Aging, Gender and Sexuality in Brazilian Society
Guita Grin Debert, PhD
Full Professor, Department of Anthropology Institute of Philosophy and Human Sciences
Universidade Estadual de Campinas
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Drawing on the interplay between gender, aging, and sexuality, the aim of this article is twofold: (1) to show how Brazilian gerontologists treat gender differences and sexual activity in old age; (2) to analyze the ways discourses regarding the aging body and sexuality are perceived and evaluated by older women and men . I argue that attempts of gerontologists’ to eroticize old age have to contend with the widespread notion that the desire for sex is inevitably lost with age. Thus, in the retiree associations that were studied, men had a tendency to assume they are not ‘old’ because their erectile function was still in good condition, and divorced or widowed women, in senior citizen associations, tend to regard themselves as happy due to having freed themselves from the sexual obligations imposed by marriage. In both cases, the dominant belief that there is a loss of sexual desire in old age was reproduced.
Keywords: sexuality, gender, aging, Brazilian gerontology, sexology
Debert, Guita Grin. 2014. Aging, Gender and Sexuality in Brazilian Society. Anthropology & Aging Quarterly 34(4): 238-245.