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Changing sexual pracitices in intimate relationships in later life - a life course perspective
Stockholms universitet.
University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology.
2014 (English)In: The gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 54, no Suppl. 2, 76-76 p.Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

In late modernity sex has escaped its reproductive cage and people form pure relationships, based on mutual satisfaction (Giddens). Ironically, although older people are per definition non-reproductive, they have been neglected in studies on sexuality. The aim is to study sexual attitudes and practices among older people in life-course perspective. We present results from 1) a qualitative interview study with 28 63–91 year old Swedes currently dating or in a relationship (married, cohabiting, LAT) initiated 60+ and 2) a quantitative survey including 1225 60–90 year old Swedes (response rate 42%). The interviews revealed a normative change, from condemnation of extra-marital sex in young adulthood to encouragement of sexual relationships but not marriage in later life. Despite restrictive norms, the survey showed a majority (93%) had had their sexual debut before marriage. All informants had experienced the 1960’s sexual liberation and today liberal attitudes seem to encompass later life. Most had had rather active sexual lives. Half or the survey respondents had had ≥4 more sexual partners, and one in five ≥10. Today, an active sex-life was regarded as important for a good relationship. Many informants had interpreted sexual decline as “natural” and age-related, but re-discovered sexuality with their new partner. The survey confirmed relationship length as a better predictor of sexual activity than age. Cohort and period effects will be discussed. It has been argued that sexual practices will become more liberal in the future by cohort replacement. Our data indicates that “the future might already be here”.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 54, no Suppl. 2, 76-76 p.
Keyword [en]
relationships, later life, intimate relationships, 60+, later life
National Category
Social Work Geriatrics
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-19076ISI: 000346337501076OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-19076DiVA: diva2:793324
GSA 2014, 67th Annual Scientific Meeting of The Gerontological Society of America, 5-9 November 2014, Washington, USA
Available from: 2015-03-06 Created: 2015-03-06 Last updated: 2015-12-08Bibliographically approved

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