By Jennifer L. Hillman
Throughout my medical education and perform, i've been stunned via the variety of occasions that sexual concerns have emerged as an suddenly principal characteristic in my paintings with older adults. i will vividly take into account my very own inner response on listening to one among my aged girl sufferers inform me that she used to be date raped many years after the demise of her aged husband-when she used to be sixty eight years previous. i will be able to see in my imagination the blood splattered at the flooring of an inpatient unit from an aged guy who smashed his arm via a window, livid that his antidepressant medicine made it most unlikely to climax via masturbation. On a far much less dramatic yet both vital notice, i believe concerning the aged amputee who advised me softly approximately his fears of resuming sexual intercourse along with his spouse of 25 years. I additionally take into consideration the aged girl whose lack of ability to take herself purchasing to discover trendy, cozy outfits to slot over her hunched shoulders and massive breasts helped precipitate a significant melancholy. In sum, I realized early on that aged sexuality is not only approximately what number instances per week somebody makes love. it truly is my wish that sharing those studies and introducing the similar theories, study, and interventions will support different clinicians in facing those usually hard and clinically challenges. with no my sufferers, this article do not have been possible.
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How often do you masturbate or touch yourself to feel good? How do you feel about it? ) • As people age, they sometimes experience pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse. Do you ever experience such pain or discomfort? • The average person experiences some kind of sexual difficulties at some point in life. Could you tell me about any trouble or problems that you, or a partner of yours, may have had in the past? Do you have any concerns about your sexual behavior or functioning right now that you could tell me about?
Such adults literally talk themselves out of their needs and desires for intimacy and sexual expression. A decrease in the frequency and types of sexual behavior follows. In the sixth stage of this breakdown, the underlying skills for sexual enjoyment and arousal becqme diminished and sometimes lost. The interpersonal skills required to maintain sexual relations may wither and become obsolete, and the elder may manifest symptoms of apathy, depression, and even hostility and guilt. In the final stage of the syndrome, the elderly adult has internalized all of the negative attitudes espoused by society, and has reinforced these beliefs with his or her own decline in sexual activity, desire, and pleasure.
These reactions are quite similar to those experienced when working with sexually sensitive issues with younger patients, but these feelings may be magnified by the unusualness of the situation for the therapist. Pervasive societal beliefs that elderly sexuality is inappropriate or impossible also lend themselves to stronger and more ambivalent reactions. Typical countertransference reactions to elderly patients whose cases involve sexual issues often include: • Embarrassment • Disgust, with subsequent feelings of shame and guilt about the initial feelings of disgust • Titillation and voyeuristic tendencies • Competitiveness • Sexual attraction • Denial of sexual attraction • Disorientation • Intrusive thoughts of parents or grandparents • Acute awareness of body image Many therapists are shocked when they find themselves attracted to an elderly patient.
Clinical Perspectives on Elderly Sexuality by Jennifer L. Hillman