Posts Tagged ‘sex after 50’

10 Ways to Make Internet Dating—and All Dating—Really Successful.

October 3, 2014

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Author Perry Brass at the Brooklyn Book Fair, 2014.

Huge numbers of people now meet on the Internet, and often they find their Internet dating experiences disastrous. This, unfortunately, is also true for a lot of their other dating as well, including “fix-ups,” that is dates arranged by other people, the regular old “blind dates” that most people either fear or find funny in a bitter, ironic kind of way—and then hate, as well as many “fantasy” dates. These are the dates that feel like they’re going to be heaven, then end up in hell.


Here are 10 important things to think about before you go on any date, whether it’s an Internet thing, the efforts of well-meaning friends, or the someone you spot on the street, at church, or anywhere and are fortunate enough to connect with.


  • Dating is hard—and unfortunately our own life history makes it harder. Dating in adulthood is difficult because of your own expectations. If you remember high school and college dating it was easier simply because you didn’t have the expectations that every date was going to end up as something “serious.” There is a lot of stress here, as in what you look like and appear as, and what the other person looks like and appears as. Do you look like and appear as the person in your profile? Ditto for that person who has already become an “eye candy” fantasy element that you were able to connect with, and the fantasy suddenly exploded. He (or she) was just “too human.” He showed his bad side way too fast, even if his outside was initially pleasing.
  • Try to get sex as far out of your mind as you can on that first date. This isn’t always easy, but it’s important. In other words, as soon as he or she walks through the door, don’t have her (OK, we’ll call him “her,” since I’m writing for both genders) already naked and propped up on a pillow. If you get sex out of the equation, a lot of other things can walk in, and these things can lead to a genuine, satisfying sexual attraction. How is that? Face it, we are attracted to people who show us things that please us, like a real sense of humor, an appealing interaction with life, compassion or a feeling for others, a lack of fear, and the cool, sweet presence of curiosity and adventure. Psychologists call this “investiture.” When you allow yourself to invest some of your real emotional self in another person, they also become sexually more enticing to you. This investiture may not happen on the first date, but might on the second or third as both of you allow yourselves to reveal more of your important inner material to one another.
  • But, an important bit of advice: Don’t offer too much of yourself immediately. A lot of people feel that they have to “get it all out in the open” to make sure the other person is not scared off by all of your hidden warts and past misdeeds. They spill out all their dirty laundry from the past, their endless health problems, their feelings of inadequacy, their sensitivities and history of problems. In other words, they unload every bit of baggage to you, when you barely know their names. You might be able to do that at a 12-Step meeting, but you don’t need to do it on a first date.
  • However, a little bit of honesty can go a long way—and it should. Offer just an inner peek at yourself, a keyhole view that basically invites your date to want to see more. You can pick some part of you that makes you seem more rounded, interesting, and human. This is not a job interview, although in our 24/7 hard-sell environment, it has become that for many people. Remember: You don’t have to be constantly perky, optimistic, and bright. You can have moments when a darker side of you comes out—but just keep them as moments.
  • You don’t have to make every single point in spades: This is especially true for men, but I find that women now do it as well. Part of the inherent territorialism of men is that they too often lay out their opinions and immediately pounce on anyone contradicting them. Retract. Realize that within every difference of opinion are some elements of truth. People love being told, “ I think you’re right about that.” Use that expression a lot. As I wrote in The Manly Art of Seduction there is something wonderful about learning that you are not always 100% right—that is, in seeing another side of an opinion, feeling, or experience. Open yourself up to discovery, even if it’s only to say, “Uh huh?”
  • On the other hand, allow yourself to be strong by being centered, and allowing someone else to be pulled into that center. So don’t belittle other people, even in your mind—you’ll be surprised how easily others pick up on even your unexpressed feelings. Just realize that in a dating situation people easily become unnerved and some of their lesser sides, even their worst ones, can surface. So allow yourself to feel comfortable with yourself, and then bring that other person into your own, more secure area of comfort.
  • Don’t expect perfect dialogue from other either one of you. In The Manly Art of Seduction, I talked about how TV dialogue—written by professionals—has skewed so many people’s ideas of what real conversation should be. They think that everyone, including themselves, should always be fun, witty, sparkling, and have a whole arsenal of zingers. Frankly nobody is, except on TV. Awkward moments are wonderful. They invite a moment for a genuine touching closeness to take place. Try taking someone’s hand. When she stops talking, or you have, just relax. Now you can provide a sanctuary of quiet and closeness that in a noisy world is perfectly welcome.
  • Learn how to smile and invite others in with that smile. Smiling is wonderful and contagious. But too often we confuse the salesmen’s high-voltage, 100-watt grin with a real smile. I advise people to look at the light in another person’s eyes, not directly at his eyes but just at that light, and smile because you’re connecting with it. These are moments of quiet romanticism. They’re beautiful. They can make any date.
  • Grooming, clothes, and the rest of our physical-appearance package are important parts of showing who we are—in that we are taking some effort to look good. But remember, in a dating situation, all of these should be used to invite someone to come closer to you, and not as a way of holding them at arm’s length. So you don’t have to be up-to-the-minute on the latest in style—this is not Fashion Week in New York. But it’s your time to be yourself as your better self (not even your best, remember that). If you are going to wear a fragrance, keep it as low key as possible. Make him or her have to get closer to you to smell it. And don’t wear anything that becomes more of a show than you are—keep that in your closet for another occasion.
  • Be honest, but don’t slam the door in anyone’s face. You can honestly say, “I’m not sure that I came off really well tonight, but I’d like to see you again.” Or, “We really didn’t get to know each other, but I think there’s room to know each other more.” In other words, don’t push a situation that may not be there, but try to open it up gently. Also remember that there may something about a person that you just don’t “get” on your first date. It may take a few days, or even weeks for that thing to find its resonance with you. Maybe it was the way she talked, or was really interested in you, or was—and you knew it—overcoming a lot of her own shyness and reticence just to be with you. So don’t shut the door hard by making her feel that it’s over, when it really isn’t. Dating, like wine, needs a little time to “breathe” in the glass. Give yourself that time.


