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Chapter Seven. Sexuality in Adulthood. Sexuality in Adulthood. Mature sexual expression Sexual orientation is determined Integrate sexuality and relationships Establish personal sexual philosophy Changes occur as we age Health issues change. Developmental Concerns.

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Chapter Seven

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    1. Chapter Seven Sexuality in Adulthood

    2. Sexuality in Adulthood • Mature sexual expression • Sexual orientation is determined • Integrate sexuality and relationships • Establish personal sexual philosophy • Changes occur as we age • Health issues change

    3. Developmental Concerns • Establishing sexual orientation • Integrating love and sex • Forging intimacy and making commitments • Making fertility/childbearing decisions • Practicing safer sex • Evolving a sexual philosophy

    4. Establishing Sexual Orientation • Understanding your sexual orientation • Accepting your sexual orientation • It may be difficult for gay/lesbian orientation

    5. Three models of sexual orientation

    6. “The world is not divided into sheep and goats.”…. “Nature rarely deals in discrete categories. Only the human mind invents categories and tries to force facts into separated pigeonholes. The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects. The sooner we learn this concerninghuman sexual behavior the sooner we shall reach a sound understanding of the realities of sex.” (Kinsey et al., 1948)

    7. Statistics on Sexual Orientation • Difficult to obtain reliable statistics vs. estimates due to stigma • 10% women report lesbian orientation • 4% men report gay or bisexual orientation • A great deal of experiential diversity is reported • Remember that sexuality is more than behavior; it includes attraction and desire, not just participating in sexual activity

    8. The Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Identity Process • Takes time and includes several phases • Homoeroticism typically precedes activity • Fear or suspicion about being different • Labels feelings of desire, attraction, and love as “gay” or “lesbian” feelings • Self-definition as gay, lesbian, or bisexual

    9. The Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Identity Process—Additional Phases • First same-sex love affair, marking commitment to unifying sexuality and affection • Becoming involved in gay/lesbian/bisexual culture (gay/lesbian friends, support groups) • Coming out (public acknowledgement) self-validation and self-affirmation • Internalized homophobia – a set of negative attitudes and affects toward homosexuality in other persons and toward same-sex attraction in oneself.

    10. Being Single • Greater sexual experience – Non-marital sex is becoming the norm. • Widespread acceptance of cohabitation • Unintended pregnancies occur • Increased numbers of abortions and births to single women • Greater numbers of separated and divorced single men and women • A rise in the number of single-parent families

    11. The College Environment • College dating is different from high school dating • How so? • Sexuality relates to learning one’s self identity • Moral standards tied to behavior (Standards – abstinence, double standard, permissiveness with affection, permissiveness without affection) • Liberating atmosphere for gay, lesbian, and bisexual students

    12. The Singles World • Ages 25-40 • Emphasize recreation and entertainment • Challenge to meet potential partners • Sexual experimentation vs. celibacy • Gay, lesbian, bisexual businesses and neighborhoods promote acceptance • Ethnic and religion expectations can pose special challenges

    13. Cohabitation • In 2011, there were 25 million cohabitating couples, up from 6 million in 2005. • 1 in 4 women and 3 in 10 men (2000 data) • New norm (see also figure 7.5, p.201) • Open-minded approach toward sexuality • Permanence is increasingly replaced by serial monogamy—succession of marriages—whereby the average marriage now lasts approximately 7 years • Young adults are continuing to defer marriage

    14. Cohabitation: Advantages • Financial – tentative relationship • Egalitarian roles not “husband” “wife” role • Affirmation of relationship – together because they “want to be” • Domestic partner benefits

    15. Cohabitation: Disadvantages • Parental non-acceptance of child support • Financial issues tied to parental support or credit – income not viewed as joint income. • Reproduction- social stigmata of children • Extra relational sex more likely • Increased likelihood of divorce after marriage

    16. Cohabitation: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Couples • One in nine couples cohabitating were same sex in 2000, about 1 in 8 in 2005. • States are currently dealing with legal forms of union for same sex couples • For gay men, lesbian women, and heterosexual individuals, intimate relationships provide love, romance, satisfaction, and security.

    17. Cohabitation: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Issues The relationships of gay men and lesbian women have been stereotyped as less committed than those of heterosexual couples because of the following reasons: • Lesbian women and gay men cannot legally marry in the vast majority of states. • They may not appear to emphasize sexual exclusiveness. • Heterosexuals misperceive love between lesbian and gay partners as somehow less “real” than love between heterosexuals. • Some heterosexuals view same-sex relationships as a threat to traditional marriage. • Regardless of their sexual orientation, most people want a close, loving relationship with another person.

    18. Cohabitation: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Issues • Non-traditional gender roles • Many lesbian and gay relationships resist the traditional heterosexual provider/homemaker roles. Among heterosexual couples, these divisions are often gender-linked as male or female. In same-sex couples, however, tasks are often divided pragmatically, according to considerations such as who likes cooking more (or dislikes it less) and who works when. • Although gay couples emphasize egalitarianism, if there are differences in power, they are attributed to personality; if there is an age difference, the older partner is usually more powerful.

    19. Sexuality in Middle Adulthood: Developmental Concerns • In the middle-adulthood years, family and work become especially important. Personal time is spent increasingly on marital and family matters, especially if a couple have children. Sexual expression often decreases in frequency, intensity, and significance, to be replaced by family and work concerns. Sometimes, the change reflects a higher value placed on family intimacy; other times, it may reflect habit, boredom, or conflict.

