There are many misconceptions when we talk about sex especially to old age generation. During the first day of class in HS 107, we talked about myths on aging. According to many people, they believed that “Majority of old people have no interest in, nor capacity for, sexual relations” (Facts on Aging Quiz). In our society, many people believe that older adults do not have sex when they reach the certain old age. Many argue that as you grow older your body becomes frail, thus, decreasing and diminishing sexual desire.
Others believe that the sex “belong to the younger generations” (Schwartz, 2012). Since older adults are more prone to chronic disease, this means that we assume that they do not have a desire on having sexual intercourse. This myth persists This myth continues because not everyone has an open-mind when it comes to talking about older adults’ lifestyle. Many people believe that older adults should stay at home because they are fragile, and should not have any sexual thoughts anymore.
Most of us believe that older adults that have sexual intercourse can give complications and might risk their health. Many younger generations including college students feel that it is uncomfortable when talking about older generations having sex. “College students were more surprised and disgusted by incidents of sexuality of those who were 70 to 75 than those who were 30 to 35” (Lochlainn & Kenny, 2013). Many in younger generations do not believe that older adults still have sex, and they feel appalled when somebody talks about it.
Not only our generation avoids this issue, but the health care field as well. Langer-Most and Langer (2010) showed results that many doctors show very little interest when it comes to talking about sexual interaction with older adults. Many of them argued that this population does not have sex occasionally and it can be risky for their health. According to Connolly et al. (2012), when they asked physicians on whether they ask their patients about they sex life, they replied as being embarrassing for their profession.
This is appalling of how a health care provider does not talk about sexual interaction when it comes to older generations. Because of embarrassment, many people closes this discussion and over generalize that older adults does not have any interest or have sex at all. The Reality Older Adults have interest and capacity for sexual interactions. Despite of getting older, many people still have sex whether younger generations like it or not. Regular sexual activity is a normal event, as you get older. There are several evidences that older generations tend to have sexual relations.
According to Connolly et al. (2012), the study found that, “Among respondents ages 75-85, 54% of sexually active person reported having sex at least 2-3 times a month, and 23 percent reported having sex once a week or more. ” This shows that our myth is not true that older adults do not have any interest when it comes to sexual interaction. Aging does not mean that once you hit a certain age, you will stop having interest on sex. Bradford and Meston (2007) accentuates that “Sexuality in older adults is often misunderstood, misrepresented or simply invisible. ” We tend to avoid these conversations.
Many of us over generalized and judge older people when they tell us that they have sex. Many people are being judged, which is harder for them to open and ask for help with these types of issue. We believe that older adults having sex is not necessary. However, according to Bradford and Meston (2007) studies have shown and according to “National Council on Aging (2005) reported that 71% of mean in their 60s and 57% of mean in their 70s engaged in sexual activity at least once per month. The studies have shown that there are greater amount of older adults that have sexual relations that we have normally expected.
For older adults, it is normal for them to have sex; though we do not believe that this is true. Bradford and Meston (2007) explains that according to “American Association of Retired Persons reported that 62 % of mean and 51% of women between ages 60 and 69 believed that sexual activity is an important component of a good relationship. ” Their study have shown older men and women have sex in order to continue their good relationship with their significant other since their intimacy is not the same as before. It is a positive aspect to have sex with your loved one when you get older.
This way, you both can still connect despite of what you experience while getting older. As you grow older your body tends to slow down, which makes it harder to have sex when you suffer with some illness. However, this does not mean that you cannot have sex when your body starts to weaken, as you grow older. Mauk (2008) argued, “Normal aging changes include […] diminished sex hormones. ” Our sex hormones decreases as you grow older, but this does not mean we completely stop or does not have interest with sexual relations.
Many older adults compromise with their illness when it comes to sex. For men, they experience erectile dysfunction, and the most common problem is achieving or maintaining an erection during the intercourse (Lochlainn & Kenny, 2013). Older men have these reproductive problems, and it is difficult for them to have sex when you have this issue. As for women, menopausal is the problem. When a woman reaches the menopausal stage, their vaginal wall begins to get thinner, and the lubrication production decreases.
