The Crush Letter No 146: Random Shit. Humor. Why Sex Matters. More Reader Letters.

. 14 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about life, love, and culture for those 50+. Because midlife and beyond is so much hotter than they said it would be. Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.

Hello Crush,

Hello CRUSHes.

Still January! Damn. This month feels longer than it takes my dog Ricky to find a spot to pee in the rain. Let’s go, girl.

In Hot Thots, I am writing about the Sexual Wellness Symposium I flew up to NYC (in a snowstorm) to attend. Just for you, dear readers. The chocolate aphrodisiacs I sampled? The vibrators I vibrated? The insight on how to ask for what I want in bed? For you. Honestly, I’m so selfless it makes me horny.

I got quite a few notes from CRUSH Readers on last week’s Open Door story. Many agreed with my friends Allison and Karen that Fred's open door was an invitation. Assuming it was, though, it was clumsy to some of you (“it put all of the burden on you, Dish”). And Larry wrote such a thoughtful note about the love letter I had sent to my Mr. Darcy (”I have never received such a remarkable, beautiful and dramatic love letter … Very sexy, really romantic.”) Larry, I try. I really do. Thanks to all of you! Check them all out in Dear Dish below.

Given your strong views on whether Fred’s open door was in fact an invitation, we are running our first-ever live poll below — anonymous!

In This Letter. +Dish’s Hot Thots. I Went to The SWELL’s Sex Symposium And Now I Know Why Sex Matters. And I’m sharing that, to start. It’s not to improve my dating life! Though improvements are certainly needed. +Want to Become Funnier? Try Humor, Seriously. By Dish Stanley Humor is powerful for creating and keeping bonds, and for life. But do we cultivate it? +More Reader Hit Lists for 2024. I’m putting myself out there for new experiences like I did in my 20’s. +I Redesigned My Closet for My Midlife Lifestyle: Here’s What Happened. By Daisy Foster I know what you must be thinking: “Ugh! Not another closet cleanout…” Well, it’s not. +Re-Reading Erotic Lit Classics: Venus in Furs by Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch. Reviewed By Christian Pan We are re-running this with the correct link! ‘This classic explores a complex psychology of desire, one where arousal and pleasure are almost indistinguishable from punishment, slavery, and loss of control.‘ +Social Media I Loved This Week +Our Song of the Week Why does it hurt me to stay?

Dish's Hot Thots.

I Went To The Swell’s Sex Symposium And Now I Know Why Sex Matters. (Not to Improve My Dating Life.)

I went to The Sexual Wellness Symposium hosted by The Swell, Dr. Emily Morse (@sexwithemily), and Dr. Kelly Casperson (@kellycaspersonmd) last week. The Symposium was primarily organized for women “of menopausal age” and, as with menopause itself, it turns out that there’s a lot that the experts are still learning about sex as we age.

Why did I go? (Not to improve my dating life! Though I know what you’re thinking, CRUSH Readers: it can’t hurt, right? And, man, I’ll take any help I can get.) I went because, as Dr. Casperson says, “Sexual health IS health.“ And here’s why (she says) it makes sense to be thoughtful about it:

Improving your sex life is about becoming better at every aspect of your life that truly matters:

  • Being a better communicator
  • Building emotional intimacy
  • Knowing yourself & what you truly need, and crave
  • Deeply knowing your partner (their needs, and what they crave)
  • Taking your health & wellness seriously (because good sex contributes to that)
  • Prioritizing deep connection - to yourself and your partner - over everything on your “to do“ list.

