The Crush Letter No 61

. 15 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about friendship, love and sex in midlife.  Because midlife is so much hotter than they said it would be.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.

Hello Crush,

I got an urgent note from a CRUSH Reader last week. The subject line read "Sex S.O.S." Naturally, I opened it immediately.

"Dear Dish,

Greetings from London en route to Paris. My husband and I started the morning in a beautiful country inn in the Cotswolds ... When I opened my emails to read The Crush Letter, it reminded me: "NOooooo!! We left my oils in the bedside table!!!!"

We are crushed as the sex oil has changed the sex game and brought a lot of joy and pleasure back into our lives. PLEASE send me the name and info so I can re-order! Thank you!



I rushed her out a link to the Foria Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD immediately. It is one of the products we've reported on in our ongoing PrimeCrush Toy Tester series. We've reshared that story below, just in case there are any emergencies out there in CRUSH Reader land.

Joyful travels, S!

I am so glad to be of service to you, CRUSH Readers. My email is if you find yourself in a bind (and you don't like rope play).

(You can only get our Toy Tester reviews if you are a subscriber--we don't publish these publicly--but since you're here, you obviously are. And we love you for it.)

If you're new here (welcome!), I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies. For more about me and why we're here go here.

In This Letter.   +Extended Encounters. Andrea Robbins Rimberg and David Rimberg. By Lisa Ellex  In this series Lisa Ellex features true stories about love that lasts. It is perfect timing for this one about a Summer romance that turned into a lifetime of love.  +Book Review: The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It Every Time. By Maria Konnikova. Review by Helen Mitsios A read that should make you think twice every time a friend of a friend offers you the opportunity of a lifetime. +3 Newsletters Dish Lives By. By Dish Stanley Where Dish gets her dish.   +May: What's Hot. Did you know May is Masturbation Month ;)   +PrimeCrush Toy Tester Review: We Tried Foria Awaken Arousal Oil With CBD and Here's What We Thought. By Dish Stanley In light of the "urgent" note to Dish this week, we are resharing the awaken oil reviews  +Our Song of the Week To believe in this livin' / Is just a hard way to go

Extended Encounters.  By Lisa Ellex

Andrea Robbins Rimberg and David Rimberg.

This is a series on love that lasts. Together 54 years, Andrea and David are a vibrant and active couple in their mid-70s. She’s an artist, he’s an environmental health and safety consultant with a Ph.D. in Engineering.

After more than five decades of togetherness, tell me about the summer romance that turned into a lifetime of love.

Andrea: It was Memorial Day Weekend 1968. Brighton Beach, Bay 2, in Brooklyn.

David: We had mutual friends. Andie was sitting on a blanket with Shari and we were introduced.

Andrea:  Shari was two-years-old. David began putting sand in her pail. What he didn't know was that I also had two little boys who were visiting with their grandmother!

David: Andie and I connected and started dating and the love started to appear.

Andrea: Three years later on Memorial Day weekend, we got married!

David: It was pretty radical for a single guy to be attracted to a woman with three kids.

Andrea:  My therapist said, “He should see a therapist.” So, for 7 years during the 1970s, we were in therapy, separately. All the years in therapy were beneficial but I felt it was a fad. My friend Clair's husband had just completed EST (Erhard Seminars Training was a form of large group awareness training and part of the Human Potential Movement) so I took the training. It opened a world of possibility I never got in therapy. I asked David to do it. He joined, kicking and screaming.

David: One of the stories I tell about EST training is about my unwillingness to pay for it.  

Andrea: I said, “Don’t worry. I’ll find the money.”

Continue reading here

Have you and your partner been blessed with an extended encounter of at least 25 years?  If you’d like to tell me about it, reach out to me at and your story could be told here.

SIGHS & MOANS. When the Lid Scrapes Off Of Old Pandora’s Toy Box. By Ralph Greco.

A regular column on love, sex, and kink in relationships from the host of the podcast Licking Non-Vanilla, who has spent a lot of time contemplating all of it in his sixty years of being alive.

If you missed the first two pieces in this series, here is where to start: How To Stop Worrying About What Your Fantasies “Mean” and Start Loving Your Sexual Imagination.

