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Intimacy, commitment, and adaptation: sexual relationships within long-term marriages

Hinchliff, S. and Gott, M. (2004) Intimacy, commitment, and adaptation: sexual relationships within long-term marriages. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 21 (5). pp. 595-609. ISSN 0265-4075


While exploring the prioritization of sexual health as a quality of life issue for a sample of 69 participants (aged 31–92 years) living in the U.K., interesting findings emerged regarding sexual activity in the context of long term marriage. This article takes these findings as its focus and discusses the importance and meaning of sexual relationships for 28 participants, aged 50–86 years, who have been married for a minimum of 20 years (mean length of marriage 43 years). Data were collected using in-depth interviews, and a thematic analysis was applied to identify key themes. The findings indicate that sexual activity remained an important component of long-term marriage despite the existence of factors that interfered with or prevented sex from taking place. Participants adapted to these barriers and reported little upheaval from them, which was attributed to the mutually supportive context created by long-term marriage. The views expressed by the participants are discussed in relation to future research and implications for practice.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: intimacy; long-term marriage; older people; sexual relationships
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > School of Nursing and Midwifery (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr Sharron Hinchliff
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2010 09:19
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2014 04:07
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0265407504045889
Status: Published
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1177/0265407504045889
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10739

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