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Sexuality and Middle Adulthood - Essay Example

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Human sexuality is a highly complicated and essential component of adulthood and it raises serious challenges during the middle adulthood, which refers to the two decades between the ages of 40 and 60, the 'middle' segment of adult life, between young and late adulthood…
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Sexuality and Middle Adulthood
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Sexuality and Middle Adulthood Human sexuality is a highly complicated and essential component of adulthood and it raises serious challenges during the middle adulthood, which refers to the two decades between the ages of 40 and 60, the 'middle' segment of adult life, between young and late adulthood. By the time one enters middle adulthood, strongly defined self and well-developed relational skills are in place and most of the people during this stage have already established deeply satisfying relationships with same-sex and opposite-sex partners. People in the middle adulthood embrace their sexuality and find meaningful ways to express themselves as sexual beings. According to Erik Erikson, the most important developmental challenge of middle adulthood is the conflict of generativity versus stagnation. Most people in the middle adulthood consider sexuality as essential component for physical and mental well-being. However, one of the basic issues concerning human sexuality during the middle adulthood is that there is a considerable decline in the frequency of sexual activity. According to Zanden, Crandell, and Crandell, "Frequency of activity and number of partners declines in middle adulthood ' Many healthy adults enjoy an active sex life into 70s and beyond' Medications for health problems often have sexual function side effects'. Lack of opportunity can be a factor... Time pressures of the job and family may leave couples with little time or energy for sex' Sexuality is refocused to sensuality for many middle adults." (Zanden, Crandell, and Crandell, 2000, p. 519). Therefore, human sexuality confronts serious challenges during the middle adulthood, although it is a highly essential component of human life during this period.
Human sexuality during the middle adulthood confronts a basic issue with regard to the sexual activity of the individuals and most often there is an important decline in the frequency of sexual activity during this period. "Married persons and single parents in middle adulthood are often highly involved with family life as well as work or career. In terms of their sexuality, the frequency of sexual activity usually declines at this stage' Thus, as the baby boomer generation has aged into their 50s and 60s, their frequency of sexual intercourse tends to decline, but at a more gradual rate than for previous generations." (Balswick, 2008, p. 49). Therefore, research evidences suggest that the frequency of sexual activity generally declines during the middle adulthood which is a major issue confronted by human sexuality during this stage of life.
In a reflective analysis of important issues that are associated with human sexuality in middle adulthood, it becomes lucid that fertility declines during this period and women's menstrual periods cease. "Climacteric is a term that is used to describe the middle-life transition in which fertility declines. Menopause is the time in middle age, usually in the late forties or early fifties, when a woman's menstrual periods cease' Menopause involves a dramatic decline in the production of estrogen by the ovaries. Menopause is not a negative experience for women that it was once thought to be. However, the loss of fertility is an important marker for women." (Tata, 2006, p. 113). It is also important to note that men also experience a modest decline in their sexual hormone level and activity during this period, although many men do not lose their capacity to father children. Similarly, testosterone production begins to decline during this period.
In conclusion, a profound analysis of the major issues associated with human sexuality in middle adulthood confirms that men and women are affected by the decline in their sexual hormone level and fertility during this period. There is also a significant decline in the frequency of sexual activity during the middle adulthood which is a major issue confronted by human sexuality during this stage of life.
References
Balswick, Jack O. (2008). Authentic Human Sexuality: An Integrated Christian Approach. InterVarsity Press. p. 49.
Zanden, James Wilfrid Vander., Crandell, Thomas L. Crandell, Corinne Haines. (2000). "Chapter 15 - Middle Adulthood: Physical and Cognitive Development." Human Development. McGraw-Hill. 2000. p. 519. Retrieved 25 October, 2009, from http://cybermesa.com/'bjackson/Papers/HumanDevelChapter15.pdf
Tata, Santrock. (2006). Life-Span Development 3E. new York: McGraw-Hill. p. 113. Read More
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