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Midlife and Menopause

Personal Stories of Menopause and Midlife

kensington "Our fascination with erotica doesn't fade, even though the body parts do."

The Kensington Ladies' Erotica Society

Menopause might have been breathing down our necks when we started meeting in 1976, but we had no interest in discussing it or anything from our "real" lives. Occasionally at our monthly dinner meetings, we would spot a Lady or two lifting her top and waving it wildly for that blessed breeze, and we would smile indulgently. Although four of us came to erotica from a women's consciousness-raising group that was strictly political, for the most part we were escapists, eager one night each month to abandon our roles as good women and good mothers and to fantasize about what we did and didn't find erotic.

Instead of confiding in each other about hot flashes, we let the stories we wrote suggest more playfully what was happening in our lives and in our bodies. In our early books we wove erotica into our childbirth stories; in our latest we devoted a section to "Flesh in Flux," creating sexy scenes that don't flinch at the physical signs of aging. By concocting our homemade brand of erotica and injecting laughter into the heavy breathing, we freed ourselves of stereotypes and taboos of an ageist society.

Our fascination with erotica doesn't fade, even though the body parts do. Now, pushing 70 and beyond, we agree that we enjoy being the sum of all the ages we've ever been, despite the occasional nudge from a cardiologist or oncologist. We like what a middle-aged friend replied when someone asked her age: 22 going on 90. Though our bodies have started to go their own ways, on the inside, like most women our age, we feel mischievous and ageless.

Excerpted from Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause, © 2006, Boston Women's Health Book Collective.

Excerpt Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 

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