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Sexual Activity among Older Thais: The Influence of Age, Gender, and Health

Publication Abstract

Knodel, John E., and Napaporn Chayovan. 2001. "Sexual Activity among Older Thais: The Influence of Age, Gender, and Health." Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 16(2): 173-200.

This study examines sexual activity among the population aged 50 and over in Thailand in relation to age, gender, and health status. It is the first study of older persons based on a large nationally representative survey in any non-Western or developing country. The results indicate substantial proportions of older married Thais remain sexually active, but at lower levels than found in Western countries. Sexual activity and desire decline steadily with age for both married men and women but at any given age both are lower for women. Overall, the sexual desire of husbands is a far more important determinant of marital sexual activity than that of wives. Poor health depresses activity and desire but does not account for the decline of either with age. For the majority of older married Thai men and women, behavior and desires are concordant. Discordance levels for married women exceed those for men, however, and arise primarily from being active but lacking desire. Possible reasons for lower sexual activity relative to Western countries are considered. Implications for the quality of life of older persons and the AIDS epidemic are discussed together with methodological lessons for research on older age sexual behavior.

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