The project aims to conduct a critical review of popular and academic knowledge on older people and sexuality/intimacy that looks beyond dominant social views and common-sense perceptions, which can reproduce stereotypes and prejudice which, given the lack of alternatives, old people themselves can be encouraged to believe or express.
In particular, the networks broader aims are to:
- Combat ageism and ageist erotophobia (fear of old people’s sexuality often expressed as denial or as squeamishness).
- Develop new theories and methods/ways of investigating ageing sexuality.
- Develop participatory methods with a wide group of stakeholders and especially older people themselves.
- Co-produce knowledge with disseminate it through stakeholders to have impact on policy and practice.
Since 2013, OPUS has been developing a programme of work focused on five main objectives:
- To build a collaborative, international research-based network that draws together an inter-disciplinary group of practitioners, policy-makers and researchers (at all career stages).
- To develop proposals for a major national and cross-national study that will examine different approaches, and the effectiveness of these approaches in developing research and knowledge on ageing, sexuality and intimacy.
- To identify relevant data-sets, other resources and methods for understanding the complex processes of ageing and sexuality/intimacy.
- To build strong links between national and international research centres engaged with issues relating to ageing and public policy.
- To strengthen national and international discussion and support rigorous knowledge exchange on research and public policy issues on ageing and sexuality/intimacy.