A 45 year old man develops a neurological condition rendering him multiple physical health difficulties and depression. He has been married for five years. At an initial assessment from a health professional, he is asked about the impact these changes are having on his relationship with his wife, and whether he is interested in and still able to have a sexual relationship with her. When problems are detected, an open discussion takes place regarding what help he might benefit from, and whether it would be useful for him and his wife to receive help as a couple.
So why don’t we ask older people later in life about their sexual lives and sexual relationships? Why don’t we ask when we know that changes in physical and mental health often impact on sexual functioning? What are we afraid of?