How do older people discuss their own sexuality? A systematic review of qualitative research studies

Gewirtz-Meydan, Ateret, Hafford-Letchfield, Trish ORCID logoORCID:, Ayalon, Liat, Benyamini, Yael, Biermann, Violetta, Coffey, Alice, Jackson, Jeanne, Phelan, Amanda, Voß, Peggy, Geiger Zeman, Marija and Zeman, Zdenko (2019) How do older people discuss their own sexuality? A systematic review of qualitative research studies. Culture Health & Sexuality, 21 (3) . pp. 293-308. ISSN 1369-1058 [Article] (doi:10.1080/13691058.2018.1465203)

PDF - Final accepted version (with author's formatting)
Download (945kB) | Preview


This study captured older people’s attitudes and concerns about sex and sexuality in later life by synthesising qualitative research published on this issue. The systematic review was conducted between November 2015 and June 2016 based on a pre-determined protocol. Key words were used to ensure a precise search strategy. Empirically based, qualitative literature from 18 databases was found. Twenty studies met the inclusion criteria. Thomas and Harden’s thematic synthesis was used to generate ‘analytical themes’ which summarise this body of literature. Three main themes were identified: (a) social legitimacy for sexuality in later life; (b) health, not age, is what truly impacts sexuality, and (c) the hegemony of penetrative sex. The themes illustrate the complex and delicate relation between ageing and sexuality. Older adults facing health issues that affect sexual function adopt broader definitions of sexuality and sexual activity

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): Sex; sexuality; intimacy; ageing; thematic synthesis
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Mental Health, Social Work and Interprofessional Learning
Item ID: 24330
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Culture Health & Sexuality on 04/06/2018, available online:
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Trish Hafford-Letchfield
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2018 08:58
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 19:15

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.