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Authors

Rubenstein

Abstract

We now know, with the conclusive findings of the Masters and Johnson study of sex with elderly, that maintaining the "regularity of sexual expression coupled with adequate physical well being and healthy mental orientation to the aging process will combine to provide a sexually stimulative marriage [and/or relationships]. This climate will, in turn, improve sexual tension and provide a capacity for sexual performance that frequently may extend to and beyond the 80-year age level" (Masters and Johnson, 1968, p. 279).

This acknowledgement has ended the long silence and may well herald the beginning of the throwing off of the shackles of sex repression. The consensus that sex stops at sixty is being challenged; knowledge and attitudes of the human sexual condition in late life are being affected and modified. Sex is being seen as a natural physiological function. Aging itself is not the cause of cessation of sexual activity. There is a growing acceptance of the fact that there "is no time limit drawn by the advancing years of female sexuality and for the male too there is a capacity for sexual performance that frequently may extend beyond the eighty year age level" (Rubin, 1966). The potential for erotic pleasure seems to begin with birth and does not need to end till death (Kaplan, 1974, p. 104). It appears that there is no limit to the sexual capacity of aging females and that changes of the male do not reduce the need for satisfactory expression.

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