ArticleLiterature Review

Spouses in mixed-orientation marriage: A 20-year review of empirical studies

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Abstract

Empirical studies on mixed-orientation marriage in social science journals from 1988 to 2008 were reviewed. Fifteen articles published in eight peer-reviewed journals were identified and discussed in terms of sampling, design, measures, rigor, theoretical framework, and literature review. An overview of each study is provided along with a summary of critical findings. Implications and recommendations for future research and education are offered.

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... The process of a coming out in a long-term heterosexual relationship can be very challenging not only for the involved gay men, lesbians, and bisexual women and men, but also for their family members because they are affected by discontinuities in established personal relationships, expectations of having a heterosexual relationship, and strong gender and family scripts (Buxton, 2000(Buxton, , 2012Wolkomir, 2009;Hernandez et al., 2011;Li and Samp, 2019). In this study coming out in a long-term heterosexual relationship is defined as an identity development process later in life including the disclosure of gay, lesbian, or bisexual feelings to family members or partners after years of a heterosexual relationship (or marriage) with or without children (Hernandez et al., 2011). ...
... The process of a coming out in a long-term heterosexual relationship can be very challenging not only for the involved gay men, lesbians, and bisexual women and men, but also for their family members because they are affected by discontinuities in established personal relationships, expectations of having a heterosexual relationship, and strong gender and family scripts (Buxton, 2000(Buxton, , 2012Wolkomir, 2009;Hernandez et al., 2011;Li and Samp, 2019). In this study coming out in a long-term heterosexual relationship is defined as an identity development process later in life including the disclosure of gay, lesbian, or bisexual feelings to family members or partners after years of a heterosexual relationship (or marriage) with or without children (Hernandez et al., 2011). In other words, over many years the family system evolved, existed, and functioned in heteronormative ways, and suddenly a fundamental part of the family's existence is put into question. ...
... Furthermore, with a coming out in long-term heterosexual relationships there are new themes to deal with for the whole family system and individual family members (e.g., reorganization of the family structure following a potential separation of the mixed-orientation couple, concerns about the children, questions about the authenticity of relations). Hernandez et al. (2011) stated for the context of coming out in a long-term heterosexual relationship that the "perspectives of parents, in-laws, spouse, siblings, and children are largely missing in the literature" (Hernandez et al., 2011, p. 316). It is important to shed more light on them, before researchers and practitioners can develop family adjustment models for coming out situations in long-term heterosexual relationships involving all family members. ...
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Which different feelings and reactions do different family members show if an adult family member who has long been perceived as heterosexual discloses their sexual identity as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB)? Previous studies have investigated reactions of spouses and sometimes children in the United States. This article describes the findings of qualitative interviews and a German-language quantitative survey (N = 188) in which family members were asked about their emotions, experiences during the coming out process, and their use of support options. The samples were recruited via different LGB+ online forums and organizations in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (age M = 44.08). The results demonstrate that a coming out after years of a heterosexual biography and family life affects adults’ parents and siblings in addition to spouses and children. Siblings were perceived as a supportive group of family members showing calm and mostly positive reactions. Parents mainly reported surprise but also showed on the one hand interest in supporting their children in the coming out process; on the other hand, we find also evidence for negative reactions including rejecting behavior. Children’s coping and well-being depended on the time that had passed since the coming out and their age at the time of the coming out. Spouses felt shocked, angry, and the ground was pulled from under their feet. Comparing the perspectives of these groups of family members, differences between them, and their specific needs are discussed. Practical implications are derived from the support options mentioned, and range from information from books, the internet to professional advice. Spouses report the need of diverse support options, whereas other family members ask friends and other family members for support. Forums, counseling and the possibility to exchange were perceived as a support but were more accessible for women than for men. They provide the chance for a communicative exchange before the stress becomes too strong.
... Relationship quality is presumed to be low, and it may be thought that they will cheat on and/or spread STIs to their romantic partners (Kleese, 2005;McLean, 2004;Spalding & Peplau, 1997). Research on bisexual individuals in relationships has tended to focus largely on nonmonogamy (Corley & Kort, 2006;Dixon, 1982;Kleese, 2005;McLean, 2004;Pallotta-Chiarolli & Lubowitz, 2003;Reinhardt, 2002Reinhardt, , 2011, and when examined within the context of a long-term relationship or marriage, the focus has been on conflict and 'crisis,' particularly after the bisexual individual comes out to his or her partner (Buxton, 2001(Buxton, , 2004(Buxton, , 2006Coleman, 1985;Hays & Samuels, 1989;Hernandez, Schwenke, & Wilson, 2011). Further, it may be thought that bisexual individuals do not wish to have long-term relationships as these could restrict them to a monogamous lifestyle (George, 1993;McLean, 2004). ...
... Unfortunately, hiding one's sexual attraction to, or experiences with, same-sex partners because of awareness of fears and negative attitudes inadvertently confirms the stereotype of untrustworthiness. Additionally, most of the current literature on mixed-orientation marriages (i.e., where one spouse is gay/lesbian/bisexual and one is heterosexual) has looked only at couples who have sought support for help with dealing with the 'crisis' of a partner coming out (see Hernandez et al., 2011, for a review) and all but two (Buxton, 2004(Buxton, , 2012 have looked at relationships in which the male partner experiences same-sex desire. In the majority of cases, the couple sought counselling to help the male partner manage these feelings, and often behavior, and to help the female partner cope with feelings of grief, isolation, and humiliation (Hernandez et al., 2011). ...
... Additionally, most of the current literature on mixed-orientation marriages (i.e., where one spouse is gay/lesbian/bisexual and one is heterosexual) has looked only at couples who have sought support for help with dealing with the 'crisis' of a partner coming out (see Hernandez et al., 2011, for a review) and all but two (Buxton, 2004(Buxton, , 2012 have looked at relationships in which the male partner experiences same-sex desire. In the majority of cases, the couple sought counselling to help the male partner manage these feelings, and often behavior, and to help the female partner cope with feelings of grief, isolation, and humiliation (Hernandez et al., 2011). However, in an exploratory investigation of 20 bisexual men in monogamous marriages with female partners, Edser and Shea (2002) concluded that these types of relationships were a viable option for some men who reported that their marriages were satisfying and that they felt emotionally and sexually fulfilled. ...
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Individual attitudes toward having casual sex, dating, and being in a committed relationship with a bisexual partner of the other gender were examined. Three hundred and seventy-three women and 347 men completed the online study. Female participants expressed moderately high levels of insecurity (e.g., worry, pressure, jealousy) toward relationships with bisexual male partners; insecurity tended to increase with the commitment level of the considered relationship. Male participants reported low to moderate levels of insecurity toward relationships with bisexual female partners; insecurity tended to be lowest for casual sex. Numerous predictors of attitudes toward bisexual partners were noted, including tolerance of and beliefs about the stability of a bisexual sexual orientation. The results of this study suggest that underlying misconceptions about bisexuality may be affecting individuals' interest in having relationships with bisexual partners and may represent a challenge to intimacy and stability within the couple.
... Gender and religion, for instance, are co-constitutive identities, and gender ideals within a religious tradition impact how people negotiate their gendered and sexual identities (Avishai et al., 2015;Chakravarty & English, 2020;Legerski & Harker, 2017;Sumerau & Cragun, 2015). For instance, due to strong heteronormative ideals based on traditional gender roles within conservative religions, LGBTQ individuals are often pressured to enter mixed orientation marriages (Hernandez & Wilson, 2011;Legerski & Harker, 2017). A twenty-year review of empirical studies in mixed-orientation marriages (MOM) by Hernandez et al. (2011) reveals that gender identity and sexual orientation as well as societal ideals about marriage are important factors to consider while studying these complex relationships. ...
... For instance, due to strong heteronormative ideals based on traditional gender roles within conservative religions, LGBTQ individuals are often pressured to enter mixed orientation marriages (Hernandez & Wilson, 2011;Legerski & Harker, 2017). A twenty-year review of empirical studies in mixed-orientation marriages (MOM) by Hernandez et al. (2011) reveals that gender identity and sexual orientation as well as societal ideals about marriage are important factors to consider while studying these complex relationships. Religion and societal homophobia are also named as factors. ...
Article
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This paper examines religious experiences of lesbian and bisexual women who are current or former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (identifying as LDS or Mormon). Data were obtained from LGBTQ individuals through a national and international online survey that queried personal/family relationships, romantic/sexual relationships and relationship with the religion. Individuals were placed in four orientation groups based on Kinsey behavior and attraction scores: Lesbian, Bisexual, High Attraction/Low Behavior, and High Behavior/Low Attraction. Some important differences among these groups emerged. Those self-positioned at the high (same-sex) end of the scale were most often disaffiliated from the Church. Bisexuality permitted a modest degree of non-disclosure, mixed-orientation marriage, and remaining in church activity. Conforming to the church’s standard of sexual behavior did not correlate with positive attitudes toward the Church. Instead, marginalization due to awareness that one’s sexual minority status was unaccepted in the religion was the overriding sentiment.
... Scholarship on mixed-sexuality marriages (MSMs)-defined in the present study as those where one spouse identifies as heterosexual while the other spouse identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer (LGBQ), or reports experiencing same-sex attraction-has been steadily increasing over the last 20 years (Hernandez et al. 2011;Kays and Yarhouse 2010). Historically referred to as mixed-orientation marriages (MOMs), the research in this area explores a wide variety of relationship factors, including motivations for marrying, spousal response to disclosure, and the evolution of mixedsexuality relationships over time (Benack and Swan 2016;Buxton 2001Buxton , 2004Schwartz 2012;Yarhouse et al. 2003Yarhouse et al. , 2009). ...
