Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Julie Hicks Patrick

Committee Co-Chair

Amy Gentzler

Committee Member

Natalie Shook.


Sexual well-being in later life has traditionally been evaluated in relation to age-related physical limitations and sexual dysfunction. This study developed a multidimensional model of sexual well-being by investigating sexual interest, sexual attitudes (general and age-specific), and age-specific sexual knowledge in relation to more commonly-used indicators of sexual well-being (e.g., frequency and sexual satisfaction). Using a racially-diverse, U.S. sample of adults (N = 367, Mage = 54.40), structural equation modeling was used to test these associations (AGFI = .967; TLI = .994; and RMSEA = .031). Sexual interest (beta = .53), attitudes (beta = -.11 and .17), and knowledge (beta = .09) accounted for 33.1% of the variance in a latent construct of sexual well-being. Multi-group comparisons revealed a different pattern of associations by gender with the model accounting for more variance in women's sexual well-being than men's (40.1% vs. 25.9%). Sexual interest contributed significantly to both men's (beta = .46) and women's sexual well-being (beta = .60). Men's sexual well-being was also influenced by their general sexual attitudes (beta = .19), but not by either age-specific measure. Sexual attitudes did not contribute to women's sexual well-being, but age-specific sexual knowledge contributed significantly (beta = .13). These findings demonstrate the importance of considering more than physical capability when studying sexuality beyond the childbearing years. Further, beyond sexual interest, men and women appear to differ slightly in what impacts sexual well-being. Because these particular constructs are subjective and social in nature, it may reflect differences in sexual socialization.