January 30, 2011
Sexuality at Different Life Stages
Sexuality is an interesting topic that people may not understand to the full extent. We as people develop sexuality as we individually mature in life. There are also many aspects of life that may affect one’s sexual development and behavior such as religion, culture, gender and the way we were raised. In this report there are three separate scenarios that are placed at different stages of life and are having difficulty with their sexual interests. Each scenario will be answered with a therapist’s perspective; this will allow each individual to make a life choice as well as overcome obstacles that may be disturbing the individual in their sexual development.
Scenario 1: Anna, an adolescent girl, is very much in love with her boyfriend who is three years older than she. He is putting a lot of pressure on her to have sex. At the same time, she is anxious about her parents’ attitude towards her boyfriend. Her mother constantly warns her about dating an older boy and assumes that he intends to take advantage of her.
Result: Anna, at this stage in your life, you are experiencing a great amount of emotions and feelings with the pressure from your boyfriend to engage in sexual intercourse with him before you are ready. At this stage in your life, your body is experiencing new growth and hormones that are flowing through your system. These new hormones are called estrogen. Let me explain to you what estrogen is; estrogen is responsible for so many changes that you may have already experienced such as the growth of your breasts, growth of hair in your pubic and under arm area, and your menstrual cycle may of started (Rathus, Nevid &, Fichner-Rathus, 2005). Because you are being bombarded with all these new hormones, your perspectives about engaging into sexual activities with your boyfriend may be altered; you will have to try hard to make sure these factors do not shape your decisions.
Your mother has voiced her concerns about your boyfriend pressuring you into making a decision you may not be ready for because she understands this stage in life you are experiencing now because she had been there once. She understands how hard it can be to make choices when you are going through big changes. She may also understand your feelings towards one another. I do not doubt the level of feelings and love your boyfriend has towards you but consider the age difference between you, he may be using his maturity to pressure you in to making a big decision you may regret. When making a big decision I advise you to remember the way you were raised and your own personal views about engaging in sexual activities. I want you to weigh your options an think hard about what you really want to so and why you want to do it, then I want you to do the same thing with your boyfriend. Another thing I want you to think about is the results and consequences of your decisions. If you choose to engage in sexual intercourse I want you to educate yourself and your boyfriend about the proper contraceptive methods (i.e. birth control and condoms) to avoid anything happening that you are not ready for such as becoming pregnant.
Scenario 2: Tom and Susan are an elderly couple. Tom has been retired for several years, and Susan is more recently retired. She has shown a renewed interest in sexual activity. Tom has not reciprocated Susan’s interest as he is anxious about his sexual ability at this age.
Result: Tom, you have been retired for a while now and I understand what you may be feeling right now and I want you to know that it is perfectly normal for men to feel at your age. However, I need to explain that what Susan is feeling is also perfectly normal because she recently reached her sexual “prime”; which comes later in life than men. Concerning the age that you are Tom, it is important to understand the reasons you would experience anxiety concerning your sexual performance. Some men of the same age you are have begun to experience difficulty gaining an erection and maintaining the erection ending with an orgasm (Rathus, Nevid &, Fichner-Rathus, 2005) due to erectile dysfunctions. There are a few things I want you two to try so that you have a better understanding of each other’s feelings towards this matter. The first thing I want you to do is communicate, through communication you may learn that you share the same anxieties which will help ease both of your minds. Also, with communication you can discuss common sexual interests.
Susan, your sexual interest has peaked with your new found retirement. Talking with Tom about your sexual experiences may also help ease Tom’s mind not to mention allow Tom to feel comfortable with checking out medical professionals concerning any physical obstacles he may be experiencing.
Scenario 3: Bill has been paralyzed from the waist down since he was a child. He is involved in a romantic relationship and wishes to be intimate with his partner but is unsure how to express his interest. Bill becomes very nervous and uncomfortable when talking about this subject.
Result: Bill, I want you to know that a lot of people with disabilities share the same fear and anxiety about becoming sexually active with their partner. You must have a very special partner that shows interest in engaging in sexual intercourse with you despite your disability. Communicating about your sexual performances may be uncomfortable but understand that your girlfriend already accepts the fact that you may not be able to perform sexually and therefore does not want to cause you any uncomfortable feelings. She may be pleased that you are able to perform sexually and that you have thought about pleasing her as well as yourself. Another thing I want you to keep in mind is; intimate moments with your partner are just as important as engaging in sexual activities(Rathus, Nevid &, Fichner-Rathus, 2005).
No matter what stage in your life you may be, remember that everyone has concerns regarding sexual performances. Whether it is to engage in a sexual relationship that you may not be ready for, you are nervous to engage in sexual activities because of a disability or you have been engaging in sexual activities for a while. Each person grows differently maturely and you are not alone. Communication is the key in making the best decisions for you and your partner.
Rathus, S. A., Nevid, J.S., and Fichner-Rathus, L. (2005). Human sexuality in a world of diversity. (6th ed.) Boston: Allyn and Bacon.