The majority of research conducted to date on premenstrual distress has focused on heterosexual women. Drawing on research with lesbian and heterosexual self-defined PMS (premenstrual syndrome) sufferers and their partners, we argue that this negates the role played by hetero-patriarchal constructions of both femininity and premenstrual change in the lived experience of premenstrual distress. Negative constructions of PMS and over-responsibility within the home, commonly found in heterosexual relationships, exacerbate distress and result in women being pathologised premenstrually. Conversely, support and understanding offered by partners, more common in lesbian relationships, reduces guilt and self-pathologisation, allowing women to engage in coping strategies premenstrually, such as taking time out to be alone, or engage self-care. These patterns of relational negotiation of women’s premenstrual change can be contextualised within broader cultural representations of hetero-normativity, which provide the context for gendered roles and coping.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 12, 2011
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