Norm Self is living proof that you’re never too old to try something new, even if that something new is masturbating on camera.
The 83-year-old recently appeared in his first adult film alongside two considerably younger adult film professionals. The experience, he said, was “delightful.” A video of an interview with Self (including a few NSFW clips of the adult film he made) appears below.
Self identifies as a “sacred intimate” ― a teacher who helps men, women and people of all genders explore the healing power of pleasure ― and a student and participant of the Body Electric School, which seeks to integrate sexuality and spirituality.
So, for him, agreeing to appear in the adult film was simply a logical decision he made as part of his mission to see that “sex-negative norms are removed from our society’s vocabulary and replaced with the implicit message that our birthright is to enjoy erotic joy and bliss.”
HuffPost talked with Self earlier this week to learn more about the film, how he feels about the title “porn star,” what he thinks a 21-year-old could learn from him and more.
What was it like to make your first adult video at the age of 83?
It was splendid! How could it not be? [I was in] a blessed rural setting, surrounded by a cast and crew of loving, competent, supportive brothers intent on sharing the good news of the healing power of pleasure. What could be more delightful? And if you’ve seen the video, with the two adorable models “performing,” what else could be lacking?
What was the best part?
The best part was just being there and doing it. I find these days that my body is indeed a temple where intimacy and ecstasy intermingle; and whenever I am engaged with its erotic energies, I am transported into domains that give assurance of the goodness of all of life, and why I am here, embodied, to spread the good word that it’s available to all beings!
Would you do it again?
Absolutely! [And I’ll keep doing it] until the sex-negative norms are removed from our society’s vocabulary and replaced with the implicit message that our birthright is to enjoy erotic joy and bliss. We who have experienced that owe it to our sisters and brothers to share that good news with all who will hear it!
There’s no reason not to do it again until every embodied person has the news and is practicing in light of it.
I feel hemmed in by trying to answer questions about my “sexual identity,” since my identity is so much more than how I “do” sex. Norm Self
What are your thoughts about being called a “porn star”?
I have some reservations about the word “porn.” I support those who are exerting great effort to bring to justice those who are trapping and trafficking helpless persons for (fraudulent) erotic gratification. May their efforts flourish in bringing the guilty ones to justice!
But for those who have grown up in a sex-suppressive society where everything outside conventional norms/mores is labeled “porn” in order to suppress it — and who, therefore, find a kind of titillation in being “outside the norm” of suppression — I’m happy to wear the label.
How do you define your sexual identity?
Like many questions in the sexual domain, I feel hemmed in by trying to answer questions about my “sexual identity,” since my identity is so much more than how I “do” sex. I don’t really like to pen it down to a “sound bite.” My personal preference for a sex partner for my own pleasure is usually a man. But I have all the equipment for human sex, and if I’m with a woman and our engagement calls for erotic play, I let her decide what she wants us to do.
You are a “minister of erotic education and a sacred intimate.” What does that mean you specifically, and how did you get these titles?
I don’t know of any institution that confers these “titles.” In my case, they were “conferred” by loved ones who know me and love me because of what they have heard from me and know of me. (In saying this, I do not denigrate the many workshops and other training events that have helped me clear out wrongful images imprinted by a well-meaning but wrong-headed society.)
Specifically, if I accept the “title” of “minister of erotic education,” I would mean the eradication of false messages installed by society that sex is at best suspect, and at worst evil — and that its practice is severely constrained to reproduction of the species and not to be enjoyed. Moreover, sexual behaviors and practices can be learned for the enjoyment and enhancement of this kind of play — for the benefit of all partners!
What are your thoughts about the way that our culture often views or labels older people as not having a sexuality ― or sex?
I think it’s sad and destructive that our society has an image of elder human beings as “sexless.” I have been a facilitator with at least three women and a great many more men in the recovery/restoration of their erotic/sexual response and their joyful delight at the discovery that “it ain’t over until I say it is!”
I’m proud to have been in this video. But if any reader thinks [this display of my sexuality is] exceptional, I can refer you to lots of men who will testify it’s also their story!
How is your sex life at 83 different from your sex life at earlier stages of your life?
I have stated, publicly and truthfully, that my sex life at age 83 is “the best of my life.” That’s true, but it isn’t because I got older but because I got wiser! The more I let go of old messages ― installed early on by well-meaning but ill-informed advisers ― that sex is “bad,” the more free I am to accept who I am as an embodied erotic being. The “better” comes from a willingness to examine and let go of those old stories, to be in my body, and to notice how good that feels! I invite anyone, of whatever age, to do the same, and then to give thanks to the Divinity who gives us these bodies and invites us to take pleasure in them.
What’s the biggest misconception about older people and sex?
I haven’t done any exhaustive research on this, but I would speculate that the biggest misconception is that sex “wears out” and isn’t for elders. My sad assumption is that anyone who believes that and gives up on having sex is using their failing joy from sex as an excuse for other dynamics in their life that robs the sex of its luster and bliss. I would dispute this fabrication by pointing to many elders I know (even older than I am!) who regularly enjoy this sweet intimacy.
What’s something a 21-year-old could learn about sex from an older person?
I have heard from reputable “authorities” that young persons are physiologically more able to have more frequent sex. I would not dispute that. But from my experience, and the testimonies of other older men, I would say that more is not necessarily better. In fact, in many areas of life, including sex, getting older can bring forward all manner of delicious subtleties and make life richer, fuller.
Learn to pay attention and look for those subtleties. Learn to notice, to enjoy, and to give thanks for those subtler things in life that make it more enjoyable. And learn how to genuinely love every partner you have sex with — at least while you are having sex! And learn that there are many other “erogenous zones” than just your genitals. Get really acquainted with and train your mind — that’s your greatest sex organ!
This interview has been lightly edited.
For more from Norm Self, check out his website.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.