EAKAD JA VÄHK – November 2015

Sexuality of the elderly: do we need to talk about it to the cancer patient?

Authors: Olev Poolamets

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Studies have shown that an appreciable number of people continue their sexual life in old age and the proportion of such people has increased over time. While counselling for sexual life it is good to know more thoroughly about the concept of sexuality, and to approach it openly and non-dualistically as this allows to listen to people and to hear about their problems without prejudices. It is important to grant the most important permission through counselling – to be a sexual being – and then to counsel patients depending on one’s professional competence. Together with the development of sexual medicine, different ways of helping patients have emerged, but so far the best is cooperation between different expert fields. Both living a sexual life, and stopping living a sexual life should be accepted when discussing what is best for a person or for a partnership from their point of view. According to the wider definition of sexuality, it includes the basic need for touch, intimacy and human affection, which most people need throughout their life.