Sexuality in the Elderly Essays

Decent Essays

Sexuality in the Elderly: Sexual Dysfunction and Ways of Coping Over the last century, the life expectancy of the elderly has increased. This means that the largest growing population right now, in the United States, is persons over the age of 65 (Sex Tips for Older Adults, 2000). With this in mind, it would be helpful to talk about the personal aspects or as I like to call it, "sex lives" of the elderly. When people in our society think of the elderly, they almost never think of this population having sex or good sex for that matter. But they do! Unfortunately, the elderly encounter problems with sex as they become older and that is what I will be discussing along with way of coping with sexual dysfunction. …show more content…

There are physical changes in women as well that will affect their sexual abilities. The most common attribute is menopause. The natural processes leading up to menopause begin very early in a woman's life. The pituitary gland, a small gland at the base of the brain, signals the production of several hormones, including estrogen and progesterone. These hormones cause the lining of the uterus to thicken and shed throughout the course of a menstrual cycle. During childhood, estrogen and progesterone levels gradually increase to a point that allows the onset of a young woman's first menstrual cycle (Medcohealth, 2002). For reasons still unknown, estrogen levels begin to drop during the mid-30's. During the mid-40's, a woman enters a transitional stage called perimenopause, which usually lasts about four years. During this time, hormone levels begin to rise and fall, leading to irregular menstrual cycles. Monthly periods may be longer, shorter, lighter, heavier, or may not occur at all. Eventually, the amount of estrogen drops so low that it may no longer cause the lining of the uterus to thicken. This is when menopause occurs. The average age for a woman's final period is 51, but it can occur as early as age 40 and as late as age 60 (2002). In older women, the rate and amount of vaginal secretions and lubrications are decreased and there is general atrophy of the

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