Sexual Identities and Complementarity in Lesbian and Gay Male Relationships

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This exploratory survey assessed Burch's (1993) hypothesis that sexual identities form the basis for romantic attraction in lesbian and gay male partnerships. Thirty-two lesbian and 30 gay male couples identified themselves as either a primary homosexual, bisexual homosexual, or other. Significant differences were found between lesbians and gay males on their self-identifications as primary or bisexual homosexuals. More gay male than lesbian couples comprised primary/primary dyads, whereas, more lesbian than gay male couples consisted of primary/bisexual dyads. Specific recommendations for further study of complementarity in lesbian and gay male relationships are presented.

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... Aronson, Wilson, and Akert (1994, p. 386) concluded that the research evidence for complementarity is mixed at best, and based on a few studies only. By contrast, the findings of Dryer and Horowitz (1997) and related literature (e.g.. Beach, Whitaker, Jones, & Tesser, 2001; Bor, Prior, & Miller, 1990; Carroll, Gilroy, Hoenigmann-Stovall, & Turner, 1998; Gross & Mcllveen, 1998; Kerckhoff & Davis, 1962; Lange, Jerabek, & Houran, 2004; Nowicki & Yaughn, 1999; Pilkington, Tesser, & Stephens, 1991) all increasingly speak to the importance of complementarities across various relationship types. This seems consistent with the four general perspectives on compatibility as delineated by Levinger (1986). ...
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Acceptance of online matchmaking as a culturally legitimate approach to mate selection - and consumer spending on these services - continues to rise. However, online matchmakers' escalating claims that their services derive from scientific methods remain questionable because solid empirical evidence for such claims is rarely offered. Unfortunately, even when available, the quality of such evidence leaves much to be desired due to conceptual as well as technical problems. Such issues are illustrated here by a detailed analysis of an instructive case study of an attempt to validate aspects of the commercial dating service. Apart from identifying serious logical flaws that invalidate the case study's conclusions, additional shortcomings are identified related to the involved variables, research design, and sampling biases. Because such issues almost certainly play a role in online dating and related research, the paper concludes with a discussion of modem test construction approaches derived from Item Response Theory, and Rasch scaling in particular, that can be used to identify and sometimes correct many of the problems described here. Online dating services must solve many of the problems outlined here to remain a viable and acceptable area of practice and research. Compatibility seems to be a new buzz word in the vernacular of Western popular culture, considering the wealth of media coverage of the rising trend for online dating companies to conduct romantic matchmaking based on stated personal preferences and alleged personality testing (Egan, 2003; Goot, 2004; Mand, 2004; Mulrine,
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Conducted a PE correlation study of 93 married couples in which spouse correlations within 8 interpersonal categories (e.g., dominance, submissiveness, extraversion) were examined by self and spouse reports of the performance frequencies of 800 acts. The present study examined (1) the interpersonal domains in which spouse correlations occur; (2) whether obtained spouse correlations are accounted for by initial marital assortment or are due to age, cohort, or convergence; and (3) developmental trends in spouse correspondence are a function of marriage length and years of association. It was hypothesized that nonrandom spouse selection (assortative marriage) is one mechanism by which correspondences between persons and their interpersonal environments are created. Results indicate that substantial spouse correspondence was found, particularly for the domains of Extraversion, Dominance, Quarrelsomeness, and Ingenuousness. Changes in degree of spouse correspondence were associated with length of marital relationship. Findings are discussed in terms of different types of PE correspondence, implications for the study of adult personality development, and the emergence of a psychology of PE correlation. (33 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This article explored the discursive production of a major disjuncture in sexual identity in adult life: women's accounts of transitions to lesbianism after a substantial period of heterosexuality. 80 semistructured interviews with self-identified lesbians, all with at least 10 yrs prior heterosexual experience (plus additional materials drawn from published autobiographical sources), were analyzed within a social constructionist framework. The article examined the creation of contexts in which sexual identity transitions become possible, explored how such transitions are defined and marked, identified the consequences, and detailed the continuing development of lesbian identity posttransition. In conclusion, the article reflected on the status and salience of such data in supporting the social constructionist position, particularly in the face of the continuing popularity of essentialist theories of sexual identity development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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The anterior hypothalamus of the brain participates in the regulation of male-typical sexual behavior. The volumes of four cell groups in this region [interstitial nuclei of the anterior hypothalamus (INAH) 1, 2, 3, and 4] were measured in postmortem tissue from three subject groups: women, men who were presumed to be heterosexual, and homosexual men. No differences were found between the groups in the volumes of INAH 1, 2, or 4. As has been reported previously, INAH 3 was more than twice as large in the heterosexual men as in the women. It was also, however, more than twice as large in the heterosexual men as in the homosexual men. This finding indicates that INAH is dimorphic with sexual orientation, at least in men, and suggests that sexual orientation has a biological substrate.
