The troubling news from this AARP survey is that many midlife and older Americans are not receiving treatment for a variety of illnesses and conditions that may affect their sexual health as part of their overall health and well-being.
I am sure that this AARP study will open up further public dialogue on the importance of sexual health to the old as well as the young. Moreover, if it is widely publicized, this study will help professionals, as well as patients to discuss issues of sexual health more effectively.
From certified sex therapist and educator Sallie Foley:
The AARP study "Sexuality at Midlife and Beyond" is both informative and enlighting. Adults at 45 and beyond are concerned about the quality of their lives and that includes the quality of their relationships and sexual functioning. Many are engaged in regular sexual activities and count it as one of life's important pleasures.
The AARP survey highlights that when people have difficulties with sexual functioning, they are turning to health care professionals and other resources to seek answers for their questions. If health problems arise, it is important for health care providers to be knowledgeable about ways for individuals to continue sexual activity when there are physical limitations. Both health care providers and patients are in need of further education about this. In addition, older adults must be made aware of the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases through sexual activity so that they are more responsible in their sexual behavior.
Older adults are committed to their relationships, their health and their well being, they are open to new information including info about healthy sexual function. The AARP study provides a significant contribution to understanding sexuality for adults at midlife and beyond by dismantling stereotypes and explaining what real people are thinking about their lives.
(AARP The Magazine relationship advice columnist Sallie Foley has written Sex & Love for Grownups: A No-Nonsense Guide to a Life of Passion)
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our website, www.aarp.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.