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Sexuality in older adults: myths, infantilization and invisibility


All about erections, vaginal dryness and the supposed expiration date of sexuality. The importance of sexual education also at this stage.

From non-existence to impossibility.

This is how the sexuality of older adults is usually described or imagined when myths (and stereotypes) win the fight.

Among the three most repeated false theories, it can be mentioned that sexual desire has an expiration date;

that erections and lubrication disappear and that, in the absence of risk of pregnancy, condoms are no longer necessary.

The doctor and sexologist

Romina Barraza

urged to think of the sexuality of older adults as an active and pleasant sexuality.

“ We have


until the last of our days (to the extent that we propose it).

What is expected is that we have sexual activity -with all that it represents- until the day we die, ”she explained in a dialogue with



In this context, he highlighted that one of the fundamental problems around this is the infantilization that usually occurs around these generations: "They are children and, as a consequence, it is assumed that children do not have active eroticism."

The lack of sexual education collaborates in the annulment of the sexuality of the elderly.

Photo illustration Shutterstock.

These ideas and the lack of sexual education collaborate in the annulment of the sexuality of this group.

The doctor also added that to this are added different regulations of numerous nursing homes that prevent sexual encounters for those who live there, invalidating their desire and decision-making capacity.

"Why can't an 80-year-old person say who they want to be with? If the meeting is not there, where is it supposed to be? That is not a lack of sexual education in older adults, but a lack of education in institutions and in health professionals. There is a gigantic void there," claimed Barraza.

Myth 1: sexual desire has an expiration date

Sexual desire has an expiration date: false.

Photo illustration Shutterstock.

One of the most present myths is that "sexual desire ends and sexuality ends," said the specialist.

After highlighting the falsity of this idea, she assured that you can be a sexual person until the last day of your life


Myth 2: Erections and lubrication disappear

Erections and lubrication disappear: false.

Photo illustration Shutterstock.

"The second myth is that erections disappear in people with a penis or that people with a vulva stop lubricating," explained the human sexuality educator.

At the same time, she pointed out that both erection problems and lack of lubrication can occur even long before this stage of life and for numerous reasons, "but it is not a necessary condition for this age group


Myth 3: Condoms are no longer necessary

In older adulthood, condoms are no longer necessary: ​​false.

Photo illustration Shutterstock.

Although "it is true that in the elderly we do not need to avoid an

unintended pregnancy

, we do have to be careful to avoid sexually transmitted infections," emphasized the doctor (on Instagram, @drabarrazasexualidades).

Within this framework, he pointed out the importance of offering sexual education to these generations as well, since linking prophylaxis only with reproduction generates high chances of STI infections.

“It is super important that there are programs that report these kinds of things, since they have to do with public health,” she said.

Adapt to changes and seek pleasure

Understanding the changes and adapting is essential so that sexual dysfunctions are not installed.

Photo illustration Shutterstock.

During this stage, sexuality has, as in all, several edges: the changes of age in organic-biological aspects, in couple bonds and in family dynamics.

Understanding the changes and adapting is essential so that sexual dysfunctions do not set in, said

Pablo Carpintero

, a specialist in gynecology, obstetrics and sexology in

Let's Talk About Sex

(Editorial Dao), the most recent book from the Argentine Society of Human Sexuality (SASH). .

Along the same lines, psychologists and sexologists

Lucía Baez Romano


María Ester Antelo

added that there is no age at which sexuality ends, neither as a practice nor as a desire, unless our thoughts are marked by prejudice or misinformation, since our body feel and desire even in disabling situations.

There is no age when sexuality ends, neither as a practice nor as a desire.

Photo illustration Shutterstock.

"In older adults there are tongue kisses, oral sex, anal sex, coital sex, among other practices that are assumed to be desired and consensual," the specialists listed while clarifying that sexual difficulties are part of the process. natural aging.

"Therefore, if all eroticism is reduced to sexual performance or a fresh image, sexuality at this stage will be undermined."

Sexuality is not the same as genitality


Genitality is a partial aspect of sexuality defined by the anatomical-physiological of the genital organs and their capacity for action.

The secret will be not to take into account the shortcomings as much as the possibilities, accept the changes and celebrate what you have: a body that feels and desires”, they concluded.

look also

Sex in the elderly: 8 things I wish I knew when I was young

How to choose the first sex toy: fundamental keys for beginners

Falling in love at 50: lessons about stereotypes and affective responsibility

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-03-27

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