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We have extended our analysis of the role of the long arm of the X chromosome (Xq28) in sexual orientation by DNA linkage analyses of two newly ascertained series of families that contained either two gay brothers or two lesbian sisters as well as heterosexual siblings. Linkage between the Xq28 markers and sexual orientation was detected for the gay male families but not for the lesbian families or for families that failed to meet defined inclusion criteria for the study of sex-linked sexual orientation. Our results corroborate the previously reported linkage between Xq28 and male homosexuality in selected kinships and suggest that this region contains a locus that influences individual variations in sexual orientation in men but not in women.
This article proposes an alternative model for psychological inquiry based in the experiences of lesbians and gay men. I propose that there are three elements that cross-situationally define a lesbian and gay reality: biculturalism, marginality, and normative creativity. Each of these elements is explored with examples of how these perspectives might alter the way that certain dominant notions about human relationships are understood. The article closes with questions regarding the application of this lesbian and gay paradigm to methodologies for inquiry. The relationship between a lesbian/gay paradigm for psychology and feminist questions regarding epistemology is also explored.
This questionnaire study of 140 lesbians, 70 couples who have lived together for one or more years, explores equality and role relationships. We predicted that lesbians would achieve partnerships characterized by equality and freedom from traditional butch-femme role-playing. Financial sharing and decision-making were found to be characterized by high degrees of equality. Household responsibilities tended to be performed individually, but no role-playing was evident. Sexual intimacy items indicated less perceived equality than other areas. And overall, some partners were viewed as unequal. The variables of age, income, education, occupation, assets, and years living together did not explain the inequality observed.
We investigated whether different patterns of resolving relationship conflict distinguished heterosexual, gay, and lesbian couples. One hundred eight couples (36 gay male, 36 lesbian, and 36 heterosexual) were drawn from the community, matched for age and length of relationship, and compared on the scales of the Styles of Conflict Inventory (SCI). To distinguish those conflict patterns that were orientation or gender specific, styles of conflict resolution between the men in same‐ and other‐sex relationships and between the women in same‐ and other‐sex couples were also compared. Results indicated that most couples across type of relationship reported a high degree of relationship satisfaction and moderately low amounts of conflict. Overall, heterosexual, gay, and lesbian couples were fundamentally similar, and common stereotypes of each couple were not verified. Women in lesbian relationships reported significantly greater relationship satisfaction, greater hope for conflict resolution, and several more constructive conflict‐resolution styles than either gay male couples or heterosexual couples. Differences appeared to be correlated with social gender role factors and common differences in relationship lifestyle features, such as the presence of children in the home.
Because similarity between partners has been thought to be related to relationship quality, this study assessed similarities between partners in 44 married, 35 heterosexual cohabiting, 50 gay, and 56 lesbian couples on demographic characteristics, appraisals of relationship quality, and factors predictive of relationship quality. With regard to demographic characteristics: Partners' age was correlated for each type of couple; partners' income, education, and job prestige were correlated only for heterosexual cohabiting couples; and gay partners had the largest discrepancies in age, income, and education. With regard to appraisals of relationship quality: Partners' scores were correlated for each type of couple on relationship satisfaction but for only gay and lesbian couples on love for partner; partners across all couples differed in their assessments of relationship quality. With regard to the predictors of relationship quality: Partner scores were correlated for each type of couple only on shared decision making; these predictor scores were most frequently correlated for lesbian partners; differences between partners were least for lesbian couples on attractions to the relationship and perceived family support and greatest for cohabiting couples on dyadic attachment. Relationship quality was not related to discrepancies between partners' demographic variables but was negatively related to discrepancies in partners' dyadic attachment. In conclusion, partner homogamy was most pervasive in lesbian couples, and for all couples homogamy on dyadic attachment was related to relationship quality.
In Reik's (1957) complementarity theory of romantic love, one falls in love when one is dissatisfied with oneself and meets someone of the opposite sex who has those characteristics that he or she desires but has been unable to achieve. To test this theory, low- (n = 20) and high- (n = 20) self-esteem subjects were given personality descriptions, supposedly belonging to peers of the opposite sex, and asked to state how attracted they were to each. One description was composed of the subject's actual characteristics only; another, his ideal characteristics only; a third, characteristics that were both actual and ideal; and a fourth, characteristics that did not belong to the individual's actual or ideal self. Subjects were more attracted to peers embodying their own ideal characteristics than to those who did not. Thus, Reik's theory was supported.