... Yet few researchers have explored perceptions of gender roles among men and women in MSMs. Understanding the dynamics of MSMs is important because renewed efforts to promote traditional families and heteronormativity within conservative religious movements will likely continue to create pressure for religious LGBTQ-identifying individuals to pursue a MSM (Hernandez and Wilson 2007;Hernandez et al. 2011;Yarhouse et al. 2011). ...
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Mixed-sexuality marriages (MSMs) are defined in the present study as those where one partner identifies as heterosexual and the other partner identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer or reports experiencing same-sex attraction. Members of conservative religions, such as Mormonism, may be more likely to enter MSMs given the religion’s stance on homosexuality and doctrinal emphasis on heteronormative marriage. Using data from 56 interviews with individuals who either have been or currently are Mormon and in a MSM, we explore participants’ ideas about gender roles and sexuality in the context of their ideas about Mormonism. We find that couples’ ideas about gender, sexuality, and religion intersect to act as a resource or impediment to marital satisfaction. Among our sample, most couples maintain an outward appearance of heteronormativity; some view their private departure from the traditional gender order as a benefit to their relationship, whereas others view it as a source of strain and work hard to minimize gender deviance in their roles. The findings provide an important example of the way gender and religion are mutually constitutive and illustrate how notions of sexuality are sometimes used to reinforce a traditional gender order and religious beliefs, whereas at other times, the contradictions of MSMs challenge traditional gender norms and religious orthodoxy.
... with a heterosexual partner. More nuanced understandings of mixed-orientation relationships help to reduce this stigma and illuminate the factors that may determine satisfaction and health in these relationships (Hernandez, Schwenke, & Wilson, 2011;Lefevor et al., 2019a;. ...
... When these relationships begin, heterosexual partners are not always aware of their partner's same-sex attractions. Sexual minority partners are more likely to disclose their orientation to their partner now than they have been historically; however, disclosure remains a disorientating experience for the couple even when such disclosures are anticipated by heterosexual partners (Buxton, 2004a;Hernandez et al., 2011). ...
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This study explored predictors of sexual satisfaction for sexual minorities within mixed-orientation relationships (MOR) currently affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon). This sample of 272 sexual minorities in mixed-orientation relationships was taken from the larger Four-Options data set. Satisfaction and health within four sexual identity relationship options. The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2018.1531333]. Results indicated that more other-sex sexual attraction and behavior significantly predicted sexual satisfaction indirectly through sexual attraction and sexual aversion to a current partner. Bisexual identified partners reported higher sexual satisfaction than LGB label rejecters, lesbian and gay counterparts, but scored highest on depression and anxiety. Clinicians working with Mormon clients in mixed-orientation relationships can help clients consider the role sexual attraction and aversion may play in their ability to flourish in a mixed-orientation relationship. Family members, non-familial support systems, and church leaders are encouraged to move towards creating a safer space for greater visibility of bisexual-identifying partners within mixed-orientation relationships.
... Research on mixed-orientation marriages (MOMs) has been steadily increasing over the last 20 years, exploring a wide variety of relationship factors such as reasons for marrying, motivations to remain married after disclosure, sexual functioning, resiliency, and the development of relationships over time (Hernandez, Schwenke, & Wilson, 2011;Higgins, 2006;Kays & Yarhouse, 2010;Swan & Benack, 2012). A small portion of the existing research has also focused on the role of religion in shaping the experiences of those in MOMs. ...
... While we might expect the prevalence of MOMs to decline as same-sex marriage rights are extended across the United States, members of conservative religions may continue to pursue MOMs given the continued emphasis on traditional families and heteronormativity (Hernandez, Schwenke, & Wilson, 2011;Hernandez & Wilson, 2007;Yarhouse et al., 2011). When conservative religions emphasize traditional gender roles, heterosexual marriage and childbearing remain important ways of enacting "Godly" gender ideals (Gallagher, 2003;Wilcox, 2004), traditional masculinity (Sumerau, 2012), and femininity (Wolkomir, 2004). ...
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Interest in mixed-orientation marriages has been growing among both scholars and the general public. Members of conservative religions such as Mormonism may be particularly willing to enter a mixed-orientation marriage given the faith's emphasis on heteronormativity. Analyzing survey data from a sample of sexual minorities (n = 160) and heterosexuals (n = 80) who are or have been Mormon and in a mixed-orientation marriage, we explore variations in reasons for marriage, the disclosure experience, and levels of attraction and attitudes toward sex by current relationship status. Previously married sexual-minority individuals report more external pressure and belief their same-sex attraction might change as reasons to marry, as well as less desire for their spouses following disclosure. Currently married sexual-minority partners are less likely to report being counseled to marry, and report feeling more relief, approval, and desire in their relationship following disclosure. Currently married heterosexual spouses are more likely to report spiritual confirmation as a reason to marry, as well as more affection for and greater attraction to spouses, but also report feeling less secure about their attractiveness following disclosure. Previously married heterosexual individuals report the most negative feelings following disclosure, and stronger attitudes about the importance of sharing similar sexual interests, desire, and levels of attraction.
... The sociopolitical context in which gay men live and grow up is also a possible explanation through its link to internalized homophobia (Higgins, 2004;Russell & Bohan, 2006). There is scarcity of research exploring the marital experiences of gay men in mixed-orientation marriages (Hernandez, Schwenke, & Wilson, 2011) with anecdotal evidence suggesting that these marriages are fraught with conflict and tend to end in divorce (Isay, 1998). Furthermore, even though scholars and researchers emphasize the importance of contextual variables in mixed-orientation marriages and especially in the motivations for entering such relationships (e.g., Alessi, 2008), there is a dearth of research looking at these marriages in various contexts. ...
... Available evidence suggests that gay men who marry heterosexual women struggle with various issues. For example, in a recent review of the literature on mixed-orientation marriages (Hernandez, Schwenke, & Wilson, 2011) the authors concluded that mixed-orientation marriages are fraught with complexity. In their analysis of qualitative, quantitative, and case studies they found that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people who are married to heterosexual spouses struggle with an ongoing tension; tension among societal expectations, love for their spouse, and same-sex attraction; fear of losing one's family; developing a stable sense of self while compartmentalizing feelings and behaviors; and dealing with ambiguity about their sexual identity across contexts. ...
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This qualitative study describes the marital relationship experiences of Orthodox Jewish gay men in mixed-orientation marriages. In-depth interviews were conducted with 21 men from the northeastern part of North America about their experiences of being gay in their Orthodox religious communities. Spontaneous accounts of their experiences within the marital relationship were reported by all participants. A content analysis revealed four primary themes: reasons for getting married, the role of the Orthodox community in sustaining the marriage, quality of the marital relationship, and the impact of homosexuality on the marital relationship. Findings suggest that religion and the Orthodox community play a major role in gay Orthodox Jewish men's decision to marry and in sustaining the marriage. In addition, findings suggest that the marital relationship is experienced as a task-centered teamwork and not as a source of support and intimacy. Finally, although rarely discussed in the relationship, their sexual orientation greatly influences these men's attitudes, behaviors, and feelings toward their wives.
... Despite the commonality of mixed-orientation relationships, little attention has been paid to the unique and complex experiences of these couples (Buxton, 2001). The sparse existing studies are often outdated and limited to descriptive analyses of small-size samples (Hernandez, Schwenke, & Wilson, 2011;Kays & Yarhouse, 2010). Mostly from a relational therapy perceptive, studies have focused on how couples cope, negotiate, and maintain their relationships after the LGB partners' sexual orientation disclosure (e.g., Buxton, 2006b;Schwartz, 2012;Swan & Benack, 2012;Vencill, Carlson, Iantaffi, & Miner, 2018). ...
... Yet, the unique and complex experiences of mixed-orientation couples have received little attention (Buxton, 2001), especially from a communication studies' perspective. While research suggests that LGB individuals' sexual orientation disclosure to heterosexual partners has profound impacts on the couples' well-being (Hernandez et al., 2011;Kays & Yarhouse, 2010), much is to be known about the antecedents to and outcomes of the disclosure events. This study utilized the Theory of Coming Out Message Production (COMP) to examine personal and relational factors predictive of LGB individuals' sexual orientation disclosure and partners' reactions. ...
Article
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LGB individuals coming out to heterosexual partners can be difficult in mixed- orientation relationships. This study examined the predictors and outcomes of LGB people’s sexual orientation disclosure and perceived partner reactions. Participants (N = 417) were LGB adults residing in the US who came out to their heterosexual romantic partners. Path analysis results showed that LGB individuals’ disclosure goals, internalized homophobia, and perceived power over partners were associated with degrees of disclosure and partners’ reactions, which in turn were related to LGB disclosers’ depressive symptoms and relationship satisfaction. The results have implications for coming out studies and suggest how, what, and when LGB people to come out to their heterosexual partners.
... Increasing attention has been paid to heterosexual marriages in which one spouse identifies as LGBQ+ (Hernandez et al. 2011). Twenty years ago, Buxton (2001) estimated the number of such relationships in the United States at two million. ...
