, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 149-163
Date: 02 May 2010

Sexuality and Sense of Self in Later Life: Japanese Men’s and Women’s Reflections on Sex and Aging

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The aim of this article is to provide a nuanced analysis of the transformation of sexuality that occurs with age. Drawing on several ethnographic narratives of married men and women over the age of 60 in Japan, this article provides insight into gender-specific experiences of marital sexuality, the impact of extra-marital sexual activity on marital relationships, and the development of “sibling-like” relationships as couples grow older. It also highlights the continuing importance of sexual desire in later life, especially to men’s sense of self. This article contributes to the growing scholarship on the sexuality of older persons around the world and makes a case for the importance of the life history interview as a methodology for illuminating the complex relationship between gender, sexuality, and aging.