Personality and sexuality in older adults

Mark S. Allen, Annelil E. Desille

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: This study explored cross-time associations between personality and multiple components of sexual functioning and behaviour in a large cohort of older adults (n = 5745).

Design: Participants (Mage = 65.57 ± 8.28 years) completed questionnaires in 2010 and 2012. 

Main outcome measures: Outcomes explored included sexual attitudes, sexual activity, sexual satisfaction, lifetime sexual partners, sexual orientation and sexual dysfunction. 

Results: We found that higher levels of openness and lower levels of agreeableness were related to more liberal attitudes toward sex, a greater number of sexual partners, a higher sex drive, more frequent sexual activity, lower levels of sexual dysfunction and (for women) a greater tendency towards homosexuality. Higher levels of conscientiousness were also related to more conservative attitudes towards sex, lower levels of sexual dysfunction and a greater tendency towards heterosexuality. For sexually active older adults, higher levels of extraversion and lower levels of neuroticism were related to greater sexual satisfaction. Higher levels of extraversion and lower levels of conscientiousness were also related to a greater number of sexual partners in men but not women. 

Conclusion: These findings provide evidence that personality is an important correlate of sexual functioning and behaviour in older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)843-859
Number of pages17
JournalPsychology and Health
Volume32
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • big five
  • English longitudinal study of ageing
  • five factor model
  • gerontology
  • sexual health

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