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The Georgicks of Virgil, with an English Translation and Notes Virgil, John Martyn Ipsi in defossis specubus secura sub alta Otia agunt terra, congestaque robora, Pierius says it is confecto in the Roman manuscript. And Tacitus also says the Germans used to make caves to defend them from the severity of winter, .

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Encouraging older people to stay sexually active in a way that is inconsistent with their reality, is another form of ageism DeLamater and Koepsel ; Marshall Although it is agreed that some sexual changes and dysfunctions can be due to hormonal and other physical changes or long-term conditions related to ageing Dennerstein et al. A biopsychosocial model is a multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and treatment of sexual problems, as it considers psychological and social factors such as stereotypes, gender socialization, partner availability, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation, in addition to biological influences DeLamater and Sill ; Hillman Professional care providers including medical practitioners, nurses, social workers, psychologists and physical therapists are required to understand physiological and psychological factors that may impede the expression of sexuality in order to help older people manage sexual issues Hillman Older adults can incorporate negative perceptions towards older people, which might hinder sexual expression in later life.

Promoting realistic attitudes, alongside overthrowing ageist perceptions are required in order to enable older people to express their sexuality and sexual identity freely and fully. If material is not included in the chapter's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

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Margaret Cho

Open Access. First Online: 23 May Download chapter PDF. These assumptions sustain a language for discussing relationships and life in a heteronormative way Hafford-Letchfield A Gay and Gray Project study found that just over three-quarters of respondents said that they had active sexual lives and over half felt that their sexuality had an important positive impact on their lives. Agunbiade, O. Ageing, sexuality and enhancement among Yoruba people in south western Nigeria, November. Alarie, M. Allen, K.


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Baldissera, V. Health Care for Women International, 33 10 , — Bauer, M. Catering to love, sex and intimacy in residential aged care: What information is provided to consumers? Sexuality and Disability, 27 1 , 3—9. Sexuality in older adults: Effect of an education intervention on attitudes and beliefs of residential aged care staff. Educational Gerontology, 39 2 , 82— Bouman, W. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 16 1 , 27— Attitudes of care staff regarding sexuality and residents: A study in residential and nursing homes.

Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 22 1 , 45— Brown, M. Same-Sex sexual relationships in the national social life, health and aging project: Making a case for data collection. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 57 2—4 , — CrossRef Google Scholar. Clarke, L. Visible and invisible ageing: Beauty work as a response to ageism.

DeLamater, J. Relationships and sexual expression in later life: A biopsychosocial perspective. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 30 1 , 37— Sexual desire in later life. Journal of Sex Research, 42 2 , — Dennerstein, L. Hormones, mood, sexuality, and the menopausal transition.


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Fertility and Sterility, 77 Suppl 4 4 , S42—S Dogan, S. Knowledge and attitudes of doctors toward the sexuality of older people in Turkey. Elias, J. A review and commentary on the factors that influence expressions of sexuality by older people in care homes. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 20 11—12 , — Floyd, M. Sex and aging: A survey of young adults. Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, 26 2 , — Foucault, M. The history of sexuality, Volume 1: An introduction, Penguin.

Google Scholar. Freeman, S. Sexuality in later life: Examining beliefs and perceptions of undergraduate students. Gay and Gray Project. Lifting the lid on sexuality and ageing: Report of a research project into the needs, wants, fears and aspirations of older lesbians and gay men.

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Gewirtz-Meydan, A. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry , 32 12 , — Gilmer, M. Staff beliefs about sexuality in aged residantial care. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 26 3 , 17— Gledhill, S.


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Sexual desire, erectile dysfunction and the biomedicalization of sex in older heterosexual men. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 70 4 , — Age-graded sexualities: The struggles of our ageing body. Sexuality and Culture, 11 4 , 31— Gott, M. Sexuality, sexual health and ageing. Berkshire: Open University Press. Barriers to seeking treatment for sexual problems in primary care: A qualitative study with older people. Family Practice, 20 6 , — General practitioner attitudes to discussing sexual health issues with older people. Social Science and Medicine, 58 11 , — Haesler, E. Sexuality, sexual health and older people: A systematic review of research on the knowledge and attitudes of health professionals.

Nurse Education Today, 40 , 57— Hafford-Letchfield, T. Developing supportive practices for the expression of sexuality, sexual identity and the intimacy needs of older people. Journal of Care Services Management, 2 4 , — Hillman, J. Sexual issues and aging within the context of work with older adult patients. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 39 3 , — Hughes, A.

