Views of family physicians on heterosexual sexual function in older adults

Inbar Levkovich, Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan, Khaled Karkabi, Liat Ayalon

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13 Scopus citations
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Background: Sexual functioning among older adults has received little attention in research and clinical practice, although it is an integral part of old age. As older adults tend to consume health services and to visit family physicians more frequently, these care-providers serve as gatekeepers in the case of sexual concerns. The present study evaluated the perceptions of family physicians regarding sexuality in older adults. Method: Qualitative interviews with 16 family physicians were conducted. We used in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Results: Three main themes emerged: 1. Family physicians described having difficulty in raising questions about sexuality to older patients. 2. Family physicians tended towards the biological side of the spectrum, focusing on the patient's medical problem and asking physiological questions. 3. Family physicians mainly related to medication administered to their male patients, whereas a minority also described the guidance they provided to older individuals and couples. Conclusions: The study shows that family physicians tend not to initiate discourse with older patients on sexuality, but rather discuss sexuality mostly in conjunction with other medical conditions. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number86
JournalBMC Family Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 11 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).


  • Aging
  • Health aging
  • Primary care
  • Psychogeriatrics
  • Sexuality


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