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We report here some of the results from an online survey of 1612 LGBTQ members and former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (CJCLDS, Mormon). The data permitted an exploration of diversity—individual similarities and differences within and between the sexes. Men and women were compared with respect to sexual identity self-labeling and behavior (i.e., identity development, disclosure, activity), orientation change efforts, marital relationships, and psychosocial health—these variables in the context of their religious lives. More women than men self-identified in the bisexual range of the sexual attraction continuum. Both men and women had engaged in extensive effort to change their sexual orientation. Only about 4% of the respondents claimed that those efforts had been successful, and the claims were for outcomes other than an alteration in erotic feeling. In general, only those who identified as bisexual reported success in maintaining a mixed-orientation marriage and continuing activity in the church. For both men and women, measures of psychosocial and sexual health were higher for those in same-sex relationships and those disaffiliated from the church.
... Since the 1980s, some (mainly) counselling research conducted in the United States has focused on disclosure of (bi)sexuality within "mixed orientation" marriages and relationships (MOMS/MORES) (for reviews see Hernandez, Schwenke & Wilson, 2011;Vencill & Wiljamaa, 2016). These studies historically conflated lesbian/bisexual women and gay/bisexual men and therefore overlooked the distinctiveness of bisexuality (Buxton, 2001;. ...
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Many negative portrayals of bisexuality within Western culture relate to relationships, yet only a small body of research has explored bisexual people’s experiences of their bisexual identity within their partner relationships, particularly within the wider cultural context of binegativity. Twenty qualitative interviews were conducted with bisexual men, women, trans, and genderqueer/non-binary people in relationships. Participants were based in the United Kingdom and ranged from eighteen to forty years old. We conducted a thematic analysis of the data and identified two key themes: The case of the disappearing bisexual: Invisible identities and unintelligible bisexual relationships and That’s not my bisexuality and not my bisexual relationship: Defending self, relationships, and partners against bisexual negativity. In the first theme we report how bisexual identity was understood by participants as largely invisible, particularly when they were in relationships, and discuss how the notion of a “bisexual relationship” was seemingly unintelligible. In the second theme, we discuss how participants engaged in identity and relationship work to defend themselves and their partners against binegativity in order to protect their bisexual identity, their partners, and their relationships. These results contribute novel findings to our understandings of how bisexual people experience and manage their identities and relationships within the wider context of binegativity. We conclude with a discussion of the importance and implications of our findings.
... Marital dissolution rates are high across Western countries [12] and support is important in negating the negative health consequences of separation or divorce, if that is the outcome [13]. PLOS Some couples may wish to maintain their marriage and seek to accommodate the spouse's same-sex romantic or sexual attractions [14]. A lifelong marital commitment perspective assumes the dedication of each spouse to the other and acknowledges that marital conflict can often occur [15]. ...
Article
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This study investigated the stories of heterosexual women who experienced a husband coming out as gay and a consequential marital separation. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used. Loss, anger, spousal empathy and concerns regarding societal prejudice were reported. Additional stress was experienced when others minimised the experience due to the gay sexual orientation of their husband. Experiencing positive communication with their husband during and after the disclosure aided the resolution of the emotional injury experienced by them. They all eventually ‘let go’ of their husband. This involved a process of reconceptualising the self as separated. Findings indicate the importance of supporting women to re-focus on their needs during and following marital dissolution. The importance of non-judgemental support for marital loss, rather than a focus on the gay sexual orientation of the spouse, was highlighted.
... People who transitioned from both-sex or same-sex partners to exclusively different-sex partners may no longer be perceived as needing stress-reducing social supports present provided within the minority community (Rust, 2002). This group may also have faced pressure to act ''closeted'' (e.g., only have different-sex partners despite a both-sex or same-sex orientation) and may be unhappy with their current sexual arrangements (Hernandez, Schwenke, & Wilson, 2011). Additionally, in line with cumulative disadvantage theory (Dupre, 2007), stress from occupying a sexual minority status earlier in the life course may accumulate over time, resulting in lower happiness later in the life course regardless of consistency in status over time. ...
Article
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We used logistic regression on nationally representative data (General Social Survey, N = 10,668 and N = 6680) to examine how sexual minority status related to happiness. We considered two central dimensions of sexual minority status-sexual behavior and sexual identity. We distinguished between same-sex, both-sex, and different-sex-oriented participants. Because individuals transition between sexual behavior categories over the life course (e.g., from both-sex partners to only same-sex partners) and changes in sexual minority status have theoretical associations with well-being, we also tested the associations of transitions with happiness. Results showed that identifying as bisexual, gay, or lesbian, having both male and female partners since age 18, or transitioning to only different-sex partners was negatively related to happiness. Those with only same-sex partners since age 18 or in the past 5 years had similar levels of happiness as those with only different-sex partners since age 18. Additional tests showed that the majority of these happiness differences became non-significant when economic and social resources were included, indicating that the lower happiness was a product of structural and societal forces. Our findings clearly and robustly underscored the importance of taking a multi-faceted approach to understanding sexuality and well-being, demonstrating that not all sexual minority groups experience disadvantaged happiness. Our study calls for more attention to positive aspects of well-being such as happiness in examinations of sexual minorities and suggests that positive psychology and other happiness subfields should consider the role of sexual minority status in shaping happiness.
... Individuals may have felt uncomfortable discussing aversion or disgust in interviews. Past research also found that in an effort to better cope with their struggle to connect with their spouses sexually, participants reported shifting their focus to a higher power or purpose, their shared children, or the positive aspects of their marriage (Hernandez, Schwenke, & Wilson, 2011). The qualitative findings highlight the ambivalence and internal conflict experienced in relation to intimacy. ...
Article
Many studies have assessed characteristics of mixed-orientation marriages (MOM), unions between a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer/questioning (GLBQ) partner and a heterosexual spouse. In this study, experiences of physical and emotional other-sex attraction versus aversion were posited as important factors with implications for relationship outcomes. One-hundred-sixty-five GLBQ identifying individuals who were currently or formerly in MOMs and were currently or formerly members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS, Mormon) completed a measure of physical and emotional same- and other-sex attraction and aversion, as well as the Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale. Divorced or separated participants reported more other-sex physical aversion, physical aversion to the spouse, other-sex emotional aversion, same-sex emotional attraction, and less emotional attraction to the spouse. Higher other-sex attraction and attraction to the spouse were associated with better relationship quality for both men and women in intact marriages. For men only, same-sex attraction was related to worse marital relationship quality, and religiosity was moderately to strongly related to most indices of attraction/aversion. Interview data obtained from a subsample of participants further explored the unique challenges experienced by partners in their efforts to develop and maintain intimacy in MOMs.
... This study makes a number of empirical contributions. First, it expands our understanding of "mixed orientation" relationships, which have historically focused largely on heterosexual women married to gay/bisexual men ( Hernandez et al., 2011). It thereby heeds the call of Vencill and Wiljamaa (2016) to expand our conceptualization of mixed orientation relationships to consider the reality of diverse sexual identities in the context of samesex relationships. ...
Article
Research on relationship quality in same-sex couples has rarely focused on (1) couples who are parents, or (2) couples in which partners differ in sexual identity. Insomuch as nonmonosexual women (i.e., women with non-exclusive sexual orientations) experience unique challenges due to monosexism, relationship quality may be influenced by whether partners share a monosexual or nonmonosexual identity. The current study is a longitudinal, dyadic analysis of 118 female parents within 63 same-sex couples whose relationship quality (relationship maintenance, conflict, love, ambivalence) was assessed at five time points across the first 5 years of adoptive parenthood. Monosexual women were those who identified as exclusively lesbian/gay (n = 68); nonmonosexual women were those who identified as mostly lesbian/gay, bisexual, queer, pansexual, or mostly heterosexual (n = 50). Analyses revealed both actor and partner effects on maintenance and conflict, such that nonmonosexual women reported more maintenance and conflict than monosexual women, and women with nonmonosexual partners reported more maintenance and conflict than women with monosexual partners. Depression was related to greater conflict and ambivalence and less love; internalized sexual stigma was related to greater conflict and ambivalence. Maintenance and love declined over time whereas ambivalence increased during early parenthood.
... Although mixed-orientation marriages do exist in Anglophone cultures (Hernandez et al., 2011;Ross, 1983), only in mainland China have wives adopted a collective identity with publicly articulated political aims. In addition to calling for societal attention and providing mutual help, some tongqis aim to change the marriage law, putting the homosexual spouse at fault, thereby disadvantaging them in divorce lawsuits over custody and property division. ...
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This article explores the controversial kinship practice in mainland China of ‘gay’ men marrying unwitting women. It questions the ‘marriage fraud’ discourse that condemns the men involved while pitying their wives, or tongqis. Taking an ethnographic approach, this article considers the major flaws of this popular discourse: the idealized-package of marriage–love–sex, the oft-neglected difficulties of living outside marriage, and most importantly, the essentialization of homosexuality. It also examines the im/possibility for married ‘gay’ men to be honest in their marriages. Finally, it cautions that honesty, if used as a decontextualized ethical yardstick for queer kinship, may obscure the racist and homophobic prejudices that exist both outside and inside queer communities. Accordingly, this article proposes that we shift to ‘opacity’ as an epistemological, methodological and ethical parameter that radically queers kinship (studies).
... Since then, most studies have examined this system of relationship through the perspective of a man. In a review paper on spouses in mixed-orientation marriage, 27 percent of the studies included data from women, while 87 percent included men in the sample (Hernandez, Schwenke, & Wilson, 2011). The aim of the present paper, which is based on a broader study that sought to learn about the life reality of men and women of MOR in Israel, was designed to emphasize women's subjective perspectives regarding this The literature offers two models for successful management of mixed-orientation relationships (Ben-Ari, & Adler, 2010;Coleman, 1982). ...
