It is hypothesized to result from increased social contacts that are characteristic of older women.Lowenthal, Thurnher, and Chiribaga (1975) propose that older women's self image improves as they become more assertive, less fearful, and less dependent.
Sexual interest and ability generally do not decrease with age for women. Interestingly, older men are perceived as being healthier than older women (Riley & Foner, 1968) even though, on the average, women live seven years longer than men. However, on measures of perceived physical health, no differences have been found between old men and women or between an older and a younger population (Ross, Tait, Brandeberry, Grossberg, & Nakra, 1986). found that older women rated themselves as having greater body competency than either older men or young adults, both male and female.These generalizations often take the form of stereotypes with the older women traditionally stereotyped as inactive, unhealthy, asexual, and ineffective (Block et al, 1981).The sexless older woman is a common theme particularly in humor and greeting cards.Older men, however, are perceived as becoming more "feminine" with age; femininity being equated with psychological dependency and timidity (Silverman, 1977; Woolf, 1988).Silverman (1977) conducted a study examining age differences in sex-role stereotypes for men.