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Sexuality and the Adult Years

Sexuality and the Adult Years

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Sexuality and the Adult Years

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  1. Sexuality and the Adult Years Human Sexuality M. Ahrens

  2. Single Living • Increasing rates • postpone marriage • choice to remain single • choice to cohabit • more divorces • education, career goals • 25% US households are single persons (1999)

  3. Single Living • Lifestyles & satisfaction vary widely • celibacy by choice or circumstance (elder F) • long-term monogamy without marriage • serial monogamy • concurrent relationships • research: single persons engage in sexual activity less often & are less satisfied than married persons

  4. Cohabitation • Increasing rate & acceptance • precursor to marriage • preference for informal rather than official/legal status • avoid financial costs of divorce &/or remarriage • 4.5 mil by 1999 cohabiting US • Mid- 20s; ~ 25% of age group - Common Law Marriage

  5. Cohabitation • Domestic partnership • same- or other-sex couple living in same household in committed relationship • advantages: informal vs. contractual; health, financial benefits; less pressure to assume traditional gender roles; less stigma if they break up • disadvantages: disapproval from others; possible legal problems

  6. Social Impact • Contradictory research • no effect on stability, sexual satisfaction, likelihood of divorce • lower satisfaction, happiness, & commitment with higher divorce • 2000: more difficulty in marriages and divorce risk higher • cohabitation is rarely permanent – not effective prep for marriage • about 90% of U.S. adults marry

  7. Marriage • Personal & social functions • stable families convey social norms • integration of financial, household, & child-rearing tasks • defines rights of inheritance • emotional & social support system • research > marriage generally associated with better mental & physical health (esp. males)

  8. Marriage • Discrepancy between ideal and actual marriage practices • unrealistic expectation of financial, social, sexual, & emotional fulfillment; automatic happiness • fewer support networks for marriage: lack extended family, larger, less familiar community; longer life

  9. Marriage • focus on pleasure while dating > lack of preparation for daily issues • solutions = before marriage: • discuss & practice financial & household responsibilities • discuss parenting choices & logistics • plan for both independent & mutual goals & activities

  10. “Husbands are like fires - they go out if unattended.” Zsa Zsa Gabor

  11. Marriage • Predicting marital satisfaction • Gottman’s research: • negative facial expressions, high heart rate, excuses & denial, wife’s contempt, husband’s stonewalling > marital discord • 5:1 ratio of positive:negative interactions assoc. with satisfaction • 3 styles: validating, volatile & conflict avoiding (p. 404)

  12. Marriage • Murray’s PREPARE inventory • assesses 11 relationship areas • > 80% accuracy in predicting divorce or stability after 3 years • P. 404-405

  13. Marriage • Sexual behavior within marriage • more frequent with wider variation • factors that  sexual satisfaction • higher frequency • mutuality in initiation of sex • good sexual communication • factors that  sexual satisfaction • less romance, more stress • eroding individuality/autonomy • less attention to appearance • less privacy & spontaneity • sexless union can be satisfying

  14. The GOOD Marriage • Foundation based on • commitment to relationship with detachment from childhood family & connection to extended family • intimacy & unity with autonomy • balancing parenthood & couple-hood • management stressful events • resolution of differences without exploitation or submission

  15. The GOOD Marriage • Creating imaginative & pleasurable sex life • sharing laughter; maintaining interest • providing emotional nourishment • renewal of courtship & early marriage activities & interests

  16. Extramarital Relationships • Nonconsensual • Varied & complex reasons: assert individuality; autonomy; confirm attractiveness; emotional needs not being met; excuse to end marriage; desire of revenge; desire for variety; excitement; secrecy  attraction • wide range in reported frequency • NHSLS results: 25% of men, 15% women admitted

  17. Extramarital Relationships • Nonconsensual (cont’d) • impact on marriage varies • spouse may feel betrayed • infidel may feel guilt, damage to self- & other's respect • motivate couple to seek help • higher divorce rate

  18. Extramarital Relationships • Consensual • Open Marriage: 15% of married, 28% of cohabiting, 29% of lesbian, & 65% gay male couples • Swinging: < 5% of couples

