Sexuality over the age of 65: A look at the expression and experience of sexuality in the later adult years
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The expression and experience of sexuality can shift and change over the course of a human lifespan. In the later stages of adulthood, there is a sociocultural shift that occurs in North America where sexuality is presumed to disappear or is shrouded in silence or shame. There is change on the horizon, however, and the cohort of adults currently aged 65 years or older is redefining what it means to embrace and experience sexuality in the later adult years. This paper explores the themes of sexuality in the later adult years by critically analyzing common stereotypes, media representations, physical changes, and sociocultural narratives present in North American culture. The current population of adults over the age of 65 have experienced sociohistorical events, such as the Sexual Revolution, and with the current climate of LGBTQ and #MeToo, this group of older aged adults are creating space for their sexuality to be expressed. The examination of sexuality in the later adult years demonstrates the need for support networks, such as those in the medical and mental health professions, to create safe spaces for the discussion of sexuality.