Examined assortative mating, the tendency of persons to marry others with similar characteristics, among 177 couples (male mean age 37.7 yrs, female mean age 35.1 yrs). Ss completed the Kinesthetic Figural Aftereffects Test, Embedded Figures Test, Matching Familar Figures Test, and the Sensation-Seeking Scale. Findings suggest assortative mating for reflection–impulsivity; reasoning–accuracy; field dependence–independence; and sensation-seeking and its subfactors of experience seeking, disinhibition, and boredom susceptibility. Analysis of relationship lengths indicated that the similarities within couples were not the result of increased similarity over time. It is concluded that partner similarities in sensation seeking and cognitive style may play a role in mate selection and in marital quality. (16 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Surveyed 108 Australian married couples about the effect of sex roles on their marital happiness. Questionnaires included the Bem Sex-Role Inventory and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale. Measures of the sex-role orientation and happiness of each partner with the relationship permitted an evaluation of the similarity and complementarity hypotheses as well as an assessment of the general compatibility of sex-role combinations. Results provide substantial evidence for the importance of femininity in relationships; the happiness of the husband was positively related to the wife's femininity, and the happiness of the wife was positively related to the husband's femininity. Couples in which both partners were high on femininity (androgynous and feminine) were far happier than were couples in which at least one of the partners was low on this dimension. Although similarity of both masculinity and femininity between partners was associated with happiness, the complementarity hypothesis was convincingly refuted in terms of both happiness and choosing a partner. (27 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Explored sex differences in effects of social and value similarity in a longitudinal study of 146 same-sex college roommate pairs (62 male and 84 female). The clearest findings concerned actual value similarity among women; those who chose each other as roommates were more similar than those who had been assigned to be roommates. Actual value similarity (measured in the fall quarter) was correlated with liking in the fall and liking in the spring among female chosen pairs; it also predicted which female assigned pairs would remain roommates. None of the analyses of actual value similarity was significant for men, although tests of sex differences in effects yielded mixed results. Few effects were obtained for similarity on social characteristics, except for similarity on year in college. Results are discussed in terms of prior roommate studies, and issues are raised concerning the use of roommates in research on friendship development. (28 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
sexuality has been one of the central concerns of feminism as a social and political movement / highlight that within feminist communities there is a history of discussion and prescription regarding women's sexuality, specifically about the relation between women's politics and their sexual and relational choices [including choices about sexual orientation] / feminism as a movement and feminist psychology as a discipline have both encouraged women to self-consciously examine their lives and experiences as women and to make conscious, informed decisions about what they need and want (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
A developmental theory of erotic/romantic attraction is presented that provides the same basic account for opposite-sex and same-sex desire in both men and women. It proposes that biological variables, such as genes, prenatal hormones, and brain neuroanatomy, do not code for sexual orientation per se but for childhood temperaments that influence a child's preferences for sex-typical or sex-atypical activities and peers. These preferences lead children to feel different from opposite or same-sex peers—to perceive them as dissimilar, unfamiliar, and exotic. This, in turn, produces heightened nonspecific autonomic arousal that subsequently gets eroticized to that same class of dissimilar peers: Exotic becomes erotic. Specific mechanisms for effecting this transformation are proposed. The theory claims to accommodate both the empirical evidence of the biological essentialists and the cultural relativism of the social constructionists. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Changes over 3 annual assessments were examined for both partners of 61 gay and 42 lesbian couples on current levels of attachment, autonomy, and equality in the relationship; the importance of attachment, autonomy, and equality in an ideal relationship; and relationship commitment. Lesbian partners rated ideal equality as more important than did gay partners; for both gay and lesbian partners, the importance of ideal attachment decreased over time; and for lesbian partners only, the importance of ideal equality changed curvilinearly over time. For both gay and lesbian partners, changes in relationship commitment over time were explained by changes in the discrepancy between current and ideal levels of equality as well as between current levels of attachment and current levels of autonomy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
This research addressed three questions: (1) Did partners in homosexual relationships perceive themselves as less stereotypically feminine or masculine than partners in heterosexual relationships? (2) Did partners complement or match each other in their self-perceived femininity and masculinity? (3) What was the correlation of partners' femininity and masculinity to their views on attachment and autonomy in their relationships? The high level of androgyny (87%) in the sample precluded making the intended comparisons. There was, however, some evidence in the heterosexual partners to support the assumption of feminine-masculine complementarity and some to support the link between masculinity and devaluation of attachment. In the discussion, questions were raised about the atypicality of the San Francisco Bay Area sample, about the validity and reliability of the Personal Attributes Questionnaire as a measure of social sex-role, and the basic adequacy of questionnaires that assume that self-knowledge is easily elicited from respondents.
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