Article
Until recently, the literature that addressed the phenomenon of mixed-orientation relationships, in which the female partner is straight and the male partner is non-straight, has focused mainly on the men’s perspective. Most of the studies have employed a pessimistic tone, underscoring the obstacles faced by each of the spouses. This study was designed to understand how women of mixed-orientation relationships construct their reality within such a relationship, focusing on elements which assist them in maintaining those relationships. Based upon the phenomenological paradigm, in-depth interviews with eight women in mixed-orientation relationships were conducted. The findings indicate that in order to adapt to their newly constructed reality, women reframe various individual, marital, and social aspects in their lives. Those reframing processes constituted a point of departure to developing a conceptual model, which outlines the journey to reality reconstruction among women in mixed-orientation relationships.
... Authentic sexual expression was also strongly related to satisfaction. This is similar to Hernandez, Schwenke, and Wilson's (2011) conclusion of bisexual individuals in MORs reporting the greatest satisfaction in a MOR but often feeling misunderstood by society. Individuals in MORs resembled SC individuals in several important ways including the relationships between masturbation and resolving religious conflict and satisfaction. ...
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Using a sample of 1,782 same-sex attracted (SSA) and lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) identified participants, this study examined similarities and differences among those who are (a) single and celibate (SC); (b) single and not celibate (SNC); (c) in a heterosexual, mixed-orientation relationship (MOR); and (d) in a same-sex relationship (SSR). To reduce bias and increase generalizability, an ideologically diverse research team was formed. Participants in SSRs reported higher levels of some amount of satisfaction with their status (95%) compared to those in MORs (80%), those who are SC (42%) and those who are SNC (40%). The SSR group had the least depression and anxiety and the most life satisfaction and physical health, followed by the MOR group, followed by the two single groups. Results from a stepwise regression predicting satisfaction from important aspects of life and relationships identified that meeting needs for connection, intimacy, and mutual understanding was the strongest predictor of satisfaction across all options. Other significant variables included participant-defined authentic sexual expression, resolving conflicts with religion, and reducing depression and anxiety. Results may inform SSA/LGB individuals who are questioning which option fits best for them and help guide therapists who work with these individuals.
... Some lesbians and gay men may choose to marry opposite-sex partners at some point in their lives (Hernandez, Schwenke, & Wilson, 2011). Buxton (2001) estimated that there are up to 2 million LGB individuals who are currently or were previously married to opposite-sex partners. ...
Article
This study was conducted in order to compare the attachment styles of sexual minorities and their heterosexual counterparts. The study participants consisted of a non-probability sample of 62 lesbians and gay men (LG) and 13 bisexual men and women (mean age = 25.50, SD = 5.09) living in various cities in Iran. There were also 75 heterosexuals selected from the general population and matched with the study group based on age, sex, and educational level. Each person completed the Revised Adult Attachment Scale (RAAS) and a demographic data sheet. In addition, the groups of sexual minorities were also asked to address additional items related to their status as sexual minorities. The results showed that, compared to heterosexual participants, lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people scored significantly higher on the anxiety subscale of RAAS. Among sexual minorities, there was no significant difference between bisexual and LG people's attachment styles. Also, those who were not satisfied with their orientation were less dependent and more anxious. Different developmental experiences and negative social attitudes toward LGB people could explain the more anxious attachment style in the LGB group.
... Higgins (2002) also described a relationship between internalized homophobia in gay and bisexual men and their decisions to marry women, where marriage was often an attempt to resolve concerns over their sexual identity. The findings of a literature review by Hernandez, Schwenke, and Wilson (2011) and a study by Ben-Ari 862536Q HRXXX10.1177/1049732319862536Qualitative Health ResearchHopwood et al. ...
Article
The mental health of gay and bisexual men in mixed-orientation marriages is poorly understood. In this article, the authors explore the development of anxiety and depression among gay and bisexual men in heterosexual marriages. Sixteen men, living in the Australian states of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and Tasmania were interviewed throughout 2016 and 2017. An analysis of interviews identified four main themes, namely, compulsory heterosexuality, existential distress, compartmentalization, and integration and resolution. Participants reported experiencing anxiety and depression, which were exacerbated by the stigmatization of same-sex attraction and by an overwhelming distress from feelings of shame and guilt regarding their marital infidelity. Findings indicate that gay and bisexual men in mixed-orientation marriages develop anxiety and depression in response to the exigencies of compulsory heterosexuality and the compartmentalizing of same-sex attraction and identity during heterosexual marriage. Coming-out as same-sex attracted resolved men’s distress by facilitating an integrative self-structure.
... Previous international studies have focused on the mixedorientation marriages between homosexual men and heterosexual wives (Higgins, 2002;Hernandez et al., 2011;Kissil and Itzhaky, 2015;Hopwood et al., 2019). For investigating these mixed-orientation marriages, it is important to consider the contextual environment, social, and cultural context (Kissil and Itzhaky, 2015). ...
Article
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Background: Due to the restrictions and stigmatization of homosexuality in China, there has emerged the ‘Tongqi’, or the wives of men who have sex with men. There are around 14 million Tongqi wives whose needs for support are often overshadowed. This phenomenon has been largely under researched, this review is the first to address the current data on the Tongqi. The aim of this systematic review is to begin to provide insight into the pre-existing data and the further support that is needed for the wives of MSM. Methods: The researchers searched PubMed, Web of Science, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CNKI, Sinomed and WangFang databases from their inception date until June 7, 2019. Handsearching was also completed to provide a rich data set. Results: The articles were summarized and analyzed for thematic clusters. From the selected article, five themes emerged, including Sexual Health Issues, Intimate Partner Violence, Mental Health Status, Marriage Dissatisfaction, and Coping Strategies. These themes often intersected to provide a complex understanding of the current gaps in support provided to Tongqi. Conclusion: Tongqi wives remain a hidden population in Chinese mainstream society, who deserves a sensitive approach to support. The study revealed that the MSM wives suffer severe mental, physical, health, and life related harms. However, instead of situating them into the victim roles, many women take on an identity of empowerment and are working together, aiming to make social changes. In order to address the Tongqi phenomenon, it is also essential to reduce the discrimination towards homosexuality. Tongqi are a special group of Chinese women, they require further intensive research attention.
... Moreover, it discerns the influence of this process on participants' social well-being. Prior studies have only documented the negative impacts of this kind of negotiation on gay men and lesbians, while other influences and concrete details of how social well-being was affected have remained undocumented (Hernandez et al., 2011;H. Li et al., 2010). ...
Article
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This study aims to demonstrate how grounded theory can be used to explore and analyze negotiation processes between self-identified gay men and lesbians and their parents. For a majority of Chinese gay men and lesbians, marriage proves to be the primary concern that drives negotiations with parents. Extant research documents the precarious consequences of gay men’s and lesbians’ social well-being yielded by these negotiations, which primarily employ distributive negotiating tactics. As integrative tactics prove to be conducive to favorable outcomes, their application in same-sex children’s negotiation with parents informs the present study. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 25 Chinese participants (15 gay men and 10 lesbian women). Grounded theory analysis of interviewee data identified a grounded theory of soft-power-based negotiation, which illustrated detailed negotiation processes between gay men and lesbians and their parents and critical conditions mediating this process. The grounded theory elaborated concrete soft-power bases and integrative tactics used by participants and their parents. Conditions for integrative tactics to sustain gay men and lesbians’ social well-being emerged. Results implied viable solutions for resolving conflicts between social minorities and social majorities in general.
... Studien, welche die Situation aus der Perspektive der betroffenen Familienangehörigen untersuchen, sind rar (Hernandez, Schwenke, & Wilson, 2011). Versteht man die Situation eines Späten Comingouts als Krisensituation, welche ein gesamtes Familiensystem betrifft, ist es jedoch wichtig, alle Perspektiven näher zu beleuchten, um den betroffenen Individuen mit ihren individuellen Bedürfnissen in dieser Situation weiterzuhelfen. ...
Research
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Die vorleigende Studie befasst sich vor allem mit den Umgangsweisen von Familienangehörigen von Spät-Geouteten, den Herausforderungen, mit denen sie sich auseinander setzen müssen, und den verfügbaren Unterstützungsangeboten. Wie war die erste Reaktion der Kinder, als Mama oder Papa pötzlich schwul, lesbisch bzw. bisexuell waren? Wie reagierten Väter und Mütter auf das Coming-out ihrer erwachsenen (bisher heterosexuellen) Kinder? Wie gehen und gingen heterosexuelle Partnerinnen und Partner heute und damals mit der Situation um? Vor welchen Herausforderungen stehen Familienangehörige bei einem Späten Coming-out in der Familie? Und: Welche Unterstützungsmöglichkeiten wurden in Anspruch genommen? Um diese Fragen zu untersuchen, wurden im Auftrag des durch den Lesben- und Schwulenverband Deutschland (LSVD) initiierten Projekts "Homosexualität in der Familie" im Zeitraum zwischen Mai 2012 und Februar 2013 einige Interviews und eine größere Befragungsstudie durchgeführt. Die Ergebnisse dieser Studie sollen der Weiterbildung von Beratungspersonal dienen und aufzeigen, wie professionelle Unterstützungsangebote für Familienangehörige in dieser Situation im deutschsprachigen Raum verbessert werden können.
