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Sexuality - Education

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Many older adults were raised during an era of sexual repression and may have a high level of internalized negative attitudes and misinformation about sex. Although such attitudes could be addressed through education (Hillman and Stricker), older adults often have few opportunities to receive education about sexual issues. While health care providers are in a good position to inform older individuals about sexual issues and dispel myths and misunderstandings, this education seldom occurs. The idea that sexuality is a lifelong process contradicts the beliefs of many health care providers, and all too often they fail to take into account sexual issues when treating older patients (Kennedy et al.). The AARP survey found that most older adults receive information about sex from books or magazines. A widespread need exists to educate all health care providers, including nursing home caregivers, about sex and older adults to help promote a more natural integration of sexual activity into the lives of those who desire it.

JUDITH LEVY RITA STROMBECK

See also ANDROPAUSE; MENOPAUSE; URINARY INCONTINENCE.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ANDERSON, G. ‘‘The Older Gay Man.’’ In HIV/AIDS and the Older Adult. Edited by Kathleen M. Nokes. Washington, D.C.: Taylor and Francis, 1996. Pages 63–76.

Centers for Disease Control. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control, 1997.

Durex. Americans’ Concern About HIV/AIDS Not Translating to Safer Sex Behavior. London: Durex Consumer Products, 1997.

GOULD, D. C., and PETTY, R. ‘‘The Male Menopause—Does It Exist?’’ British Medical Journal 320, no. 7238 (2000): 858–861.

HERNANDEZ-LOPEZ, C. ‘‘Drugs Do Not Only Relieve Male Menopause.’’ British Medical Journal 321, no. 7258 (2000): 451.

HILLMAN, J., and STRICKER, G. ‘‘A Linkage of Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Elderly Sexuality: Not Necessarily a Uniform Relationship.’’ The Gerontologist 34 (1994): 256–260.

HODSON, D. S., and SKEEN, P. ‘‘Sexuality and Aging: The Hammerlock of Myths.’’ Journal of Applied Gerontology 13 (1994): 219–235.

JACOBY, SUSAN. ‘‘Great Sex—What’s Age Got to Do with It?’’ Modern Maturity (September–October 1999): 41–45+.

KENNEDY, G. J.; HAQUE, M.; and ZARANKOW, B. ‘‘Human Sexuality in Late Life.’’ International Journal of Mental Health 26 (1997): 35–46.

KNOWLTON, L. ‘‘Sexuality and Aging.’’ Psychiatric Times 17 (2000): 1.

LAMBERG, L. ‘‘New Drug for Erectile Dysfunction Boon for Many, ‘Viagravation’ for Some.’’ Journal of the American Medical Association 280, no. 10 (1998): 867–869.

LEVY, J. A. ‘‘AIDS and Injecting Drug-Use in Later Life.’’ Research on Aging 20, no. 6 (1998): 776–797.

LOCK, M. ‘‘Accounting for Disease and Distress: Morals of the Normal and Abnormal.’’ In Social Studies in Health and Medicine. Edited by Gary L. Albrecht, Ray Fitzpatrick, and Susan C. Scrimshaw. London: Sage, 2000. Pages 259–276.

MESTON, C. M. ‘‘Aging and Sexuality.’’ West Journal of Medicine 167, no. 4 (1997): 285–290.

MORGENTALER, A. ‘‘Male Impotence.’’ The Lancet 354, no. 9191 (1999): 1713–1718.

MORLEY, J. E., and PERRY, H. M. ‘‘Androgen Deficiency in Aging Men: Role of Testosterone Replacement Therapy.’’ Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine 135 (2000): 370–378.

National Council on the Aging. Healthy Sexuality and Vital Aging. Washington, D.C.: NCOA, 1998.

SCHIAVI, R. C., and REHMAN, J. ‘‘Sexuality and Aging.’’ Urologic Clinics of North America 22 (1995): 711–726.

SHELL, J., and SMITH, C. K. ‘‘Sexuality and the Older Person with Cancer.’’ Oncology Nursing Forum 21 (1994): 553–558.

STALL, R., and CATANIA, J. ‘‘AIDS Risk Behaviors Among Late Middle-Aged and Elderly Americans.’’ Archives of Internal Medicine 154 (1994): 57–63.

STROMBECK, R., and LEVY, J. A. ‘‘Educational Strategies and Interventions Targeting Adults Aged 50 and Over for HIV/AIDS Prevention.’’ Research on Aging 20, no. 6 (1998): 776–798.

TICHY, A. M., and TALASCHEK, M. L. ‘‘Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.’’ Nursing Clinics of North America 27 (1992): 937–949.

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