Talking to healthcare providers about sex in later life: Findings from a qualitative study with older Australian men and women Academic Article uri icon


  • Healthcare providers (HCPs) can play an important role in supporting the sexual health of older adults; however, we know little about the experiences of older people in talking to HCPs about sex. This article examines older adults' experiences and perceptions of talking to HCPs about sex.Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 men and 23 women aged 60 and older recruited from a national, online survey of older Australians. Data were analysed using a thematic approach.Most participants did not discuss sex with their HCP, and their HCP did not raise it. For those who did discuss sex with a HCP, negative and stigmatising responses were common. Positive responses could facilitate access to sexual health care.Older people benefit when HCPs are proactive and ask about sexual health. Education in how to talk about sex with older people would also be beneficial for HCPs.

publication date

  • 2017