Two of the most frequent complaints among elderly men are decreases in sexual desire and also in the ability to perform. Because of these changes, masturbation increases, and rates of sexual intercourse decrease (C. B. White, 1982). Research on older homosexual men has found that they continue to be sexually active; however, they tend to engage in less anal sex than younger homosexual men (Van de Ven et al., 1997).

Masturbation may continue among the elderly so that they can reassure themselves that they are not the asexual persons that society labels them (Catania & White, 1982). Also, when an older adult finds that his or her partner is no longer interested in sexual activity, masturbation often becomes an important outlet. This can also be an important activity for elderly people who have lost their sexual partners because it offers a sexual release that may help decrease depression, hostility, or frustration. Other physical prob-

Changes in Sexual BehaviorPersonal Voices