Perry Brass is the author of the bestseller The Manly Art of Seduction, How to Meet, Talk to, and Become Intimate with Anyone. His next book will be The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love, How Connecting with Your Own Deeper Self Can Bring You Happiness, Sexual Satisfaction, and Save Your Life in a Difficult World. The author of 18 books, he is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and a past contributor the Good Men Project. You can connect with him through this contact form, or through his website, You can also friend him on Facebook, or through his fan pages there.

Malachy McCourt and I discuss aging . . . and fawking.

March 23, 2010


Malachy McCourt and Perry Brass at Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble

Malachy McCourt and Perry Brass at Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble

Last night, Monday, March 22, 2010, I took part in an event at the Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble called—of all things—”Nifty After Fifty,” sponsored by the Greater New York Independent Publishers Association and produced by Francine Trevens. Fantastic evening. We got about 175 people there, mostly eager to hear Malachy McCourt, our guest of honor, talk in his sweet-and-salty Irish-tweed spun voice about the simple things of life that usually aren’t. He compared same-sex marriage to Adam and Eve—an idea that would make many Fundamentalists croak. Because . . . when Adam “lay” with Eve, she had all of his DNA in him (who else’s?) . . . so “he was just about fawking himself, right—now how different is that from same-sex love and marriage?” Malachy talked about “fawking” pretty often. “Fawking,” the Irish version of carnal knowledge, always sounds so much more picturesque than the American reference to it which sounds . . . OK, vulgar. There were also scenes from a few short plays that deal with getting older and hating it (let’s be honest: you don’t have a choice in this, but you can make the most of it) from Francine’s new collection of plays, Short Plays Long to Remember. “Short Plays” contains “Bar None,” my one-act about the Mattachine Society, an early gay rights group, opening the bars in New York to gay men in 1966: something most have long forgotten.

Prior to this, a bar owner in NYC could have his license revoked simply for serving booze to anyone who even appeared queer. Of course this law was rarely enforced because so many bar-keeps routinely paid off the cops, which in turn kept the Mafia happily in the bar business.

Other readers on the program were Norman Beim, Kat George, Francine L. Trevens, Andrea Troy, Marni K.Connellyand Kay Williams.

Norman is a playwright and Kay was an actress before becoming an author (not that you can’t do both) so they read from two of Norman’s plays wonderfully. And Malachy read from “The Rocking Horse” by Daniel P. Quinn—I think you could hear Malachy McCourt read the Yellow Pages and get a kick out of it.

There was also a song, or two, from singer/lyricist Michael Colby and pianist Annie Lebeaux on a sparkly new hybrid Yamaha piano (does this mean it’s also a car?). 

