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Menopausal women don't need fixing

11 July 2011 British Psychological Society (BPS)

The menopause shouldn't be seen as a medical problem that needs fixing but as a life-affirming and normal process that women go through.

This is one of the findings by psychotherapist Sue Brayne, who will present her insights into the lived, felt experiences of women going through the menopause in her presentation at the British Psychological Society Psychology of Women Section annual conference at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, today, 13 July 2011.

Sue said: "Little consideration is given to the psychological, emotional, and spiritual changes women go through in this stage of life and no matter how science attempts to 'cure' the menopause, evolution cannot be stopped. When a woman reaches her fifties, she will undergo immense changes. She has to face the death of fertility, the loss of her youth, and to accept that she is no longer able to attract the attention she once did."

Sue based her findings, also published in her book Sex, Meaning, and the Menopause (Continuum Books, 2011), on interviews with more than 60 women and men the range of experiences encountered by menopausal women and their male partners.

These included various sexual changes, how relationships are affected and how older women bring new meaning to their lives in a youth-obsessed and hyper-sexualised society.

Sue Brayne said: 'I wrote Sex, Meaning and the Menopause because I got fed up with most books and websites reducing the menopause to a series of medical symptoms. There was little information about the profound life change that happens to a woman during her 50s. I decided to do something about it by interviewing more than 60 women about their experiences. I also interviewed nine men about what it was like to be married to a menopausal woman."

"This research resulted in Sex, Meaning and the Menopause, which I hope will help and support men and women who are trying to make sense of it."

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