7 Apr 2022


Popular Culture's Perceptions of Sexuality and Elderly People

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The cartoon shows an elderly couple arguing because the husband has been sleeping around with younger women. This depicts that the old man no longer has sexual desires with his elderly wife. This shows that even in older age, men still are sexually active and most of the times they lose sexual desires with their wife. The society as a whole believes that once a woman reaches 60, their sexual drive goes flat or sometimes disappear, leaving a man whose sexual drive goes longer into old ages starving for sex. This lack of sexual intercourse between the man and the wife makes the man to go out of wedlock to find sexual satisfaction from other women, mostly young, whose sexual drive is high. It is believed that when the levels of estrogen, testosterones and other body hormones in the body of a woman that occurs after menopause, significantly affects the sexual activeness females.

Hormones such as estrogen, testosterones are responsible for the regulation of reproductive cycle, sexual drive and moods and these features reduce significantly if the levels are down. Women are known to become somehow docile after attaining the age of between 45 and 60 years. Sexual drive in men is known to extend in their late age, and when their wives reach menopause, these men are left with options of seeking sexual satisfaction from those women with active sexual life. However, this situation does not affect all women, as a percentage of them remain sexually active even after reaching menopause.

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Physiological aspects of sexual development in elderly people

Several physiological changes occur in the lives of both men and women as they age. In men, changes associated with age includes: lower volumes of semen, a slower erection that recedes immediately after orgasm, decreased ejaculation force and increases in the refractory phase duration. Other changes include a change in testicle evaluation, a decrease in size and firmness of the testicles and reduced levels of testosterone. No medical treatment is known to treat changes which may occur due to ageing in men (Andrews & Piterman, 2007). However, the decrease in the levels of testosterone is associated with an increase in sexual, moods and cognitive disorders. In women, physiological changes that take place are such as reduced levels of estrogen circulation, which mostly occurs after menopause, virginal dryness due to a decrease in the levels of lubrication and a general atrophy of virginal tissues occur. Besides, changes such as clitoral, vulva and labia tissues shrink, reduction in the size of the cervix, uterus and ovaries also occur. Loss of elasticity and thinning of virginal walls also occur. This results into the intercourse being painful. To this condition, there are possible hormonal replacement therapy, but may have a side effect.

Psychological aspect of Sexual Development in Elderly People

Mental state on how an individual feels is called psychological state. In elderly people, mental disorders tend to increase. Sex drive can be lowered by such changes in one's mental state as a result of psychological issues in the elderly people. Sexuality in older people has been ignored in years. It can easily be assumed that ageing comes with dramatic changes, and thus sexuality is not a subject that concerns the elderly to any grand scale. However, sometimes these dramatic shifts in awareness and understanding are brought by events in life. Nevertheless, Sexuality remains a significant part of life right through one's life. Biological and psychological factors influence psychological behavior in an individual. Health and illness may considerably interfere with sexual activities in a person. Consequently, older people tend to be prone to health issues and frequent illnesses and thus their sexual activeness goes down. Erectile dysfunction and menopause are common issues affecting the elderly sexuality health. Conversely, there is an increase in demand for medical awareness and services concerning sexual health among older people. For this reason, large and growing drug market for devices and drugs to treat problems relating to sexuality problems is targeting older adults. Despite all these concerns, older adults have limited access to information on sexual behavior and how ageing and illness affect their sexual activities. Many people lose their sexual partners as they grow old, particularly women. Underlying diseases such as diabetes, infection, cancer or urogenital tract disorders poses as a warning sign or severe consequence that is associated with sexual problems. These conditions affect the state of mind of older adults significantly thus lowering their sexual drive.

Social aspect of Sexual Development in Elderly People

The society has equated sexual behaviors with youthful vigor and youthful looks. Many people have the assumption that older adults become less of a sexual being and less desirable. This is just a stereotype that the elderly in the society may accept and believe that they are not allowed or expected to be sexually active (Bieńko, 2015). However, almost every human being has the capability to derive lifelong gratification in sexual activities. Besides, to accept as true in the myth that the elderly are not fascinated in sex is to miss out on breathtaking possibilities. As individuals get older, they tend to have a few people in their age group to choose sexual partners from. As a result, women and men decide to be single because they may find it challenging deal with their sexual feelings. Being single by choice, widowhood or divorce presents a predicament also. Ideally, it is wiser not to suppress one's sexual desire but to express them regardless of your age. Safe sex is just as essential for the elderly as it is to the youth and energetic. Sexually transmitted diseases are not as common to the elderly as they assume the diseases are for the young people (Laumann, Paik, Glasser, Kang, Wang, Levinson & Gingell, 2006). This assumption makes them more susceptible to STIs due to weak immune systems or, thinner vaginal tissues in women that can easily tear. This poses a grave concern in older adults' sexual behaviors. Another aspect as far as sexuality in older adults is concerned, is dating. For instance, many older people have not enthusiastically dated for a couple of years, and it is not bizarre to feel apprehension over contemporary social conventions. For many, depression, loneliness, and negative body image as perceived by the society are some of the barriers to meeting new partners for sexual gratification. Counseling, in this case, can be therapeutically.


Although ageing does not affect every old person in the society, the study shows that over 57% of old people of up to 60 years have experienced abnormality in their sexual life. This number, however, increases as the years increase. Some people experience sexual dysfunction at very late ages, which also may be problematic to them since, there are few other people of the same age in that category, forcing them to seek sexual satisfaction from the younger generation.


Andrews, C. N., & Piterman, L. (2007). Sex and the older man: GP perceptions and management. Australian family physician, 36(10), 867.

Bieńko, M. (2015). Promotion of sexual health among seniors in the self-help media realm of popular culture. AnthropologicAl review, 78(3), 251-257.

Laumann, E. O., Paik, A., Glasser, D. B., Kang, J. H., Wang, T., Levinson, B., ... & Gingell, C. (2006). A cross-national study of subjective sexual well-being among older women and men: findings from the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors. Archives of sexual behavior, 35(2), 143-159.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Popular Culture's Perceptions of Sexuality and Elderly People.


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