Ageing and new intimacies

Gender, sexuality and temporality in an English salsa scene

By Sarah Milton

Ageing and new intimacies
Hardcover +
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526168061
  • Publish Date: Mar 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook -
  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526168054
  • Publish Date: Mar 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: eBook
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6805-4
    • Published Date: March 2024


    The 'baby boom' generation, born between the 1940s and the 1960s, is often credited with pioneering new and creative ways of relating, doing intimacy and making families. With this cohort now entering mid and later life in Britain, they are also said to be revolutionising the experience of ageing. Are the romantic practices of this 'revolutionary cohort' breaking with tradition and allowing new ways of understanding and doing ageing and relating to emerge? Based on an innovative combination of sensory ethnography in salsa classes and life history interviews, this book documents the meanings of desire and romance, and 'new' - or renewed - intimacies, among women in mid and later life.

    Beginning with women at a transition point, when newly single or newly dating in midlife, the chapters look back over life histories to examine prior relationship experiences at different life stages, and look forward to hopes for future intimacies. In the navigation of romance and new relationships we see the sensory, sensual and affective nature of heteronormativity, and gendered practices that are informed by memories of the past, the imagination of previous generations and class-based desires. Challenging conventional notions of the baby boomers, this book illuminates the intersections of age, class, and white normativity, making important contributions to our understanding of ageing and generation, intimacy and gender.


    'This sensational book analyses gendered ageing and embodiment through older women's engagement with Salsa dancing. Milton skilfully interweaves generation, memory and new forms of intimacy in reframing normative ageing. This salsa ethnography reveals a world of safe sensuality through which older women navigate new intimacies through touch, flirting and friendship, alongside contempt often visited to ageing sexuality. A must-read, this book disrupts normative ideas of ageing and sexuality.'
    Sweta Rajan-Rankin, Reader, University of Kent

    'Like all the best ethnographies, Sarah Milton's beautifully written study combines a careful and detailed analysis with a compelling narrative. Attentive to the complexities of class, race, age and gender and their interactions, Milton provides her readers with a nuanced account of the lives of a group of women in middle age negotiating their social and intimate lives and reflecting on the conditions under which they make these negotiations.'
    Steph Lawler, Reader Emerita, University of York


    Introduction: revolutionary intimacies?
    1: Salsa and safe sensuality
    2: Memories, generations and multiple femininities
    3: Compatibility and contempt
    4: Glamour, hierarchical femininities and friendship
    Conclusion: (re)negotiating ageing, gender and sexuality

    Epilogue: updating dancing and dating



    Sarah Milton is Senior Research Fellow in the Sociology of Health and Illness at King's College London.

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