GERO 413 Sexuality and Aging

For further assistance with your assignment, ask at the Belzberg Library Reference Desk or contact Nina Smart, Liaison Librarian for Gerontology (778.782.5043 (Tuesdays and Thursdays) / nsmart@sfu.caMonday to Thursday .  For other assistance see Ask a Librarian

Course description

Instructor: Dr. Theresa Pauly

"Focuses on all aspects of sex and aging and the issues that arise around sexual behavior as we age. An interdisciplinary perspective, taking into account the physiological, psychological, interpersonal and social influences which shape our understanding of sexuality in the aged."

Note: for more information see GERO 413's  Canvas page.  If there are discrepancies between  information listed on this page and that in Canvas or instructor handouts, please refer to the latter.]

Also: Page below is based on  previous course's assignments

Book reviews

You can find print books and ebooks in the SFU Library Catalogue. If the book you want is already out on loan you can find other books on the topic (discuss your choice with your TM if you are not sure it's appropriate). Suggested subject headings:

You can also check at your local library for a copy of one of the books on the suggested list.

For more information, see the SFU guide Finding book reviews and writing book reviews

Term paper


Assignment calculator time management tool to help you break down your writing assignments into a series of steps

Start your research here overview of the research process and tips for finding sources - although your suggested sources are right below!

Writing help online is available via WriteAway -submit a draft of your paper and "online tutors will provide strategies and resources to help you improve your writing".  Turnaround time is currently four days.


Background information

Reference works such as encyclopedias are a great place to start to get an overview of a topic.  Entries are written by experts in the field, and there is often a useful bibliography.  In addition, looking though one scholarly monograph is much faster than reading several journal articles. 

Useful titles:

  • Encyclopedia of gerontology [print or online]
    Major article "Sexuality, Sensuality, and Intimacy"
  • Encyclopedia of sex and gender [print and online]
    See articles: "Elderly, sex among" with a bibliography and a list of related topics, and "Sexuality, Sensuality, and Intimacy" with a bibliography
  • GLBTQ (archived) "an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, & queer culture"
    See entries on Ageism and Aging, including a bibliography
  • Handbook of clinical sexuality for mental health professionals [print or online]
    See sections III and IV on sexual dysfunction, and various entries under Age/Aging in the Index
  • Sexual Victimization: Then and Now [print]
    See Chapter 9: Victimization of the Vulnerable, section "Elder Sexual Abuse"

Journal articles

To find journal articles, start with the following indexes:

the major social gerontology database, and it is all about older people.  You can start with this database for most term paper topics.

Samples searches: Sexual* AND (media or popular culture) AND (Stereotypes or Attitudes) 
Sexual Behavior AND  Patients AND attitudes
Health Promotion AND Sexuality
Sample subject terms: Sexual Abuse; Sexual Dysfunction

Communication & Mass Media Complete
covers journals in the fields of communication and mass media studies

Sample  search: (aging or older) AND sex* AND (social media or mass media)

"literature in the field of psychology and psychological aspects of related disciplines"
Hint: You can also narrow the search by selecting Aged (65 yrs and older) in the Age Groups field of the "Refine search" section OR: narrow search with "Subject X"  And (Aging OR Gerontology)

Sample subject terms: Sexuality; Erectile Dysfunction; Psychosexual Behavior; Sexual Function Disturbances
Sample search: 

CINAHL Complete
Nursing and allied health, for medical topics

Sample terms: Attitude to Sexuality Aged;  Aged, 80 and Over; Aging
Sample search:  health promotion AND (sexuality OR sexual health) AND (aging OR old age)

Sociological Abstracts
Sample search:  (Elderly or Aging or Ageism) AND Sexuality

What if you are told to include peer-reviewed journals?

The databases above contain scholarly journals: CINAHL and PsycINFO have a peer reviewed Limit;  the other databases have a Scholarly or Academic journals limit

It all articles must be peer-reviewed,  see: What is a scholarly (or peer-reviewed) journal? and follow link to find "How to tell if a journal is peer-reviewed"

What if you find a great, but older, article?

Go to Google Scholar (with SFU journal holdings), type in the title of the article, and then click on "Cited by" to find newer journal articles

See also:

Learning log & Outlines

For more information, see the following:

Useful sites

Aging and Human Sexuality Resource Guide 
American Psychological Association.  Bibliography and links to organizations

Dr. Sharron Hinchcliff
(University of Sheffield) Ageing, sexual and reproductive health, well-being, and gender

QMUNITY's Stories of Older Queers 
SFU collection of video interviews and still pictures

Senior Sex: Tips for Older Men 
Mayo Clinic 

Sexuality and Older Adults 
Centre for Sexuality (Calgary)