‘We’ve Had Our Sex Life Way Back’: Older Care Home Residents, Sexuality and Intimacy

Paul Simpson, Christone Brown Wilson, Laura Brown, Tommy Dickinson, Maria Horne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)
55 Downloads (Pure)

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 and 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 normalization 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-43
JournalAgeing & Society
Volume18
Issue number1
Early online date27 Feb 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Feb 2017

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