PubMed | Geriatric Section
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Aging clinical and experimental research | Year: 2012
Aging-related physical changes do not necessarily lead to a decline in sexual functioning: good physical and mental health, a positive attitude toward sex in later life, and access to a healthy partner are associated with continued sexual activity, and regular sexual expression is associated with good physical and mental health. However, it is usually assumed that older adults do not have sexual desires, and elderly people often find it difficult to discuss this topic with their doctor. There are many potential barriers concerning sexuality in older age: the lack of a healthy sexual partner, depression, the monotony of a repetitive sexual relationship, a spouses physical unattractiveness, hormone variability, and illness and/or iatrogenic factors. Adaptive coping strategies can considerably mitigate the impact of such factors, however, and one way of contributing to breaking down barriers and taboos is undoubtedly to ensure that physicians are willing to discuss their patients sexual history. The aim of this review was to explore the barriers and taboos to sexual expression in seniors, to propose strategies to foster this aspect of their lives, and to help physicians investigate the sexual history of their elderly patients.