    20. Sexuality in Middle Adulthood: Developmental Concerns (see concerns, p.203) • Redefining sex in marital or other long-term relationships • Reevaluating one’s sexuality • Accepting the biological aging process

    21. Marital Sexuality • Frequency of sexual interactions • May occur more frequently with sanction of marriage • May decrease the longer a couple is together - For dual-worker families and families with children, stress, financial worries, fatigue, and lack of private time may be the most significant factors in the decline of frequency. • Sexual satisfaction and pleasure are reported more commonly in married couples

    22. Marital Sexuality • The moral and social sanction of sex within marriage can affect sex life • Sexual intercourse tends to decrease in frequency the longer a couple is married • Decreased frequency does not indicate decreased importance or enjoyment • Fatigue and lack of private time are important factors • Sexual satisfaction and pleasure are higher in marriage than in singlehood • Adult love relationships often have complex expectations: emotional stabilization, shared time and values, personal enrichment, security, and support, to name a few (Figure 7.8, p.205).

    23. Divorce and After • Post-divorce singlehood is a relatively new phenomenon • In 2000, 10% of men and 13% of women were either separated or divorced, the overall divorce rate was 4.2 %. Rate has dropped to 3.6 % overall by 2008, and 5.2% in 2011 (less marriage) • Marriage to divorce ration about 50% in 2009 • Scholars suggest that divorce represents an idealization of marriage • Higher expectations lead to higher failure rates • The permanence of marriage is no longer widely upheld

    24. Consequences of Divorce • There is often stigmatization by family, friends, and co-workers. • There is a change of income (usually a substantial decline for women and their children). • There is a higher incidence of physical, emotional, behavioral, and social problems among both men and women, including depression, injury, and illness. • There are significantly more problems with children, including criminality, substance abuse, lower academic attainment and performance, earlier sexual activity, and a higher rate of divorce. • Children are twice as likely as those in two-parent families to develop serious psychiatric problems and addictions later in life. • Many individuals report being less close to their parents and, if they marry, are more likely to get divorced than persons from two-parent families.

    25. Dating Again • Engaging in sexual behavior with someone following separation is significant • Helps people accept their single status • Freedom of expression • Dating is more focused and less leisurely

    26. Single Parenting • Families headed by single parents – mostly women • Single parents not often part of the “singles world” • Presence of children affects divorced women’s sexual activity and children may be judgmental of parents involved in another relationship.

    27. Sexuality in Late Adulthood: Developmental Concerns • Biological changes • Changing with physical abilities • Changes in sexual response • Availability of a partner • Spousal loss • Monotony may lead to loss in sexual practice • Psychological influences • Psychological influences – “appropriateness of sex if you are old”

    28. Stereotypes of Aging • Thought of as a lonely and depressing time • Sexuality of older Americans tends to be invisible – society discounts their sexuality • Sexuality is defined by activities of younger participants – romance and love is associated with the young • Emotional, sensual, and relational aspects is not readily recognized – but intimacy is especially valued in the elderly

    29. Sexuality and Aging • The emotional, sensual, and relationship aspects of sexuality are enjoyed regardless of age • Men fear loss of sexual capacity, women fear loss of attractiveness • Sexual activities occur in aging population – at least 50% are satisfied with their sex life and more than half feel it is a critical factor in their life • Health can affect sexual habits

    30. AARP 2005 Survey • 1/3 of respondents report having sexual intercourse weekly • Majority agreed emphasis on sex is excessive • 2/3 discuss sexual satisfaction • Health influences sexual satisfaction • Many have identified issues to increase satisfaction • Sexuality remains an essential element in the lives of individuals 45 and over (AARP, 2010), although men and women tend to view aging differently. For men, sex is far more important to the overall quality of life—and more critical to a good relationship.

    31. Older Americans’ Frequency of Sex Satisfaction with Sex Life (AARP 2010)

    32. Older Americans’ Frequency of Sex Satisfaction with Sex Life (AARP 2010)

    33. Older Americans’ Frequency of Sex Satisfaction with Sex Life (AARP 2010)

    34. Research Shows Higher Levels of Sexual Satisfaction in the Elderly Source- British Journal of Medicine

    35. Women’s Issues • Change in fertility – don’t have to worry about pregnancy • Menstruation loss • Menopausal symptoms • Hot flashes • Loss of bone mass • Changes in vagina • The period of gradual change and adjustment is referred to as perimenopause.

    36. Differences Women Report Pre- and Post-Menopause (ages 42-52) • Majority report sexual activity and rate sexual activity as important • Primary reason for not having sex was because of a lack of a partner. • Over one third report decreased desire but not decreased satisfaction • 20% report sex may be painful • Ethnic differences for engaging in sexual activity, emotional satisfaction, or physical pleasure were not found

    37. Men’s Issues • Medical Concerns – increase risk of prostate cancer and presence of BPH. • Less than 20% report difficulty with erection – requires more stimulation and more time • Testosterone supplementationmore popular • Slower sexual responses may be reported – ejaculation takes longer or may not occur, and there is an extended refractory period • Slower responses are not related to ability to give or receive pleasure

    38. End of Presentation