Ageism and Sexuality | SpringerLink

Aging sexuality: Knowledge and perceptions of preparation among U. Humphery, S. Family Practice, 18 5 , — Hurd Clarke, L. Facing age: Women growing older in anti-aging culture. Journal of Aging Studies, 31 , 26— International Longevity Centre Celebrating intergenerational diversity nn evaluation of three projects working with younger and older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. Katz, S. Growing older without aging? A qualitative study conducted among general practitioners Gott et al. In addition, sex was not recognized as an appropriate topic for discussion with older people.

Nonetheless, no matter what the reasons for differential attitudes towards older people, it is clear that physicians exhibit strong biases in their approach to them. Attitudes towards sexuality in later life, among staff in long-term care LTC facilities, are very relevant to the level of sexual expression among residents Elias and Ryan ; McAuliffe et al.

Although most studies indicate that LTC staff have positive attitudes of Bouman et al. Staff knowledge regarding sexuality in later life is limited Mahieu et al. Prior to entering care facilities, prospective residents are not provided with information about how their sexual and intimacy needs will be respected Bauer et al. In addition, even though the majority of LTC staff believe residents have sexual needs that should be acknowledged and supported, the need was not regularly assessed due to discomfort about the topic among the staff, negative attitudes among the staff towards older people, as well as a lack of privacy and unclear institutional policy regarding the issue Gilmer et al.

Lastly, it should be noted, not all explicit, positive attitudes truly represent inner-thoughts or feelings Thompson et al. In a study conducted among LTC staff, respondents acknowledged the existence of negative reactions towards masturbation only among other colleagues. When asked for their own opinion, they stated they viewed masturbation as normal and acceptable behavior Villar and Serrat This can be particularly stressful when the person finds him- or herself in a care environment where they will inevitably have less personal freedom.

When the person also has dementia, sexual disinhibition might lead to more openly sexual behavior, which might be more quickly labeled as deviant Knocker Older care staff reflected more positive attitudes towards later life sexuality, as they have more years of work experience in their field Bouman et al. Knowledge and attitudes proved to be positively related, indicating that greater knowledge of sexuality among older people is associated with more positive attitudes toward sexuality in later life Mahieu et al.

Attitudes and beliefs towards older people expressing their sexuality in LTC facilities, including same sex couples and people with dementia, became more permissive after staff education Bauer et al. Education is an important factor in dispelling commonly held, negative views of residential care staff about older people expressing their sexuality. Thus, it is very important to provide this information to LTC and nursing home staff Bauer et al.

Sexuality in later life remains a largely unexplored and taboo topic. It is characterized by a dual nature and dominated by social constructivism.

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Despite recognition that sexuality is important to the quality of life of older people, this chapter identifies ageist perceptions regarding sexuality in later life among the media, young people, healthcare service providers and among older people. Any discussion needs to deconstruct the myths and stereotypes that deny older people their own unique sense of sexual being and the right to express it McAuliffe et al. Rooted in and compounding ageism, are irrational fears, stereotypical thinking and lack of knowledge, resulting in attitudes and behaviors that constitute significant barriers to sexual expression, the enjoyment of sexuality and achieving a sense of self in later life Snyder and Zweig Surveys conducted in several countries consistently found that older people indicated the importance of remaining sexually active as a major component of their quality of life and well-being Kontula and Haavio-Mannila Research has shown that older people continue to engage in various sexual activities, such as penetrative sex, oral sex, and masturbation even in the eighth and ninth decades of life Lindau et al.

Hence, the expressed desire to remain sexually active is often accompanied by corresponding behaviors. Similarly, researchers have failed to challenge age-related stereotyping by placing older people outside the remit of national, population-based surveys on sexuality and sexual health issues, reinforcing the notion that these are not relevant to this sector of the community. When studies were conducted, they tended to focus on the more problematic aspects of sex, such as dysfunction in sexual performance or challenging behavior associated with cognitive, psychological or biological changes for example, disinhibition associated with conditions such as dementia.

Not least, most research has neglected the voices of older people themselves, which are essential to capturing the diversity of experiences of sexuality and to challenging dominant discourses. Sexuality is fundamental to social organization and is an important focus of power and resilience. Placing it at the center of an analysis of ageing and later life can provide insights into the possibilities of reworking the stereotypes and social practices that shape attitudes and subsequent actions when providing services and support.

Finally, until relatively recently, the research literature has tended not to acknowledge ethnic or cultural diversity. Many studies were framed from a white, middle-class, male, heterosexual perspective, suggesting a need for more cross-cultural studies. Concurrently, paradigms for active and successful ageing reinforce high expectations concerning sexual behaviors, activities and desire, which are often inconsistent with the reality of many older people Woloski-Wruble et al.

