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Foreword

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2021

Trish Hafford-Letchfield
Affiliation:
Middlesex University
Paul Simpson
Affiliation:
Edge Hill University, Ormskirk
Paul Reynolds
Affiliation:
Edge Hill University, Ormskirk
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Summary

Sex and Diversity in Later Life (under the Sex and Intimacy in Later Life book series, edited by Hafford-Letchfield, Simpson and Reynolds), explores how ageing, sex, gender, desire and sexuality shape equality and justice in later life from an intersectional and critical perspective. While sexuality is often perceived as being absent from the lives of older adults, research shows otherwise. The ten substantive chapters address a wide range of topics on a diverse ageing population related to sexual desire, sexual behaviours, love, intimacy, gender, ethnicity, race, sexuality, culture, end of life, chronic health concerns, sexual rights and other pressing social issues. Chapter 1 introduces the theoretical and conceptual perspectives of the book, setting the roadmap for the reader to explore sex and diversity in an ageing population through intersectional, multidisciplinary and critical lenses. Chapter 2 offers a perspective on the sexual rights of African American older women as they pursue love, intimacy and sexual pleasure. Such rights, Harley argues, are impacted by intersecting factors of racism, sexual stigma and cultural barriers. Chapter 3 challenges stereotypes about the ‘oldest old’ and older persons living their final years. Rennie also explores the options of sexual and intimate connections for persons who are at their end of life. In Chapter 4, Hafford-Letchfield reviews some themes on heterosexual desire and sexual expression of solo women in later life within the context of socio-cultural and health-related factors. Chapter 5 discusses sex and ageing of heterosexual men. In the chapter, Tetley and Lee explore heterosexual men's barriers in sexual health and well-being, intersected with perspectives from health professionals on sex and intimacy in later life. In Chapter 6, Robinson explores the narratives from gay men's adventurous stories – sexual encounters with strangers. Their sex and sexuality intersected with the effects of ageism and loss. Robinson argues that the effects of physical ageing or illness can impinge on their making full use of the resources of ageing. In Chapter 7, Todd proposes that, due to hegemonic understandings of gender, sexuality, age and sexual violence, older lesbians with a history of abuse are not sufficiently acknowledged either by professionals or the women themselves. In Chapter 8, Wells reflects on both the sexual intimacies of the ageing bisexual and the limited research on such lived experiences of bisexuality in later life.

Type
Chapter
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Sex and Diversity in Later Life
Critical Perspectives
, pp. xxv - xxvi
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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