Title

The Breastfeeding Problematic: Negotiating Maternal Sexuality in Heterosexual Partnerships

Published In

Women's Studies International Forum

Document Type

Citation

Publication Date

11-1-2017

Abstract

This study brings attention to the breastfeeding problematic—an embodied dilemma that arises where maternity meets sexuality. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 17 breastfeeding women from middle-Tennessee, this study examines maternal sexuality through the negotiation of their gendered embodiment as mothers and lovers during lactation. Contributing to the growing literature that marks father support as central to breastfeeding outcomes, this study explores the dimension of maternal sexuality to clarify the role of father influence. Participants attest to the complexities of maternal performativity as they regulate their behavior in response to the presence of men when breastfeeding in public, coupled with the experience of interrupted intimacy with their partners. The participants' experiences highlight the dilemma of maternal sexuality as women struggle with the sexual fluidity of their breasts in social and intimate contexts.

DOI

10.1016/j.wsif.2017.10.002

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/26018

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