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Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour | Common Signs

  • Is no longer interested in sexual activity
  • Is too interested in sexual activity
  • Makes inappropriate remarks in public places
  • Says inappropriate things to people they know
  • Makes unwanted advances to people they know
  • Says inappropriate things to strangers
  • Makes unwanted advances to strangers (e.g. grabs, or attempts to fondle)
  • Kisses or hugs more than would be appropriate to express affection
  • Attempts to have sexual intercourse with others
  • Masterbates in public
  • Appears not to be able to give consent for sexual intercourse
  • Appears not to know whether they are having sexual intercourse
Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour | General Description

There are many faces to inappropriate sexual behaviour. The stereotypical one is the leering old man. This has some elements of truth to it. Inappropriate sexual behaviour - in the form of making suggestive remarks or acting out - is much more common in men than in women, just as dementia is much more common in older people than in younger people.

But, some of the shock that people can feel about inappropriate sexual behaviour by a person with dementia is only just above the shock they feel about the idea of any old person having sex - especially someone of one's parents' age, and more specifically still, one's parents. So, it is important to in some way factor in the attitude of the person being offended in understanding why certain behaviours are offensive.

That said, there is another troublesome - and little discussed - aspect of sexual behaviour that people with dementia can experience. Sometimes, in the case of couples who, while they have been sexually active throughout their lives, have had times when the desire for sex was not always mutual.In such cases, it is common that a husband might sometimes worry about whether his wife can any longer consent to having sex. So, while the first 10 descriptors of this symptom portray unwanted sexual activity by the person with dementia, the last two refer to whether the person with dementia finds the sex wanted or is able to say "no".

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Last updated January 9, 2019
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