Women's Sexual Passages: Finding Pleasure and Intimacy at Every Stage of Life

Overview

A woman's sexuality evolves dramatically during her life. In this book, Elizabeth Davis explores hormones and menstruation, pregnancy and birth, menopause and aging, fertility management through body awareness, and much more, for a complete picture. She analyzes controversial hormone replacement therapy and looks at what effect stress, overwork, major life events, relationship upheaval, and sexual abuse have on a woman's sexual health. The book features chapters on sexual awakening, sex in the later years, and ...

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2000 Trade paperback New. lt shelfwear-Book Appears Unread Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 270 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

A woman's sexuality evolves dramatically during her life. In this book, Elizabeth Davis explores hormones and menstruation, pregnancy and birth, menopause and aging, fertility management through body awareness, and much more, for a complete picture. She analyzes controversial hormone replacement therapy and looks at what effect stress, overwork, major life events, relationship upheaval, and sexual abuse have on a woman's sexual health. The book features chapters on sexual awakening, sex in the later years, and up-to-date information on the creativity hormone, oxytocin. Readers will appreciate her warmth and her "rare combination of breadth, practicality, strong - though not rigid - opinion and generous respect for individual experience" Publishers Weekly.

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Editorial Reviews

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"A gold mine! It contains heart and soul and information . . . never encountered before in any form. A potent and appreciative chronicle of what it means to be a woman at home in her body . . . the more women (and men for that matter) who read this, the more quickly our world will be healed."
-Isabella

"When a book on sex comes along that you think your own doctor should read, you may want to order up extra copies and pass them around at your next appointment! Enormously refreshing."
-Libido

"An appealing mixture of medically sound fact, thorough female intuition, underhanded humor and sensitivity . . . could surprise and educate even the most sexually seasoned people."
-Moving Words/Moving Books

"Elizabeth Davis writes vividly, succinctly, and joyously. [She] reveals a shrewd and compassionate sensitivity to women's needs . . . . "
-Sheila Kitzinger, Author of The Experience of Childbirth, The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Birth, and The Place of Birth

"Elizabeth . . . the wisdom of your work is as old as time."
-Christiane Northrup, M.D., Author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom

Library Journal
A midwife for over 20 years and author of Hearts and Hands: A Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, Davis intermixes medical and scientific information about life-cycle phases and changes with client comments, responses from interviews, referrals to herbs and holistic remedies, descriptions of women's rituals (some quite inspiring), and freehand New Age-feminist-utopian generalizations about women's connections with nature and mysticism. Her physiological and medical data seem mostly accurate, and she is a rarity in acknowledging and celebrating the sexual aspects of birth and nursing. However, her juxtaposition of facts with speculations and opinions confuses the reader. Too wide a range of information is presented without enough references or qualifications. Useful for women's health collections, this synthesis would have been considerably improved by a bibliography and resource list. Martha Cornog, Philadelphia Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780897932929
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Davis has been a midwife and women's health care provider since 1978 and the director and clinical instructor of Heart and Hands Midwifery Intensives since 1983. She is the author of many successful books, including Heart and Hands: A Midwife's Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, now in its third edition, and The Women's Wheel of Life. She writes frequently for women's and parenting magazines. She lectures internationally to nurses, midwives, gynecologists and obstetricians on subjects related to women's health, psychology and reproductive issues. She lives in Sebastopol, CA, and is the mother of three children. Germaine Greer is the author of The Female Eunuch, Sex and Destiny and The Change.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Women, Sex, and Culture

If you have ever been puzzled by your sexual mood swings, your whims, fantasies, and aversions, this book is for you! Women in civilized society have increasingly lost touch with their natural rhythms of desire, particularly in cultures dominated by male values and attitudes. Virtually our only popular reference to female sexual rhythms is a negative one, that of the undesirability of menstruating women. We will explore this taboo in depth, along with others regarding pregnancy, menopause, and sex in later years, in subsequent chapters. But first, we must define the cultural milieu that conditions our view of women's bodies and sexuality in such negative and condescending ways.

Experts on the evolution of patriarchy tell us the trouble began with the advent of an agrarian lifestyle. When we gave up our huntergatherer existence in favor of tending and cultivating land, ownership became an issue-particularly for men, who sought to transfer property to their male offspring. This led to claiming ownership of the mothers of their sons.

Organized religion has not helped women's struggle for equality. In the time of the Inquisition (around 1400 to 1600 A.D.), women's status in society had so deteriorated that they were considered unclean by nature, inherently sinful, and dangerous. Those women who were especially powerful-the healers, seers, herbalists, and midwiveswere branded witches and were tortured, hung, or burned at the stake. The Malleus Maleficarlim, handbook of the Inquisition, says outright, "No one does more harm to the Catholic Church than do the midwives." Here is a crucial part of history of which many of us are unaware: the holocaust of women. Estimates of the number of women who died at this time range from several hundred thousand to as many as six million. Not only did the condemned take with them a wealth of healing wisdom passed strictly by oral tradition, but their daughters and sons were forced to witness their accusation, suffering, silencing, and death. No wonder we have so much fear of women's power and embodied wisdom-it is encoded in our memories by acts of violence against our female ancestors.

And this is just European and American history. The repression of women's knowledge and power has occurred worldwide, as a result of both religious beliefs and economic factors. As capitalism forged the nuclear family, women were isolated from their kin and were forced to depend on their husbands for financial support in order to raise their young. Thus women lost their tribal ways of jointly raising children, sharing their resources, pooling their skills. Even the extended family has fallen by the wayside in many parts of the world, leaving women entirely alone to cope with their household responsibilities. If we mix in a little religious dogma-women seduce men, divert their attention from what's important, are dangerous, or are a mixed blessing at bestwe have a recipe for loss of women's strength and passion. Think about the gender myths you assimilated in childhood. Consider the overt and covert messages from the media that constantly bombard and envelop us. We've all encoded core beliefs that the feminine spells trouble through "bad girl" characters of troublemaker, slut, and fatal attractor. But the media also portray an opposite ideal of women as loving, giving, virtuous, and self-sacrificing. This is the Madonna/Whore dichotomy, set to derail any attempt at sexual holism. "Good girls" don't want sex as much as men do, but they submit for security's sake, for the sake of home and family. "Bad girls" don't care about security; they are home-wreckers and use sex, seduction, and trickery to tame and subdue their male counterparts. Thus, sex is a battleground. Men win by domination or evasiveness; women win by calculation or by being "nice." Not much of a sexual-social legacy, is it? These suppositions are dehumanizing and demeaning to both sexes...

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Table of Contents

Foreword vii
Author's Note ix
Chapter 1 Women, Sex, and Culture 1
Chapter 2 Sexual Awakening 16
Chapter 3 Dancing with Our Hormones 39
Chapter 4 The Sexuality of Pregnancy and Birth 82
Chapter 5 Sex after the Baby Comes 116
Chapter 6 Sex and Superwomen: The Myth of "Having It All" 138
Chapter 7 Sexual Transformation in Menopause 162
Chapter 8 Sex in Later Years: It Can Get Better! 193
Chapter 9 Sexual Abuse and Dysfunction: Ways to Heal 203
Chapter 10 Celibacy: A Time for Loving Yourself 226
Chapter 11 Personal Passages: Discovering Your Own Sexual Journey 238
Notes 253
Index 263
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