Redefining Constructions of Sexuality and Sexual Wellbeing across Generations: Lessons from Ageing Aboriginal Women

Dune Tinashe, Stewart Jo., Tronc Wendy, Lee Vanessa, Mapedzahama Virginia, Firdaus Rubab, Mekonnen Tensae


This study explored how Indigenous women living in Australia understand, experience and construct sexuality within contexts dominated by revealed the impact of Eurocentric conceptualisations of gender, embodiment and intimacy. This project was informed by feminist methodology and collected data using semi-structured focus groups, which naturally took on the yarning method. The discussions, held on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, were had with women aged 42 to 73 years, across three focus groups. The women primarily constructed sexuality within Australia’s history of colonisation, discrimination and prejudice against Indigenous people, the uptake of European values and their impact on Indigenous people over time and across generations. Self-esteem was a central feature across all major themes and described as integral to health constructions of sexuality and health relationships. Changes over time were characterised by the women’s commitment to instilling self-esteem in following generations as well as limitations to self-esteem resulting from discrimination. Socialising future generations to display and embrace intimacy was also central to a healthy construction of sexuality. The findings from this study reinforce that learning from Indigenous women about sexuality and ageing is key to enriching the evidence-base as well as health worker and researcher capacity while reinforcing the importance of self-care among Indigenous older women. Integrating such an approach with Indigenous women has the potential to increase the effectiveness and relevance of health promotion and wellbeing programmes aimed at older Indigenous women in the present and future.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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