Older men and women reflect on changes in sexual functioning in later life

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study examined the reflections of older men and women on sexual functioning in later life. We interviewed 24 men and 23 women about sex, using constant comparisons and contrasts (relying on inductive and deductive reasoning) to analyze the interview data. Gender was used as a comparative framework. Our findings show that male erection and ejaculation and penetrative sex define sexual functioning for most respondents. Both men and women tend to identify men as a source of sexual challenges and decline in later life and as the ones who are more negatively affected by later life changes. Health care professionals should assist older adults in identifying more diverse views of sexual functioning in old age beyond a heteronormative perception, which equates sexual functioning with sexual intercourse. This could potentially result in greater satisfaction and lower distress concerning sexual functioning, particularly among older men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-367
Number of pages21
JournalSexual and Relationship Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists.


  • Sexuality
  • heterosexuality
  • intercourse
  • masturbation
  • medicalization
  • older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Older men and women reflect on changes in sexual functioning in later life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this