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PSY 180 - Psychology of Aging - Textbook

Chapter 7: Table of Contents

Chapter 7: Intimacy & Sexuality in Later Life


Chapter Learning Objectives

  • Distinguish between sex and sexuality.
  • Evaluate the psychological and emotional effects of limited sexual expression in later life. Identify the difference between intimacy and sexuality.
  • Evaluate the age-related changes that can affect an elderly person’s ability to engage in and maintain sexual intimacy.
  • Investigate the factors and stereotypes related to gay men’s sexual lives.


Chapter Key Points

  • Elderly people do not lose interest in sex, closeness and intimacy. Often workers in the field of aging rarely think of seniors experiencing intimacy and sexuality concerns.
  • As adults age they maintain a desire to continue and create fulfilling intimate relationships. A healthy relationship can positively affect all aspects of life, including physical health and self-esteem.
  • The need to be with others increases as people age, and may include a desire to continue an active and satisfying sex life. Doing so, can involve several adjustments on the part of the elderly person and their partner.
  • A main stereotype about gay sexuality its hyperfocus on youth sexuality.
  • Gay men have satisfying sexual lives. They are healthier and living longer, often more resilient for having met formidable life challenges in their youth.
  • Gay men who are in relationships do better than those who are socially isolated.

(Learning Objectives, Key Points, and Basic Terms content by Professor Stacey Cooper is licensed under CC BY 4.0.)