Sex drive does not diminish with age and studies show that sexual activity earlier in life is a good indicator of sexual desires, needs and activity later in life. Sex in the later stages of life isn’t something that is typically discussed, however, myself and many collegues of mine know the matter is one that is deserving of attention. Because we live in a youth-oriented sexualized culture, the idea of the elderly and sexuality isn’t a common one. However, this is being more wholly understood as a form of discrimination and there are number of reasons why this is an important topic. If you are elderly, you are very aware of these reasons. Some include:
- The fact is is that many Americans over the age of 70 are still very sexually active
- Women who were sexually active earlier in life can expect to be able to engage sexually for as long as they live.
- Men who were sexually active earlier in life can expect to be able to engage in some sort of sexual play or activity well into their 70s or 80s.
- Because this age group may not have had to deal with STD or STI prevention in the past, the rate of infection is increasing rapidly.
- Many older Americans are finding it necessary to live in elder care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and other assisted living programs and the close quarters provide increased opportunities for sexual engagement.
- With the changes in one’s aging body comes the need for an increase in human sexuality education and therapy. Studies show that levels of depression among men with erectile dysfunction are high (Araujo, Durante, Feldman, Goldstein, & McKinlay, 1998).
- Studies on female sexuality in general still tend to be lower than studies on male sexuality. The mere overlooking of elderly women’s sexuality is evidence of the blind eye society continues to have towards women’s sexuality in general and could add to the feelings of marginalization and increase levels of depression in elderly women.
Denise Renye, M.Ed, M.A., PsyD ~ Licensed Psychologist PSY28096