Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 39, Issue 10, October 2010

Aging and sexuality

Lesley Yee
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Sexuality has become a medical issue in association with aging. This is due to a number of factors, including increasing age of survival, a positive societal construct that promotes sexuality as important for quality of life as we age, and the medicalisation of sexuality with the advent of prescription medications to treat sexual dysfunction.
This article reviews the factors surrounding aging and sexuality and also considers special situations with age, such as institutionalised care and the possibility of elder abuse.
Normal physiological changes with aging affect both genders in terms of sexual desire and performance. Other medical conditions increase with age, and these and their treatments will impact on sexuality and the way it can be expressed. Medical practitioners require an understanding of these changes in order to find ways to optimise sexual function in older patients.

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