Older women lack important information about sexual health

September 14, 2011, Wiley

Many women over 50 years old date and are sexually active and thereby face many possible health risks. Yet, most educational campaigns designed to prevent sexually transmitted diseases target younger generations. Older women also need and want more information about sexual health and wellness. A study in the new special issue of the Journal of Consumer Affairs on older consumers found a critical need for improving communication between older women and their physicians about sexual health and for providing these women with tools on how to negotiate with partners about safe sex practices.

Dr. Cynthia Morton and her colleagues at the University of Florida examined women's knowledge about sexual health and their concerns about safe sex practices as they continue to pursue active sex lives into their senior years. Women aged 50 years and older participated in focus group discussions to talk about the challenges in finding , negotiating condom use, and seeking credible information sources to help them make the best decisions about sexual health.

Results of the study revealed that older women are aware of the risks for sexually transmitted diseases yet are uncomfortable about seeking sexual health information from their regular physicians who may erroneously believe that they already possess the knowledge. Although older women know the importance of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted diseases, they may avoid negotiating with their partners in an effort to avoid conflict or rejection. Senior-aged women are receptive to strategies that give them tools for negotiating with partners and for communicating with their physicians, but there are limited resources directed to their age group.

"The findings generated from our research offer a rich foundation for better understanding the motivations and concerns that influence senior-aged women's attitudes about dating at their present stage of life," said Morton.

According to the authors, efforts are needed to help older women gain confidence to talk with primary care physicians about sexual health and to make those physicians aware of their need. The authors also call for social marketing campaigns that aim to educate about their risks and encourage them to take greater ownership in the negotiation of practices with their partners.

Explore further: Bisexual, lesbian women less likely to get pap tests

Related Stories

Bisexual, lesbian women less likely to get pap tests

June 7, 2011
A new study finds that young bisexual and lesbian women are less likely to get Pap tests than straight women, while young bisexual women face a higher risk of being diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases.

Recommended for you

Number of older people with four or more diseases will double by 2035, say researchers

January 23, 2018
A study published today in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, reports that the number of older people diagnosed with four or more diseases will double between 2015 and 2035. A third ...

Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats

January 22, 2018
A North Carolina State University-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production ...

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.