“Ok, So I Had This Idea We Might Turn the Bedroom Into a 19th Century One-Room School House and You Can Dress Up In”…

Introducing a Fantasy To Your Lover That Doesn’t Go So Great

Paraphrasing the old saying “The best-laid plans…don’t always get you laid”; when it comes to the delicate dance of our bedroom escapades, sometimes things move swimmingly. Other times, even with a long-term partner, one or both of you might just be a little “off” for the evening.

The dance can even be more delicate when trying to make a fantasy real.

Even when you have downloaded the exact dialogue for your role play, bought the high-end Swiss chocolate sauce, and finally found a WW1 French commandant uniform on eBay that fits you like a glove, there are a bunch of hurdles one can experience when plucking a fantasy from one’s head and trying to make it real. So, what do we do when we introduce a little off-center playtime and things do not go exactly how we Imagined? Do we just ignore that chalk-on-blackboard “squeech!” when the old lid off of our Pandora’s toybox slides a little too far off its mark? Do we have to throw the baby out with the bathwater if we introduce a fantasy to our lover and the fantasy all but fails?

Here are some tips:


I encouraged you to share your fantasies and even suggested the best ways to do it, but still, communication after the fact, especially with our most intimate, will serve us well.

This particular elephant curling up under your sheets will grow to quite the sizeable old pachyderm if you fail to chuck some peanuts in its maw. Don’t let the hiccup of a moment become bigger than it needs to be. Often what goes wrong in enacting a fantasy is something as simple as a momentary misunderstanding where to place what limb or a playful word taken the wrong way, especially if what you are presenting to a lover is far afield from anything either of you has ever tried.

Especially when introducing something new into the bedroom, a little preamble, in the way of maybe showing your partner some porn with your fantasy front and center or bringing up your idea well before you try it, can make the idea easier to unroll, as it were, when the time comes.

Continue reading here.

Book Review:

The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It Every Time. By Maria Konnikova. Review by Helen Mitsios

Conned once? Not me. Conned twice? Not in a million years. If you think you’re too smart to get conned, then consider yourself forewarned, because the “it can’t happen to me” attitude makes you the con artist’s perfect target. According to both the author Konnikova and psychologist Daniel Gilbert (not to mention other experts she sites), just about everyone thinks he/she/they are smarter than they really are.

This enlightening and fascinating book is based on a compilation of real-life anecdotes as well as academic studies and observations. There’s not a dry minute of reading. In fact, it’s a must-read because you’ll learn to look out for warning signs – and learn how the con artist ensnares the mark. Note that reading the book might just end up making you suspicious of everyone (for a short while). Chances are you won’t ever want to get your fortune told, tarot card reading, or meet a potential date online who is just too good to be true – there’s a reason that saying exists.

In The Confidence Game Konnikova enlightens readers as to the why, when, where, and how that allows grifters, con artists, swindlers, and by any other name, to practice their nefarious talents. And a black magic art it is. So, how does a Bernie Madoff get to run a $64.8 billion Ponzi scheme? How does fraudulent German heiress Anna Sorokin Delvey or the Tinder Swindler get away with it? Indeed, Delvey said in an interview that she doesn’t steal or coerce, she simply “asks them” and whether they comply or not. The thing is, most people do.

Continue reading here.

3 Newsletters Dish Lives By.  By Dish Stanley

Emily Nunn: The Department of Salad  

"A weekly missive that will not just inform you about the glories of salad— past, present, and possibly future—but also supply you with recipes and dressings to keep you in salad year-round. And know this: you don’t necessarily have to like lettuce. You don’t have to be a vegetarian, but it’s fine if you are because we’ll be exploring the salad spectrum: chicken, beef, fish, bean, grain, fruit, and straight-up vegetable salads, as well as hot and cold concoctions. Also: We at the DOS do not by any means consider salad a “diet” food, so get that out of your head this instant. At this point, our hopeful lineup of regular features will include CHEF SALAD (coercing people we admire to chat with us and give us their salad recipes), TEST KITCHEN (an inconsistent mix of product and gadget recommendations, extra recipes, and ideas for smoother and more delicious weekly salad-making), and, occasionally, BOOKS."