... Since many people enter MORs because of firmly held religious convictions (Hernandez et al., 2011;, engaging more strongly with their faith community may center them in their reasons for being in an MOR, leading to satisfaction with being in an MOR. Further, holding morally conservative values such as sanctity and authority while placing less value on pleasure may lead individuals raised in conservative faiths to decide to enter an MOR instead of an SSR. ...
... Nevertheless, studies examining bisexual women in mixed-orientation and mixed-gender marriages did occur (e.g., Coleman, 1985;Dixon, 1984). Studies in this category commonly focus on spouses disclosing their sexual identity to their partners, why bisexual -or gay -people marry someone of another gender, or on the dissolution of 'mixed-orientation marriages' (e.g., Buxton, 2000;Edser & Shea, 2002;Hernandez, Schwenke, & Wilson, 2011). It is important to note that 'mixed-orientation marriages' as described in literature, are limited to relationships where one partner is bisexual -or gay -and the other is heterosexual, and does not include same gender relationships where partners hold different sexual identities. ...
Thesis
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Bisexuality is becoming increasingly visible as the diversity of sexual identities is becoming more recognised in mainstream Anglo-Western societies. At the same time, rigid categorisations that views sexual identity as a heterosexual-homosexual binary remains entrenched in our social and academic contexts. As a result, bisexual people face suppression and erasure of their sexual identity. Further, recent movements within queer spaces have led to a shift in the languaging around bisexuality and attraction to multiple genders; bisexuality being only one identity under the plurisexual umbrella. However, little research has explored bisexuality alongside new plurisexual identities and the lives of people who identify with them. This thesis identifies large gaps in psychological literature surrounding the intersecting identities of plurisexual women and examines how discourses of sexual identity – and more specifically bisexuality and plurisexuality – shape plurisexual women’s social and intimate lives, and constructions of their sexual identity. Using a social constructionist epistemology, and underpinned by intersectionality theory and critical feminism, an exploratory mixed-method approach was taken. Data were collected from a community-based sample through interviews (n = 20) and a quantitative online survey (n = 994) with women who identified as attracted to multiple genders. This thesis uses descriptive statistics and a critical thematic analysis to critically explore the ways plurisexual women talk about their experiences and identities related to their plurisexuality and how this is informed by, or contravenes, dominant discourses around plurisexuality. The data indicated that bisexuality and other plurisexualities are fraught and contradictory. Plurisexual women experienced their sexual identities as spaces for political action and as sites for both community and empowerment, and alienation and marginalisation. Dominant and counter discourses were drawn on by plurisexual women to understand their sexual identities. These findings are placed in the context of how new knowledges can lead to changes in how plurisexuality is experienced, to better deconstruct the marginalisation of plurisexual women.
... A nationally representative study in the US revealed that stress related to sexual minority status in earlier life may accumulate over time, resulting in lower happiness later in life (46). Moreover, those with current different-sex partners but histories of same or both-sex partners may be disadvantaged and the heterosexual identified group may also have faced pressure to act "closeted" and may be unhappy with their current sexual arrangements (47,48). Furthermore, current and lifetime measures of the sex of sexual partners revealed important happiness differences, which advised that stability in sex of sexual partners was associated with better well-being/happiness (48). ...
Article
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Since the global onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, the disease has significantly impacted mental health. This impact is likely to be further exacerbated for groups who were already marginalized. This paper shares results from a broader study of men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people in Bali, Indonesia and includes a focus on psychological distress and happiness during the COVID-19 pandemic; applying sociodemographic and epidemiological characteristics as potential mediators. Psychological distress and the level of happiness were measured by The Kessler Psychological Distress (K10) and the Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS). A cross-sectional survey was conducted from July to September 2020. Of the 416 participants, complete data were available for 363 participants. The majority of participants were aged 26–40 years, currently single, were born outside Bali, were currently living in an urban area, and over one-third were living with HIV. While all were MSM, the majority identified as homosexual/tend to be homosexual (71.3%), however 54 (14.9%) identified themselves as heterosexual. The majority (251, 69.1%) reported moderate to very high psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. The binary logistic regression analysis identified five factors to be significantly associated with higher psychological distress: being a student, reporting higher levels of stigma, had ever experienced discrimination, felt better prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and less happy than the average person. When homosexual were compared with heterosexual participants, those who identified themselves as being homosexual reported significantly lower psychological distress compared to those identified themselves as heterosexual, which may be associated with these participants not disclosing their status as MSM and the stigma around MSM. Those who considered themselves to be less happy than the average person (316, 87.1%) were more likely to live with a partner and to report moderate to very high psychological distress. Based on the findings, interventions should focus on strategies to reduce stigma, provide non-discriminatory services, and improve access to essential health services.
Article
This article examines the relationship between sexual orientation and religious experience of men from early adolescence to adulthood. Data have been obtained from an online survey of 1,042 males who were part of a larger sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) persons who are current or former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS, Mormon). While early religious experience was essentially identical to that of heterosexuals, the gap between religious norms and experience widened as these men moved through early and mid-adulthood. Those who married did so at a later age, and experienced a high rate of divorce. Continued participation, integration, and conformity to LDS ideals was not attributable to faith in, or a departure from, fundamental doctrinal belief. Instead, the responsible variable was sexual orientation, measured by the Kinsey Scale scores across behavior, attraction, and identity. For those near the exclusively homosexual end of the spectrum, the failure to change sexual orientation after intense effort over many years resulted in loss of belonging, belief, and participation, along with increased negative emotions and a sense of mistreatment.
Article
Since the early 1970s, the academic community has shown a good deal of interest in the motives of people who are sexually and romantically attracted to persons of their own gender but marry other-gendered partners. Despite more than 60 scholarly papers on the question over the past four decades, however, the current academic conversation has moved little since the early 1970s. The authors analyzed 66 scholarly works published between 1969 and 2012 that discussed gay- and bi-identified people's reasons for entering mixed-orientation marriages (marriage between a man and a woman, when one does and the other does not identify as heterosexual). Although the empirical literature consistently supports the importance of love for the other-gendered spouse, most authors have minimized this motive and emphasized the importance of negative motives related to the costs of being identified as gay (e.g., to hide, deny, or cure one's nonstraight sexual orientation). The authors argue that this distortion of the data stems from scholars’ unquestioned assumption of dominant cultural scripts regarding desire, love, and marriage. An essentialist understanding of sexual orientation, joined with a romantic view of marriage and a dyadic/monogamist view of romantic love, have rendered the frequently reported love of the queer spouse for the other-sexed partner problematical and ‘anomalous.’ The authors examine some of the strategies that have been used to minimize discrepant data and suggest alternate strategies to facilitate open academic inquiry into sexual phenomena that are ‘anomalous’ from the perspective of dominant cultural paradigms.
Article
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This study examined the psychosocial correlates of following various church-based approaches for dealing with same-sex attraction, based on a large sample (1,612) of same-sex attracted current and former members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, or Mormon). Overall, this study found that biologically based views about the etiology of same-sex attraction (vs. psychosocial views), LDS church disaffiliation (vs. activity), sexual activity (vs. celibacy), and legal same-sex marriage (vs. remaining single or mixed-orientation marriage) were all associated with significantly higher levels of self-esteem and quality of life, and lower levels of internalized homophobia, sexual identity distress, and depression. The divorce rate for mixed-orientation marriages was 51% at the time of survey completion, with projections suggesting an eventual divorce rate of 69%.
Article
Multiple issues may arise for straight spouses or partners after learning their spouse or partner is identifying as a person whose sexual orientation is gay/lesbian/bisexual. Drawing upon several areas of research from gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) studies, relationship therapy, and sexual therapy, and based on the author's feminist-informed family systems approach to working with straight spouses, the author provides counseling strategies to help individuals and couples navigate from discovery and/or disclosure of information about a spouse or partner's sexual orientation through integration of this information into a (re)new(ed) long-term or marital relationship. Unique to working with straight spouses is the discovery or disclosure of the partner's sexual orientation. Highlighted are the similarities and differences in working with clients who have experienced perceived or actual infidelities (emotional and/or physical) since one of the most common first responses of straight partners is to feel betrayed. This article provides opportunities for the reader to examine his or her beliefs about sexual orientation as well as learn ways to recognize and challenge beliefs related to homophobia and heterosexism.
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It has been well established that there exists a severe need for family researchers, family professionals, and therapists that serve families to have training and competency in issues that affect the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) community. Given this need, this study was created to examine and reflect upon the scholarship productivity, relative to GLBT family issues, in some of the most highly respected and top-tier family journals. This study identified 10 of the most prominent journals that involve family issues, and the thousands of articles within (N = 6,003). After a thorough content analysis, GLBT scholarship made up 2.1% of total scholarship (N = 127). Journals, researchers, and institutions that published the most GLBT family research in the articles selected are also reported as well as possible directions for future research.
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The aim of this qualitative study was to examine the lived experience of married Jewish religious men who are also gay. Twenty in-depth interviews were conducted with participants, living in Israel, who defined themselves as orthodox Jews and gay men married to women. Phenomenological analysis revealed 3 key themes: a sense of social obligation to marry a woman; a lived reality characterized by split and duality; and a diverse experience that ranges from feelings of shame and guilt to a sense of acceptance and reconcilement. The findings suggest that although some men struggle to manage a life with a secret same-sex orientation while experiencing frustration and distress, other men find much greater meaning and significance in their sense of family and community belonging than in a life lived according to their sexual orientation. The findings indicate the great importance of religious affiliation and beliefs in shaping the lives of these men. Implications for social and practical interventions are discussed, with special reference to the coming out process and the ethical standpoint of the therapist.
