Aging and Nudity

Pamela Anderson caused a mini-media stir this week with her decision to pose nude for Paper Magazine and to be the last nude centrefold for  Playboy magazine. Pamela has done her share of nude photoshoots over the years but this one, at age 48, is getting extra attention.

How do we feel about 48 year olds posing nude for ‘girlie’ mags?  After a certain age should women (and men) keep their boudoir shots to themselves?  Or, should they be 48, proud and nude?

Personally I love it. Pamela Anderson is an absolutely stunning lady.  And even if she weren’t, it is admirable that she has the confidence and sexiness to show off her body at his age. But, looking at the Paper Magazine photo’s I did have a few further thoughts:

  • Just how much photoshopping is going on? Pamela is gorgeous, but does any 48 year old have the flawless skin and perfect curves that we are seeing in that shoot. I wonder a bit what that does to the expectations of other 48 (or approaching 48) women.  My wife is a beautiful woman who keeps herself in fantastic shape.  But she doesn’t look like that. We often think of the body image affects models have on teen, but it doesn’t stop at 18.  Women (and men) of all ages feel insecurities about their bodies and compare themselves to impossible ideal.  I would hate for my wife (or my friends) to feel that this is the standard of beauty.
  • On a more positive note, isn’t it amazing that, as a society, we can still see the sexiness in a  48 year old woman?  While our standards of beauty could still be rightly criticized as too narrow, it is nice to see that a select group of women are pushing the age boundaries.

As I reflect on this, it makes me want to encourage all of us – men and women – to get more comfortable with our nudity. So, right now! Get our your camera and get some sexy shots of yourself!

The Sexist Professions

Looking for a new partner… or just a one night stand?  You may want to consider a career change. For the guys, go out and get your pilot’s license.  If your a girl, get degree in physical therapy.

Tinder has collected the data form their site on which professions are most likely to get a positive response from potential partners.  The results are – while not altogether surprising – interesting.

For a guy, the top three professions: pilot, entrepreneur/founder; firefighter.  Shocking, right?  Personally, I’m feeling a little disappointed that my law degree only got me to the #11 ranking; but I did found an NGO, so I guess that’s the foot I should be leading with.

For women, the top three: physical therapist, interior designer and founder/entrepreneur. Surprisingly, to me at least, model was down at #10 and personal trainer even lower at #14.

So what does this tell us. A few things actually:

  • women clearly like men who are risk takers.  Piloting, firefighting and starting a company all show a propensity to take risks. And women like this – a guy who is willing to chart his own course and take some risks to get what he wants.
  • macho guys are still in. It is not until you get to #6 on the list of men’s professions (teacher) that you get one that is not a traditional male job
  • men still like women in traditional ‘girl’ job.  With the exception of entrepreneurs (which is pretty neutral) most of the list of women’s professions were pretty traditionally female jobs – interior designer, teacher, communications professional, speech pathologist.

Anyway… some interesting data. Here’s the full list… Got to go… I’m off to get my pitot’s licence.


The Ties That Bind (not the sexy ones)

I had drinks last night with an old friend. Someone who’s been in my life since I was a kid, and with whom I have a pretty enduring connection.

Like many people who no longer live close to where they grew up, I have a small group of friends from my childhood that I see rarely but regularly.  We get together as a group every couple years and I wad see them individually once a year, on average.

Last night’s visit made me reflect on the value of enduring nature of the relationships we had when we were young.  A few things that struck me:

  • you can talk about absolutely anything with your oldest friends. We discussed everything from our parents health and how it feels as they lose their health; our relationships; how we’ve grown, changed or not grown or changed since our youth; our successes and failures and the need to embrace those failures.
  • you can give and get really honest feedback.  There are few people in our lives that are really invested in us, yet not so day-to-day involved that they can really push us out of our comfort zone with honest feedback that we need but may not always like to get.  This friend, in particular, is amazing at understanding my strengths (and weaknesses) and pushing me to push myself.  It is sometimes a little uncomfortable – especially when he gets on about how i can and should ‘create’ and ‘build’ more things, rather than trying to be the background influencer…. tough but it is good stuff to hear.
  • as you talk about everything, you reflect.  After spending time with him – or this small group of old friends – I am always prone to reflect on where my life is going and should be going.  Nothing radical, but its a great taking stock exercise.
  • finally, drinking til closing time on a Wednesday night is something I experience all too infrequently as a get older – happy to keep it infrequent, but also happy to still be doing it once in a while.