  19. Divorce • Statistics • half or more of all first marriages • General explanations • no-fault divorce laws (Louisiana’s ‘97 covenant marriage license) • reduction in social stigma •  ing expectations of marriage • women’s economic independence • more general wealth •  ing religious influence

  20. Divorce • Specific reasons or factors • most frequently cited by couples > communication problems, basic unhappiness, incompatibility • research findings > age: teen marriages 2 X likely to divorce; education = lower SES & higher divorce; women with grad degrees & higher divorce

  21. Adjusting to Divorce • Numerous losses  grieving • shock  disorganization  volatile emotions  relief or acceptance • Opportunity for reassessment & personal growth • most resume sexual activity, most remarry • 2nd marriages  likely to fail for variety reasons

  22. Sexuality and Aging • Double standard & Aging • aging F are viewed negatively; aging M positively • most crucial to sexual well-being: • Older M > performance & attractive to other sex • Older W > feeling attractive to other sex

  23. Sexuality and Aging • Sexual activity in later years • factors maintain activity • prior interest, regularity, good physical health • emphasis on quality > frequency •  affection, emotional closeness, intellectual stimulation with nonsexual relationships

  24. Sexuality and Aging • Aging & Sexual Response - Older Women • vaginal lubrications slower and  •  urinary leaking/infection (incontinence) •  expansion of vagina •  desire & clitoral sensitivity • orgasmic platform may  • possible  number of orgasmic contractions, possible pain with uterine contractions •  rapid resolution

  25. Sexuality and Aging • Aging & Sexual Response - Older Men •  time for erection • erectile ability affected by health •  myotonia,  testicle elevation, slow develop full erection   plateau phase &  control • loss of “ejaculatory inevitability” &  orgasmic contractions,  seminal fluid • more rapid resolution & longer refractory period - hours to days

  26. Sexuality and Aging • Homosexual relationships in later life • similar to heterosexual ones • lesbian advantages • less likely to be “widowed” • higher pool of alternatives • aging double standard not as important • Toward androgyny in later life - factors • hormonal difference decline; fewer gender-based duties in retirement;  power for F, emotionality for M

  27. Widowhood • Statistics • widows to widowers = 4.4:1 • 50% of widowers & 25% widows remarry • Widow = husband dead • Widower = wife dead

  28. “The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.”Lucille Ball

  29. Diversity Boxes • Interracial Marriage (p. 402) • Attitudes Toward Extramarital Sexuality in Other Cultures (p. 411) • On The Edge Box - Are Extramarital Affairs in Cyberspace REAL? (pp. 408-409)

  30. Media Resources • “Grumpier Old Men” movie • http://www.nih.gov/nia = National Institute of Aging website - Health Info > Age Pages • Poster Art – look for print-ads that picture older people. Group according to product or service. What suggest about older people? Stereotypes? What is not there and why? • Modern Maturity Sept/Oct ‘99 issue

  31. Activities - Optional • Interview people/friends who are single, cohabiting and married; goal is to understand motivations for their choices, expectations with the choices, benefits gained from choice, would they want their kids/friends to make same choice? • How does this apply to your own life???

  32. Activities - Optional • Pair up: discuss whether you want to know about your partner’s affair or be uninformed? How do you want to find out about it? Would you leave the relationship? What would you do if you stay? • What Positive coping strategies and ideas?

  33. Activity - Optional“Marriage Encounters” • Pair up (OK same-sex pair) ; you are getting “married”; discuss honest feelings and thoughts about the following issues; note preferences; look for similarities, moderatedifferences, extreme differences. • Will couples with similarities get bored? • Will couples with differences get divorced? • What can be done to avoid above “problems”?

  34. Issues to Discuss for “Marriage Encounters” Fidelity Rules Household Chores Birth Control Childbearing Decisions One or Two Careers Childraising Responsibilities Frequency of Sex Disciplining Kids Whose in-laws can visit Who buys presents Joint or Separate Bank Accounts Renting or Buying Place to Live (or Moving into Whose Place) Others??

  35. Swinging • Two couples decided to spend the weekend away together at a posh hotel. When they get there, one guy suggests they indulge in partner-swapping as a trial. After 2 hours of solid sex by the fireside, the guy turned to his new partner and said, “Wow! This is the very best sex I have had in years… I wonder how the girls are doing?”