"Behind closed doors" : a feminist analysis of senior citizen sexual communication
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Abundant research has been conducted on senior citizen sexuality but research on sexual communication has been limited. The current study was designed to overcome some of the limitations of the current research by conducting interviews with 23 senior citizens, aged 77-93, who were in a romantic relationship, and lived in senior citizen apartment complexes. Using Communication Privacy Management (Petronio, 2002) and Women's Standpoint (Smith, 2005) as lenses for this project, the results explore issues of privacy, gender, power, and cohort designation and their effects on sexual communication in senior citizen romantic relationships. The results showed that privacy was a major theme for seniors throughout their lives in relation to communication about sex and intimacy. Most of the men in this study had erectile dysfunction and had ended sexual activity with their partners without regard for their wives' sexual desires; this highlighted a gendered power dynamic. Continually, healthier partners had more power in these relationships due to their ability to care for their partners. Finally, socio-cultural issues such as the time period they grew up in, religion, and military experience affected how these couples talked about sex and intimacy.
Access is limited to the campus of the University of Missouri--Columbia.