I’m thrilled to say I have a lot more to tell you about the Symposium, including experts and educators you’ll want to follow and perhaps some products you’d like to try. I‘ll start rolling all that out in a series published in CRUSH Letters over the next few weeks, but I already started dropping some mini (but solid) tips on lube and talking about sex on PrimeCrush's Instagram account:

Humor Builds Closeness & Makes Meaningful Conversation Easier. Want to Become Funnier? Here’s How. By Dish Stanley

Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life (and How Anyone Can Harness It. Even You.) - Aaker, Jennifer
Linked Here

Laughing with somebody makes you feel closer to them. It releases the bonding hormone oxytocin, which makes trust more likely. It makes difficult conversations possible. It makes getting through hard things in life, and with anyone, more doable. We all love being around funny people, and if somebody is funny and you ask anyone what they like most about being around that funny person “they make me laugh” will be the first thing they say.

So laughter is a relationship accelerator and adhesive, but how many of us mindfully cultivate it? And, how do you even become funnier?

I‘m getting serious about humor. I picked up Humor, Seriously, the book by Stanford professor Jennifer Aaker and author/lecturer Naomi Bagdonas when it came out in 2021, but only just read it. Most of the book focuses on the value of humor as a tool for getting ahead in business (they cite studies that show it makes you appear smart, competent, more authentic and effective as a leader), but there is so much in it that is useful to us in our everyday lives. (EVEN IF you’re not out there actively online dating, which FEELS REMARKABLY LIKE WORK.) The third chapter dives into the anatomy of what makes something funny and how to look at life through a new lens to create humor, for instance.

Ed Catmull, who founded, then ran Pixar in its heyday, writes in the foreword to Humor, Seriously that they learned that it was nearly impossible to convey hard truths, deeper meaning and get viewers through the necessary rough parts depicting true life in Pixar movies without humor because it comes across as “too on the nose,” like lecturing. At this stage in our lives, for all of us, there is as much honey as there is vinegar. And that’s even if you aren’t out dating. But as a dating tool? And a way to just get through the jungle we call life? It’s a necessity.

That’s why I bought the book and signed up for the mobile bootcamp. I got this, and it‘s been fun ever since.

Your 2024 Hit Lists: What Crush Readers Are Doing

Thanks to CRUSH Readers ”Di” and Mieke for sharing theirs!

Submitted by CRUSH Reader ”Di”:

"I’ve been meaning to email you for two weeks but today’s newsletter musings on ‘keeping the door open’ provided the impetus … the main point truly resonated with me — a long-married woman on the verge of turning 60. It echoes my approach to this year (or as I affectionately refer to it ‘THE YEAR I TURN 60’). Promoted by this WSJ article, "How to Avoid Being Boring at 60" and conversations with two of my sons about being open, receptive, and vulnerable, I am approaching 2024 as the year of ‘Hell, yes!’ "

What are the top 5 things on your 2024 Hit List?

I’m putting myself out there for new experiences like I did in my 20’s. March in a Mardi Gras parade, hell, yes! (even in an absurd outfit with aerial stunts that are giving me PTSD about not making the drill team in 9th grade?) hell, yes! Scuba again (even though I haven’t been in 25 years?), yep! Twilight kayak around Miami with stranger? skydive? complete some crazy hike challenge that may leave me wandering alone in the Colorado mountains? maybe even head to Calle Ocho to practice my fledgling Spanish? YES!

Do you have any advice for other CRUSH readers to help them stick to their 2024 Hit List?

I’m loving the idea of being open and receptive to new things, people and challenges in a way that I haven’t (it’s easy to get into and stay in your comfort zone). But to me it is the best way to stave off the not necessarily inevitable closing in that can come with aging it to keep pushing the boundaries. So, that’s your long answer to last week’s question about our approach to/resolutions for 2024.

Submitted by CRUSH Reader Mieke:

What are the top 5 things on your 2024 Hit List?

1. to keep my physical performance and well-being in top form ( I compete in a sport). Especially getting older the body changes and it is key to work on balance and core.

2. the alignment of manifesting what I say I want and what is blocking that inside my thoughts. Yes, I want a great relationship, a man who “gets” me, a deep attraction, companionship and true partner till the end, but if so why is it not happening? Do I really want this and what are the fears? ALIGNMENT!

