Gay and Lesbian Relationships

Understudied relationships - Gay and Lesbian

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  • Created by: Marie
  • Created on: 21-05-09 18:20

The Formation of Homosexual Relationships

A01: Dating patterns

  • The gay subculture is associated with a liberal attitude to casual sex, but gay men have shown an increasing tendency toward emotional rather than sexual intimacy.
  • In common with many women, lesbians have been socialised into reactive rather than proactive dating behaviour (KITZINGER and COYLE, 1995)

A02: A consequence of this is... that establishing long-term relationships becomes particularly difficult for adolescent homosexuals, who must first make te decision to 'come out', and then attempt to meet other homosexuals.

A01: Preferences for partners - Gay men appear to desire specific physical attributes in a potential partner (DAVIDSON 1991)... Lesbians are more likely to emphasise personality characteristics than physical appearance (HUSTON and SCHWARTZ, 1995)

A02: This finding is consistent with evolutionary theory... since male and female homosexuals express different partner preferences because reproduction is not an issue (WAYNFORTH and DUNBAR, 1995)

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Maintenance Strategies in Homosexual Relationships

A01: Stability - General factors that contribute to stability in gay and lesbian relationships include: For lesbian couples, equitable balance of power, high degree of emotional intimacy and high self-esteem (ELDRIDGE and GILBERT, 1990) - For gay couples, minimal conflict, high appreciation of the partner and co-operation (JONES and BATES, 1978)

A01: Communication - Lesbian couples tend to use conversation to establish and maintain intimacy, whereas gay men use it as a means of asserting themselves (HUSTON and SCHWARTZ, 1995)

A02: A conclusion is the way in which one partner uses communication may reflect the degree of power they have in the relationship

A01: Patterns of sexual behaviour - In gay and lesbian relationships these reflect the socialisation differences between the two sexes, with gay males typically being seen as more sexually promiscuous (HUSTON and SCHWARTZ, 1995)

A02: However, sexual infidelity may be a product of the relative lack of social convention for sexual behaviour among homosexual couples.

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The Dissolution of Homosexual Relationships

A01: Differences between homosexual and heterosexual relationships Gay and lesbian relationships do not appear to be as durable as heterosexual relationships (BLUMSTEIN and SCHWARTZ, 1983), but gay and lesbian partners are more likely to remain friends after a sexual relationships has ended (NARDI, 1992)

A02: However... although many of the reasons for dissolution are the same for heteroseual and homosexual couples, the process is more public for the former and more private for the latter.

A01: Reasons for dissolution in gay and lesbian relationships

  • Lesbian relationships often break up because one partner has an affair and falls in love with another woman
  • Gay relationshpis typically break up because of irresolvable power differences between the partners

A02: General difficulties with gay and lesbian research - there are methodological (e.g. the difficulty of obtaining a representative sample) and ethical (e.g. this is a socially sensitive research) problems associated with research in this area.

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Will Lovell



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