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Sexuality in the Aging Couple, Part I: The Aging Woman

Irwin W. Kuzmarov, MD, FRCSC, Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery (Urology), McGill University; Director of Professional and Hospital Services, Santa Cabrini Hospital, Montreal, QC; Past President, Canadian Society for the Study of the Aging Male.
Jerald Bain, BScPhm, MD, MSc, FRCPC, CertEndo, BA, Professor Emeritus, Department of Medicine, Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Mount Sinai Hospital; University of Toronto, Toronto, ON; Past President, Canadian Society for the Study of the Aging Male.

Sexuality and sexual activity do not end when a person reaches a certain age. Sexual desire and activity continue well into later life, and age is not a deterrent to a happy and healthy sex life. However, clinicians should be aware that the normal sexual response of men and women may change with aging. When sexual dysfunction occurs, studies show that men and women tend to view sexual dysfunction differently. Part I of this article addresses sexuality and sexual dysfunction in aging women; Part II (to appear in a forthcoming issue of Geriatrics & Aging) will address the male side of the picture. It is crucial that family doctors be aware of sexuality in the aging couple, and be able to evaluate and manage problems that may arise.
Key Words: aging, sexual activity, sexual dysfunction, women, testosterone therapy.