A Life Course Perspective on the Ways Older Men and Women Discuss Sexual Issues

Liat Ayalon, Inbar Levkovich, Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan, Khaled Karkabi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study examined how older adults communicate about sexual issues in light of the tremendous societal changes that have taken place with regard to sexuality in the past few decades. We relied on interviews with 47 Israelis 60 years of age and older who were instructed to discuss sexuality in old age and its unique characteristics, using semi-structured interviews. Analysis consisted of repeated comparisons and contrasts to identify common themes. A common thread of “secrets and lies” characterized the discussion of sexual issues throughout the life course of respondents. The findings showed that although older adults have been aware of the limited information provided to them during their upbringing and of the limited room allowed to sexuality in their emerging adulthood years, many have continued to find it difficult to address sexual issues, even in later life. Moreover, many perceived the information currently available about sexuality and the contemporary approach to sexuality brought by the media or their children and grandchildren as being somewhat inadequate. Implications for practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)911-919
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Old age
  • Secrecy
  • Self-presentation
  • Sexuality
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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