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Sex and Diversity in Later LifeCritical Perspectives$
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Trish Hafford-Letchfield, Paul Simpson, and Paul Reynolds

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781447355403

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447355403.001.0001

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Sex and ageing in older heterosexual men

Sex and ageing in older heterosexual men

(p.79) 5 Sex and ageing in older heterosexual men
Sex and Diversity in Later Life

David M. Lee

Josephine Tetley

Policy Press

Sexuality is an integral part of living and growing older, but societal stereotypes of later life continue to place little value on the importance of sexual activity and fulfilment to older people. Here we draw on data from the nationally representative English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) to highlight how transitions in health and sexuality among older heterosexual men intersect in later life. This chapter considers key data from ELSA, combining both quantitative and qualitative findings, to better describe and understand trajectories of later life sexuality. While the ELSA data reveal complex age-related changes in sexual health and wellbeing among older heterosexual men, many remain sexually active and sexually intimate into their 70s, 80s and 90s. We discuss the implications of these findings for practice and policy, particularly in relation to more proactive discussions around changing sexual expression in later life, and how health care professionals can more holistically support older men’s sexual health and wellbeing.

Keywords:   Sex, ageing, heterosexual men, ELSA, transitions

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