Intimacy and Sexuality in Aged Care



What is the Difference Between Intimacy and Sexuality?

Intimacy and sexuality are distinct yet interconnected aspects of human relationships. Intimacy refers to the emotional connection between two individuals and how they bond, share feelings, and build trust. It involves closeness, vulnerability, and mutual understanding, forming the foundation of deep relationships. On the other hand, sexuality is how an individual experiences and expresses themselves as a sexual being. It encompasses a range of activities, behaviors, and identities related to sexual feelings, desires, and relationships.

How Can We Support the Sexuality of a Resident?

Supporting the sexuality of a resident involves several practical steps to ensure their needs and rights are respected and addressed:

  • Ask Questions: Engage in open and respectful conversations to understand their preferences and needs.
  • Review Your Policies: Ensure that your institution's policies around intimacy and sexuality are up-to-date and inclusive.
  • Provide Non-Judgmental Care: Approach each resident with an open mind, free from biases or judgments.
  • Help Personalise Intimacy and Sexuality: Recognize and support each resident's unique expressions and needs regarding intimacy and sexuality.
  • Offer Privacy When Appropriate: Ensure that residents have the privacy they need to express their sexuality.
  • Refer Residents to the Right Resources: Guide them to appropriate resources for additional support and information.
  • Communicate with Residents’ Families: Maintain open lines of communication with families to support the resident's needs.
  • Use LGBTI-Inclusive Language: Foster an inclusive environment by using language that respects all sexual orientations and gender identities.
CPD time1m
First Published16 September 2019
Updated15 September 2019
30 August 2027
Learning Tools
Sexual Health