3. To be of a mindset “ what would love do?” It is a practice and awareness but worth the process.

4. Find some special way to help my son find a positive and successful path. He’s so young emotionally and man o man it’s difficult to be patient.

5. Read more! January has been devoted to vision surgeries and I am seeing clear as a bell now. Woohooo!

I Redesigned My Closet for My Midlife Lifestyle: Here’s What Happened. By Daisy Foster

I know what you must be thinking: “Ugh! Not another closet cleanout…” Well, it’s not. Nor is it one of those insidious you-can’t-wear-this-after-40 “advice” articles. First things first: wear what you want to wear no matter what your age. And keep all of your stuff forever if you choose. For me, though, my body and my lifestyle have gone through some radical changes over the last few years, and my closet didn’t suit either anymore.

Some might say I was lucky in that my weight hadn’t shifted too much since college, and, when it did, the changes were too insignificant to demolish my self-esteem. I worked at my weight rigorously though, with calorie restrictions, weekend warrior workouts–it was closely monitored and accommodated. Conquered, is more like it. I saw my weight as a battle to be won.

Enter midlife menopause, and suddenly all the clichés are true. Your body somehow takes on a shape you never knew possible. What’s worse, I’d seen this coming for years and none of my old tricks were working. I went to doctor after doctor and they all said the same thing: “Women of your age don’t need many calories.” I was in my early to mid-40s and trying to find a way to restrict even less. All that did, now I know, was mess things up even more.

Continue reading here

HEAD’s UP: The Feud: Capote vs. The Swans Is The Series I Told You About That Is Based On Capote’s Women. It Starts January 31st. Capote's Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song  for an Era (Audible Audio Edition): Laurence Leamer, Carrington MacDuffie,  Penguin Audio: Audible Books & Originals

Capote’s Women by Laurence Leamer is an eye-opening nonfiction exhortation on Truman Capote’s real-life swans Babe Paley, Lee Radziwill, C.Z. Guest, Marella Agnelli, and his cold-blooded betrayal of them. (Headline: they’re all, every single one of them, really f*cked up (but chic as hell.)). I couldn’t put the book down, because I love indulging in a good, catty tale every once in a while. Especially if it involves a polished Mainbocher ensemble. The book is the basis for the upcoming FX series Feud: Capote vs. The Swans that starts this Thursday and the cast includes a fabulous roster: Tom Hollander, Naomi Watts, Chloe Sevigny, Diane Lane and more.

Re-Reading Erotic Lit Classics: Venus in Furs by Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch. Reviewed By Christian Pan 

Venus in furs - Von Sacher-Masoch, Leopold
Book linked here

{We are re-running this with the correct link!}

In this series Christian Pan re-discovers classic erotic literature from a current perspective.

The word “masochism” originated in the late 19th century, coined by German neurologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing to describe a psychosexual disorder wherein an individual derives pleasure and sexual gratification from pain or humiliation. His inspiration came from the surname of Austrian nobleman and writer Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, best known for his novella Venus in Furs. 

Blending philosophy with erotica, Sacher-Masoch´s book explores a complex psychology of desire, one where arousal and pleasure are almost indistinguishable from punishment, slavery, and loss of control. Framed as a story within a story, Venus in Furs opens with an unnamed narrator experiencing a confusing dream of the goddess of love. Upon awakening, he seeks out his friend and fellow nobleman Severin to discuss it, perhaps to uncover its symbolic meanings. The main narrative of the book thus begins, as Severin shares the history of an unusual painting he possesses: in it lies Wanda, a noblewoman who lies naked on an ottoman save for a fur coat and a whip in her hand, with Severin kneeling at her feet in complete devotion. 

