When sex meets age: Family physicians’ perspectives about sexual dysfunction among older men and women: A qualitative study from Israel

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations
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Abstract

Background: Gender differences in relation to sexual functioning among older adults have received very little research attention, although the ageing process is likely to be characterized by difficulties in sexual functioning among both women and men. Objectives: The purpose of this qualitative research is to examine and understand the perceptions of family physicians, and the differences in their attitudes regarding male and female patients. Method: Qualitative interviews with family physicians were conducted between August 2017 and December 2017. Sixteen family physicians participated in the study, aged 36–64; most were born in Israel and half of them were women. Twelve physicians were Jewish, two were Christian and two were Muslim. Nine work in rural practices and seven work in urban practices. We used in-depth, semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed by three researchers using content analysis. Results: The analysis of the interviews revealed two main themes: (1) Differences as perceived by family physicians: men are perceived as being interested in engaging in full sexual relations, including penetration, while among women, the main need is focused on the relationship and intimacy. (2) Gender differences regarding seeking a solution through the family physician. Family physicians reported that most of the patients who seek solutions regarding sexual dysfunction in old age are men with impotence problems. Family physicians perceived that women seek out solutions less frequently, some because they are afraid their relationship will suffer if they do not continue having sex with their partners. Conclusion: Men and women were seen as having different motivations for engaging in sex and different needs from physicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of General Practice
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Aging
  • older adults
  • primary care
  • sexual dysfunction
  • sexuality

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