Gay & Lesbian and Electronic Relationships

The understudied relationships section of the AQA spec psych exam. A01 and A02 included.

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Gay and Lesbian Relationships
Gay Research
Huston + Schwartz: gay men minimise conflict and show a high degree of appreciation for each other
Markowitz + Peplau highlight how many therapists use heterosexual models in gay couples counselling ­ they
assume one is the `man' of the relationship
Lesbian Research
Huston + Schwartz: lesbians strive to maintain an equitable balance of power and use conversational techniques
to create emotional intimacy
Nardi + Sherrod: found no difference between levels of openness, intimacy and self disclosure between gays and
Kitzinger + Coyle (1995) cohabitating hetero couples were found to have the least liking and loving on Rubin's
Peplau (1981) 4050% of gay men interviewed were in a relationship. Lesbians: 4580%. Large number of
homosexuals have stable close relationships. A slightly higher proportion of lesbians than gay men are in a steady
relationship. Gay/ lesbian couples meet on same terms as heteros ­ go thru the same issues in formation and
maintenance of relationships.
Davidson (1991) From lonely hearts ads: gay men appear to desire physical characteristics + status symbols that
link to the male role in western cultures.
Huston + Schwartz (1995) Lesbians are more likely to emphasise personality characteristics than physical
appearance and have begun to emphasise selfsufficiency.
Peplau (1991) lesbians and gays reject traditional husband/wife or masculine/feminine roles and aim for rels based
on equality between partners.
Blumstein + Swartz (1983) Gay/lesbian relationships do not seem as durable as hetero ones. 48% lesbians and
36% of gays broke up within 2 years compared with 29% of heteros and 14% married couples. Because hetero
couples have more barriers from breaking up (divorce costs, kids etc) absent from gay and lesbian relationships.
issues with funding for G&L research (American research is underfunded)
sampling bias. Gathering participants is hard, so there's a problem gaining representative sample. It's easier to
find hetero couples only open gay couples will volunteer sensitive nature of research where do you advertise
certain type of person volunteers.
Important to continue to understand similarities and differences and offer couples the help that is needed.
Internet and SMS Relationships
JennyMUSH ­ A virtual help centre for people who have experienced sexual assault or abuse. An online user sent
virtual assaults at other users which amounted to virtual rape. The Administrator finally found out what was
happening and took control of this user's manifestation (took away the ability to communicate and changed his
name to `Vermin').
Vicky ­ met a guy at her work, though from a different department, and exchanged increasingly intimate and
explicit emails between them. Vicky, in real life, believed their CMC initiated relationship would translate to real
life, but the guy didn't visually seem involved.
We can't assume CMC initiated relationships will translate into facetoface relationship as they rely on different
forms of communication (eg, body language)
Bodily cues/ responses are significant in attraction as facetoface, as looks are important. CMC rels mainly rely
on personality.
People are powerless against internet users as anonymity protects them. Eg, JennyMUSH, the admin has the
power of the police.
Ling + Helmerson (2002) main function of txt msging is for parental control, coordination and emancipation. Mobile
phones allow kids to communicate without parental overview.
Ling + Yttri (2002) Norway. Teens can use txt msging to develop or maintain a rel having only met the recipient
once before.
Ling (2001) many girls will txt their friends goodnite to consolidate their social network.
Dishonesty. Correspondents can lie about his/her life, danger upon meeting.
People tend to be an exaggerated version of themselves online as they don't fear judgement from strangers ­ 2
participants can be right for each other on CMC, but not facetoface.
Looks maybe more important to one person that the other was lead to believe.
For shy/ secluded people, it is an easier way to meet people.

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