At 93 years old, Dr. Ruth Westheimer is “delighted” people still come to her for sex advice—and as we learned in a recent interview with the legendary sex therapist, author, and media personality, she’s just as happy to keep providing it. Threatened by your partner’s vibrator? “Stop analyzing. Use whatever is pleasurable,” she declares over the phone from her New York City apartment. Insecure about your smaller-than-average penis? “Loud and clear, Dr. Ruth says: Size does not matter. ” In need of a steamy new sexual fantasy to get you in the mood? Keep reading—she covers that one, too.
During the pandemic, Westheimer has been updating one of her 45 (!) books, The Art of Arousal, with new entries about erotic art throughout history. Speaking of Covid and quarantine, she’s adamant that she doesn’t want to “dwell on the bad times.”
“Be glad we are alive!” says Westheimer, a Holocaust survivor who escaped Nazi Germany via Kindertransport at age 10, and who later joined the Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary organization, where she trained as a sniper and fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. She explicitly requests that I put an exclamation mark at the end of her quote.
In the latest installment of Men’s Health 20 Questions, the incomparable Dr. Ruth (seriously—her life was made into an Off-Broadway play) talks sex after 50, human anatomy, sexual fantasies, and more.
1) What’s your best sex advice for men in their 50s and above?
They should engage in sex in the mornings, when testosterone level is highest. After a good night’s sleep, he should go out, go to the bathroom, have a small breakfast—not a big one—and go back to bed. If he goes to bed with men or women, the testosterone level is highest in the morning. Older people should get used to having sex in the mornings.
2) What sex positions do you recommend for older guys and their partners?
Any position that works for them! But make sure that if it’s a woman they’re having sex with, the woman has to make sure that she uses a lubricant. They should never, ever engage in intercourse with a not-well-lubricated vagina, because it’s painful, and then she’s going to say, ‘It hurts. Who needs it?’ [Laughs.] That’s the most important suggestion.
3) What are some of your other suggestions for older couples?
If intercourse is too difficult, it doesn’t matter. Make sure that you satisfy each other. Either oral sex, if that’s what you are engaged in, or with your hand. Or just hump against each other. That’s true for men with men and men with women.
And sex with other people does not have to be simultaneous. It can be satisfying one, and then the next day, satisfying the other. It does not have to be at the same time. That’s a misunderstanding of sex for older people.
4) Do you think couples should make schedules for sex?
Not schedules, but they should make sure that if one wants more sex than the other, satisfy the partner.
5) What do you do if one partner is really into something that the other person isn’t?
Then forget about it!
6) Is there a point where a couple should break up because their desires or sex drives are too different?
No. Forget about that. Don’t put any negative things in [the interview].
7) Let me ask it in a more positive way. What should a couple do if they have completely different sex drives?
They should go and see a sex therapist. Sometimes they are angry about something about the partner—maybe about the mother-in-law—that has nothing to with sex, but is played out in their sexual encounter.
8) What’s your favorite thing about being a sex expert right now?
I am delighted that I’m still asked questions, and I’m very happy to answer them.
9) You have over 100K followers on Twitter. Do you answer people’s questions there?
No, no, no, I don’t answer questions there. On Twitter, we just put some interesting tidbits. (I talk, and [my publicist] puts it on Twitter … I’m not computer literate, but I talk well.) And I don’t do private practice anymore. I let younger people do that. But I did enough to be able to do interviews for Men’s Health magazine.
10) When couples want to experiment with sex toys, what products do you recommend?
There is a vibrator; it’s called Eroscillator. It was created by a Swiss scientist [Philippe Wood] who’s not alive anymore; he’s the same guy who [invented the] electric toothbrush. I right away thought, hallelujah! Whoever can come up with the electric toothbrush can come up with an electric vibrator!
11) Wow, it really looks exactly like an electric toothbrush.
Right? I tell everybody. It made me laugh. I never endorsed any vibrator. I just say, ‘Use it.’ I don’t know of men liking vibrators. We have to do a survey with your magazine.
12) Sometimes men get nervous when their partners want to use a vibrator, because they feel like their partner is choosing the vibrator over them.
So we have to say: Stop analyzing. Use whatever is pleasurable. That’s my advice.
13) I was also wondering what your best advice is for men who think their penis is too small.
I will say: Stop it. In my documentary, I say that men should stop looking at each other in the shower. Any man who is worried about his penis being too small, first of all, say loud and clear: Size does not matter. Here is what he has to do [next]: Bring himself to an erection, stand in front of a full-length mirror, and see what the partner sees—if it’s a man or a woman. Because then the penis looks much bigger than if you look down.
14) That’s great advice!
Loud and clear, Dr. Ruth says: Size does not matter. If it’s a minuscule penis, go and see a urologist.
15) What’s something in the world of sex you’re happy to see people changing their minds about?
You can give Cosmopolitan a plug. They did a survey—not a scientifically-validated survey, but a big survey—that the G-spot doesn’t exist. I’m jumping for joy at that survey.
16) What’s your favorite thing about the Cosmo story?
I’m jumping for joy because for years I have said, ‘Stop looking for the G-spot. We don’t know if there is such a thing.’
17) For all the people obsessed with finding the elusive G-spot…what should they focus on instead?
Here’s what I suggest. Stop looking at the G-spot, which probably does not exist. Then, use that brain of yours to engage in some wonderful fantasies. Both men and women: Develop some nice fantasies, so that you don’t worry about the G-spot or about the size of penis.
18) When you have a sexual fantasy, how do you know if something you should actually try in real life?
I think that most fantasies should remain a fantasy. Because if you try it out, very often, you will be disappointed.
19) Are there exceptions?
Heres’ a fantasy I used during the pandemic. I’ll give it to you. I’m now 93. I’m not skiing anymore. However, in my fantasy, I’m going to take my fanciest ski outfit, and I’m going to take the best-looking ski instructor on the slopes. And he has to come with his skimobile. I would sit in the skimobile, going up the mountain and down the mountain in the skimobile. And it worked. The fantasy remained a fantasy.
You don’t have to share a fantasy, but I was willing to share that one with Men’s Health magazine.
20) Thank you! I appreciate it. Speaking of your pandemic fantasies—and please feel free not to answer—what role has sex played in your life during quarantine?
I don’t want to talk about that, because I want to say: Be glad we are alive, and don’t dwell on the bad times that all of us had!
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