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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 131-139

Sexuality in older adults: Clinical and psychosocial dilemmas


Department of Psychiatry, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Avinash De Sousa
Carmel, 18, St. Francis Road, Off S.V. Road, Santacruz West, Mumbai - 400 054, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2348-9995.195629

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The present review aims to throw some light on the various aspects of sexuality in older adults and the challenges faced by medical professionals working in this area. Keyword searches using the terms "sexuality," "sexual dysfunction," "geriatric," "old age," and others in combination were carried out on PubMed, Google Scholar, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Relevant clinical trials, case studies, and review papers were selected. This was further supplemented with the clinical experience of the authors, who work with older patients in a psychiatric outpatient setting with a dedicated sexual disorders clinic. Sexuality is a lifelong phenomenon and its expression a basic human right across all ages. However, the construct of normalcy for sex in aging is blurred, with agism playing a distinct role. Older adults face much stigma when expressing sexual desires or concerns, both from their own families and the health-care system. Sexual dysfunctions due to comorbid medical illnesses and medications are often treatable. Evidence-based treatments for sexual dysfunction in the elderly, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, and other orientations are especially underrepresented in research; available research has several limitations. Sexuality in people with dementia and sexual rights in nursing homes are gray areas. Medical training, treatment guidelines, and health-care facilities all need to be stepped up in terms of awareness and quality of care provided to the elderly with concerns related to sexuality.


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