Sexuality Within The Older Population

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Sexuality within the Older Population Jonelle S. Allen LaSalle University Introduction

Sexuality is an important core dimension of life that incorporates beliefs, cultures, rituals, attitudes, values, intimacy and pleasure. The expression of sexuality along with the desire for intimacy can be very complex especially for the older adult. Sexual dysfunction among older men and women commonly increases with age along with co-morbidities. Many providers are not comfortable discussing in clinical settings about sexual function nor do they believe older persons are sexually active. Although some older adults have difficulties disclosing sexual problems to healthcare professionals, many still enjoy an active sex life. Healthcare providers must first recognize the scope of the problem and how to ask appropriate questions. Once that is established, effective treatment can be provided to improve quality of life for many older persons.

Sexual health is a concern that continues for all adults regardless of age. Assumptions about aging, intimacy and sexuality are constantly a challenge because the desire for closeness and sexual contact are lifetime necessities (Rheaume & Mitty, 2009). Current research on sexual activity has suffered from inadequate population descriptions within different cultures, education and financial status. Findings are therefore limited leaving health care
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