Sexuality and the Elderly: A Research Guide

By Bonnie L. Walker | Go to book overview

8
Effects of Aging on Sexuality

The books and articles in this chapter discuss the effects of aging on sexuality. This topic encompasses characteristics and functions of sexual organs, sexual behavior, and sexual desire. Much of the most important work in this area is included with major studies, Chapter 1 of this book. This chapter does not include articles that focus on sexual dysfunction or sexual practices of the elderly.

Aging does cause physiological changes for both men and women that affect sexual behavior and sexual desire. Many of the articles in this chapter summarize what is known about the effects of aging on sexuality and were written by nurses, physicians, and researchers for other medical professionals.

The research articles included in this chapter have examined general effects of aging that relate to sexuality. In most cases the subjects underwent physical examinations but in some projects the researchers relied on self-reports. Much attention is given to changes in hormone levels. Changes in sexual performance and changes in sexual needs associated with aging are discussed or investigated.

The study populations are often patients in a clinic but some study groups are found in other places such as organizations whose members consist primarily of older people such as the Foster Grandparent Program.

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