Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Health

First Committee Member

Marya L. Shegog

Second Committee Member

Carolee Dodge-Francis

Third Committee Member

Lung-Chang Chien

Fourth Committee Member

Barbara Brents

Number of Pages



Background: Older adults, 65 and older, are one of the largest growing unique population groups in the United States, comprising 15% of the population of Southern Nevada. Medical advances have allowed people to live longer, experience improved sexual health outcomes, and maintain a better quality of life. Medicare provides healthcare for most people over 65, but some people may not feel comfortable talking with their doctor or are not aware that Medicare-covered these services.

Objective: The purpose of this study is to explore the sexual behaviors of older adults age 65 years or older in Southern Nevada, examine the protective and risk factors related to sexual health, and identify the sexual health educational needs.

Methods: A total of 234 anonymous surveys were collected in paper or digital format from Southern Nevadans 65 and older.

Results: The research data reveals 43.7% of respondents reported no sexual partners in the past 12 months. Only 34.4% reported having recent sexual intercourse in the past four weeks. A wide variety of sexual behaviors were reported, including self-pleasuring, sexting, non-monogamous relationships and bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism (BDSM) behaviors. A total of 61.5% reported feeling comfortable talking to their doctors about sexual health issues, while only 31% reported having a doctor ask them about sexual health. Older adults also reported wanting to learn about sex and disability, as well as dating and other sexual communication topics.

Conclusion: This exploratory research provides insight into a part of the population which have often had their sexual health overlooked. The data reveals a need for medical and public health professionals to be addressing sexual health education topics with their older adult patients to improve their quality of life.


Aging; Older adults; Sexual behaviors; Sexual health; Sexuality; Sexuality education

File Format


File Size

1.5 MB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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