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What Does Alzheimer’s Have to Do With Sexuality?

August 18th, 2014

What Does Alzheimer’s Have to Do With Sexuality?

Understanding the Relationship Between Alzheimer’s and Sexuality

Alzheimer’s disease is often associated with memory loss and impaired thinking, with less attention paid to the sexual behavior of patients. However, the reality is that Alzheimer’s disease may cause inappropriate changes in sexual behavior of the affected person, ranging from loss of intimacy to overly sexual behavior, which have the potential to affect the most intimate of relationships.  Spouses and partners find such changes quite challenging. They must understand that such behavior is not an intentional choice of their partner; rather, the result of the disease. As a result, they should be willing to adjust their attitudes and actions to ensure their partner feels comfortable and they are able to maintain a sense of intimacy.

Traditional Behavior of Alzheimer’s & Sexuality 

The act of sexual disinhibition (Disinhibition Wiki Page) or lack of intimacy can be attributed to the progressive degeneration of brain tissue, protein buildup in the brain, or damage to the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes that affects your ability to control responses. The causes of Alzheimer’s are still being investigated, though the disease more commonly affects the elderly. However, it is not a natural result of aging.
In the early stage of the disease, while some individuals may continue to remain sexually active and enjoy the intimate moments, others may be affected by emotional distress, causing feelings of inadequacy or resentment and sexual withdrawal.
Those suffering from Alzheimer’s symptoms often show inappropriate behavior, such as:

  • Indulging in jealous accusations that their partner is seeing another person and having an affair.
  • Forgetting social etiquette and making bold sexual advances or masturbation in public.
  • Use of vulgar or obscene language.
  • Undressing in public.

Other Alzheimer’s symptoms may include:

  • Loss of recent memories.
  • Withdrawal from social life.

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