Sex, Meaning and the Menopause by Sue Brayne

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Sex, Meaning and the Menopause by Sue Brayne

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Category: Lifestyle
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A clearly-written and positive look at what happens as we get older. Everything seems to be described as 'inspirational' these days - but this is the genuine article. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 176 Date: June 2011
Publisher: Continuum
ISBN: 978-0826423016

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Things change as you get older. As men – and particularly women – approach their late forties and early fifties they expect that there will be physical changes, some more permanent than others, but they're frequently taken by surprise by the mental changes which occur. Women expect that the menopause will bring the end of menstruation (some looking at this more gratefully than others...) but fail to appreciate that they are moving into a different stage of their life. Looked at positively this can be the most fulfilling period of woman's lifecycle – and I doubt that there's a husband who would object to that!

I wasn't certain about reading this book. It was possibly the title – 'Sex, Meaning and the Menopause' – which left me uneasy. I think it was the implication that I might have reached the later stages of my life without realising the meaning of sex! I'm glad I did, though, as it highlighted a major problem. Many couples, often married for decades, find it difficult to talk to each other about sex. Sue Brayne's book provides a great deal of information, but the way in which it is written means that it is equally readable by men and women and it provides a way of opening up chanels of communication between couples.

Sue approaches ageing in a positive way. She is proud to be grey, and has no problems with the way in which her appearance has changed. She takes delight in being an older, wiser person with a great deal to offer. In an age when it's just about obligatory for women to work hard (and spend extensively) to ensure that they don't look their age she's an inspiration. HRT is now seen as the norm and few women receive a full explanation of the implications of the treatment before the chemist fills the first perscription.

Sue debunks the myth that you can take HRT to 'bypass' the menopause. You might delay it but when you come off HRT you will suffer the symptoms - whatever they might be. She's not judgemental about women who do take the drug, in whatever form, but would prefer that it was taken on the basis of an informed decision. She's also great at giving information about alternative therapies. I decided against HRT because of animal welfare considerations - but once again this is not something which most GPs discuss with their patients.

At or about the menopause many women's libido decreases. This is normal - but there is virtually nowhere that women can get information or discussion about this. Many men are also reaching a stage in their lives where sex does not feature to the extent that it once did and Sue's book looks at the situation from the point of view of both men and women - and neatly highlights the otherwise laughable situation of men being prescribed Viagra at a time when their need for sex - and their wives' libidos - are declining.

The book is very easy reading. It's like having a chat with a friend who has been there and done that and doesn't mind showing you the T shirt. It's equally readable by men and women - in fact I was persuaded to read it by a man who said that he'd enjoyed it. Consider the book as an investment - it could well be the best treat your relationships have had in a long time.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy The Stranger in the Mirror: A Memoir of Middle Age by Jane Shilling. The ultimate sex manual is reputed to be Kama Sutra by Vatsyayana.

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Buy Sex, Meaning and the Menopause by Sue Brayne at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sex, Meaning and the Menopause by Sue Brayne at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Sex, Meaning and the Menopause by Sue Brayne at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sex, Meaning and the Menopause by Sue Brayne at


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