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Mixed orientation relationships (MOREs) refer to persons in a relationship whose sexual orientations do not match. To date, however, most literature on MOREs has focused somewhat narrowly on mixed orientation marriages (MOMs), in which one spouse is heterosexual and the other experiences same-sex attraction and may or may not identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. This review focuses on 14 recently published scholarly articles, noting an emerging shift in the literature from MOMs to the more broad and inclusive concept of MOREs. Relationship factors, the influence of religious identity, lesbian and bisexual female partners, intentional MOREs, and clinical practice issues are discussed. Further research on MOREs that looks beyond the traditional viewpoint of MOMs is needed in order to better understand the particular challenges, as well as the unique resiliency factors, seen within these non-traditional relationships.
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Although bisexual parents represent the largest proportion of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) parents, their lived experiences are rarely included in prior research. The intimate relationships of bisexual parents may be similar to or distinct from monosexual (i.e. sexually oriented to one sex/gender) individuals, and such relationships impact individuals’ health and well-being, as well as family dynamics. We conducted phone interviews with 33 self-identified bisexual parents who were at least 18 years old, with at least one child (genetic, adopted, foster, stepchildren, partners’ children) living in the United States. As with individuals of all sexual identities, participants’ relationship structures (e.g. monogamy, commitment, co-parenting with former partners, single, dating) were diverse. Most participants’ partners were supportive of their bisexuality. Former relationships were often significant in positive ways, including beneficial co-parenting, or in negative ways, including poor co-parenting and experiences of biphobia. Open communication, boundary negotiation, and counseling were all strategies that reportedly strengthened relationships. Many participants viewed relationships differently based on the gender of their partner(s), and biphobia impacted these perceptions. Participants expressed the desire for targeted resources and therapeutic approaches for bisexual parents, since their role as a parent was often a primary factor in how they organized their relationships.
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Around 13.6 million heterosexual women in China are married to gay or bisexual men, and they call themselves tongqi. Tongqi belong to both co-cultural groups (as women and wives) and a dominant group (as heterosexuals). Through a narrative analysis of 51 stories told by tongqi, this study examines the co-cultural strategies tongqi use, and identifies two novel co-cultural strategies: self-blaming and enduring. It also examines how tongqi narratively construct their husbands’ co-cultural strategies and finds that tongqi often internalize the ideologies (of gender, sexual orientation, marriage, and family) in their sensemaking process and in their communicative responses to their husbands.
Article
Despite symbolic linkages between heterosexuality and marriage, and a pervasive heteronormative ideology of romantic love, little population-representative research examines whether same-sex sexuality – desire/attraction, behavior, and gay, lesbian, or bisexual identity – increases the likelihood of divorce from an different-sex spouse. We examine this association using data from the 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey and the 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth. In both sub-studies, multivariate logistic regression analyses indicate that same-sex sexuality reduces the odds of ever marrying. However, among the once-married, same-sex desire/attraction, sexual behavior, and gay, lesbian, or bisexual identity respectively increase the odds of different-sex divorce net of demographic and early-life factors. Same-sex sexuality puts a brake on divorce by preventing some different-sex marriages that would ultimately end in divorce, but is associated with an increase risk of different-sex divorce among once-married individuals.
Book
Cambridge Core - Sociology of Gender - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, and Queer Psychology - by Sonja J. Ellis
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The literature regarding mixed-orientation relationships (MORs) focuses on individual and relationship aspects. Our study, informed by the social construction of reality theory, illuminates social aspects by examining social attitudes toward MORs as they are experienced and perceived by individuals of MOR. Within the scope of this study, we focused on self-identified non-straight men (gays, bisexuals, or men who have sex with men) who are in a relationship with self-identified straight women. Based on the phenomenological paradigm, we conducted 38 interviews with men and eight with women currently in MOR. The findings show that individuals of MOR primarily encounter negative attitudes from people in society regarding themselves and the nature of their relationship. Participants perceived that others viewed their relationships in terms of conflict, impossibility, or transitional stage. Social attitudes individuals of MOR encounter affect the degree of closeness of these couples to others in their social environment, resulting in constant tension between the participants’ desire to be open to and close to others and the need to conceal and keep a distance. We argue that the dialectical tensions between disclosure-concealment and autonomy-closeness are related to the marginalization of these couples as a social category.
Article
Bisexual individuals often face binegativity in relationships with intimate partners and the health disparities associated with discrimination. The present study sought to explore the little known aspect of identity-based partner acceptance of bisexual individuals. Through the eyes of the bisexual person identified by a snow-ball sampling method of bisexual persons living in the United States, 197 participants completed an open-ended question on positive experiences with partners, with 96 of them emphasizing acceptance and understanding. Findings suggest there are multiple ways bisexual individuals encounter acceptance from their partner—some more neutral expressions and some more overt. Neutral messages were twice as likely to occur compared to overt forms of acceptance. Participants reported themes of: (1) didn’t try to change me, (2) ambivalence, (3) proud/rooting, (4) asked me about my experiences, and (5) feeling loved. The paper concludes by discussing the implications for reducing stigma and increasing acceptance by partners.
Article
Both the sexual minority individual (SMI) and partner of the sexual minority individual (PSMI) in a mixed orientation relationship (MORE) experience stress, and stress related growth during the coming out process. However, the implications and experiences of this relationship through a dyadic perspective has yet to be explored. Using a phenomenological approach, this study examined the lived experience of the dyadic coming out process in MOREs through the theoretical lens of Meyer’s (2003 Meyer, I. (2003). Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: Conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129(5), 674–697. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.129.5.674[Crossref], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®] , [Google Scholar]) minority stress model and Vaughan and Weahler’s (2010) coming out growth (COG) model. Data analysis with nine MORE dyads provided a first-hand account of how minority stress and COG flow through the dyad before, during, and after SMIs and PSMIs engaged in the coming out process. The findings confirm the applicability of minority stress and COG theories to both members of the MORE. Themes that emerged in the data include awareness, disclosure, discovery, grief, support, and reconstruction.
Article
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ABSTRACT Objectives To investigate the evolving relationship between sexuality and family formation. New family units exist today whose impact on society needs to be explored. Methods For each main area researched (anthropology, biology, sociology, sexology, ethics) we identified articles dealing with family formation, sexuality and reproduction using PubMed, ScienceDirect, Google, religious websites and texts. Results The three monotheistic religions and the cultures derived from these have considered sexuality as focused on reproduction. Presently, sexuality has acquired new dimensions, independent from reproduction, as contraception and IVF have separated procreation and sexuality. Thus, the very concept of family has been expanded and so- called 'unusual families' have proved not to be a danger per se for children born and raised within them. Conclusions Human sexuality has moved away from having a purely reproductive function, but remains a powerful bond keeping families together, irrespective of the gender identity and the biological links of their members. Even among traditional societies, different types of families exist and the situation has become more complex as technical developments have made parenthood possible for people who in the past were excluded from it.
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The term fag hag is normally used in gay male culture to describe a straight woman who associates with gay men. This article uses intensive interviews with gay and bisexual men to explore what the term indicates about contradictions emerging from dominant views of gender and sexual identity. Other sociological studies provide explanations for why women and gay men form relationships and how these relationships are negotiated. This article explores what the term, residing at the nexus of discourses of sexuality and gender, tells us about (1) how dominant, heterosexual culture's assumptions threaten gay identity and culture; (2) the tensions present within gay male culture's own dominant discourses, tensions which certain straight women create and/or highlight; and (3) the limitations imposed on political mobilization by a discourse that posits the existence of a coherent “gay community.”
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The concept of validity in social research is the subject of much debate. It is a complex and problematic issue, especially because it is difficult to define validity. In traditional studies, validity usually referred to the degree to which the study accurately reflected the issue or topic that the research was attempting to measure (Feldman 2003). More specifically, this type of validity also referred to the role of research instruments and their appropriateness for collecting data that answers the research questions (Black and Champion 1976). Such positivist accounts assumed that science could produce objective knowledge and thus the researcher's goal was to accurately capture an objective reality or `truth' (Hammersley 2000). However, with changing ontological and epistemological frameworks, criteria for validity changed. It was no longer deemed possible to produce objective knowledge through research — instead criteria for validity changed to include factors such as credibility, believability and reliability (Guba quoted in Cohen et al. 2000). With changes in the philosophical foundations of social research, the role of the researcher also changed. While positivists viewed validity as being dependent on the researcher's objectivity, neopositivists, acknowledging the impossibility of complete objectivity, espoused the importance of eliminating researcher biases. At the other extreme, postmodernists argued that researcher's subjectivities were central to the research process and must be recognized as such. Considering these complexities, it is not surprising that insider research — where the researcher has a direct involvement or connection with the research setting (Robson 2002) — has been the cause of much debate and scrutiny. Questions that frequently arise include: What effect does the researcher's insider status have on the research process? Is the validity of the research compromised? Can a researcher maintain objectivity? Is objectivity necessary for validity? This paper aims to cast light upon these problematic and complex issues. While it is recognized that insider researchers, and the issues that surround them, are also the subject of debate in quantitative research, this paper focuses primarily on qualitative research. It is not the aim of this paper to provide definitive answers — indeed, many would argue that this is an impossible task. Instead this paper aims to raise awareness of the issues involved when considering the validity of qualitative research, particularly when the researcher is an insider to this process. The paper begins with an introduction to concepts of validity and the role of the qualitative researcher. It continues with an overview of the expanding field of `insider research', describing what constitutes insider research and outlining notions of validity within this area. To illustrate some of the complexities involved, three case studies from qualitative research will be provided. Each study will be analysed from various perspectives, examining how the researcher's position impacts on the research process, and thus on the validity of that process. Finally, a range of arguments for and against the validity of each study will be considered with questions for further thought posed.
