Sexuality and Sexual Dysfunction in Later Life
There has been a positive correlation between sexual activity and physical health, mental health, and overall quality of life. Sexual needs in later life appear to be similar to those in adult life with variations in frequency, intensity, and mode of expression. There are a number of societal, ideological, institutional, and physiological factors that can create barriers for adults in later life to achieve sexual expression. It is therefore important to acknowledge the changing nature of sexuality as one ages and not to pathologize it. A sexual dysfunction relates to any issue that arises during one of the stages of the sexual response cycle, which can be a common issue for both males and females especially during the aging process. Inappropriate sexual behaviors in institutionalized settings are more likely to occur in patients with major neurocognitive disorders. Because there is a need to balance autonomy rights of older patients while avoiding paternalism in institutionalized settings, ensuring the safety of patients and other sexual partners is paramount. Clinicians and other healthcare personnel working with older adults need to remain well-informed of legal and ethical issues related to the right to consensual sexual activity, which are discussed in this chapter.
KeywordsSexuality Sexual dysfunction Geriatric Sexual rights Late-life sexual expression Sexual disinhibition
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