Disabilities and Sexual Satisfaction in Older Adulthood: A Comparison of Cohabiting and Married Couples

Raeda K. Anderson, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
David F. Warner, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Larry Gibbs, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

The effect of functional limitations on sexual satisfaction within romantic relationship is understudied. We examine the association between functional limitations and sexual satisfaction among partnered older adults with attention to whether variations exist by union status. Data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP) are used. Our analytic sample consisted of 612 couples, where each partner was interviewed and provided information on 7 functional limitation and 7 sexual satisfaction items. We estimated dyadic models using a mixed-model framework, accounting for individual functional ability and couple-level consequences in disability status and sexual frequency. Our results indicate that having a disabled partner is associated with lower sexual satisfaction, but own functional status is not associated with sexual satisfaction. Cohabiting couples are less sexually satisfied than married couples, but the effect of functional limitations operates similarly across union status. This suggests that consequences of disablement operate similarly across union type.

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Presented in Poster Session 9: Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, and Reproductive Health