Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


The majority of research on African American women that are between the ages of 40-65 and their sexual experiences has been limited. The research emphasizes the significance of individual, interpersonal, and sociocultural factors, yet few studies have examined the role of body image. The objective of the current study was to explore the role of body image in the sexual experiences of African American women between the ages of 40-65. This group is typically called middle-aged. This study utilized a two-part qualitative approach to investigate the relationship between body image and sexual decision-making for middle-aged African American women, and twelve Black women, ages 40-65, were recruited through a convenience sample within a Southeastern metropolitan city. Seven individual interviews and one focus group were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide. The interview guide explored perception of body image, influencers to body image, and sexual decision-making. Interviews were 30-90 minutes in duration, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using a structured opencoding approach and thematic analysis. Several themes regarding individual, interpersonal, and sociocultural factors that influence and help to define body image emerged from data analysis. Sexual self-esteem was found to be related to the preferences for lighting during sex, and body appreciation was associated with increased use of protection. These findings provide new insight into the characterization of body image and the relationship between body image and sexual experiences for middle-aged African American women, and they suggest that quantitative measures must be adapted or drafted to reflect this. Keywords: body image, African American women, sex, decision making, middle-aged

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License