Describe issues of sexuality and aging, especially factors that affect sexual satisfaction in
the later years.
Explain how illness and disability may affect sexual functioning in later life.
Sexuality and Well-Being in Late Life
Understand sexual desire in late life and challenges to the expression of sexual desire
How do you feel about being married in general? About being single?
How do you feel about having a life partner to love and with whom to live out your life?
If you expect to enjoy an active sexual life in your late adult years, what can you do when
you're younger to remain sexually active later on?
Self, Society, and Culture: It's Never Too Late
Katherine had lived alone for a long time, and so had Laurel. Katherine's long-time partner had died some
years before, and she had adapted, but never given up hope that she might find someone special again.
Laurel was older and had been married and divorced, and then in a relationship for several years that had
actually been hurtful to her. They were introduced to each other in an unexpected way—via email by a
health care professional who knew them both and thought they might like each other. You might call it
matchmaking, or just sticking your nose in someone else's life. Whatever you call it, Katherine and Laurel
grudgingly met for coffee, both anticipating disappointment or worse. They took an instant shine to each
other, went out on a date the next day, and have been inseparable since that time, almost 3 years ago.
Oh, and what we didn't tell you is that Katherine is 74 and Laurel is 83. Theirs is a true story, and it
reveals that we are never too old to give love and sexual well-being a chance to flourish in our lives.
It is human nature to search for meaning, identity, love, and pleasure as ways to become whole and
vibrant people. A growing number of people in the United States live alone and appear to be relatively
happy with the freedom and opportunities it brings, especially in midlife (Klinenberg, 2012). For many