The Impact of Caregiving: Older Women’s Experiences of Sexuality and Intimacy

The Impact of Caregiving: Older Women’s Experiences of Sexuality and Intimacy

The Impact of Caregiving: Older Women’s Experiences of Sexuality and Intimacy

The Impact of Caregiving: Older Women’s Experiences of Sexuality and Intimacys

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Référence bibliographique [11349]

Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work, vol. 28, no 4, p. 415-428.

Fiche synthèse

1. Objectifs


Intentions :
«[T]he current study aims to explore how older women caring for a spouse at home experience and understand their identities as women, wives, partners, caregivers, and sexual beings. The study asks how the caregiver role and its associated risks to health and well-being affect the sexual and intimate relationships of women spousal caregivers.» (p. 417)

2. Méthode


Échantillon/Matériau :
«In total, six women were interviewed. These participants were aged between 60 and 80, and all were providing care to their male spouse in the home. All of those who participated in the study were Anglophone and heterosexual.» (p. 418)

Instruments :
Guide d’entretien semi-directif

Type de traitement des données :
Analyse de contenu

3. Résumé


«The data confirm that sexual identity, like other aspects of caregiver identity previously researched, becomes subsumed with the weight of the tasks of caregiving. This leaves women little room to express their sexual selves within their relationships. For most women, their sexual identity is ’put away’, overshadowed by the demands of providing care. For some, women have tried to maintain a sexual life with their partners to no avail, either as a result of the shift in their perception of their partner as ’care receiver’ or because their partner has rejected their efforts to do so. Unfortunately, social expectations regarding older women as ’asexual’ or ’undesirable’ feed into women’s perceptions of themselves, rendering the requirement to ’give up’ on their sexual lives once becoming caregivers. [...] Still, women find ways to counter this experience in their daily lives. Women told us about how acts of intimacy experienced alone, with their partners, or with others with whom they share affection, provide opportunities to experience some forms of sexuality and intimacy within or despite their caregiving roles and responsibilities. It is important for these acts to be noted and visible, as they challenge our assumptions about older women as asexual beings.» (p. 425)