As my part of the evening, I gave a talk entitled “The Erotic Life After 50.” It was actually more about The Manly Art of Seduction, but, hey, shameless self-promotion is something that gets most authors either on the bestseller list or somewhere in author hell where the company is Shakespeare and Voltaire. Why complain?

So, if you didn’t make it to B & N on a really crummy, rainy but fun night, here’s what I said.

If 30 years ago someone had told me that at 62, I’d be publishing a book called The Manly Art of Seduction, How to Meet, Talk to, and Become Intimate with Anyone, I would have said . . . of course, what else would I be doing at 62?

I came from a generation where seduction—that is, real seduction, not the TV Jell-O version of it—was a way of life. And I grew up in the Deep South where we not only depended upon the kindness of strangers, we invited it whenever we could find it.

The truth is seduction has been a wonderful part of my life, but it took me a while to figure out how it works, and how I can explain it to others so it will work for you, too. We live in what I call the “culture of rejection,” and often older people feel the sting of this. We’re overlooked, we feel rejected, and sometimes it feels that even attempting to initiate any kind of action is futile. This leads many of us into erotic shutdown: we feel that we are either too old or too “smart” to be seductive or allow ourselves be seduced.

This is sad, because the loveliness of your own inner self, which has no actual age, is being denied. Much of the Manly Art of Seduction is about being open to this authentic self inside you, and letting it open you to the seductiveness of the world—and of yourself. In other words, the seductive you is waiting to come out, and it—or you—will be successful at seduction, once you connect with it.

First, some definitions: Seduction—that’s simple: an invitation to intimacy.

Intimacy: a real closeness energized with the deeper aspects of yourself, and of someone else.

The Manly Art of Seduction gets you in contact with this deeper self through mind exercises and actual experiences. You will use this contact to give you the confidence to achieve closeness and go as far with it as you want to, or circumstances allow you to.

The world is not perfect—and neither are you—so you may strike out sometimes. But—and this is very important, so stay awake—as you become better at the Manly Art, you will find more men attractive and also attracted to you. Therefore, as you become more open to the inner beauty of yourself, a lot of other men will become attractive as well, and many of them, as you follow the techniques of The Manly Art of Seduction, will start to approach you now.

The Manly Art, using scenarios and exercises, explains how to approach men, speak to them, what’s really happening in a seductive conversation, and how to touch men physically and emotionally, becoming more intimate with them, negotiating possibilities. It also shows you how to keep rejection fears away, and maneuver a relationship into warmer and more satisfying waters.

Realistically, I tell you don’t expect clear weather all the time—there are some horses in fact who don’t want to be led to any kind of water. And I’ll tell you how to dive out of a situation just as I’ll tell you how to enter it. But there is one lesson I want you to keep no matter what: as you get closer to the real you that our relentless commercialism works so hard to keep you isolated from, you’ll learn not to reject yourself. So you’ll never beat up on yourself, feel hurt inside, and walk away.

This is at the core of the Manly Art. Now how you go from your inner self to your outer one, and then from you to him, or her, or her to her, or . . . well — seduction is universal — is laid out clearly with questions after most chapters for you to answer. So that the book also becomes a journal for your progress in Seduction.

One of my main goals is to open seduction up to everyone, especially people who feel left out, who often end up spending the night alone and feel self conscious about themselves because they are either too shy or have some aspect of themselves that they feel ashamed of. So I have a chapter on disability and seduction, as well as on weight and how we deal with that in a society obsessed with youthful slimness. I also included chapters on seduction across race lines and class lines, which sometimes feel like an even tougher barrier. And also issues like erectile dysfunction, penis size, seduction and married men, straight men, threesomes, and seduction within a relationship where sex has either become stalemated or nonexistent.

Since one of the keys to successful seduction is making yourself available, I have a chapter on seduction over dinner at your place, even if you can’t cook and your home looks like a gang of Neanderthals just left it, or what do you do when you go to his place and he’s acting like romance is just not on the menu. Turning cold potatoes into a hotter dish is at the meat of the Manly Art, but the most important thing is knowing that you are at the center of it and can bring someone else into it and love every moment of it.

If you’re intrigued about the Manly Art of Seduction, I’m co-leading a workshop on it with Jerry Kajpust on April 29, and will be happy to talk with you more about the workshop, too

PS. I want to thank Bart Greenberg from the Lincoln Center B & N’s Community Relations staff for making this event possible. Bart is the friend of many communities, and a great pal to have in the book world.