Challenges and Opportunities in Researching Intimacy and Sexuality in Care Homes Accommodating Older People: a Feasibility Study

Paul Simpson, C Brown Wilson, LJ Brown, T Dickinson, M Horne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Aim: To explore the challenges of conducting research on sexuality and intimacy among older care home residents. Background: Sexuality and intimacy are neglected in care policies and practices. Design: Qualitative analytical study drawing on poststructuralist theorizing. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with residents and spouses (n=6) aged between 50 – 80 and focus group discussions were carried out among care staff (n=16) in two care homes in Northwest England in 2014. The sample was obtained through a network of ‘research-ready’ care homes. Thematic analysis was used to make sense of narratives and with the aid of NVivo10. Results: Participant responses highlight the workings of ageist erotophobic discourse that undergirds the assumption of residents (and older people generally) as post-sexual. This materialized in reservations about the research ranging from opposition on moral grounds to doubts about its feasibility given the age-group concerned. However, residents and care home staff can also draw on counter-discourses that resist/challenge ageist erotophobic thinking, which materialized in methodological and ethical recommendations. Conclusion: Participants generally agreed with the principle of the research and made recommendations that could counter/resist ageist erotophobic governance and guide researchers on sampling, style of questioning and communicating with (prospective) study participants on a sensitive subject.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-137
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Volume73
Issue number1
Early online date30 Aug 2016
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Aug 2016

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