Article

"No strength": sex and old age in a rural town in Ghana.

Department of Anthropology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Social Science [?] Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.73). 12/2001; 53(10):1383-96. DOI: 10.1016/S0277-9536(01)00222-2
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This article is part of a larger project on social and cultural meanings of growing old in a rural community of Ghana, the fieldwork for which was carried out between 1994 and 2000. It deals with ideas and practices concerning sex among the elderly. Informal conversations were held with individual elders and with groups of people that were, middle-aged and young. Sex was generally regarded as a matter of "strength", which was diminishing at old age. For men the concept of strength specifically referred to sexual potency, whereas for women "strength" was part of a more general feeling of physical power and the ability to perform the many activities expected from being a man's sexual partner. Sex at old age is looked at with a considerable amount of ambivalence. On the one hand, it is something that the elderly should have left behind them. On the other hand, sex confirms the vitality and status of the elder. If sex is practised at old age, it should be orderly and restrained, "respectful".

3 Bookmarks
 · 
243 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The article explores the way that social networks and personal experiences affect perceived HIV-related concerns among people aged 50 years or older living in a low resource neighborhood with high HIV prevalence in Nairobi, Kenya. Multiple logistic regression is used to model the association between the reporting of an HIV-related concern and individual-level characteristics, personal experiences, and social interaction. The main concerns regarding HIV reported by older people in the study included caring for orphaned children (65%), caring for people with AIDS (48%), and losing material and social support from adult children (36%). Interestingly, 38% of respondents voiced concerns about HIV infection among older people. Respondents who had been individually affected by HIV and AIDS, who were part of a wide social network, or who participated in community activities were frequently more likely to report a concern. The findings highlight the significance of the role of social interaction and social networks in the diffusion of information and knowledge. These findings have implications for HIV and AIDS policy and programs, highlighting the potential for social networks and community-level interventions to educate and increase awareness about HIV and AIDS among older people. Community leaders can make good peer educators and communication agents for HIV/AIDS campaigns. Additionally, the recognized high level of personal vulnerability to HIV infection among older people suggests the need for targeted sexual behavior change programs among this often neglected group.
    Risk Analysis 02/2012; 32(9):1512-23. · 2.28 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Stereotypes of an asexual old age remain pervasive, shaping not only popular images of older people, but also research and policy agendas. However, older people's own attitudes towards the role and value of sex in later life remain relatively unexplored. This paper draws on both quantitative and qualitative data to examine how sex is prioritised in middle age and later life. Data collection methods involved completion of two quality of life measures (WHOQOL-100 and WHOQOL Importance Scale), followed by semi-structured interviews. In total the sample comprised 69 individuals recruited from the age/sex register of a general practice in Sheffield in the UK. This paper will focus upon the accounts of 21 men and 23 women aged 50-92 years. Ratings of the importance of sex to participants were gathered from the WHOQOL Importance Scale; the in-depth interviews enabled the basis for this prioritisation to be explored. Analysis identified the following key themes. Participants who did not consider sex to be of any importance to them neither had a current sexual partner, nor felt that they would have another sexual partner in their lifetime. Indeed, all participants who had a current sexual partner attributed at least some importance to sex, with many rating sex as 'very' or 'extremely' important. However, experiencing barriers to being sexually active led them to place less importance on sex; this was particularly apparent when health problems and widowhood were experienced. Age was seen as facilitating coping when sex became less frequent, or stopped altogether. This was explained in terms of sexual desire decreasing with age (for some male participants), the cessation of sex being easier to cope with in a relationship of long duration and the expectation that sex will become less possible with 'normal ageing'. The discussion considers the implications of these findings for this developing field.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 05/2003; 56(8):1617-28. · 2.73 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Sexual health across the life course is influenced by biological and psychosocial factors. The paper explores sexuality and associated practices among older Yoruba people with a view to identifying the implications of cultural beliefs and practices for sexual health in later life. A total of 64 vignette-based in-depth interviews and 12 focus-group discussions were held with older adults (50-75 years) in two Yoruba communities in south western Nigeria. Findings portray sexuality as an important aspect of old age, with sexual intercourse being construed as having physical and spiritual consequences. This same perspective also emerged as participants' attributed factors affecting sexual desire in old age to religious beliefs, poverty, ill health and the non-availability of a partner. Gender differences were dominant on sexual desire and pleasure in old age. Participants' views on causes of sexual dysfunction identified biological, psychosocial and spiritual factors. Sexual decline in old age was considered redeemable with the support of biomedical and traditional medicines. However, only traditional medicine was considered beneficial in addressing sexual dysfunctions that had spiritual dimensions.
    Culture Health & Sexuality 05/2012; 14(6):705-17. · 1.55 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

View
245 Downloads
Available from
May 23, 2014