Current Psychiatry Reports

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 6–11

Sexual functioning in older adults

Article

Abstract

This article reviews recent medical and social science literature on sexual functioning in older adults. We provide a broad definition of sexual functioning that includes a range of solo and partnered forms of sexual expression. We identify four determinants of sexual functioning: biologic, psychological, social context (including culture), and interactions of these with each other. Recent literature on the impact of aging and physical health documents some decline in frequency of sexual activity. Interest continues in the role of hormones in male and female sexual functioning. Recent research highlights the role of the social context, especially the presence of a sexual partner and the relationship with that partner, in sexual activity. We discuss variations in sexual functioning by life course events, gender, and race and ethnicity. Relevant results from the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors; Male Attitudes Regarding Sexual Health Survey; and the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project are also reviewed.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References and Recommended Reading

  1. 1.
    US Census Bureau: An older and more diverse nation by midcentury. Available at http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/012496.html. Accessed October 2008.
  2. 2.
    Basson R: Sexuality in chronic illness: no longer ignored. Lancet 2007, 369:350–352.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Krisberg K: Aging emerging as new frontier in HIV/AIDS research, prevention. Nations Health 2006, 36:8, 40.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Laumann EO, West S, Glaser D, et al.: Prevalence and correlates of erectile dysfunction by race and ethnicity among men aged 40 or older in the United States: from the Male Attitudes Regarding Sexual Health Survey. J Sex Med 2007, 4:57–65.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Tiefer L: The medicalization of sexuality: conceptual, normative, and professional issues. Annu Rev Sex Res 1996, 7:252–282.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    DeLamater J, Moorman S: Sexual behavior in later life. J Aging Health 2007, 19:921–945.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Araujo AB, Mohr BA, McKinlay JB: Changes in sexual function in middle-aged and older men: longitudinal data from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. J Am Geriatr Soc 2004, 52:1502–1509.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Laumann EO, Paik A, Glasser DB, et al.: A cross-national study of subjective sexual well-being among older women and men: findings from the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors. Arch Sex Behav 2006, 35:145–161.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Fraser J, Maticka-Tyndale E, Smylie L: Sexuality of Canadian women at midlife. Can J Human Sex 2004, 13:171–187.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Schneidewind-Skibbe A, Hayes RD, Koochaki PE, et al.: The frequency of sexual intercourse reported by women: a review of community-based studies and factors limiting their conclusions. J Sex Med 2007, 5:301–335.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    West SL, D’Aloisio AA, Agans RP, et al.: Prevalence of low sexual desire and hypoactive sexual desire disorder in a nationally representative sample of U.S. women. Arch Intern Med 2008, 168:1441–1449.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lindau ST, Schumm LP, Laumann EO, et al.: A study of sexuality and health among older adults in the United States. N Engl J Med 2007, 357:762–774.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Vares T, Potts A, Gavey N, Grace VM: Reconceptualizing cultural narratives of mature women’s sexuality in the Viagra era. J Aging Stud 2007, 21:153–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bancroft JHJ: Sex and aging. N Engl J Med 2007, 357:820.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Genazzani AR, Gambuaccciani M, Simoncini T: Menopause and aging, quality of life, and sexuality. Climacteric 2007, 10:88–96.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Baum N, Crespi C: Testosterone replacement in elderly men. Geriatrics 2007, 62:15–18.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kingsberg SA: The impact of aging on sexual function in women and their partners. Arch Sex Behav 2002, 31:431–437.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lund K: Menopause and the menopausal transition. Med Clin North Am 2008, 92:1253–1271.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Levine SB: Sexual Life. New York: Plenum; 1992.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Althof SE, Leiblum SR, Chevret-Measson M, et al.: Psychological and interpersonal dimensions of sexual function and dysfunction. J Sex Med 2005, 2:793–800.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Csoka AB, Shipko S: Persistent sexual side effects after SSRI discontinuation. Psychother Psychosom 2006, 75:187–188.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Byers ES: Relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction: a longitudinal study of individuals in long-term relationships. J Sex Res 2005, 42:113–118.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Call V, Sprecher S, Schwartz P: The incidence and frequency of marital sex in a national sample. J Marriage Fam 1995, 57:639–652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Jackson G: Sexual dysfunction and diabetes. Int J Clin Pract 2004, 58:358–362.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Peyrot M, McMurry JR, Kruger DF: A biopsychosocial model of glycemic control in diabetes: stress, coping, and regimen adherence. J Health Soc Behav 1999, 40:141–158.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Current Medicine Group LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations