“We tend to like young girls as we are older” – attitudes and perceptions of intergenerational relationships and sexual activity among older adults

Makandwe Nyirenda, South African Medical Research Council, Burden Of Disease Unit
Sizakele Sukazi, HIV Prevention Research Unit, SAMRC
Cebo Buthelezi, HIV Prevention Research Unit, SAMRC
Jill Hanass-Hancock, Gender and Health Research Unit, SAMRC

Older people alongside migrants, persons with disabilities and indigenous persons have been identified as among key populations characterized by exclusion and marginalization in sexual and reproductive health rights access. In this study we explored the attitudes towards intergenerational relationships and sexual activity among older persons aged =50 years. The study examined through the theory of planned behaviour the barriers and facilitators to older adults acting on their sexual intentions. Our findings show clear differences in perceptions and norms between older men and women regarding intergenerational relationships and sexual activity. Although there was general agreement that intergenerational relationships were happening among both older men and older women, it was among the former that the behaviour appeared more acceptable. Some age difference between the partners was considered desirable and even intergenerational relationships acceptable where there was no coercion or abuse in such relationships. Some facilitators of intergenerational relationships included:- desire of older people to feel young again, the special treatment and attention older people receive from younger partner, remarriage after divorce or death of spouse, religion, lack of sexual satisfaction from their peer age group and material benefits for the younger partners.

Keywords: Older adults, Intergenerational relations, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Qualitative data/methods/approaches

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session P12.