Advertisement

Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 431–437 | Cite as

The Impact of Aging on Sexual Function in Women and Their Partners

  • Sheryl A. Kingsberg
Article

Abstract

Aging has a powerful impact on the quality of relationship and sexual functioning. The psychological impact of aging after midlife is a particularly timely topic, given improved medical and psychological understanding of sexuality in both women and men as well as significant improvement in the conceptualization of female sexuality and evolving treatment advances for female sexual dysfunctions. It is time to dispel the stereotype of the midlife woman in order to more effectively address emotional and sexual issues arising in her relationships. Regardless of the length or nature of the relationship, its quality is enhanced by emotional intimacy, autonomy without too much distance, an ability to manage stress, and to maintain a positive perception of self and the relationship. To understand and treat effects of aging on sexuality, it is important to address the three components of sexual desire: drive, beliefs/values, and motivation, as well as the social context of a woman's life. It is also essential to understand how the physiological changes in female as well as male sexual functioning impact desire. Further, other health-related changes that occur with aging must be recognized and addressed.

aging female sexuality hormone replacement therapy postmenopausalsexuality 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

REFERENCES

  1. American Medical Association. (2001). Talking to patients about sex: Training program for Physicians. Retrieved from www.amaassn. org/mem-data/joint/sex001.htmGoogle Scholar
  2. Avis, N. E., Stellato, R., Crawford, S., Johannes, C., & Longscope, C. (2000). Is there an association between menopause status and sexual functioning? Menopause, 7, 297–309.Google Scholar
  3. Bachman, G., Bancroft, J., Braunstein, G., Burger, H., Davis, S., Dennerstein, L., et al. (2002). Female androgen insufficiency: The Princeton consensus statement on definition, classification, and assessment. Fertility and Sterility, 77, 660–665.Google Scholar
  4. Basson, R. (2000). The female sexual response. A different model. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 26, 51–65.Google Scholar
  5. Bem, D. (1965). An experimental analysis of self-persuasion. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 1, 199–218.Google Scholar
  6. Berman, J. R., & Goldstein, I. (2001). Female sexual dysfunction. Urologic Clinics of North America, 28, 405–416.Google Scholar
  7. Davis, S. R. (2001). Testosterone treatment: Psychological and physical effects in postmenopausal women. Menopausal Medicine, 9(2), 1–6.Google Scholar
  8. Feldman, H. A., Goldstein, I., Hatzichristou, D. G., Krane, R. J., & McKinlay, J.B. (1994). Impotence and its medical and psychosocial correlates: Results of the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. Journal of Urology, 151, 54–61.Google Scholar
  9. Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive disonnance. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Festinger, L., & Carlsmith, J. (1959). Cognitive consequences of forced compliance. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 58, 203–210.Google Scholar
  11. Freedman, M. (2000). Sexuality in post-menopausal women. Menopausal Medicine, 8, 1–4.Google Scholar
  12. Greenblatt, R. B. (1942). Hormone factors in libido. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 3, 305.Google Scholar
  13. Laumann, E. O., Paik, A., & Rosen, R. C. (1999). Sexual dysfunction in the United States. Journal of the American Medical Association, 281, 537–544.Google Scholar
  14. Leiblum, S. R. (1991, October). The midlife and beyond. Paper presented at the 24th Annual Postgraduate Course of the Psychology Professional Interest Group of the American Fertility Society on Sexual Dysfunction: Patient Concerns and Practical Strategies, Orlando, FL.Google Scholar
  15. Lepper, M., Greene, D., & Nisbett, R. (1973). Undermining children's interests with extrinsic rewards: A test of the “overjustification hypothesis.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 28, 129–137.Google Scholar
  16. Levine, S. B. (1992). Sexual life. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  17. Pharmacia Corporation. (2001, November 15). New research on menopause and sexuality finds women are not seeking medial help for chronic symptoms affecting intimate relationship (Press release). Peapack, NJ. Author. Retrieved from www.pharmacia. com/newsDisplay.aspGoogle Scholar
  18. Schiavi, R. C. (1999). Aging and male sexuality. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Schnarch, D. (1997). Passionate marriage. New York: Henry Holt.Google Scholar
  20. The National Council on Aging (1998, September). Healthy sexuality and vital aging. Retrieved from www.cin-ncoa.org/love/ natural part.htmGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheryl A. Kingsberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Reproductive Biology and Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University School of MedicineUniversity Hospitals of ClevelandCleveland

Personalised recommendations