Despite of their complications with their reproductive system, most of them seek for an advice and try to compromise in order to attain and continue their sexual relationships with their significant other. However, due to overgeneralization and prejudice, many older adults are embarrassed to seek for help even to health professionals. Lochlainn and Kenny (2013) states that, “5% of older women volunteered their sexual problems during office visits, 85. 3% of men with erectile dysfunction wanted help, but only 10. 4% mean received medical care. ” Not many older adults seek for help because of the stigma that our society is impelling.
Many providers underestimate patient risk, and lack the knowledge and comfort to discuss questions about sexual dysfunction or satisfaction with older patients (Langer-Most & Langer, 2010). Many patient providers do not have adequate training on how to approach the older adults’ issue because of the stigma. The doctors are embarrassed and they feel it is a humiliation to his/her profession when they open the sex issue for older adults. Additionally, older adults tend to be excluded from studies because many professionals that they have a lower chance of getting diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and a very low chance of getting pregnant.
Thus, there have only been a few doctors that have enough knowledge when it comes educating older adults on how to compromise with their body or how to prevent of getting infected with sexual transmitted diseases. Media have also contributed with the ageism regarding with sexual relations among older adults. “[…] One reason for the negative attitudes of older person could be the media’s portrayal of the elderly as frail and asexual” (Lochlainn & Kenny, 2013). Many of the movies, and other shows displays that older adults are very sensitive and delicate.
Thus, we overgeneralize that older adults does not have interest with sex. Social Actions The study among older adults that is being conducted nowadays is beginning to grow. Thus, it is a big start when it comes to social actions. Many professionals begin to take a step and start learning more about older adults’ lifestyle. There have been several studies that we have encountered when it comes to sexual relationships among older adults. Researchers have found ways and suggest several solutions.
Since health professionals does not know how to approach older adults with this issue, Langer-Most and Langer (2010) suggests having a positive attitude regardless of their ethnicity, gender level, and age. Also, researchers have suggested on conducting educational programs for health professionals regarding with sexuality and aging. A resource fair conducted by SJSU is another social action for senior citizens, which they approach older adults and educate them about their body.
Hartford Institute of Geriatric Nursing educates health practitioners and nurses on how to approach older adults when it comes to this sensitive matter. They know that it is significant to teach providers in order for the older adults to be more comfortable with their doctors. They conduct seminars to other hospitals to educate people in the health field. Most of all, many well-known universities such as SJSU embraced the geriatric field and educate many college students that most of the myths are not true when it comes to older generations.
Sex is an important part in life, and we have to be sensitive and accept the fact that older adults tend to have sex, and it is part of the normal life. References Bradford, A. , and Meston, C. M. (2007). Senior Sexual Health: The Effects of Aging on Sexuality. Innovations In Clinical Practice: Focus on Sexual Health. 35-45. Connolly, M. , Breckman, R. , Callahan, J. , Lachs, M. , Ramsey-Klawsnik, H. , & Solomon, J. (2012). The Sexual Revolution’s Last Frontier: How Silence About Sex Undermines Health, Well-being, and Safety In Old Age.
Generations. 36(3), 43-52. Kristen, M. PhD RN (2008). Myths of Aging. ARN Network. Langer-Most, O. , and Langer, Nieli. (2010). Aging and Sexuality: How Much Do Gynecologists Know and Care. Journal of Women and Aging. 22, 283-289. Doi:10. 1080/08952841. 2010. 518882 Lochlainn, M. N. , and Kenny, R. A. (2013). Sexual Activity On Aging. Journal Of The American Medical Directors Association. Doi:10. 1016/j. jamda. 2013. 01. 022 Wallace, M. PhD (2013). Best Practices in Nursing Care to Older Adults: Sexuality. Dermatology Nursing. 15(6).