Sexuality and partnerships in a lifelong perspective


Partnership changes in older age​

This research project focuses on exploring on changes of partnerships in older age in association with sexual life, relationship quality, and the psychological markers of life satisfaction. An increase in life expectancy may impact later-life partnerships by extending the time spent in long-term relationships at older age and bringing forth the issue of grey divorce and repartnering. By conducting a qualitative content analysis of relationship-related queries that older people have posted on professional counselling websites, by conducting in-depth interviews with elderly people who age in long-term partnerships, and by analyzing the cross-sectional and longitudinal data of local and international research projects — we aim to investigate the specifics of long-term partnerships in older people, the quality of relationships established in older age, the role of sexuality in both long-term partnerships and relationships established in older age, and the changes of life satisfaction in later-life partnerships.

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Sexuality and the Internet in the second half of the life

The three-year project will focus on sexuality in individuals in the second half of middle and late adulthood (i.e., aged 50 and over). This topic will be closely studied in relation to (1) couple relationships and (2) internet use for both sexual purposes and establishing new contacts, because these two contextual phenomena may greatly influence the patterns of ageing, including sexual behaviour. With the use of in-depth interviews, a secondary data analysis of the European SHARE project, content analyses of sexual health related online platforms, and an online survey, we aim to research the meaning and function of sexuality, the forms of couple relationships; intimate life, including the role of the internet in sexual behaviour and couple relationships; and a focus on expanding our understanding of (often tabooed) sexuality in the second half of life. Attention will be also paid to barriers that prevent older adults from fulfilling their sexual needs.

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