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Sex for LifeFrom Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes Throughout Our Lives$
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Laura Carpenter and John DeLamater

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814772522

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814772522.001.0001

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Exploring Embodied Aging and Ageism among Old Lesbians and Gay Men

Exploring Embodied Aging and Ageism among Old Lesbians and Gay Men

Chapter:
(p.260) 13 Exploring Embodied Aging and Ageism among Old Lesbians and Gay Men
Source:
Sex for Life
Author(s):

Kathleen F. Slevin

Christine E. Mowery

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814772522.003.0013

This chapter explores the intersections of bodily changes, ageism, and sexuality among old lesbians and gay men. Although not all lesbians and gay men use the same strategies as they negotiate aging, most actively work to acquire a preferred embodied identity of being not old—or at least not looking as old as they are. Their bodies are vehicles for creating meaning about aging and about old age, and their comments and actions reveal an internalized ageism about aging bodies that leads them to distance themselves from and to fight corporeal evidence of aging. Thus, lesbians and gay men engage in a variety of ageist coping strategies, including distancing themselves from old age by “age passing,” avoiding others who are seen to be old, and disciplining their bodies through diet, exercise, and even cosmetic surgery.

Keywords:   ageism, aging bodies, old lesbians, old gay men, ageist coping strategies, age passing, cosmetic surgery

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