Dialogues: Older People, Sexuality & Intimacy: A Chance to Influence a Research Agenda
Institute for Public Policy & Professional Practice (I4P), Older People’s Understandings of Sexuality (OPUS) Research Initiative. In association with the International Network for Sexual Ethics and Politics (INSEP)
‘Gift’ cards routinely ridicule old people for their putative lack of cognitive, physical and sexual capacity (Bytheway 1995); the latter suggesting the workings of ageist erotophobia – fear of ageing bodies as sexual – and desexualisation. Such ageist ‘humour’, coupled with a dearth of realistic images of older people as sexual beings reinforces older people’s erasure from sexual citizenship or as post-sexual. Issues concerning older citizens, sex, intimacy and sexuality have been neglected in policy and practice in the UK (Hafford-Letchfield 2008) and this is particularly so for care home residents whose transition into residential care is often assumed to mean the cessation of sexual activity (Bauer et al 2012).
This dialogical event will address the awareness gap concerning old people sexuality and intimacy. It will pivot around qualitative research conducted by the OPUS research initiative (based at Universities of Manchester, Bradford, Queensland and Edge Hill) on older care home residents and responses to the OPUS ‘findings.’ In particular, the event will promote examination of:
- accounts of residents, spouses and care staff on the significance of addressing sexual/intimate citizenship (Plummer 1995) in care homes;
- needs relating to sex, sexuality and intimacy identified by representatives of older people’s groups (including lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people);
- ethical issues relating to sexual/intimate citizenship and older people/residents e.g. in relation to individuals with dementia or impaired capacity to consent.
This event presents an opportunity for academics across various disciplines, health and care practitioners and anyone interested to learn of, respond to and discuss the implications of the study. The event will present opportunities for plenary discussion, group discussions designed to identify the varied, complex challenges presented by this issue and what might constitute good/best practice. It also presents an opportunity to shape a newly emerging research agenda and a bid to conduct national/cross-national research on sexual/intimate citizenship and people aged 60 and above.
- Maria Horne (Bradford University)
- Alison Moore (Edge Hill University / INSEP)
- Paul Reynolds (Edge Hill University / INSEP)
- Paul Simpson (Edge Hill University)
- Stuart Smith (Age Concern Manchester, LGB&T Group)
- Kate Torkington (Manchester City Council, Valuing Older People)
Registration: £25 including VAT
Programme: The Conference Programme is available to download. (schedule is subject to change)
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