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  • 1.
    Bildtgard, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Stockholms universitet.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Changing sexual pracitices in intimate relationships in later life - a life course perspective2014In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 54, no Suppl. 2, p. 76-76Article in journal (Other academic)
    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”.

  • 2.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Social Work, Stockholm University.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    New intimate relationships and informal care obligations in later life2013In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 53, no Suppl. 1, p. 413-414Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 3.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Stockholms universitet.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    New intimate relationships as a resource for independent living in later life2014In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 54, no Suppl. 2, p. 11-11Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Despite increased research interest in transitions into new intimate relationships in later life, little focus has been on how transitions affect older people’s social networks. We investigate the impact of entering into new intimate relationships in later life on interdependent lives. Results are based on both qualitative interviews with 28 Swedes (63–91 years) either dating or living in new relationships initiated 60+ (marriage, cohabitation, LAT), and a quantitative survey to 60–90 year old Swedes (n=1225; response rate 42%). A central theoretical frame is Elder’s (1994) principle of interdependent lives. A new relationship usually meant integration into the new partner’s social and filial networks (some problems will be discussed) and a restructuring of the relationship chain so that time and energy is redirected to the new partner. A new partner was described as a resource for living independent lives by the older informants, and as a way of “unburdening” the children. Finally, the qualitative interviews hinted at a hierarchy of dependencies. This was confirmed by the survey. A majority of respondents would primarily turn to their partners for social, emotional and practical support, with children as a distant second and “others” third. An exception was personal hygiene, where partners remained the first choice, but where the social services were preferred to children. This hierarchy was the same in new relationships. The results, partly contradicting previous research findings, are discussed in light of Western individualism generally and Swedish welfare-state and state supported individualism in particular.

  • 4. Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    et al.
    Öberg, Peter
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    New sexual relationships in later life: the case of late modern Sweden2013In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 53, no Suppl., p. 300-300Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 5.
    Öberg, Peter
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Bildtgard, Torbjörn
    Stockholms universitet.
    Diversity of intimacy forms and their importance for well-being in later life2014In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 54, no Suppl. 2, p. 195-195Article in journal (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper focuses on different forms of intimacy in later life in late modern Sweden and their consequences for well-being. The results are based both on qualitative interviews with 28 Swedes (63–91 years), living in new relationships initiated after the age of 60 (marriage, cohabitation, LAT) or currently dating; and on a quantitative survey to 60–90 year old Swedes (n=1225; response rate 42%). The results show: A great diversity in relationship careers over the life course; a preference for LAT (70%) and cohabitation (26%) in new unions established 60+; strong support from adult children for parents’ new LAT (86%) and cohabitation (76%) relationships, but less support for marriage (50%); that new relationships are as important for life-satisfaction as long-lasting ones; after subjective health, a partner is the second most important explanation for life-satisfaction, more important than having children; LAT was the union form that added most to life-satisfaction for men while marriage was the only form that significantly added to the life-satisfaction of women. Results were the same for newly established relationships and older relationships. Results will be discussed in relation to the shift from marriage to divorce culture (Hackstaff), the transformation of intimacy (Giddens), potentials of the third age (Laslett), and gender socialization, but also in terms of how the results can be interpreted in a context of Swedish welfare-state supported individualism where a partner provides both autonomy in relation to adult children and social integration.

  • 6.
    Öberg, Peter
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    Stockholms universitet.
    Initiation and development of new intimate relationships in later life2016In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 56, no Suppl. 3, p. 17-18, article id Suppl. 3Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    According to contemporary family theory late modern relationships are guided less be external norms and more by internal negotiation between relatively equal partners. The purpose of this paper is to study initiation and development of new intimate relationships in later life, with a focus on negotiation and change, based on relationship histories with older Swedes (n=28), who are currently in new late in life cross-gender relationships initiated 60+, or currently dating singles. The results show a paradox: relationship ideals often seem unchangeable in prospect, but actual relationship arrangements appear open and changeable, when described in retrospect. LATs recall having been determined not to initiate any new relationships, cohabitants to retain their own home, remarried informants never to marry again. The analysis focuses the negotiations leading to relationship change. We discuss and question prevailing implicit assumptions about older people’s relationships as non-negotiated and unchangeable.

  • 7.
    Öberg, Peter
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    University of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Partner-age in late life unions - ideals vs realities2016In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 56, no 3, p. 732-732, article id Suppl. 3Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Age homo/heterogamy in romantic unions is given little attention in current gerontological research. Still partner age-differences are important for men’s and women’s relationship opportunities. This paper studies actual partner-age (age-difference) in cross-gendered unions, and ideal partner-age both for singles and respondents in unions. The study was carried out by a survey to 60–90 year old Swedes, currently either singles or in a cross-gender relationship (married, cohabiting, LAT) (n=1225). Unions follow a traditionally gendered age structure: 56% of men, but only 16% of women have a younger partner. This pattern is more pronounced: in first unions (p<.001) and unions initiated before 1970 (p<.01). For respondents in unions actual partner-age showed no significant correlation with union form or urbanity (modernity-hypothesis), and not with education or income (power-hypothesis). For respondents in unions Ideal Partner-Age correlates strongly (p<.001; R2=0,76) with actual partner-age (ideal slightly younger). Among single respondents, almost all (92%) single men and half of the single women (47%) prefer a younger partner (8,9 years younger on average for men; 2,2 for women). The proportion preferring a younger partner increases by age, leading to increasingly incompatible age ideals. Results will be discussed in relation to life-course theory; gender and power; the deinstitutionalization hypothesis.

  • 8.
    Öberg, Peter
    et al.
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, Social work.
    Bildtgård, Torbjörn
    Social Work, Stockholm University.
    The impact of new intimate relationships in later life on life satisfaction2013In: The Gerontologist, ISSN 0016-9013, E-ISSN 1758-5341, Vol. 53, no Supplement 1, p. 61-61Article in journal (Other academic)
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