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Holding onto womanhood: a qualitative study of heterosexual women with sexual desire loss

Hinchliff, S., Gott , M. and Wylie, K. (2009) Holding onto womanhood: a qualitative study of heterosexual women with sexual desire loss. Health, 13 (4). 449 -465. ISSN 1363-4593


This article explores heterosexual women’s accounts of sexual desire loss, particularly the ways in which it can affect their sense of themselves as women. In-depth interviews were conducted with 17 participants recruited through a psychosexual clinic in England, and the data analysed using a material-discursive approach. The findings showed that having sexual desire loss often challenged participants’ perceptions of themselves as women. Specific challenges related to dealing with isolation and ‘otherness’, addressing their own feelings of not being ‘proper wives’ because they did not sexually satisfy their partners and maintaining a sense of sexual attractiveness in the absence of sexual desire. Participants responded to these challenges in various ways, often renegotiating their identities as women. The findings are discussed in relation to theorizing women’s sexuality and their implications for health care.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: material-discursive; sense of self; sexual desire loss; women
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > School of Nursing and Midwifery (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr Sharron Hinchliff
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2010 09:09
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2014 04:07
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1363459309103917
Status: Published
Publisher: Sage
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1177/1363459309103917
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10735

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