Is it normal for an elderly man to exhibit inappropriate sexual behavior?

3 answers | Last updated: Oct 23, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Is it normal for elderly men to exhibit inappropriate sexually oriented behavior such as touching females or making suggestive comments?


Expert Answers

Joanne Koenig Coste is a nationally recognized expert on Alzheimer's care and an outspoken advocate for patient and family care. She is the author of Learning to Speak Alzheimer's. Also, she currently is in private practice as an Alzheimer's family therapist. Ms. Koenig Coste also serves as President of Alzheimer Consulting Associates, implementing state-of-the-art Alzheimer care throughout the United States.

It is not unusual for an elderly man who is cognitively challenged to exhibit sexual behavior. In that respect, the act is really not 'inappropriate'. It may not be the behavior that is aberrant but instead the choice of place, or time, or person acted upon that requires a change of focus. The need for intimacy does not diminish with age or infirmity. The need for sexual expression may even heighten as the social controls diminish and inhibitions are lessened. It is our ability to control our desires and the presence of inhibition that helps us (the cognitively well-functioning)to choose the appropriate place or the correct time, or the most relevant partner when we have need for sexual expression. This scenario is altered with a change in our intellectual performance. Scolding the individual does little to change the action and generally causes the impaired person to feel shame, humiliation, and disgrace without truly comprhending what he has done that is worthy of chastisement. The scolding may be soon forgotten but the feeling of having done something wrong may remain. Instead try taking the person to another room or space away from the intended mate and offer something else to focus on (a puzzle or scrapbook, or TV show etc). Be sure to understand the difference between what may be deemed inappropriate and what may in fact be quite appropriate if the place is changed.


Community Answers

Ron071 answered...

THE ARTICLE ABOUT " INAPPROPRIATE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR " IN ELDERLY MEN GAVE LITLE INSGHT INTO THIS TOPIC. IT SOLELY FOCUSSED UPON MEN WITH DEMENTIA. HOPEFULLY, THE TOPIC COULD BE BROADENED TO INCLUDE NON -DISEASE AFFECTED " ELDERLY MEN".

THANKS TO ANYONE WHO CAN SHED LIGHT ON THIS TOPIC.


Frustrated01 answered...

I concur with regard to non-diseased men. I am a 61 yr old female currently in a very uncomfortable situation with an elderly (80) family friend. His wife has been in NH for three years. Previously, he would visit me and able to have a decent conversation. Then it became very uncomfortable for me due to his inappropriate remarks and behaviors is talking of how horny he is, and continually fondling his crotch. I was very clear and asked him to stop. As a last resort I asked if he had a UTI. Since he was ignoring my request to stop the inappropriate behaviors, I stopped answering the door and shut down any verbal communication. I also reached out to his son to have a discreet conversation indicating perhaps his father needs a physical and/or neurological exam. After about 1 year of avoiding and ignoring him, he has reappeared ie showing up at my apt unannounced, and stopping me during my daily walks. I am very frustrated by his behavior and total disrespect for me.

Again, this behavior may be signs of dementia; however, his behavior is is consistent with what I've been told had happened in his younger years as well.

Unfortunately I may be forced to contact the authorities to give him a warning to stay away from me.