Sexuality and sexual intimacy in later life
CPD    

Sexuality and sexual intimacy in later life

Hazel Heath Independent nurse consultant for older people, Loughton, Essex, England

Sexuality is as important in older age as it is throughout life, and its expression can be positive, empowering, joyful and life-affirming. The concept of sexuality has many dimensions including identity, need and desire, relationships and behaviour, all of which develop through ageing and life experiences. The evidence on all aspects of sexuality in later life tends to focus on biological dysfunction rather than fulfilment, well-being and quality of life, and does not acknowledge the enormous diversity of older people in terms of age, sexualities, ethnicity and culture. However, the evidence base is growing and, in broad terms, what older people want is becoming more clearly articulated.

This article acknowledges the current evidence and, building on this, suggests ways in which nurses working in health and social care services can address some of the challenges, enhance their own understanding and skills, and work creatively with older individuals to offer services that help them to live, and end, their lives according to their individual identities, choices and deepest, most personal, priorities.

Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2019.e1102

Citation

Heath H (2019) Sexuality and sexual intimacy in later life. Nursing Older People. doi: 10.7748/nop.2019.e1102

Peer review

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

Correspondence

hh@hazelheath.co.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Published online: 16 January 2019