‘We've had our sex life way back’: older care home residents, sexuality and intimacy

Simpson, Paul, Wilson, Christine Brown, Brown, Laura J. E. , Dickinson, Tommy and Horne, Maria (2017) ‘We've had our sex life way back’: older care home residents, sexuality and intimacy. Ageing and Society, 1-24. doi:10.1017/S0144686X17000101

Author Simpson, Paul
Wilson, Christine Brown
Brown, Laura J. E.
Dickinson, Tommy
Horne, Maria
Title ‘We've had our sex life way back’: older care home residents, sexuality and intimacy
Journal name Ageing and Society   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1469-1779
Publication date 2017-02-27
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/S0144686X17000101
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Start page 1
End page 24
Total pages 24
Place of publication Cambridge, United Kingdom
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Language eng
Subject 3306 Health (social science)
3207 Social Psychology
1201 Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
2717 Geriatrics and Gerontology
2739 Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Abstract Older care home residents are excluded from the sexual imaginary. Based on a consultative study involving interviews with three residents, three female spouses of residents and two focus groups of care home staff (N = 16), making an overall sample of 22 study participants, we address the neglected subject of older residents' sexuality and intimacy needs. Using thematic analysis, we highlight how residents’ and spouses’ accounts of sexuality and intimacy can reflect an ageist erotophobia occurring within conditions of panoptical control that help construct residents as post-sexual. However, not all accounts contributed to making older residents’ sexuality appear invisible or pathological. Some stories indicated recuperation of identities and the normalisation of relationships with radically changed individuals, e.g. because of a dementia. We also examine care home staff accounts of the discursive obstacles that frustrate meeting residents’ needs connected with sexuality and intimacy. Simultaneously, we explore staffs’ creative responses to dilemmas which indicate approaches to sexuality driven more by observed needs than erotophobic anxiety and governance, as well as panoptical surveillance.
Keyword Ageism
Care practice
Older care home residents
Sexual citizenship
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
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Created: Tue, 14 Mar 2017, 00:24:17 EST by System User on behalf of Learning and Research Services (UQ Library)