Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
  • Publication
    The ending of menstruation: perspectives and experiences of lesbian and heterosexual women at menopause
    This article aims to theorize how a sample of menopausal women, lesbian and heterosexual, construct the ending of their periods, and what the experience means for them. Findings indicate that for most of the lesbian participants (who were in a sizeable minority), emotions of loss at the ending of periods were simultaneously expressed alongside positive feelings, and they engaged in greater introspection around the issue than did heterosexual women. However, lesbians did not all take up a singular subject position in relation to menstruation, indicating that there is fragmentation and plurality in how the body is experienced across a group.
      571Scopus© Citations 12
  • Publication
    Women's accounts of heterosexual experiences in the context of menopause
    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.”
      458Scopus© Citations 4
  • Publication
    Hormone therapy and the medical encounter:  a qualitative analysis of women's experiences
    Objective: The aim of this article was to explore women's experiences in biomedical consultations for menopause symptoms, with a particular focus on how hormone therapy (HT) featured during the encounter. Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted with 39 women, and data were analyzed using a qualitative strategy referred to as Thematic Networks. Results: Several participants whose menopause started before the period of the HT "scares" described being "put on" HT as a matter of course, even when their symptoms were mild. By contrast, some of those presenting in the more recent time period with what they deemed to be severe symptoms were more likely to describe scenarios whereby they pressured their physicians for an HT prescription. Once on HT, participants were found to be far from passive recipients of a biomedical "treatment" but rather embarked on an active dialogue with themselves about how to manage the distressing aspects of menopause. Conclusions: Using HT did not tend to spell a transition to biomedical advocacy, despite its reported effectiveness in moderating bodily distresses. Rather, HT tended to retain a tentative status as a temporary relief and not a long-term panacea.
      364Scopus© Citations 9
  • Publication
    Menopause narratives: the interplay of women's embodied experiences with biomedical discourses
    Conventional approaches to menopause tend to contrast the biomedical position on menopause with women’s actual experiences of it. Rather than focusing primarily on the tensions between these perspectives (biomedical vs. lay), our emphasis here is on the impact of biomedicine in shaping participants’ perceptions of their status as menopausal. Based on interview data gathered from 39 women in Ireland, we argue that the cultural authority of biomedicine shaped participants’ experiences of the body and how they constituted their health identity. We assert that, ironically, this was particularly the case among those who most strongly contested biomedical definitions of their situation. In addition, biomedical practitioners’ definitions had a strong normalizing power in how the body was experienced. We conclude by noting that our analysis problematizes the notion of privileging “women’s experiences” as advocated by some feminist perspectives. The heavy influence of biomedical discourses in shaping participants’ embodied experiences demonstrates the pervasive impact of prevailing discourses on women’s experiences.
      1145Scopus© Citations 24