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Sex and the Seasoned Woman
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A seasoned woman is spicy. She has been marinated in life experience. . . . She can be alternately sweet, tart, bubbly, mellow. She can be maternal and playful. Bossy and submissive. Strong and soft. . . . The seasoned woman knows who she is. She could be any one of us, as long as she is committed to living fully and passionately in the second half of life.
In her most groundbreaking work since "Passages" and "The Silent Passage," bestselling author Gail Sheehy reveals a hidden cultural phenomenon-increased vitality in women's sex and love lives after fifty. Sex and the Seasoned Woman is the story of an intimate revolution taking place under our very noses.
Boomer generation women in midlife are open to sex, love, dating, new dreams, exploring spirituality, and revitalizing their marriages as never before. This is a new universe of passionate, liberated women-married and single-who are unwilling to settle for the stereotypical roles of middle age and are now realizing they don't have to. As life spans grow longer and as societal constraints continue to loosen, older women-once free of the exhausting demands of young children, needy husbands, and demanding careers-find themselves ready to pursue the passionate life. They embrace their "second adulthood" as a period of reawakening.
Written in Sheehy's singularly compelling style, combining interviews and research, this book gives voice to more than a hundred fascinating and colorful women. The inspiring stories tell of wives who reinvigorate their marriages after their children leave the nest as well as divorced, widowed, and long-single women who find new dreams and new loves. Sheehy delineates a crucial link between cultivating a new dream and reopening the pathway to intimacy and sexual pleasure. She also examines the latest medical breakthroughs addressing symptoms that have unnecessarily curtailed women's sex lives.
From women who find their sexuality reawakened by a younger lover, to couples whose marriages survive health crises and grow stronger, to women who finally find a soulmate in their sixties, to stories from seasoned sirens in their seventies, eighties, and even nineties, these portraits cover an enormous range of experience. In them, Sheehy locates the universal patterns that enable us all to recognize and understand our own lives.

"From the Hardcover edition."

Product Details

About the Author

Bestselling author and cultural observer Gail Sheehy made history with the publication of Passages, which was an international bestseller, appearing in twenty-eight languages. She followed up with The Silent Passage, New Passages, and Understanding Men's Passages. Sheehy is also the author of Hillary's Choice, a biography of Hillary Clinton, and Middletown, America, about a New Jersey town devastated by the World Trade Center attack. A contributing editor to Vanity Fair since 1984, Sheehy is the recipient of the Washington Journalism Review Award for Best Magazine Writer in America. To schedule a speaking engagement, please contact American Program Bureau at www.apbspeakers.com From the Hardcover edition.

Reviews

Sheehy's stages of sexual and romantic maturity in the tradition of her earlier well-known works (e.g., Passages, The Silent Passage, Understanding Men's Passages) probably occur far more flexibly than she describes, and her approach based on web questionnaires, interviews, and discussion groups claims indicative rather than statistical validity. Nonetheless, her sympathetic descriptions and recommendations culled from mature women about navigating the challenges of aging toward becoming a "seasoned siren" give this book real value. Her coverage of vaginal atrophy stands out-few books seem to address this common cause of pain associated with sex for older women. Many of her stories focus on the rich, megarich, and even the rich and famous. Yet Sheehy made an effort to include middle-American, minimum-wage, and Bible-belt women, whose solutions to aging and loneliness are sometimes more creative than those of the well-heeled cognoscenti and illuminati of the East and West coasts. For all collections. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Sheehy, a self-described seasoned woman, set off in search of others like herself. Her premise? There's "a new universe of lusty, liberated women, some married and some not, who are unwilling to settle for the stereotypical roles of middle age." Aside from the question whether the 200-odd women she contacts constitute a representative universe, her claim is hardly revelatory. Older women (especially Europeans) have known from time immemorial that age has nothing to do with desire and an urge to live passionately. What makes a difference these days is the opportunities afforded by online dating sites. Short on research, Sheehy, best known for Passages, makes do by stringing together colorful stories of the women she interviews, drawing inflated conclusions from their lives and claiming it all as part of yet another passage (will it ever end?) to Second Adulthood, with phases like "the Romantic Passage" and "Soul Seeking." The book's most chilling bit of information: you really do lose it if you don't use it. But take heart, ladies; Sheehy provides the name of a doctor who employs a nonsurgical method of rejuvenating the vagina, making it just as pink and open as it was when you were... that's right, young. (On sale Jan. 10) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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