What is Assisted Loving?

By Ginger Manley | Posted: Wednesday September 19, 2012

Ginger Manley conducts Journey through Sexuality and Aging lecture


In 2009 I was given the opportunity to become a contributing columnist for a then-small, newly-begun monthly newsmagazine, Mature Lifestyles. Norma Bixler, a dynamic lady with years of publishing experience behind her, had decided to come out of retirement and start this paper focusing on the needs and resources of people over the age of fifty. I discussed with Norma the possibility of doing a column on sexuality and aging and I chose the title "Assisted Loving" to reflect that while most seniors are not yet ready for assisted living, many can use some assistance--both educational and medical--with their intimacy. I submitted several sample columns of "Assisted Loving" using a question and answer format and she ran these by her higher-ups, who eventually gave her their approval to publish for a MIddle Tennessee readership the first-ever sexuality column focusing on issues of aging and sexuality.

Things went pretty well for the first year or so, but then Norma received several complaints that some readers were offended by the explicit nature of the content. Fearing she might lose some of her advertising support, she withheld one column that she thought might be offensive and she asked me to try to be less direct in the answers I gave. I told her I could not do that--if people were brave enough to ask me their questions I thought I was obligated to answer them as completely and as truthfully as possible.

Norma reconsidered--her explanatory editorial in the July 2010 edition is appended to this message. She was already a hero to me by what she had allowed me to pioneer, but with her act of reconsideration and the compelling reasons she gave, she became even more of a hero in my life. Since then the columns have run monthly with no further managerial issues (or at least none of which I am aware.) Norma's health declined and in 2011 she sold the paper to a group and Sheri Prevatte took over as publisher, with Brian Harville as managing editor. They published the first online issue of ML in August 2011. According to their research, Mature Lifestyles is now read by about one million readers.

My hope and intent is to publish all of the columns from "Assisted Loving" in an e-book  sometime in late 2012 or early 2013. Please watch my web site for updates on publication. "Assisted Loving" columns since August 2011 can be accessed online at http://www.maturelifestylestn.com/staff/ginger-manley/


July 2010 Editorial

"Righting a Wrong Not Easy But Right"

By Norma Bixler


Five years ago I came out of retirement accepting the challenge to become publisher of this magazine, the first of its kind in Middle Tennessee. Although I had many years experience in the various facets of the newspaper industry, publishing a specialty magazine with its focus primarily on the interest of 50-plus community made this a special challenge.

            Wearing the Publisher hat, as I do with Mature Lifestyles, is different and an awesome responsibility. In the operation of a daily newspaper office there is departmentalization – Editorial, Advertising, Production, Pressroom and Circulation. Policy and major decisions are established by the Publisher. Various department heads do not interfere with the editorial staff whose job it is to keep the public informed with fair and impartial facts. Advertising representatives do not influence the news articles. Their job is to sell a presentation of products and services available. Circulation department’s job is one of promoting, to keep increasing the numbers of readers and giving good customer service. Working as a team, what rolls off the press day after day is a fine product rendering a service to the people for the betterment of the community as a whole.

            Basically there is not much difference in what I do today other than the fact I must make decisions factoring in the magazine’s journalistic integrity, fiscal soundness practices and increasing circulation in order to give our readers a quality product, one they will not want to miss a single copy.

            A month ago I made a decision – one that was not thought out as thoroughly as was needed. I had decided to forego publishing the "Assisted Loving" monthly column in the June issue. I had received a complaint from a previous "Assisted Loving" column from a group (adult) who thought the column was “inappropriate” and canceled delivery. Not wanting to offend anyone and, yes, not desiring to lose the circulation I ‘in the heat of the day’ made a poor choice.

            I strayed away from my editorial integrity. I allowed a small group and the ‘so-called numbers game’ dictate what to print and what not to print with this omission. I regret this error in judgment. After a long re-evaluation "Assisted Loving" will again be appearing in Mature Lifestyles. I dropped the ball in the decision making process overlooking the fact that the readership of this magazine is highly sophisticated and in today’s world this market is thirsting for information that will afford them a longer, happier, fuller quality of life than ever before.

            "Assisted Loving" is a sexual health column. It has been a part of this magazine for about two years holding high readership. It came about after researching topics and subjects that would hold strong readership appeal to the 50-plus community and after much thought and discussions with professionals in several walks of life. I made a forward decision to try to provide this information to our readership from a true professional.





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Assisted Loving Archive:



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Assisted Loving now available in print and electronic forms


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Assisted Loving--the book. Coming soon!

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Assisted Loving: Alcohol and libido


Assisted Loving: Shaking things up

Assisted Loving: Communication key to better love life


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Assisted Loving: Guess who's coming to Christmas dinner?


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