Do We Need Less Sex Than We Thought

Frequency of sex in a healthy relationship has been the source of dinner party and divorce court debate for eons.  I have had many a conversation about how much sex people would like to be having in a relationship, think they should be having in their relationship and are actually having in their relationship.

My take on this has always been twofold:

  1. The ‘right’ amount of sex in a healthy relationships varies greatly. It is determined by factors such as: individual sex drives, amount of time that can be dedicated to pleasurable activities like sex, health issues, etc. And, basically any amount of sex can the the ‘right’ amount if both parties in the couple are happy with it;
  2. In general, a healthy, happy relationship seems to beget health, happy sex…. pretty frequently

From this I have always felt that having sex 2-4 times a week is pretty much optimal for a healthy, fun relationship… subject to the caveats in #1 above.

Imagine my surprise at a new study from the University of Toronto showing that the happiest couples are those having sex once a week. Once a week.

This surprises me. It defies my personal experience…. the happiest couples I know personally have sex more frequently than once a week.  And it defies research I’ve seen the past, showing that 2-3 times a week seems to associate with the highest levels of relationship satisfaction.

So why, all of a sudden, do happy couples seem to be having/wanting less sex?  Here’s my theory.  Firstly, they don’t want less sex, but less sex is a byproduct of the lives they lead.  I think the majority of happy, well connected couples would have more sex if they could find the time and energy for it.  Life becomes busy and otherwise happy and contented people do not find the time to fit in things (like sex) that are purely pleasurable and indulgent. They’re just busy.  Secondly (and this is a little controversial), I think high functioning couples over-report happiness.  If you are a busy couple with kids and work responsibilities, but still managing to squeak in sex every 7-10 days, I think you will report being happy at a very high rate… because that’s what’s expected of you.  And.. hey.. you’re having sex once a week so it ain’t that bad. But I think they could be happier.

I guess, for me, this comes down to a pretty  simple logical chain (which may be wrong).  If you’re having sex once a week, you clearly enjoy it.  Having sex costs nothing, feels great and connects you to your partner.  If you had the time, surely you’d do it a bit more.

Just my two cents.  What do you think. How often are the happiest couples having sex?

Naked Yoga

Would you? Do Yoga Naked?

The internet is abuzz this week with a (very athletic) woman who photographs herself in a variety of amazing naked yoga poses.  It really is quite beautiful.

I remember, about 15 years ago, when yoga was becoming popular again a high end yoga studio and clothing outlet opened in the city I lived in.  It was nicer than any other studio in town. Their clothing was very popular and their classes top notch.

And on Saturday mornings, it offered nude yoga classes.  At the time, yoga was just crossing from granola to athletic.  The nude classes, while very athletic, were obviously a throwback to the granola roots of the practice.

My wife and I attended a couple (we thought we were pretty risqué and are certainly a pretty granola/athlete hybrid).  I liked it a lot.  To be clear.. this was not a big orgy.  The class was made up of every body type and age imaginable.  It was good, clean fun.  And a good sweat.

Unfortunately, as their particular studio became well known for its clothing and started to expand to more national markets, it dropped the nude classes.  I’ve never done yoga naked since. But I miss it.


Keeping Your Sex Creative

It’s Saturday night.  You have a big choice. Do you go to that same, reliable Italian restaurant you’ve been to every Saturday night for the last two years?  Or do you shake it up?  Try a new, unexplored, unknown restaurant. It may blow your socks off, or it might leave you hungry and unsatisfied.

