Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

What are the experiences of sexual intimacy in people aged 75-85 in the UK in the context of partnership relationships

Garrett, Dawne


Dawne Garrett


Mark (Professor of nursing and health research) Hayter

Kathleen Galvin


The experiences of sexual intimacy for partnered older people are little researched. This study, situated in a life course perspective on sexuality, purposively sampled data from 11 in-depth interviews and 41 pieces of correspondence from people between the ages of 75-85 in the United Kingdom. The study used Intuitive Inquiry, a method consisting of five “Cycles”; clarification of topic, literature review and description of initial “lenses”, data collection and summaries, integration of the data with literature to produce the final “lenses” and lastly synthesises of the stages of the study to produce a final interpretation.

Data were analysed thematically and phenomenologically providing both breadth and depth. The thematic findings recorded observable acts of sexual intimacy and continuums of participant’s thoughts and feelings. The continuums were organised into five meta-themes: the effects of ageing, the nature of relationships, the family context, seeking assistance and the sexual life story. The phenomenological analysis provided “Being Together” as the essence with the constituents; Maintaining intimacy in changing circumstances, Setting current intimacy across a life course, Concern about what people think, The possibility of sexual intimacy and The spectre of death.

In addition to the findings the new contributions to the body of knowledge include; a definition of sexual intimacy in older age, the use of intuitive inquiry as a research method within the UK and a greater understanding in researching sensitive topics with older people.

The recommendations highlighted a need for increased professional understanding of older age sexual intimacy and practical interventions to preserve sexual intimacy as part of essential holistic care. Further development of the continuums is planned to develop a tool to aid identification of synchronicity or discord between couples as a potential aid to clinical and therapeutic intervention.


Garrett, D. (2017). What are the experiences of sexual intimacy in people aged 75-85 in the UK in the context of partnership relationships. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Oct 12, 2018
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Health studies; Social work
Public URL
Additional Information School of Health and Social Work, The University of Hull
Award Date Aug 1, 2017


Thesis (3.2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2017 Garrett, Dawne. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Downloadable Citations