Encouraging older people to stay sexually active in a way that is inconsistent with their reality, is another form of ageism DeLamater and Koepsel ; Marshall Although it is agreed that some sexual changes and dysfunctions can be due to hormonal and other physical changes or long-term conditions related to ageing Dennerstein et al.

A biopsychosocial model is a multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and treatment of sexual problems, as it considers psychological and social factors such as stereotypes, gender socialization, partner availability, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation, in addition to biological influences DeLamater and Sill ; Hillman Professional care providers including medical practitioners, nurses, social workers, psychologists and physical therapists are required to understand physiological and psychological factors that may impede the expression of sexuality in order to help older people manage sexual issues Hillman Older adults can incorporate negative perceptions towards older people, which might hinder sexual expression in later life.

Promoting realistic attitudes, alongside overthrowing ageist perceptions are required in order to enable older people to express their sexuality and sexual identity freely and fully. If material is not included in the chapter's Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide.

Open Access. First Online: 23 May Download chapter PDF. These assumptions sustain a language for discussing relationships and life in a heteronormative way Hafford-Letchfield A Gay and Gray Project study found that just over three-quarters of respondents said that they had active sexual lives and over half felt that their sexuality had an important positive impact on their lives.

Agunbiade, O. Ageing, sexuality and enhancement among Yoruba people in south western Nigeria, November. Alarie, M. Allen, K. Baldissera, V. Health Care for Women International, 33 10 , — Bauer, M. Catering to love, sex and intimacy in residential aged care: What information is provided to consumers? Sexuality and Disability, 27 1 , 3—9. Sexuality in older adults: Effect of an education intervention on attitudes and beliefs of residential aged care staff.

Educational Gerontology, 39 2 , 82— Bouman, W. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 16 1 , 27— Attitudes of care staff regarding sexuality and residents: A study in residential and nursing homes. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 22 1 , 45— Brown, M. Same-Sex sexual relationships in the national social life, health and aging project: Making a case for data collection.

Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 57 2—4 , — CrossRef Google Scholar. Clarke, L. Visible and invisible ageing: Beauty work as a response to ageism. DeLamater, J. Relationships and sexual expression in later life: A biopsychosocial perspective. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 30 1 , 37— Sexual desire in later life. Journal of Sex Research, 42 2 , — Dennerstein, L. Hormones, mood, sexuality, and the menopausal transition.

Fertility and Sterility, 77 Suppl 4 4 , S42—S Dogan, S. Knowledge and attitudes of doctors toward the sexuality of older people in Turkey. Elias, J. A review and commentary on the factors that influence expressions of sexuality by older people in care homes. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 20 11—12 , — Floyd, M. Sex and aging: A survey of young adults. Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, 26 2 , — Foucault, M.

The history of sexuality, Volume 1: An introduction, Penguin. Google Scholar. Freeman, S. Sexuality in later life: Examining beliefs and perceptions of undergraduate students. Gay and Gray Project. Lifting the lid on sexuality and ageing: Report of a research project into the needs, wants, fears and aspirations of older lesbians and gay men. Gewirtz-Meydan, A. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry , 32 12 , — Professor, University of California San Diego , Nayan Shah's research examines historical struggles over bodies, space and the exercise of state power from the mid- 19th to the 21st century.

His scholarship has contributed to studies of race, sexuality and gender and to the history of migration, health, law and governance. As a way to understand the larger picture, it follows the experiences of South Asian migrants in collaboration with domestic and international migrants and their struggles over social and intimate relations in the United States and Canada from to the s.

Contagious Divides examines the problem of citizenship and the governance of modern society through an analysis of public health and Chinese immigration in San Francisco from to The portrayal of Chinatown as a nexus of infection, domestic chaos and moral danger reverberated widely in the political and cultural life of San Francisco residents.

The book traces how the public health rhetoric of the contagion of Chinatown bachelor society provided white politicians, white middle-class female social reformers, and white male labor leaders the necessary foil against which they were able to elaborate the vision and norms of nuclear family domestic life and a sanitary social order. Professor Shah's new project on the Refusal to Eat in Indefinite Detention, explores the transnational history of mass hunger strikes, and political struggle and medical ethical crises with 20th century and contemporary case studies drawn from U.

A second large-scale research project is a comparative study of transnational spiritual migrations, gender and intimacy in the early twentieth century United States that examines Muslim, Catholic and Hindu missions and the development of interracial spiritual communities in Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and Seattle.

A third project examines how Asian, African, Indigenous and Latin American diasporic artists forge relationships of belonging, refuge and vulnerability with physical landscape and the built environment through art practices of photography, installation, archive and performance.