Article About Sex And The Elderly In Nursing Homes From The Examiner.com With Commentary From Blog Author

NURSING HOMEJune 15, 2012ADD A COMMENT

Sex is natural, sex is fun

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Mya Vaughn
SF Sex and Relationships Examiner

With the sexually liberated Baby Boomers aging, researchers are scrambling to understand how to combine sexual expression and aging in nursing homes. Regardless of the setting, older adults it has been said that “the expression of sexual and affectionate needs and desires is purposeful behavior in it’s own right through communication, pleasure and shared intimacy (Aizenberg, Weizman, & Barak, 2002, pp. 188-189).” Why is society having such a difficult time acknowledging the sexuality of older adults? “Poorly informed and negative social attitudes [are] a major obstacle to providing a sexually healthy environment for older people (Shuttleworth, Russell, Weerakoon, & Dune, 2010,p.192).” In the nursing home staff is the greatest barrier to sexual expression.
In a 1999 Australian research study, some nursing staff illustrated the change of views toward sexual expression in nursing homes. Below are some incidences of sexual expression reported by the staff:
• Two widowed men (previously married to women) moved into a nursing home at separate times. Over time, the two men developed a friendship and were often spotted kissing and holding hands.
• When the residents are masturbating with the door to their room open, the staff closes the door for privacy.
• One man would call sex workers to come to the nursing home and he would be given privacy during her stay.
• A staff member would drive one man to his appointments with this sex surrogate.
These are a few examples of the progressive attitudes toward sexuality and the aging population. The larger question is, what about the aging women in nursing homes? Several studies have found that older men are more interested in sex than older women, but the women are still interested. Are lesbian relationships accepted in nursing homes? Are women encouraged to remain sexually active through a sex surrogate or sex worker? The parents of the Baby Boomers are in the nursing homes and assisted living, the Baby Boomers will be moving in in 10 years or so. The children of the Baby Boomers will demand more tolerant views of different methods of sexual expression throughout the lifespan. Nursing homes, get prepared.

Commentary By This Blog’s Author:

I am all in favor of sex workers visiting nursing homes. I think it is an excellent way to help clients to have some fun in a place that can be very depressing and anxiety producing. Not only do most people enjoy sex, but people with disabilities, including people who are elderly can benefit from touch, visual stimulation, and masturbation. Connecting with other clients in the nursing home is beneficial, but it is not enough. They need more, and inviting sex workers is not only a creative way to help clients deal with their extant sexual desires, but it makes perfect sense. A dancer can come in, take all her or his clothes off, and provide a way for people to fantasize, which can not only relieve clients’ stress but allows them to cut loose a bit and have some fun.

In addition, when sex workers are encouraged to visit nursing homes and not just use traditional clubs or the Internet to provide their services, they make sex work even more interesting and useful. Sex work has often been relegated to bad neighborhoods, seen as sinful and therefore bad, but sex is very beneficial, and it allows anyone to release the tension we all feel everyday. I would love to offer my services to the elderly. Without them, we would not even be here.

Stephanie J. Golden, B.S.W., M.S.R.C.