Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 911–919 | Cite as

A Life Course Perspective on the Ways Older Men and Women Discuss Sexual Issues

  • Liat AyalonEmail author
  • Inbar Levkovich
  • Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan
  • Khaled Karkabi
Original Paper


The present study examined how older adults communicate about sexual issues in light of the tremendous societal changes that have taken place with regard to sexuality in the past few decades. We relied on interviews with 47 Israelis 60 years of age and older who were instructed to discuss sexuality in old age and its unique characteristics, using semi-structured interviews. Analysis consisted of repeated comparisons and contrasts to identify common themes. A common thread of “secrets and lies” characterized the discussion of sexual issues throughout the life course of respondents. The findings showed that although older adults have been aware of the limited information provided to them during their upbringing and of the limited room allowed to sexuality in their emerging adulthood years, many have continued to find it difficult to address sexual issues, even in later life. Moreover, many perceived the information currently available about sexuality and the contemporary approach to sexuality brought by the media or their children and grandchildren as being somewhat inadequate. Implications for practice are discussed.


Sexuality Stigma Secrecy Self-presentation Old age 



The study was supported by a grant from the Israel National Institute for Health Policy Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
Corrected publication October/2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Louis and Gabi Weisfeld School of Social WorkBar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael
  2. 2.The Division of Family Medicine, The Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of MedicineTechnion-Israel Institute of TechnologyHaifaIsrael
  3. 3.Department of Sociology, Crimes Against Children Research Center and Family Research LaboratoryUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA
  4. 4.Sex and Couples Therapy UnitMeir Medical CenterKfar-SabaIsrael
  5. 5.Department of Family Medicine, The Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of MedicineTechnion-Israel Institute of Technology, Clalit Health ServicesHaifa and Western Galilee DistrictIsrael

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