Women's accounts of heterosexual experiences in the context of menopause

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Title: Women's accounts of heterosexual experiences in the context of menopause
Authors: Hyde, Abbey
Nee, Jean
Butler, Michelle
Drennan, Jonathan
Howlett, Etaoine
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/4183
Date: 8-Sep-2011
Online since: 2013-03-14T17:02:45Z
Abstract: A number of biomedical models of female sexuality have emerged during the past few decades, and these have been challenged by feminist theorists who have tended to focus on the influence of contextual issues that mediate women's sexual experiences. In this article, a qualitative analysis of accounts relating to heterosexual experiences obtained from 25 menopausal women in Ireland through in-depth interviews is presented and considered in light of existing theoretical perspectives on sexuality. The average age of women in the sample was 54.2 years, and a diverse range of socioeconomic backgrounds was represented. We found that in describing their contemporary sexual experiences, contextual issues were brought heavily to bear as participants drew on discourses of personal history and biography, including previous relationships, to explain their current sexual experiences. However, a few women foregrounded physiological and biological reasons associated with hormonal changes to explain alterations in their sexual relationship, although overall, these were featured to a far lesser extent compared with their prominent position in biomedical menopause literature. A dominant feature of data was the influence of the discourse of the male sex drive, and many women explained their lesser interest in sexual activity compared with that of their partner in terms of men's nature. The findings suggested that for participants, anxiety around sexuality was socially produced either through the expectation to satisfy a partner, or by dominant discourses that defined sexual engagement as “healthy” and sexual apathy as “unhealthy.”
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Journal: International Journal of Sexual Health
Volume: 23
Issue: 3
Start page: 210
End page: 223
Copyright (published version): 2011 Taylor & Francis Group
Keywords: Qualitative studiesReproductive healthWomenMenopauseAdult sexuality
DOI: 10.1080/19317611.2011.586574
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems Research Collection

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