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Better health for people living
with dementia

Intimacy and sexuality

People with dementia continue to need loving, safe relationships and caring touch. However they will vary in their individual ways of giving and receiving affection, and the ways in which dementia affects that capacity. As a result of the condition, some people with dementia may become demanding and insensitive to the needs of others, and less able to provide caring support for their family and friends. They may also experience changes in the expression of their sexuality. Some people continue to desire sexual contact while others may lose interest in sexual activity.

Others may display inappropriate sexual behaviours. Partners may experience a range of feelings about continuing a sexual relationship with someone who has dementia. These may include feelings of rejection, loss, distaste and guilt (5).

Practice points

Psychologists, social workers and counsellors:

  • provide information and support intimacy and sexuality.