Sexual Interest & Activity in Late Adulthood

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  • 0:01 Late Adulthood
  • 0:51 Physical Changes
  • 2:13 Social Beliefs
  • 3:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

As people age, they go through many changes, including changes in their sex lives. In this lesson, we'll explore positive and negative changes in older adults' sex lives, including biological and social factors that affect sex in late adulthood.

Late Adulthood

Stone and Lucy have been married since they were in their twenties, and they are in their seventies now. That's a long time! Things are still good - they love each other very much and still like to hang out and talk. But there's a problem - they've been having issues with their sex life in the past few years. They just don't have sex as often, and they miss the intimacy that being together brings.

Stone and Lucy are in late adulthood, or the time of life after age 65. In late adulthood, many people find that their sex lives change, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Let's take a closer look at physical changes and social beliefs about sex that can lead to changes in late adulthood.

Physical Changes

Stone and Lucy aren't the same as they were when they were younger. They have more wrinkles and grey hair, and they've both gained a little weight. There's some physical changes that have occurred that can affect their sex lives, too. As women age, they experience less lubrication and changes in the vaginal walls, which can make it more difficult to enjoy sex. Lucy is going through this herself and wonders if she's destined not to enjoy sex again.

The good news is, there are things that Lucy can do to increase lubrication and make sex enjoyable. She should see her doctor to find out about what her options are. Like Lucy, Stone is going through some issues. As men age, impotence becomes a problem. Stone has definitely noticed that he has trouble getting and sustaining an erection. Like Lucy, Stone should talk to his doctor about treatment options.

In addition to the gender-specific problems Lucy and Stone are experiencing, another common issue is that hormone levels can make a person's sex drive lower in late adulthood. This is true of both men and women and can be treated. There are other physical issues, too, that can affect a person's sex drive. Things like pain, chronic illness, and medication can all have an effect on sex drive and performance in late adulthood.

Social Beliefs

Physical changes, as we've seen, can really throw a wrench into people's sex lives as they age, but they aren't the only things that can affect how older adults enjoy their partners. Social beliefs, too, can shape the way people feel about sex in late adulthood. Some social beliefs have a positive influence on a person's sex life.

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