Sexual health and well-being in later life
Intended for healthcare professionals

Sexual health and well-being in later life

Isabel White , Quality Lead and Psychosexual Therapist, Maggie’s, UK
Hazel Heath , Independent Nurse Consultant for Older People, Loughton, England

Why you should read this article
  • To enhance your awareness of the importance of sexual health and well-being in later life

  • To understand the nurse’s role in promoting older people’s sexual health and well-being

  • To count towards revalidation as part of your 35 hours of CPD, or you may wish to write a reflective account (UK readers)

  • To contribute towards your professional development and local registration renewal requirements (non-UK readers)

Sexual health in later life is becoming increasingly important as more people are reaching older age and are remaining sexually active well into their seventies and beyond. Alongside this, as more older people seek new relationships following partner death or divorce, the rates of newly diagnosed sexually transmitted infections are increasing markedly.

This article focuses on sexual health and well-being. It offers a definition of sexual health and explores the changes that people experience in sexual health, well-being and functioning in later life. It discusses common physical, psychosocial and sexual relationship issues, and identifies advice that nurses can offer to older people. Using the PLISSIT model, it then focuses on the role of nurses in promoting sexual health for people in later life.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2020.e1227

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

White I, Heath H (2020) Sexual health and well-being in later life. Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2020.e1227

Published online: 04 March 2020

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