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The gap between desires and reality in sexuality of males and females aged 60 and over: Results from the Berlin aging study II (BASE-II) - 29/08/19

Doi : 10.1016/j.sexol.2019.08.005 
K.M. Beier a, S. Kossow a, Y. Zhou a, F. Kroll a, , B. Neumann a, A. Konrad a, I. Mundt a, E. Steinhagen-Thiessen b, I. Demuth b, A. Rosada b, A. Pauls a
a Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine, Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Berliln, Germany 
b Lipid Clinic at the Interdisciplinary Metabolism Center, Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany 

Corresponding author.
Sous presse. Épreuves corrigées par l'auteur. Disponible en ligne depuis le jeudi 29 août 2019

Summary

Background

As the world's population over 60 continues to grow, there is increasing interest in older adults’ sexuality and its impact on their life quality and general health conditions. While sexual behaviour and sexual function have been described previously, desires for intimacy have received less attention. This study aims to explore the gap between desired and experienced sexual activities among individuals of older age in Germany while simultaneously addressing gender differences.

Method

In total, 751 heterosexual individuals (aged60 years, approx. 65% females) sampled from the Berlin Aging Study II completed the Questionnaire on Sexual Experiences and Partnership Quality (Q-SExPQ), which asks about body contact, exchange of touching, sex without intercourse and sex with intercourse, and the desire for these sexual activities. A mixed ANOVA was performed to compare the group differences in the sexual activities, particularly with respect to the desire for sexual contact.

Results

The older adults experienced less frequent sexual activities than they desired. Men desired and experienced more frequent sexual activities. Additionally, persons in relationships had a stronger desire for sexual activities and experienced more frequent sexual activities, and consequently, they experienced only a moderate gap between their desires and reality. For exchange of touching, the gap of unmet desires was larger for women both in relationships and not in relationships. In contrast, for sex with intercourse, the gap of unmet desires was larger for men. Only those in relationships experienced more frequent body contact than they desired.

Conclusion

In the group of older adults investigated in this study, a gap between sexual desires and real sexual experience is shown, which varied with gender and relationship status. A lack of sexual fulfilment is likely to influence sexual and general health. Pertinent research, including studies on the effect of support programmes, is needed for clarification.

Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.

Keywords : Old age, Sexual desire and reality, Sexual behaviour, Sexual function, BASE-II, Berlin


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