Changes and Forms of Sexual Behaviour in old age: A Qualitative Study of Older People in Southeastern Nigeria

Ede, Stephen Sunday orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4340-4297, Chepngeno-Langat, Gloria and Okoh, Chisom Favour (2023) Changes and Forms of Sexual Behaviour in old age: A Qualitative Study of Older People in Southeastern Nigeria. Sexuality and Culture . ISSN 1095-5143

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The misconceptions that old age is an asexual phase of human life has been challenged by increasing empirical evidence which shows that sexual activity persists in old age albeit in different forms and frequency. This study examined how a group of older people in southeastern Nigeria express their sexual behaviour. The semi-structured individual interviews with 14 older people (9 male, 5 female) aged 60?89 years were conducted using an exploratory qualitative approach. The data generated were analysed thematically, and two themes were conceptualised including diverse sexual behaviour and mutual understanding. These themes supported a pattern among the participants where there is a drop in the frequency of physical sexual behaviour but their sexual interests were described to be more stable. However, the sexual interest is channelled into more intimate sexual behaviour. Thus, sexual behaviours in later life in this study were not declining but showed diversity and modifications; most have adjusted to incorporate more emotional bonding and caring. More so, what forms of sexual behaviour constitute for these older partners are often linked to the presence of dynamic interplay of influencing factors ingrained on the level of the older partners mutuality in understanding and responding to theencroaching age-related changes in their sexual behaviour. Remarkably, these factors could be controlled, which signposts a potential premise and point of policy and practical intervention to promote healthy sexual behaviour in later life.

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