Ok. I’m not taking about restaurants.  I’m talking about sex.  Are you keeping your sex life interesting? Trying new things?  Allowing yourself to have some new hits? Or some new failures?

My wife and I have been married for quite a few years now (won’t say how many, but more than 10, less than 20). For the first few years, our sex lives were pretty predicable.  Great but predictable.   Just the opportunity to have frequent sex was awesome and we loved it.  We didn’t really know that there was more.

More recently, we’ve gotten more varied. We’ve tried new things. Most we’ve loved, but some we haven’t.  And that’s been fine.  The experiments we’ve loved, we keep doing. The one’s we didn’t like.. they were a one time thing.

A few of the things we learned

  • watching porn together can be fun, especially on evenings when you feel like sex, but don’t want to muster a lot of effort (i.e. its been a ling day but you really want to get off… together)
  • new positions – this is pretty standard advice.  There are dozens (at least) of sexual positions, yet couples tend to rely on 2 or 3.  I find this to be a tough one.  We’ve expanded our ‘repertoire’ to about 8 or 10 poisons we like.  But, having tried dozens more (we got out an old kama sutra book not too long ago) we were forced to conclude that a bunch of the crazier positions just didn’t do much for us.  My advice, for what its worth, is to try as many positions as possible, but don’t feel badly if there are a bunch you don’t enjoy.  There is a reason that missionary, doggy and cowgirl are so popular.embracing our (very natural) attraction to other people has been great for our sex lives.  My wife and I are fully open about fantasies we have about others.  We’ve brought those fantasies into our own sex lives and its been a blast.  I won’t share the details, but being honest about having sexual feelings for others, but in a way that doesn’t compromise the security of your own relationship is really awesome for your sex lives.  It plays out differently for different people – from sharing fantasies, to threesomes, to partner swapping.  All can be good fun, depending on what it takes for you to hit a balance between sexually intriguing and security within your relationship
  • seeking sexual adventures together.  We love going for a ‘date’ at a strip club.  We find it really titilating to watch the dancers, get a lap dance, build up the sexual energy over the course of the evening, and then go home and have amazing sex together

So, how to open these possibilities up?  Go to a nice restaurant, have a bottle of wine, and have an open fun discussion on how you can open up your sexual experiences.  My wife and I, at least a few times a year, do a really deliberate check in on how we can make our sex lives as good as can be.  No judgment, no negativity. It is simply what we would like to try or do more (or less) of.  It is fine for either partner to say no to new interests… but everything and anything is on the table. These discussions have led to some great new adventures (and some not so great… but never a regret)

Is The Kinsey Institute Sexy Enough?

For 70 years, the Kinsey Institute has been the go-to research centre for everything science can tell us about sex. Their research ushered in the sexual revolution in the 1960s and 70s. More recently, their research on anything from sexually aggressive behaviour to why people were misusing condoms has changed the way we think of, talk about and behave during – sex.

But a new era is dawning.  The new director of the institute feels they have been overly emphasizing sex in their research. They need to branch out.  They want to move beyond sex, to sex in a context.  Their new research will focus more on love, sexuality and well-being. All of these are, of course, linked to sex.. but the focus feels broader and more directly related to the content in which most of of think about sex – linked to pleasure or a relationship, or other aspects of our lives.  This shift seems, to me, to be in line with a growing range of sex and relationships columnists, websites and podcasters.

They have reached out to Debby Herbenick, director of Indiana University’s Center for Sexual Health Promotion and a Kinsey researcher, to help expand there platform.  Herebenick is well known in social and traditional media as a sex and relationship experts, known for objectives and practical advice on sexuality and its links with relationships. Seems like a great relationship.

It is impressive when a venerable institution, like Kinsey, has the humility and foresight to change with the times.  It is difficult for well reputed institution to change, and Kinsey is to be admired for this flexibility. Heres to another 70 years as a leading thinker and researcher on issues so key to our happiness and well being.