Sexuality in the Aging Adult

Widespread stereotypes, misconceptions, and jokes about aging adults and sexuality can powerfully and negatively affect aging adults’ sexual experience. Such biases stem in part from ageism and ableism (a form of discrimination against adults who are disabled and in favor of those who appear able-bodied), such as perceptions of aging adults, especially women and those with chronic physical or mental disabilities, that they are unattractive and therefore asexual. Another stereotype is that aging adults lack energy and are not interested in sex. Since sexuality in our society tends to be equated with youthful standards of attractiveness, aging women and individuals with chronic illness and disability may experience the most negative consequence of ageist and sexist definitions. Even more deleterious effects may be experienced when the sexual interaction between aging adults is viewed as socially unacceptable or even physically harmful. As a human service and public service leader, it is important to understand how stereotypes impact the quality of life for aging adults.

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Respond to the following:

  • In what ways are the stereotypes about aging adults and sexuality a surprise to you based on your readings for this course thus far?
  • In what ways is the aging process impacted by an aging adult’s sexuality?
  • How do these stereotypes impact the LGBT aging population seeking quality of life?
  • How should sexuality impact the aging adult, family, and community environments?

Support your answers with references from the readings cited according to APA guidelines.