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Sex for LifeFrom Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes Throughout Our Lives$
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Laura Carpenter and John DeLamater

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814772522

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814772522.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 06 April 2020

Reproductive History as Social Context

Reproductive History as Social Context

Exploring How Women Talk about Menopause and Sexuality at Midlife

(p.217) 11 Reproductive History as Social Context
Sex for Life

Heather E. Dillaway

NYU Press

This chapter assesses how European American and African American women's relationship statuses, reproductive histories, and social locations influence their experiences of sexuality during menopause. Narrowly defined, “menopause” refers to the cessation of menstruation; it is caused by the fluctuation of hormone levels within the ovaries and women's bloodstream. The average age of cessation is around 48–52 years of age, but women in Western countries may end menstruation anywhere between their early forties and late fifties. Menopause occurs concurrently, or in relation to, other reproductive, relationship, and sexual experiences. Instances in which women have miscarriages during perimenopausal stages indicate that some menopausal/midlife women may not feel finished with childbearing at midlife and that multiple reproductive events/processes coincide or overlap. Changes in relationship status and/or specific relationship situations also mattered as they form a context for how women interpret and live out their menopause experiences and how they think about their reproductive histories.

Keywords:   reproductive histories, menopause, perimenopausal stages, menopausal women, midlife women, childbearing, miscarriages

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