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Narratives of five Seventh-day Adventist heterosexual women whose mixed-orientation marriages ended were analyzed through the lens of ambiguous loss. Thematic coding identified a wave-like process of changing emotional foci that emerged from their experience during marital dissolution. Elements of ambiguous loss included boundary ambiguity, retrospective interpretation and grieving, secrecy, and renegotiation of spiritual beliefs. A process model is introduced and elucidated through participant narratives. Treatment suggestions and implications for further study are provided.
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There is confusion in research and clinical practice about married men who have sex with other men. They are seen variously as bisexuals, defensive homosexuals, or sex addicts. A series of survey-based investigations with 355 participants recruited through self-help groups, advertising, gay community contacts, and electronically via the Internet, explored processes of homosexual identify formation and psychological adjustment in these men. The population was found to have distinct subgroups, and processes of homosexual identity formation appeared understandable only by recourse to an underlying essentialist construct of sexual orientation. More homosexually oriented men manifested improved psychological adjustment following marital separation and this has implications for theoretical models of homosexuality and for prospective interventions with these men.
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Gay men married to heterosexual women seek psychotherapy for numerous reasons, not only to find a way out of their marriages.Therapists must identify their countertransference reactions to avoid pushing the patient either to commit to his marriage or leave it. The patient’s underlying problems should be addressed before the patient can explore the fate of his marriage. Therapists also need to be understanding of the patient’s attachment to his wife. In addition, therapists must be aware of the societal implications of homophobia on gay patients. This article discusses motivations for heterosexual marriage among gay men, examines two clinical cases, and addresses practice and countertransference issues.
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This article uses a cultural literacy model to sensitize straight marital and family therapists (MFTs) to work with gays, lesbians, and their families. While most MFTs number gays and lesbians among their clients, differences in sexual orientation between therapist and clients are often insufficiently addressed, closing off therapeutic possibilities. Marital and family therapists are asked to systematically assess homophobic and heterosexist assumptions in both personal attitudes and professional theory and practice and to educate themselves about gay culture and family life. The role of disclosure, trust, and collaborative meaning making in creating a therapeutic relationship that is culturally sensitive, clinically effective, and ethically responsible is examined.
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The Gay Affect and Life Events Scale (GALES) was administered to a sample of gay-identified and non-gay-identified behaviourally bisexual married men (n = 186) and a comparative sample of never-married gay-identified men (n = 33). All participants in the study reported moderate levels of life stress in the preceding six months. No significant differences were found between the ever-married and never-married groups on the Overall Stress Value Score (OSV) of the GALES. Among the ever-married, those who identified as gay/homosexual reported significantly higher life stress than those who identified as bisexual. No differences were found within the ever-married between those who remained with their heterosexual partner and those who had separated. Difficulties in the use of the Nott and Vedhara (1995) version of the GALES with both gay men and populations of behaviourally bisexual men are reported.
Article
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In the current study, the attitudes, behaviors and experiences of 26 gay or bisexual men who were married to a woman are examined. Data are provided on childhood family background and experiences, sexual practices with men, reasons for entering marriage, and the "coming out" process. The frequency of childhood sexual experiences was associated with unsafe sexual practices with other men in adulthood. Attitudes toward lesbians and gay men were more negative now than at the time of marriage. The two most frequent reasons for marriage were that it seemed natural, and a desire for children and family life. The results support the hypothesis that internalised homophobia is a factor that leads men into mixed-orientation marriages. Cognitive consistency theory is used to explain the eventual marriage breakdown.
Article
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Despite a large body of literature on the development of sexual orientation, little is known about why some gay men have been (or remain) married to a woman. In the current study, a self-selected sample of 43 never married gay men ('never married') and 26 gay men who were married to a woman ('previously married') completed a self-report questionnaire. Hypotheses were based on five possible explanations for gay men's marriages: (a) differences in sexual orientation (i.e., bisexuality); (b) internalized homophobia; (c) religious intolerance; (d) confusion created because of childhood/adolescent sexual experiences; and/or (e) poor psychological adjustment. Previously married described their families' religious beliefs as more fundamentalist than never married. No differences were found between married' and never married' ratings of their sexual orientation and identity, and levels of homophobia and self-depreciation. Family adaptability and family cohesion and the degree to which respondents reported having experienced child maltreatment did not distinguish between previously married and never married. The results highlight how little is understood of the reasons why gay men marry, and the need to develop an adequate theoretical model.
Article
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This report presents national estimates of several measures of sexual behavior among males and females 15-44 years of age in the United States in 2002, as collected in the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). These data are relevant to demographic and public health concerns, including fertility and sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers and adults. Data from the 2002 NSFG are compared with previous national surveys. The 2002 NSFG was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and is based on in-person, face-to-face interviews with a national sample of 12,571 males and females in the household population of the United States. The measures of sexual behavior presented in this report were collected using Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interviewing (ACASI), in which the respondent enters his or her own answers into a laptop computer without telling them to an interviewer. Among adults 25-44 years of age, 97 percent of men and 98 percent of women have had vaginal intercourse; 90 percent of men and 88 percent of women have had oral sex with an opposite-sex partner; and 40 percent of men and 35 percent of women have had anal sex with an opposite-sex partner. About 6.5 percent of men 25-44 years of age have had oral or anal sex with another man. Based on a differently worded question, 11 percent of women 25-44 years of age reported having had a sexual experience with another woman. The public health significance of the findings is described.
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Groups for wives of gay and bisexual men were found to be an effective therapeutic intervention for the problems that arise when a husband makes a disclosure to his wife that he is interested in pursuing homosexual relationships. The groups helped wives resolve the issues of the marriage and to make positive changes in their lives.
Book
Such diverse thinkers as Lao-Tze, Confucius, and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have all pointed out that we need to be able to tell the difference between real and assumed knowledge. The systematic review is a scientific tool that can help with this difficult task. It can help, for example, with appraising, summarising, and communicating the results and implications of otherwise unmanageable quantities of data. This book, written by two highly-respected social scientists, provides an overview of systematic literature review methods: Outlining the rationale and methods of systematic reviews; Giving worked examples from social science and other fields; Applying the practice to all social science disciplines; It requires no previous knowledge, but takes the reader through the process stage by stage; Drawing on examples from such diverse fields as psychology, criminology, education, transport, social welfare, public health, and housing and urban policy, among others. Including detailed sections on assessing the quality of both quantitative, and qualitative research; searching for evidence in the social sciences; meta-analytic and other methods of evidence synthesis; publication bias; heterogeneity; and approaches to dissemination.
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A Canadian gay dad, married 51 years, answers the question: Why would a man not stay married simply because he chooses to take a male lover? The author examines the shared values (social justice, family, art, mutual respect and love) that enable “mixed” relationships to thrive and prosper.
Article
Up to two million gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons have been in a mixed-orientation marriage as have an unknown number of transgender people. Not all partners come out while married. When they do, their heterosexual spouses and children are affected. Straight spouses face complex issues related to sexuality, marriage, parenting, identity, integrity, and belief systems. Children cope according to their age and developmental stage. Since most of the attention is focused on the GLBT persons, their partners are generally overlooked. The Straight Spouse Network (SSN) provides peer support and research-based information to help them cope, heal, and grow in strength, integrity, and understanding, thereby becoming models for their children. Many become advocates for social justice. Counseling by trained therapists knowledgeable about mixed-orientation marriages can assist them and their families to resolve their issues more effectively.
Article
In the current study, the attitudes, behaviors and experiences of 26 gay or bisexual men who were married to a woman are examined. Data are provided on childhood family background and experiences, sexual practices with men, reasons for entering marriage, and the “coming out” process. The frequency of childhood sexual experiences was associated with unsafe sexual practices with other men in adulthood. Attitudes toward lesbians and gay men were more negative now than at the time of marriage. The two most frequent reasons for marriage were that it seemed natural, and a desire for children and family life. The results support the hypothesis that internalised homophobia is a factor that leads men into mixed-orientation marriages. Cognitive consistency theory is used to explain the eventual marriage breakdown.
Article
We hear many stories about a spouse, heterosexually married for years, who reveals to a partner that she or he is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (GLBT). The professional literature has shown considerable interest in the coming-out experience of newly identified GLBT partners. The author is a counselor educator and has been a therapist for more than 15 years. She works with individuals, couples, and families on a myriad of issues, including spousal disclosure of homosexuality. The following story reflects a compilation of experiences encountered in her practice narrated from the perspective of a heterosexual spouse following her husband’s disclosure.
Article
This article explores attachment styles, internalized homophobia, and sex addiction in mixed-orientation marriage and discusses the viability of mixed-orientation marriages after a gay or bisexual sex addicted spouse (GBSAS) discloses. A retrospective examination of patient records revealed that most GBSAS identified with characteristics of avoidant-attachment style and used addictive behavior as a way to cope with their own internalized homophobia. The majority of wives of GBSAS identified with characteristics of anxious-attachment style and had some knowledge or suspicion of their husbands' attraction to other men. At discharge, two-thirds of the couples had plans to separate or divorce. A process for helping couples during crisis phase is reviewed.
