Many students say the last thing they want to think about is the older adults in their lives being sexually active. But, why? Why are those thoughts so troublesome for many of us? Students often report wanting to have sex and intimacy in their later years, but find it hard to accept that current older adults have these needs and desires as well. This discussion will ask you to consider the beliefs underlying your discomfort OR the beliefs underlying your comfort with sex throughout older adulthood and how this impacts older adults’ sexual needs being met. You must post before seeing other’s posts.For your post (click the reply button below), discuss your reaction to the content in the lecture. Were you surprised? Happy? Uncomfortable? Horrified? Something else? Share two ideas/facts that you learned this week and why you think they are important for everyone to know. What questions do you have after reading/viewing the course materials this week? Write about 11-12 sentence paragraphs

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LOVE, INTIMACY, AND SEXUALITY IN OLD AGE MYTHS AND REALITY ABOUT SEXUAL ACTIVITY ■ Myth ● ■ Age-related physiological changes detrimentally affect sexual functioning Studies have found ● Older people who remain sexually active do not differ significantly in the frequency in sexual relations compared to their younger selves. MYTHS AND REALITY ABOUT SEXUAL ACTIVITY ■ Studies have found ● ● ● ■ When a partner is available, the rate of sexual behavior is fairly stable across the life course. Even older people with chronic health problems, depression and cognitive dysfunction can achieve sexual satisfaction. Relationships are more important than sexual activity. Check out Pepper Schwartz’s (a sociologist!) 7 Reasons to have more sex after 50! FIGURE 7.2 Engaged in Sexual Activity at Least Once per Week by Overall Health Status SOURCE: American Association of Retired Persons, 2004 STILL NOT CONVINCED? • Better sex as you age LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, & TRANSGENDER (LGBT) PARTNERS IN OLD AGE • • There is a consistent pattern of relatively high life satisfaction with being gay, good adjustment to old age, and ongoing sexual interest and activity. Older gay individuals who define the meaning of homosexuality in terms of positive self-identity have been found to have the least psychosomatic complaints. WOMEN AND AGE-RELATED PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES ■ Three phases of climacteric ● Perimenopause ▪ ▪ ● Menopause ▪ ● unpredictable menstrual cycles up to ten years before menopause cessation of the menstrual cycle Postmenopause ▪ when 12 months have passed without a menstrual cycle • Menopause Many non-western cultures view menopause as a time of respect and status for women. ● In the U.S. the view is that women are expected to have difficulty at this period of life. ● Many women view menopause potentially positive transition. ● Hormone replacement is one way to manage menopause symptoms, but there are non-hormonal ways to cope as well. ● SEXUAL SATISFACTION AND OLDER WOMEN • Double-click to play video MEN AND AGE-RELATED PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES ■ Erectile dysfunction is the chief cause of men withdrawing from sexual activity. ● ■ It is common, treatable, and under-diagnosed. New treatments have been made widely available. MEN AND AGE-RELATED PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES • Male Menopause- “Viropause” ● ● • a term that suggests a significant change experienced by men as their production of testosterone decreases in later life although male fertility is generally maintained, some men experience both psychological and physiological changes Barbara L. Marshall (2008) in Post-Viagra Views contends there is a medicalization of aging men’s sexuality taking place. CHRONIC DISEASE AND SEXUAL ACTIVITY • Chronic illness can affect sexual activity: ● ● ● ● ● effects on mediating physiological mechanisms chronic pain complications from medication negative effects on well-being/self-perceptions distraction of illness may deplete energy needed for sexual interest and responsiveness PSYCHOSOCIAL FACTORS & LATE-LIFE AFFECTION, LOVE, AND INTIMACY • • • • • • Past history of sexual activity and availability of a partner Negative attitudes toward sexual activities Reaction to physiological changes Responses to the attitudes of others & society Societal misconceptions regarding sexuality in later life Living arrangements • Widow(er)’s Syndrome ● ● • a term coined by Masters and Johnson describes sexual dysfunction following a long period of abstinence due to a spouse’s illness and/or death Gender and healthy sexuality in later adulthood FACILITATING OLDER ADULTS’ SEXUALITY ■ Treatment plans should address ● ● ● ● ■ ■ Issues relative to the past, present, and potential sources of intimacy The meaning of past intimacies Grief work over losses of intimacy Permission to explore and repair intimate relationships Living arrangements should consider physical and emotional intimacy Health professionals should discuss sexuality with older adults

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