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Sex and the Seasoned Woman
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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

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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