products?

Some people choose to have exclusive time with themselves every day, once a week or every now and again- choosing to give yourself permission to explore your body is perfectly normal. 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to exploring one’s sexual desires. However, if you’re interested in the numbers a 2020 study of 6000 women and men from 12 countries showed that women pleasured themselves roughly once a week while men spent on average three times a week. 

It’s important to note though that self-pleasure isn’t about statistics. The number of times a person chooses to be intimate with themselves is unique to everyone and can vary depending on age, libido, stage of life and culture. 

Are they easy to maintain?

Maintaining these devices isn’t difficult at all. Many of these devices can be easily rinsed with water and liquid soap. 

If you’re looking at deep cleaning your devices, you can also surface-clean them before submerging them in boiling water for a few minutes. Otherwise, Susan says there are also cleaning products available that are specifically designed to disinfect and sterilise your tools. 

Once you’ve cleaned your tools it’s important to store them properly so they stay clean for the next use. Many of these devices should come with a case or box to be stored in, this will ensure everything stays dust and lint-free. 

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