In Arlene Heyman’s first book, the short-story collection Scary Old Sex, she pays such sustained and stylish attention to late-life lovemaking, however, that you may feel you are reading about it for the first time...A few of these seven stories don’t entirely work. Some sag somewhat toward the middle, like the insides of some of the thighs she describes. But Ms. Heyman is never an uninteresting writer.
With these seven stories, the author trains her narrative telescope on the decaying human body — whether it’s from illness or age. It’s not the easiest subject matter to animate on the page, but Heyman takes on the brutal intimacy of death and aging and provides new ways of seeing and experiencing these stages of life.
The graphic, funny, tender and shocking stories in New York psychiatrist Arlene Heyman’s debut collection are aptly titled. They are scary, because they deal with genocide, the events of 9/11, ageing, terminal sickness, caretaking, and death; 'old' because most of the characters are between the ages of 65 and 99; sex-centered, because several stories feature aging spouses in bed together, taking their medications, using their lubricants, employing various aphrodisiacs, and wives thinking longingly about their former husbands.