Sexy Books: Erotica for Boomers

Move over 50 Shades of Grey, there’s a trend afoot of age-appropriate erotica for people 50+.

By Joan Price

“What would it look like if talented writers over age 50 wrote erotica featuring steamy, sexy characters who were also over 50?” I asked my editor. I had written two nonfiction senior sex books, and now I proposed an anthology of erotic short stories and memoir essays whose characters were having really good sex in aging bodies. She was all for the idea, and that book became Ageless Erotica, a collection of 29 saucy stories from erotica writers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, published in 2013. I wanted erotica that acknowledged the challenges of older-age sex and portrayed how sexy, lively, and creative that can be. I’m proud of how the writers delivered, drawing from their experiences and their imagination. Who knew that sex at our age could be so hot. 

Erotica has been in the news since Fifty Shades of Grey stormed the book world by becoming a runaway bestseller, selling more than 70 million copies in 2012. Suddenly everyone was talking about this book and about erotica in general. (And just fyi, erotica is writing or art that aims to be sexually stimulating. While romance novels build emotionally and sexually, leaving the actual details of the sexual encounter to the reader’s imagination, erotica describes those scenes in graphic detail.) The media went wild, proclaiming it “the book that made women want sex again.”  Erotica for the mainstream is undeniably a contemporary trend, giving women who had never read erotica permission to read it, enjoy it, and talk about it. And, it turns out, there is a trend of writers who are addressing the over 50 crowd. While we can all imagine steamy scenes that make age irrelevant, many people want “senior erotica” that lets us identify with sexy characters our age.

"Erotic romance by and about characters in their 50s and beyond can help age 50-plus people spice up their sex lives, maintain sexual interest, improve communication, find new ideas, and deepen couple relationships,” says the married pair of grandparents who write under the name Adriana Kraft. “We believe it’s important to be able to access characters in erotic fiction who are in the same life stage, struggling with some of the same issues that face us all as we age. We want to show that sexuality can weather even these major life changes, and can contribute to staying vibrant, healthy, excited, and sexy across the later stages of life.”

Donna George Storey, author of Amorous Woman, a semi-autobiographical tale of an American woman's erotic adventures in Japan, agrees.

“The most effective way to oppress a minority group is to silence them and refuse to acknowledge the reality of their experience,” she says. “The media still portrays older sexuality as nonexistent or, if it does happen, disgusting, ridiculous, or, at best, amusing. Is this the way most people over 50 experience their lives? I don’t. The more we all speak the truth, the more we can all embrace the pleasures, possibilities, and yes, the beauty of older sex.”

So where to start if you’d like to explore “senior erotica”? Start with an anthology with a variety of topics and writers from publishers such as Cleis Press and Seal Press. That way you can get acquainted with writers, styles, and themse you particularly enjoy.

Ageless Erotica by me, Joan Price

Various works from Adriana Kraft

Amorous Woman by Donna George Storey

Any Two People, Kissing by Kate Dominic

Ageless sexuality advocate Joan Price is the author of Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex and Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty. Visit Joan’s zesty, award-winning blog about sex and aging, where she continues to talk out loud about Boomer/senior sex, partnered or solo. Naked at Our Age won Outstanding Self-Help Book 2012 from the American Society of Journalists and Authors and Best Book 2012 from the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.

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