Sexual Issues and Aging Within the Context of Work With Older Adult Patients

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61 Scopus citations


Recent studies suggest that the majority of older men and women maintain moderate or high levels of sexual interest well into their 70s but often experience sexual dysfunction. Given the burgeoning of the older adult population, psychologists are increasingly likely to find older patients in their practice with questions or concerns about sexuality. The goal of this article is to provide psychologists with current information regarding sexuality and aging, including general prevalence data, age-related biological changes (e.g., menopause), incontinence, erectile dysfunction, prostate changes, male performance-enhancing drugs (e.g., Viagra), medications' sexual side effects, and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Practice guidelines endorse a biopsychosocial perspective, in which stereotypes, gender, partner availability, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation are examined. Clinicians' potentially negative countertransference also should be recognized and worked through. Case examples illustrate many of these concepts, and directions for future research and patient care are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-297
Number of pages8
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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