Scientific article
Open access

Sexuality and Neurodegenerative Disease: An Unmet Challenge for Patients, Caregivers, and Treatment

ContributorsEshmawey, Mohamed
Published inNeurodegenerative diseases, vol. 21, no. 3-4, p. 63-73
Publication date2021
First online date2022-04

Background: Many factors affect sexuality in the elderly such as dementia which is a common cause of inappropriate sexual behaviors. These behavioral disturbances are distressing, disruptive, and impair the care of the patient.

Summary: The onset of dementia does not erase sexuality. Sexual expression can be an important aspect of well-being for older adults with dementia. This study gives a general overview about the relationship between sexuality and cognitive impairment. It starts with a general discussion of sexual aspects in the elderly. This is followed by research studies in this field including effects of dementia on sexual life, sexuality issues related to cognitive decline, inappropriate sexual behaviors in dementia patients, and sexuality in healthcare institutions. We discuss also ethical aspects in relation with sexuality and dementia. Finally, we show different approaches to treat inappropriate sexual behaviors.

Key messages: The discussion of sexuality in dementia raises many medical and ethical concerns. Inappropriate sexual behaviors are estimated to occur in about 7%-25% of demented patients. The question is how to address such a delicate subject and discuss it in an easy way without making the patient feel humiliated or mistreated. This narrative review reveals sexual problems and difficult questions encountered in daily practice with patients suffering from cognitive impairment.

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Behavioral disturbances in dementia
  • Hypersexuality
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviors
  • Neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia
  • Aged
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Dementia
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / complications
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / therapy
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexuality / psychology
Citation (ISO format)
ESHMAWEY, Mohamed. Sexuality and Neurodegenerative Disease: An Unmet Challenge for Patients, Caregivers, and Treatment. In: Neurodegenerative diseases, 2021, vol. 21, n° 3-4, p. 63–73. doi: 10.1159/000522042
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1660-2854

Technical informations

Creation05/16/2022 8:52:00 AM
First validation05/16/2022 8:52:00 AM
Update time03/16/2023 8:44:13 AM
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