Sexual Expression in Old Age: How Older Adults from Different Cultures Express Sexually?

Abstract

Objective

This study aims to analyze how older adults express themselves sexually. For this purpose, a qualitative research was carried out, which analyzes their perspectives at a cross-cultural level.

Methods

Four hundred ninety-five older participants, aged 65 to 98 years, were interviewed. Participants were of three different nationalities and lived in the community. All the interviews went through the process of verbatim transcription and subsequent content analysis.

Results

A content analysis produced nine themes: tenderness and care (k = .91, p < .01); altruism and gratitude (k = .81, p < .01); attractiveness (k = 94, p < .01); positive communication (k = .89, p < .01); sexual activity (k = .88, p < .01); good health and physical condition (k = .96, p < .01); supportive relationship (k = .84, p < .01); eroticism (k = .94, p < .01); and feeling active and alive (k = .92, p < .01).

Conclusions

This study stressed different ways on expressing sexuality in old age and underlined the importance of tenderness and care and eroticism for older adults who are sexually active.

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Acknowledgments

This research is financially supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) (grant number SFRH/BPD/116114/2016).

Sponsor’s Role

The fund approved the design and aims of the study but did not play any role in the collecting of data, interpretation of results, or preparation of this article.

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von Humboldt, S., Ribeiro-Gonçalves, J.A., Costa, A. et al. Sexual Expression in Old Age: How Older Adults from Different Cultures Express Sexually?. Sex Res Soc Policy 18, 246–260 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13178-020-00453-x

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Keywords

  • Content analysis
  • Cross-cultural
  • Older adults
  • Qualitative study
  • Sexual expression