Human sexuality means the ways in which people experience and express themselves as sexual beings (Rathus et al., 2010).Sex is part of human life, it is a common sense that people normally concern sex since adolescence, but there is no absolute answer for, when sex should be terminated in human life. During the Cho Yiu Chuen’s elderly interview, I saw an adult magazine on an old man’s bed; it triggered me to concern about the sexual need of elderly. Literature review
The University of Chicago (Lindauet al., 2007) conducted a study on 3005 people who aged from 57 to 85. It showed that 75% of the men and 50% of the women age from 75 to 85 consider sex as an important part of life; nearly 75% of them think sexual satisfaction is vital to maintain a good relationship; 75% of men age from 75 to 85 said they thought about sex more than once per month; nearly 66% of the men and 50% of the women had been sexually active in the past year. In addition, a local study (Chan, Ho, Heung & Chan, 2004) also showed that over 50% of the responded elderly got sex intention or had sex with others. The researches have clearly shown that elderly need sex. Moreover, if sex is in appropriate frequency, even elderly can be greatly benefited. Lindau & Gavrilova (2010) found out that sex is positively related to the overall health of elderly; it can reduce depression, increase overall fitness, and promote brain function as well as increasing the quality of life. With this backdrop, elderly sexuality should be an issue to be valued. It is necessary to understand the elderly’s sexual problems and promote the sexual health of elderly in order to increase their quality of life.
Sexual Health Problem of elderly
Many people cannot imagine elderly having sex due to their negative body image and the traditional perception that sex is owned by youth. Therefore, elderly may be identified as sexless seniors (DeLamater & Sill, 2005) (Sexual health matters, 2012). Elderly would suppress their sexual needs and label themselves as abnormal if they are influenced by the social perception. The social perception can bring along negative consequences; it lowers the self-esteem of elderly, worsens their anxiety and depression, and builds up their insecurity of losing family, friends. (Miller, 2012)( Yee, 2012).
Aging on Body Function
Body functions of elderly deteriorate because of aging, especially their sexual function. (Wallace, 2008) Considering post-menopausal women, they lose reproductive ability. The absence of estrogen thins their vaginal wall and mucosa which decreases the vaginal lubrication. In addition, their sexual arousal is slower and the intensity of orgasm is reduced. Therefore, there would be more discomfort or pain, and less-pleasurable orgasms during sexual intercourse (Wallace, 2008). Andropause of men begins around 30s. That decreases the testosterone production which leads to thinning of the epithelium and narrowing of the lumen. Their prostate gland diminishes the secretion and hard masses are formed around the prostatic urethra. (Wallace, 2008) Moreover, fibroelastosis, venous and arterial sclerosis occur in penis. These physical changes decrease the frequency and strength of erections. Post-andropausal men would have less ejaculation, longer refractory period between erections and be more difficult to reach orgasm. As a result, sexual satisfaction decreases. Besides, chronic illness and adverse effects of medication may also physically lower the sexual function of elderly (Wallace, 2008).
Psychological Barriers of Sex
Elderly also have some mental barriers that suppress their sexual desire. They may think that their body image is unattractive which reduces both their sexual desire and satisfaction. Moreover, sex activity would be stopped if they reckon that the purpose of sex is only for pregnancy. Besides, men may avoid sexual behaviors with their...