THE SECOND SEASON: Life, Love and Sex in Women's Middle Years by Estelle Fuchs

THE SECOND SEASON: Life, Love and Sex in Women's Middle Years

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Mark Twain said it best, Masters and Johnson proved it, various tribes practice it, author Fuchs--quoting them all--dilates upon it, and nobody disputes it: women's sexual capacity lasts longer than men's. That--after a brief introduction (""age is so relative"")--is substantive chapter one. The next informs us that though men too succumb to depression in middle age, ""It is far from clear that a mid-life crisis is inevitable or that men suffer a menopausal syndrome."" Subsequent sections extol Revlon and Lady Clairol (the attempt to appear youthful ""is a declaration of belonging""); decry the stigma attached to menopause--which the Pukapukans, the Navajo, and the Lovedu avoid, while the Trobriand Islanders and the Marquesans are as ageist as we are (Fuchs is an anthroplogist); describe women's various roles in life; and come to the conclusion (in another dozen pages) that, yes, most women will reach menopause between forty-five and the early fifties. The physical symptoms of menopause are described in due course, and the author is commendably critical of both the estrogen replacement therapy craze and the recourse to hysterectomies; not all emotional problems, she stresses with some pique, are menopausal. So well-meaning, so limited and long-winded.

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1977
Publisher: Anchor/Doubleday