Now is the time to address harmful stereotypes and insure
that elderly people in the future do not have to live with the prejudices that
affect them today.
Having a positive attitude.
Societal attitudes toward sexuality in later life are troubling. A great number
believe that far fewer mature men and women have sex than actually do. Many feel
that after a certain age, sexuality becomes an insignificant or indifferent part
of life. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Most older people experience
some interest in sexual intimacy.
Many people are sexually intimate well into their 80s and beyond. We do not all
of a sudden become asexual beings; our capacity for sexual intimacy will be with
us our entire lives. The real differences that exist lie in the way sexuality is
expressed. Most anything can be a turn-on at 20, but at 60, after years of
sexual experience, expressions of sexuality are more refined, more evolved. The
act can be at this time can be a masterwork after years study.
What is the purpose of sex in later life?
As we all approach later life, two of the things which brought us the greatest
joy - our children and/or our careers - are no longer as prevalent in our every
day. This means that our personal relationships take on an increased importance.
It is a way of solidifying our relationship with our partner and taking refuge
from the sometimes harsh reality of the world. Sex is a way to affirm the love
of life. It is an expression of the satisfaction gained from the present. It
expresses the closeness of our deepest relationships and is an important measure
of the quality of life.