Check out the ultimate guide to 16 return-to-work programs in India for women
Is sexuality only something for the younger generation? Don't older people feel the desires to have sex or be aroused?
Is sexuality only something for the younger generation? Don’t older people feel the desire to have sex or be aroused?
The term sexuality is basically defined as the capacity to have sexual feeling, including the person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, intimacy, eroticism and social aspects of sex. Expression of sexuality is integral to development.
There is a constant youth driven narrative on how we see sex and intimacy. Surging hormones and beauty being the chief factors for receiving love and sex have been exhausted narratives that should be moulded into more age friendly narratives.
Ageism (a concept formulated by Robert Neil Butler) is basically the stereotyping and discrimination against individuals of particular age groups; especially seniors, adolescents and children with underlying concepts of racism and sexism in play.
Due to constant reinforcements, older people have started to internalise these prejudices. This leads to them being at the receiving end of questions, criticism and low self-esteem. Add to this the implicit subconscious thoughts that people have towards perceiving elder people. The thoughts that are mostly inclined towards the negative rather than positive ones.
“Dirty old men and women who think and talk about sex and are still horny”, these lines have plagued various conversations and representations of old men and women in various cultures. And they always end up being the centre of ridicule for wanting to satisfy needs that cannot be considered age specific. How can any dictum be put forth which sets an upper age limit on having sex?
One of the most common myths is that elderly people do not desire sex. On the contrary, a majority of the population over 60 years of age love sexual activity. The aspect of attractiveness is repeatedly reinforced and they are often considered as a major drawback for sexual intimacy.
The representations of elderly women and men in print as well as visual media have been largely steeped in a muddle of over-generalisation and preconceived notions.
Older women are portrayed as celestial beings with no desire for sex or any form of intimacy from their spouses. Their sole duty is taking care of their grandchildren and the well being of the family.
At the same time, men are either seen as celibate or with dirty sexual desires towards younger women with no morals or shame.
Elders of the LGBTQIA+ community are seldom even represented.
Young adults generally view their fathers and mothers as being devoid of any sexual desire after their birth and this perception increases as they age.
There is no form of privacy for the elderly at their own homes as they are mostly not provided separate rooms. What’s more is that, such desires are often looked upon with disgust.
Love that stands the test of time and elderly love is always cherished. Couples who have been together for the years are always looked at with awe. But intimacy or sex among the same couples or among any elderly is shunned and looked upon with shame.
Even though love among women and men who have undergone divorce or any form of separation is portrayed sensitively, their sex lives are neglected.
Elderly people have gone through all the processes in relation to sexuality when they were young and hence sexual arousal, fantasies and desire are unlikely to drastically drop.
Many hormonal issues and types of sexual dysfunction among the young are considered curable. However, when it comes to older people, they are not given the attention they need, neither is there any research on the same.
In 2016, the psychiatry department of the Lokmanya Tilak Municipality Medical College in Mumbai conducted a research on people between the ages of 80 and 102. According to the research, the participants believed touching and caressing was the most common form of sexual intimacy.
Available data suggest that elder men and women consider sexuality an important aspect of their lives (cuddling, foreplay, vaginal intercourse, oral sex and masturbation). This is at the similar frequency and in tune with younger adults despite decrease in sexual vigour. Health related issues, marital issues, gender and societal perception play an important role in the decline of sexuality.
Men undergo a decline in testosterone levels with age. However, in many cases, this does not hamper sexual interest and activity. This, despite more time and greater stimulation being needed for arousal, orgasm, and a significantly longer refractory period.
Currently, there are no conclusive data to suggest that hormonal changes significantly impact sexuality in healthy older men.
A survey of 1031 men between 30 and 99 years of age found not a single respondent reporting a complete absence of sexual interest. Older men preferred intercourse over other forms of sexual activity despite reporting insufficient erectile frequency, duration, and rigidity. More importantly, erectile failure is not the norm among older men and when it does occur, it is often treatable.
Women undergo changes in sexual function with age as well, starting around the time of menopause. They have decreased vaginal lubrication and thinning of the vaginal epithelium that lead to dyspareunia.
This could be the underlying cause of the reported decline in sexual function in older women. It is easily treatable with vaginal lubricants or estrogen supplementation.
Research into female sexuality in older age has long reported a severe decline in sexual interest and activity in women. However, studies often compare sexual activity of older women with men, rather than with their own previous level of sexual activity or with that of younger women.
Other design flaws include equating sexual activity solely with vaginal intercourse. Not accounting for those who have suffered the loss of partner.
Women generally outlive men and marital status is correlated with continuing sexual activity in women.
A radical change on how sexuality is viewed in respect to the elderly is of paramount importance. And a drastic improvement in the medical as well as the socio cultural perspective is needed.
Picture credits: YouTube
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
If her MIL had accepted her with some affection, wouldn't they have built a mutually happier relationship by now?
The incident took place ten years ago.
Smita could visit her mother only in summers when her daughter had school holidays. Her daughter also enjoyed meeting her Nani, and both of them had done their reservations for a week. A month before their visit, her husband told her, “My mom is coming for 4-5 months!”
Smita shuddered. She knew the repercussions. She would have to hear sarcastic comments from her mother-in-law for visiting her mother. She may make these comments directly only a bit, but her servants would be flooded with the words, “How horrible she is! She leaves me and goes!”
Maybe Animal is going to make Ranbir the superstar he yearns to be, but is this the kind of legacy his grandfather and granduncles would wish for?
I have no intention of watching Animal. I have heard it’s acting like a small baby screaming and yelling for attention. However, I read some interesting reviews which gave away the original, brilliant and awe-inspiring plot (was that sarcastic enough?), and I don’t really need to go watch it to have an informed opinion.
A little boy craves for his father’s love but doesn’t get it so uses it as an excuse to kill a whole bunch of people when he grows up. Poor paapa (baby) what else could he do?
I was wondering; if any woman director gets inspired by this movie and replicates this with a female protagonist, what would happen?. Oh wait, that’s the story of so many women in this world. Forget about not giving them love, you have fathers who try to kill their daughters or sell them off or do other equally despicable things.
Please enter your email address