TEDx Talk about Sexuality and Dementia

Letters from Madelyn – Chapter 14
“Having the Sex Talk with Dad”

“Having the Sex Talk with Dad”

Sexuality and dementia are two words we don’t normally put together in the same sentence. However, surprising, uninhibited, and inappropriate sexual behavior is not at all unusual in stroke survivors, people who have Alzheimer’s and individuals who take Dopamine to control the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

When my mother wrote and told me that Dad was excited about attending his high school reunion because he wanted to see Avis, the girl he’d taken to his senior prom, I thought it was amusing. When he asked Mom if it would be okay if he had sex with Avis (since Mom was no longer interested) I couldn’t believe it. He’d been wearing Depends for more than four years!

When Mom asked me to come home and have the “sex talk” with Dad, I thought the whole situation was ridiculous, and I didn’t handle it well.

Instead of sharing an episode from “Letters from Madelyn” today, I hope you’ll view my TEDx Talk “Having the Sex Talk with Dad”. Please share it with everyone you know who is caring for a person with a dementia-related illness. Sex and dementia is a topic that tends to embarrass and anger loved ones.

When I first started sharing this story at caregiving conferences, I thought the message was about finding humor in absurd situations. However, every time I told my parents’ story, people would come up to me afterward and say, “I have an Avis story, too!”

When I started researching this topic, I quickly discovered that inappropriate sexual behavior is a result of the disease. I share stories in the video that are not in the book, and I explain some of the reasons behind the behavior. If you don’t have time to watch, I hope you will remember that our desire for affection, our yearning for intimacy, and our need to love and be loved isn’t ridiculous at all. It’s what makes us human. Understanding that we never outlive our sexuality, along with a little humor and a lot of compassion, may make it a little easier to cope with a spouse’s or parent’s surprising and inappropriate dementia-related sexual behavior.

Click Here to Listen to Chapter 14 “Quentin’s Class Reunion – Sex and Dementia”Play Chapter 1

 

If you’d like to order an autographed copy of my book,
click here: Letters from Madelyn, Chronicles of a Caregiver

Letters from Madelyn, Chronicles of a Caregiver book cover