Continue reading here

A place for all of our "letters to the editor"

“Dish, you’ve written a couple of times about your note offering your romantic love to the one guy, your Mr. Darcy. You didn’t want to go another day without being his lover, you said (memorably). I have never received such a remarkable, beautiful and dramatic love letter. What a lucky guy! I applaud you for the boldness. Very sexy, really romantic. I wish more people wrote handwritten love letters, especially bold ones like that.

I wouldn’t sweat it that you feel “frozen” over other men. Isn’t it possible that it is just that you haven’t met another man since Mr. Darcy who you feel as passionately interested in? So it’s not that you’re stuck. Rather, you’re looking for the right one. Don’t lose that spiritedness and faith in love that you had for your Mr. Darcy. As your friend Lisa says, keep walking through the open doors. I dated forever (2 years, and without sex) before I met somebody I am excited enough about to pursue as a full-on romantic partner. It just takes longer in this phase to find somebody where the two of you (and your lives) fit well enough together. I’m 71!


“Dear Dish,

Holy Shit. Of course that was an invitation. Not as clear as putting his hand on your knee under the dinner table but he sounds shy and gentlemanly. Are you sure you shouldn’t reach out now?”


“Dear Dish,

Liked your CRUSH yesterday. So well written.

I take issue with the discussion of Fred (the Sugarbush guy). You should not have walked into the room. If the open door was an invitation it was disrespectful. Put all the burden on you. A good passionate kiss with a gracious suggestion is the only gentlemanly behavior for him.

Sorry his son got sick, but you didn’t miss anything.“


Continue reading here

LIVE POLL: If you take it, you can immediately see the polling results. It’s anonymous!

Song of the Week

Running by Norah Jones

A lot of you were jealous that I got to see Robert Glasper & Norah Jones with my bff at the Blue Note in NYC this fall. For S’Norah fans, you’ll want to know that she just dropped this new song Running this week and it’s fab. Norah sings about running away from love from the first time “I felt the click in my heart.” I can relate. In addition to lyrics offering a range of enigmatic interpretations (we don’t know why she runs, or whether it is, for sure, a good thing (she’s running from something bad) or a bad thing (she’s scared of something being good)), it’s catchy.

She also announced upcoming tour dates, get them here.

Listen here

Social Media I Loved This Week






You are all so insightful, supportive and thoughtful, CRUSHes. I love having you in my life, I really do.

Dish Stanley XO,

Leaving the Door Open, Hoping That You’re Coming Through
In this story, Dish ponders a man she craved but didn’t sleep with and devises a strategy, with a little help from her friends, on a bolder approach. ”I’ma leave the door open, girl Hoping that you feel the way I feel and that you want me like I
What I Added to Up Next: What’s on Dish’s Nightstand in the PrimeCrush Bookshop.
What I Added to Up Next: What’s on Dish’s Nightstand in the PrimeCrush Bookshop. Based on a combination of recommendations over the holidays from friends and family who are “great readers,” as well as reviewers I admire, I’ve added these books to my reading stack, as well
The Friendship Files. By A.K.A. Darla
Anatomy Of An Auntie. By A.K.A. Darla Aunts can be the coolest mentors and the best of friends. Here’s one PrimeCrush writer’s story of hers. Aunties are special. They are a perfect blend of a nurturing mother and a drunken bestie. They’re someone who will
PrimeCrush Hotflash: The 5 Things You Need to Know About Menopause By Dish Stanley
PrimeCrush Hotflash: The 5 Things You Need to Know About Menopause By Dish Stanley. From The New Pause Symposium co-hosted by The Swell & Stripe Along with all the insight on menopause, and frankly, not at all inconsistent with it, were hundreds of women literally rebranding what it means to be

If you love me as much as I love you (and I really do love you!), then please help me grow by forwarding this {love} Letter to a friend! And I'd love to have you join us on instagram.

The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter from Dish Stanley curating articles & intelligence on everything love & connection - friendship, romance, self-love, sex. If you’d like to take a look at some of our best stories go to Read Us. Want the Dish?


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