Demographic and psychosocial correlates of sexual activity in older Chinese people

Shuyan Yang, Chau Wai Elsie Yan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives: This study examines sexual activity and associated psychosocial factors in older Chinese people. Background: Sexuality continues to play a pivotal role in our lives even as we grow old. There is, however, very limited research on the topic in older populations. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Methods: A representative sample of 688 older Chinese people (>60 years old) were individually interviewed on their demographic characteristics; their interest in, knowledge of and perceived control over sexual activities; and their engagement in sexual activity. Results: The results show that 51·32% of men and 41·26% of women reported engaging in some form of sexual activity. Sexual intercourse and caressing were commonly reported. A multiple regression analysis also showed that a higher level of sexual activity was associated with being younger, living with a spouse, having a strong interest in sex, having sufficient knowledge of elder sexuality and a high perceived control over sex. Distinct predictive factors in each gender were observed. A high level of perceived control was associated with a higher level of sexual activity in males but not females. A series of binary logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine the demographic and psychosocial correlates of sexual activity. With the exception of the use of objects (sex toys), sexual activities were consistently associated with being younger; living with a spouse; and having high levels of interest, knowledge and perceived control. Conclusions: A sizable amount of older Chinese people engage in varying degrees of sexual activity, and most are still interested in sex. Relevance to clinical practice: Frontline health professionals need to be aware of the growing needs for sex education in older persons, particular attention should be paid to discuss the limitations brought about by various chronic conditions associated with ageing and their relevance to elder sexuality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-681
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Older people
  • Sexual health
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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