Sociology Essays on Human Sexuality

Human Sexuality


This cartoon presents a comical image, especially the message that it is trying to convey about sexuality among the elderly people. Currently, the society has made individuals believe that older people no longer engage in sexual activities. Most people believe that sexuality is meant for young people in their youthful years, who still have the strength and the passion. This cartoon is trying to convey the same message. The response from the woman indicates that she misses the old steamy sex nights from her husband. Normally, sex is believed to be an act for the vibrant and energetic people who are afraid of becoming old and sexually inactive. Numerous assumptions have been put forth that older people should not engage in sexual activities, an aspect that is purported by the cartoon. Nevertheless, sex has no age limit; the challenge is that older people may go through several sexual problems as compared to younger people. The cartoon picture indicates that older people encounter a number of physical, psychological, and social factors during sexuality, which are associated with their aging process.

Physiological Process

Several physiological processes affect men and women sexually as they grow old. The physiological changes that affect men include a slower and less firm erection that retrocedes faster after orgasm. The ejaculation force among men also reduces with age, thus producing a decreased level of semen and increasing the time required for it to be sexually stimulated again. Moreover, during old age, men experience a decreased size and firmness of the testes due to the absence of the sex flush as well as a reduced testosterone level (Gould Petty & Jacobs, 2000). In women, the age factor affects their circulation of estrogen immediately after menopause. Older women experience a decreased level of virginal lubrication as well as a general wither of the virginal tissue. The clitoral, vulvar, and the labial tissue also contract and the ovaries and uterus reduce in size. Women also experience elasticity loss and thinning of the virginal walls. Sexual intercourse for such women can be painful as a result of the thinning of the virginal walls.

Elderly people also face a challenge of engaging in sexual activities as a result of their body physical conditions. This factor makes them unable to comfortably engage in sexual activities, for instance, inability to freely move. As men and women grow older, they become susceptible to different medical conditions that affect their desire for sexual activities. For instance, the urinary incontinence and conditions like breast cancer among older women reduce their urge for sex.

Psychological Aspects

Psychological factors influence the way other determinants of sexual function among the elderly people are expressed. For example, in the process of sexual desire, it is normal that the emotional and intrapersonal inspiration arbitrates sexual argument. Motivation is also significant since it drives the urge and attitudes towards sexuality (Kingsberg, 2002). Sexual motivation among the elderly is very low due to many factors, such as depression and failure to attract their spouses. The motivation in sexual desire is also significant because it triggers the sexual function and diminished psychological desire. Psychological factors, such as depression affect the sexual desire among the elderly and other age groups. They affect sexual functions like sexual erection and reduced libido, which are prevalent among the elderly people. These psychological affects reduce the ability of the elderly people to engage in sexual activities.

Additionally, the psychological facet among the elderly sexuality is directly related to the sexual function. This is illustrated in the self-perception theory, which explains that people construct their own attributes, such as feelings and attitudes through observation and other external behaviors. This theory can be applied in sexuality among the elderly where women are always only receptive to their male sexual initiations. They do not initiate sex in most cases because of numerous aging factors they undergo as compared to men. Therefore, the elderly women only perceive sexual act as a response to their male counterparts’ desire. This affects sexual acts among the elderly in the society.

Many older people do not actively engage in sexual activities due to low self-esteem or other factors like poor body image as a result of aging, which is a psychological factor. Couples who have been in the relationship for several years also experience a normal decrease of passion and excitement as seen in the cartoon. This experience is normal among human beings who have been in marriage for a long time, but other factors like love and security remain constant. The sexual duration has a high influence on sexual frequency whereby as time passes by, the sexual frequency reduces, an aspect that also affects sexuality among the elderly. This means that normal couples experience a cessation of sex as they stay together for a long time (Araujo et al., 2004).

Social Factors

The social characteristics among the elderly also play an important role in their sexuality. The romantic and sexual relationship among the elderly generally has a critical role in determining their sexual activities. One of the social factors that influence the sexuality of the elderly people is the availability of sexual partners and their function ability. According to Lindau (2007), in as much as older men tend to be sexually active as compared to women, there are fewer older men than women. Naturally, men are believed to grow older faster than women and that is why there are few old men and more old women. According to Gotch and Hinchliff (2003), the elderly people who are not in any relationship or are widowed are not much concerned about sexuality, thus enhancing the norm that sexuality among the old people is low. The presence and absence of sexual partners affects the sexuality of the elderly people.


With regard to the above cartoon, it is evident that human sexuality among the elderly is misunderstood. The majority of people believe that the elderly people are too weak to engage in sexual activities. However, human beings are never too late to engage in sexual activities when they are healthy. Many individuals especially the youth are surprised with the idea that the elderly engage in sexuality. The main hindrance to sexuality among the elderly is that they lose their sexual desires or physical ability to perform. This makes most of them to have negative attitudes towards sexuality. Some of them experience dysfunction as a result of low desires or physical inability. Prevalent issues, for instance, depression, incapacitation, or medical disorders, may also affect some elderly people. Others are unable to take part in sexual activities due to their restricting social environment. Generally, the issue of sexuality is also a great concern among the elderly. Men fear losing their prowess while women are afraid of expressing their sexual desires and consider it shameful.



Araujo, A. B., Mohr, B. A., & McKinlay, J. B. (2004). Changes in sexual function in middle‐aged and older men: Longitudinal data from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 52(9), 1502-1509.

Gott, M., & Hinchliff, S. (2003). How important is sex in later life? The views of older people. Social science & medicine, 56(8), 1617-1628.

Gould, D. C., Petty, R., & Jacobs, H. S. (2000). For and against: The male menopause–does it exist? Against. British Medical Journal, 320(7238), 858.

Kingsberg, S. A. (2002). The impact of aging on sexual function in women and their partners. Archives of sexual behavior, 31(5), 431-437.

Lindau, S. T., Schumm, L. P., Laumann, E. O., Levinson, W., O’Muircheartaigh, C. A., & Waite, L. J. (2007). A study of sexuality and health among older adults in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine, 357(8), 762-774.