Participants needed for later-life sexuality research

Published: Monday 16th May 2016

The OASIS is a study being run out of the Institute for Health and Ageing examining sexuality and intimacy in mid- and later-life, and is recruiting heterosexual men and women aged 65 or above to participate.

Research indicates that sexuality is still important to many older adults, and continues to be an important factor in quality of life regardless of age. Currently, there is little agreement not only in how later-life sexuality is defined, but also in terms of what factors are associated with sexuality as people age.

The current ‘quantity over quality’ functional model of sexuality has little relevance for older adults, and this gap has had wide-reaching impacts within the community and within medical services, policy and care provision. In order to better understand how sexuality fits into the ageing lifestyle, it is important to be able to accurately define what sexuality means to people at and after mid-life in the real world.

The first in a series of three research studies is now underway in which Australian men and women at mid-life and beyond are being asked to help define what sexuality and intimacy means to them, and its place in their lives. This information will feed into the development of a much needed definition for later-life sexuality and a measurement scale that will be designed with a positive focus on the sexuality of adults at mid-life and beyond.

This study will not only help to improve our understanding of sexuality beyond the reproductive years, but will have wide reaching impacts into the sexuality and ageing research space and in the community.

This research is important because right now, measures used by researchers, clinicians, medical professionals and others are based on measures of sexuality that were designed for younger populations and that emphasise erection quality and frequency of intercourse, or are designed to measure sexual dysfunction. There is currently nothing that looks at the sexuality of older adults who enjoy a healthy sex life.

The OASIS also gives older people a chance to have their voices heard in relation to sexuality and intimacy in a world that is most often focused on the sexuality of the young, and on reproduction and fertility.

If you would like to participate in the OASIS, you can do so by clicking on the link below. Please be aware that this study is completely anonymous and does not ask you to divulge any personal information about your own sexual experiences, but does ask you to respond based on your personal thoughts and attitudes.

Read more about the OASIS survey.