Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Sexual Behaviour of the Elderly at Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Sexual Behaviour of the Elderly at Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Article excerpt


The study examined the pattern of sexual behaviour among middle and older adults in Ile-Ife. The study was a cross-sectional survey that collected data from middle and older adults in Ife Central Local Government Area using a multi-stage sampling technique. The sample consisted of 375 adults comprising of 170 middle adults (45.3%) and 205 older adults (54.7%). A standardized psychological instrument (Sexual Behaviour Scale) was used to collect data from the respondents. The results showed that the pattern of sexual behaviour, that is, holding hands 53.2%, hugging 52.1%, kissing 50.9%, fondling 58.0%, caressing 60.1%, vaginal sex 51.5%, use of condom with spouse 72.7%and use of condom with someone other than spouse 90.9%, and transactional sex 61.1% are more prevalent among middle adults than older adults while oral 78.9% and anal sex 100% are more prevalent among older adults than middle adults. Sex, religion, educational level, occupation and marital status do have a significant influence on the sexual behaviour of middle and older adults.

Keywords: Sexual Behaviour, Sexuality, Sexual Intercourse, Adults


Fundamentally, sexuality is a life-long issue which develops from childhood into adolescence and adulthood. Sexuality is one of the least understood aspects of ageing, and society often seems to imply that sexuality does not have a place in the lives of adults especially the older adults (Heniy & McNab, 2003) and older people frequently experience barriers to the expression of their sexuality (McAuliffe, Bauer, & Nay, 2007). Most people do not like to think about their parents or grandparents having sex, so relatively little is known about sexuality in middle and older adults compared to younger people especially in Nigeria and *

Africa. According to DeLamater & Sill (2005) there is relatively little research that has been done on sexuality in later life, particularly among persons over 60 years. However, there is increasingly recognition that interest in, and the right to, sexual expression exists throughout the life span and should be supported.

Ageing has become an issue of growing research interest especially as the average life span in the world has grown longer and the number of people over 60 years of age has grown appreciably as well. All world regions are experiencing an increase in the absolute and relative size of their older population. There are, however, substantial differences in the current numbers and expected growth rates of the older population between industrialized and developing countries (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). In 2003, Nigeria had an estimated population of about 130 million with children (0-14years) 43.6%, adults (15-65 years) 53.6%, and 65 years and above 2.8% (NDHS, 2003).

Human sexuality is an intricate and integral component of adulthood. Several studies have been carried out to show the influence on strength of sexual desire among women such as age, the importance of sex to the person, and the presence of a sexual partner while among men education has been found to be important (DeLamater and Sill, 2005, and Lindau, Schümm, Laumann, Levison, OTVIuircheartaigh, & Waite, 2007). Some researchers found out that aging itself does not interfere with the level of sexual performance, but sexual behaviour of older men is highly dependent on several factors such as physical and mental well-being while for women psychological and social well-being is more important (Dello Buono, Paodoani, Scocco, Urciuoli, Pauro & De Leo, 1998; Laumann, Nicolosi & Glasser, 2005; Lindau, et al, 2007). Older adults were more likely to express traditional or conservative values about sexuality and not respond to sensitive items, such as masturbation, loneliness and widowhood (Walker & Ephross, 1998), while some communicate their emotions regarding the affective and sexual sphere, with different levels of desire for physical contact (Umidi, Pini, Ferretti, Vergani & Anonni, 2007). …

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