I’m going to admit that I’ve always loved a good salad, and me and my BFF since high school not only trade salad recipes but we've been elevating salads to “favorite yummy shared meals” status for years now.  We have salad nights, CRUSH Readers. But The Department of Salad is next level. And Nunn, the Salad CEO, means it when she says she doesn’t see salads as diet food. Neither do I, but ever since I went through David Stewart’s amazing The Ageist Mastermind Cohort this winter I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate more varied and delicious vegetables into my dinner. Voila! The superexcellent Department of Salad.

Heather Cox Richardson: Letters from An American

Heather Cox Richardson is a professor of American history. She describes her Letters from An American as "a chronicle of today’s political landscape, but because you can’t get a grip on today’s politics without an outline of America’s Constitution, laws, the economy, and social customs, this newsletter explores what it means, and what it has meant, to be an American."

It's hard to get a grip on current developments--to find that true line of perspective, opinion, and reliable facts around the wild developments in our world today. Heather Cox Richardson, who grounds her reports and opinions in history we can follow, is stabilizing. That's major. She is not "politically neutral" (if there truly is even such a thing) but she is a must-read (for me) to get a daily understanding of not only what's happening now in light of historical parallels, but also often a quick summary of how the left and right are responding--both, increasingly (in my opinion) in extreme ways.

Tim Ferris: 5-Bullet Friday

Tim Ferriss has been listed as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People” and one of Fortune’s “40 under 40.” He is an early-stage technology investor/advisor and the author of five #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers, including The 4-Hour Workweek and Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers. His 5-Bullet Friday is a weekly newsletter where he shares “the 5 things he’s been loving, using, and Reading: books, gadgets, hacks, and more!

I hesitated to include Ferris's 5-Bullet Friday because I mean the guy is so famous and widely followed that I thought it perhaps unnecessary. But just in case there's a CRUSH Reader who isn't already turned on to his very brief Friday missives, here's what you missed this week: a Twitter thread on learning foreign languages, a recipe for steak in a chimichurri sauce, a song by Groove Armada, a call-out to a series for Japanophiles (I am one) called Old Enough! (and more). Where this tech/wellness guru/stoic on steroids leads, millions will follow, so it's helpful trendspotting on top of everything else.

{Resharing this Toy Tester Review, Dear CRUSH Readers, in light of the urgent note I received.}

PrimeCrush Toy Tester Review

We Tried Foria Awaken Arousal Oil With CBD and Here's What We Thought.  By Dish Stanley

In The Crush Letter No. 6, I wrote a short note titled Arousal Gel's, Baby about how I had suddenly seemingly all-at-once been bombarded with ads for women's arousal oils.  It turns out it was a good thing because now I like them. Arousal gels are sexual enhancers that aim to increase a woman's pleasure by intensifying sensitivity and creating a more powerful orgasm. I chose Foria's Awaken Arousal Oil for our Toy Tester Project because it has CBD in it, which increases blood flow, helps relax muscles and ease tension, and decreases anxiety or discomfort. I trust the Foria line of products - they are all organic and contain none of the ingredients (like glycerine) that cause problems (like yeast infections).  Also, as it happens, I've been told it tastes and feels good to your partner.

Pro Tip on amount: if you are trying an arousal gel for the first time, start with a small amount in case you're ultra-sensitive. It may mean that it takes a couple of tries before you get the full feeling and an understanding of your personal right "dosage" but it's worth it. We had one PrimeCrush Toy Tester who reported after her first trial that she didn't get much of a sensation, but when she tried it a second time with a slightly larger dose, she really enjoyed the feeling.  Also, note that the Awaken might take a few minutes to fully rev up (so plan accordingly).

Our Testers included those who used the Awaken alone, as well as with partners and included both women and men.

{And by the way, for our first PrimeCrush Toy Tester Review we read Great Sex Starts at 50 by Tracey Cox. If you missed that one, we are re-running it below.}

Did the PrimeCrush Toy Testers like Foria Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD? Here's what they said:

Would you recommend Foria's Awaken Arousal Oil to other PrimeCrush Readers?

