New biomedicalized forms of longevity, anti-aging ideals, and the focus on successful aging have permeated the current sociocultural and political climate, and will affect the future of aging. This article examines changing attitudes towards sexual practices and the perception of sexuality in later years, as exemplified in Erica Jong’s middle and late life works and interviews. Instead of succumbing to anti-aging culture and biomedicalization of sex in old age, Jong reveals alternative ways of exploring sexual practices in older age, and challenges a pharmaceutical market that promotes the consumption of medication to enhance the idea of virility and ‘sexual fitness’ in older men. Jong’s work undoes the narrative of decline that portrays older individuals as sexually inactive and frail, and, at the same time, shows that the interest in sexual intercourse and the erect phallus gradually becomes less important as people grow older. This qualitative narrative analysis opens the discussion for reconsideration of late-life sexuality beyond biomedical understandings of late-life sex and old age. The study also reveals how a literary approach can provide alterative and more realistic perspectives towards sexual experiences in later stages of life that can have significant implications for healthcare policy and the future of aging.
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