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Stereotypes of Older Adults & Sexuality

Make a list of as many stereotypes of older adults and sexuality as you can think of, with examples from film, television, or other media.

What attitudes do these stereotypes convey?

Why is the relative invisibility of older adults' sexuality a cause for concern?

How might a better understanding of sexuality in older adults affect the work you do or plan to do in gerontology?

Solution Preview

The number one stereotype of older adults and sexuality is that sex does not exist for older people. There is a general assumption that lust retreats and desire wanes as one ages. In addition, there is a feeling that as one becomes older they are less sexy, and thus less interested in sexual activity. Those that express an interest are categorized in a negative fashion ("dirty old man" or "cougar"). Erectile dysfunction is commonly brought up, with a nod to Viagra commercials. Older women are thought to be frigid and no longer "obligated" to have sex with their husbands. Warren Buffet was quoted as saying, ""It's nice to have a lot of money, but you know, you don't want to keep it around forever. Otherwise it's a little like saving sex for your old age" (Nuzzo, 2008). This makes the assumption that sex in one's older years is less fulfilling. In 'Failure to Launch', the son is surprised to find his father enjoying part of the house as his "naked room" and his parents are seen discussing wanting to ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses stereotypes of older adults and sexuality with examples from film, television and other media. It discusses the attitudes the stereotypes convey, why the relative invisibility of older adults' secuality is a cause for concern, and how a better understanding of sexuality in older adults affects the work one does in gerontology. Examples and APA references are given.

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