The Importance Of Sexuality In Older Adults

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While thinking about the many topics that I'm concerned about when it comes to older adults, I could not help myself from writing about intimacy and sex. Perhaps because where I come from, sex has been forever a taboo, especially when talking about seniors. However, after starting my internship with older adults, I could not believe that sex is a very common topic among many, and for the ones that are healthy; it can be one of the top topics on their mind.
Many people have the assumption that when people get old, they do not enjoy intimacy anymore. Intimacy, if not sexuality, is a continuing human need for most people. There are misconceptions and negative attitudes about sexuality and aging, which pose barriers to sexual fulfillment for long-term care residents. Health care providers need to examine their own attitudes and refrain from labeling an older adult's sexual activity or interest as a problem.
Existing research on sexual activity of older adults suffers from inadequate descriptions of the population, particularly across different cultures and ethnic groups and in regard to education and financial status. In a 1999 American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) survey of 1384 older adults, respondents reported that sexual activity was pleasurable. The AARP survey found that older adults with partners felt that a satisfying sexual relationship was important, whereas those without partners did not feel such urgency. Women over age 75 were less likely to have a partner than older men, and as such, seemed to have a less positive attitude toward or interest in sexual activity than men of the same age. Men with or without a partner had more frequent thoughts, fantasies, and feelings of sexual desire (and self-stimulation) than ...

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...mpanion to share life, happiness, and sorrow for 40 years, what would happen to the person if they lost their other half?
Moody and Sasser stated that the normal aging process is not the determining factor of adult sexuality as much as are marital status, general physical health or an older person’s feelings about sexuality. Sexuality is much broader than sexual intercourse. Older people, like younger adults, need intimacy of all sorts in order to be happy and healthy, and there is individual variability in terms of what people need, want, and enjoy. As a social worker working with this population for the first time has been very interesting. Initially, writing about sexuality in general was intimidating, however, I found the challenge interesting and fulfilling. I am looking forward to continuing my work with older adults and hopefully I can make a difference.

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