5 out of 5 Toy Testers saidYes.”

Here are a couple of our Toy Testers' specific comments:

Foria's Awaken has a subtler taste and smell than the other arousal gels I've tried, and I preferred that, and I also love that it has CBD in it (to relax things). I saw that Foria makes a version with THC in it too, but don't feel I need that level of ooooomph. I think everyone should try it. "Roxy"

I do recommend Awaken to anyone who enjoys CBD products. If one is not a fan of chocolate and mint flavors, then maybe this isn’t for you. "Dixie"

Want to Share Anything More About the Experience for You?

I didn’t know what to expect as a solo. I was pleasantly surprised with the warm, tingly feeling and the silky, light formulation. It wasn’t at all sticky which is a win. The feeling lasted throughout and definitely escalated the moment. I find even the idea of it a bit thrilling. I also appreciate that it’s plant-based. I expect I’ll use Foria regularly. “Unknown”

I had never used anything with CBD nor arousal oil, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. It had a lovely smell. It wasn’t too slippery, the way some lubes can be. I applied a generous amount and waited. And waited. Nothing happened. I mentally shrugged, assuming that perhaps I had applied it incorrectly or hadn’t given it enough time. I tried it several times after and had the same experience. I had high hopes but didn’t experience heightened arousal from this lovely smelling oil. “Susie”

Full disclosure: I have been using this product and others from Foria since 2018. Awaken Arousal Oil and Sex Oil are a regular part of my life. In fact, life before them was much more stale and unfortunate - but that may have quite a bit to do with my current partner as well! To put it simply, Awaken draws the yes, yes, yes out of me (almost) every time. I don’t have a negative word to say about it, but I do hope Foria will experiment with more subtle flavors to add to the sublime chocolate mint. “Dixie”

It is subtle and I liked that. It was gentle, not overpowering. I think that maybe because it has CBD in it I thought it might be a more intense sensation. Don’t get me wrong, the gentleness is nice. There’s definitely something there. It is not an electrifying feeling, but like a gentle “lift”. I will keep trying it and maybe up the dosage to see how that feels. “Unkown”

Anything else you want to say?

Even though I was already familiar with this product, it was sexy fun for my partner and me to experience it as Toy Testers. We found a new level of communication as we played with all of the different products we were sent. “Dixie”

A big thank you to all our PrimeCrush Toy Testers. We know it's "hard work" but we count on you!

Song Of The Week
Angel from Montgomery Sung By Bonnie Raitt

In last week's DEVOUR Letter we wrote about Bonnie Raitt's 18th album Just Like That. Listening to her latest reminded me of this early, incredible, live 1974 performance of Angel from Montgomery (written by John Prine). Not only does she sing beautifully and look rapturous, this video shows what a talented blues guitarist she is.

Listen here

Bonnie Raitt's upcoming tour dates are here.

‘Just Like That . . .’ by Bonnie Raitt Review: Still Vital
The singer’s new record—her 18th—features her stunning voice on a variety of new compositions and covers.

Tedeschi Trucks Band does a wonderful live version of Angel from Montgomery (which slides into the Grateful Dead song Sugaree) in this video. Not to miss.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mothers out there! I hope that your weekend is full of joy.

Dish Stanley XO,

You Won't Want to Miss A Thing. Here Are Links to Some Favorites.

+DEVOUR {things to do, watch, see & have} In our monthly DEVOUR column we share all the things we think you should eat up.  Here are some snacks from the last few months, but to get all of us, subscribe.

+Hook Ups: Founders We Think You Should Know “Hook-Ups” is an ongoing feature introducing our readers to some of our favorite entrepreneurs and small business owners.

+SIGHS & moans. By Ralph Greco A regular column on love, sex, and kink in relationships from the host of the podcast Licking Non-Vanilla, who has spent a lot of time contemplating all of it in his sixty years of being alive.

+Extended Encounters. By Lisa Ellex Columnist Lisa Ellex launches a new series on long-term relationships by looking inward at her own need for connection ... and then outward at an octogenarian couple (with an assist from her dog).


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