Article
This paper describes and discusses diversity among lesbian and gay families along central dimensions of social stratification: gender, sexual orientation, generation, age, race and ethnicity. We examine implications of this diversity for traditional family theories, identify and discuss sexist and heterosexist assumptions of dominant family theories and suggest the usefulness of an integrative approach that combines insights from positivist and post-positivist theories. We conclude by proposing research questions, directions and methods to guide future empirical work, facilitate theory development and enrich our understanding of diverse family forms.
Article
In this study, 20 gay or bisexual men's experiences of coming out to wives were explored. Specifically, their attitudes and behaviors before, during, and after marriage were examined. Findings were provided about upbringing, reasons for entering marriage, and the coming out process. Through semi-structured interviews information was obtained about the factors which led up to the revelation of homosexuality or bisexuality and about how these men experienced their relationships with their wives and family after coming out. The interviews revealed the fears which prevented these men from coming out earlier in their lives. The most common reason for entering marriage was due to social and family pressure and because of the desire to have a normal, healthy life. Attitudes toward gays and lesbians were negative before marriage and worsened following disclosure.
Article
This article explores the impact of the Internet upon married bisexual and gay men, including the importance they attach to being on-line. What do the men talk about? What issues are most significant to them? What do they gain from the experience of being on-line? Quotations from many on-line posts are included. The information was collected from 1,420 posts written by approximately 350 men from a list administered by the author. In addition, the author includes insights gained from reading posts on nine other lists that include bisexual/gay married men.
Article
The purpose of this paper is to review the phenomenon of same-sex attraction in married men. As well as looking at a variety of reasons that gay and bisexual men provide for getting married, the author describes a model that incorporates a variety of possible theoretical explanations. Finally, practical implications for therapists are provided, focusing on identity development and support.
Article
The phenomenon of bisexual men in monogamous, heterosexual marriages was investigated. The study set out to identify the preponderant factors in the sexuality of such men, to determine if the marriages are successful and if so, to what degree. Twenty participants responded to media publicity. Their sexuality and its manifestations are described by means of profiles using a modified form of the Kinsey continuum. Sexuality Profile was found to be linked with anxiety, but not with salience of sexuality, guilt, and sense of loss although all were found to be present to varying degrees. The quality of the marital relationship was likewise examined. Correlations between Global Rating of Marriage (GRM) and other specific ratings of marriage were established with sexual identity confusion, salience of sexuality and sense of loss, but not with anxiety and guilt. The study concluded that the men in this sample seem to be psychologically stable, not under inordinate stress, and the majority of their marriag...
Article
In approximately two million current or former marriages in the United States, one of the spouses is bisexual, gay, or lesbian. When lesbian, gay, or bisexual spouses disclose their sexual orientation, their heterosexual spouses face unique issues. Their coping proceeds through common stages from initial trauma to eventual transformation. Mixed-orientation couples, too, progress through typical stages as they deal with complex relationship challenges. Heterosexual spouses of bisexual partners and bisexual-heterosexual couples face the additional challenge of understanding bisexuality. Resolving the issues and coming to terms with the disclosure for spouses and couples may take more than three years. Peer support and counseling help spouses clarify their needs, goals, and values during this period. For therapists working with such clients, scant literature about heterosexual spouses in these marriages and bisexual-heterosexual couples and the general lack of knowledge about bisexuality and mixed-orientation relationships make it difficult to know how best to counsel spouses. Counseling is most effective when therapists know the core issues of heterosexual spouses, typical stages of their resolving them, and the common path through which bisexual-heterosexual couples progress. With effective counseling, heterosexual spouses and bisexual-heterosexual couples are more likely to resolve issues constructively and to grow in individual strength and mutual understanding.
Article
Explores the change in life pattern from heterosexual marriage to lesbian identity, with a focus on the diversity of experiences among once-married lesbians (OMLs). Reasons for marriage among lesbians, explanations for the shift in sexuality, and several turning points that supported change in OMLs are discussed. The authors also discuss 3 areas in which counselors may assist OMLs: (1) helping clients develop a positive lesbian identity, (2) helping clients adapt to their relationships with women partners, and (3) helping clients deal with work-related issues arising from their changed life pattern. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Little is known about the number of marriages that endure or how many of the disclosing spouses are bisexual, given the invisibility of such marriages, the mislabeling of bisexuals as gay or lesbian, and the reluctance of spouses to identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. This article reported on the experiences of 56 self-identified bisexual husbands and 51 heterosexual wives of bisexual men who maintained their marriage after disclosure. Their responses to a survey questionnaire are compared with those of 32 self-identified gay married men and 28 heterosexual wives of gay men. The majority of the Ss were in their 40s. Ss were also aged in their 20s, 30s, 50's-70s. The convenience samples, largely from the US, came from Internet mailing lists, support groups, and members of the Straight Spouse Network. Strategies that they found most helpful in maintaining their marriages are analyzed alongside circumstances in their lives that supported their staying married and those that worked against them. Helpful for the largest numbers of all spouse samples were honesty, Communication, peer support, therapy, and taking time. The bisexual men and heterosexual wives of bisexual men also relied on the husbands' empathy and the wives' flexibility. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This article, which is based on in-depth interviews of gay men who had been married, focuses on the nature of the spousal relationship and the almost inevitable marital disruption. It describes the conditions which bring about the man's disclosure of his homosexuality, the means of disclosure he uses, the wife's response, and the interactional effects the disclosure and response have on the marriage relationship. Most of the marriages ended in divorce. Regardless of whether the wife was accepting or rejecting of her husband as a homosexual, she appeared to be an enabler of his transition to a homosexual lifestyle. Implications for counseling are discussed.
Article
To what extent do marriage and family therapy journals address gay, lesbian, and bisexual issues and how does this coverage compare to allied fields? To answer these questions, a content analysis was conducted on articles published in the marriage and family therapy literature from 1975 to 1995. Of the 13,217 articles examined in 17 journals, only 77 (.006%) focused on gay, lesbian, and/or bisexual issues or used sexual orientation as a variable. Findings support the contention that gay, lesbian, and bisexual issues are ignored by marriage and family therapy researchers and scholars.
Article
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection and disease progression create imbalance in long-term, HIV-serodiscordant, gay male relationships, particularly in sexual relations and issues of physical and emotional intimacy. Stage of disease progression and worldview of the couple both affect the relationship and its survival. To redress imbalance, partners employ a range of coping strategies and techniques. This article explores these issues in the context of HIV serodiscordant gay couples and how they preserve their relationships in the face of these unique challenges. For workers who provide psychotherapeutic and community support for people with HIV and for their partners, the results of this study may be helpful in recognizing stress factors for couples, and tailoring support services to the needs of both partners. Overall, this study provides a basis for further work examining the dynamics of serodiscordant relationships.
Article
This report presents the first national data on the mental health services provided by marriage and family therapists. A sample of 526 therapists from 15 states gave descriptive information on their training, level of experience, and professional practices, along with detailed information on recently completed cases. In addition, 429 of these therapits' clients reported on their satisfaction with treatment and their change in function. The findings indicated that marriage and family therapists treat a wide range of serious mental health and relational problems, that they do so in relatively short-term fashion, that they use individual, couple, and family treatment modalities, that couple and family therapy are briefer than individual therapy, and that client satisfaction and functional improvement are quite high.
Article
The sexual genogram combines aspects of the sex history with the genograml family journey to examine the impact of the partners' family loyalties, secrets and “scripts” on their sexual functioning. The exploration process and the resulting family journey, which includes specific sexual material, offers an opportunity for major change to occur. Technique for this method is discussed, along with relevant case illustrations. The integration of family therapy theories and techniques, with those of sex therapy, provides increased richness to both therapies.
Article
This article contains an overview of three decades of research, theory development, and clinical application about ambiguous loss. Although the work includes both physical and psychological types of ambiguous loss, the focus is the aftermath of 9/11 (September 11, 2001), when the World Trade Center collapsed following terrorist attacks. On the basis of her previous work, the author was asked to design an intervention for families of the missing. She reflects on what she learned from this unexpected test and presents new propositions and hypotheses to stimulate further research and theory that is more inclusive of diversity. She suggests that scholars should focus more on universal family experience. Ambiguous loss is just one example. Encouraging researchers and practitioners to collaborate in theory development, she concludes that research-based theory is essential to inform interventions in unexpected times of terror, and in everyday life.
Article
Narrative therapy with parents as they are coming to terms with their adolescent sons’ and daughters’ coming-out as lesbian or gay provides a framework for reauthoring stories and revisioning identities as they negotiate the challenge of becoming lesbian/gay-membered families. Recognized for complementing the elements of multicultural practice, narrative therapy offers therapeutic interventions that are culturally sensitive and acknowledge the role of power and privilege in socially imaging what it means to be lesbian or gay. In this article the familiar storylines that these families bring into therapy are illustrated, and family work with parents of lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents is conceptualized using a narrative therapy lens.
Article
When a loved one dies we mourn our loss. We take comfort in the rituals that mark the passing, and we turn to those around us for support. But what happens when there is no closure, when a family member or a friend who may be still alive is lost to us nonetheless? How, for example, does the mother whose soldier son is missing in action, or the family of an Alzheimer's patient who is suffering from severe dementia, deal with the uncertainty surrounding this kind of loss? In this sensitive and lucid account, Pauline Boss explains that, all too often, those confronted with such ambiguous loss fluctuate between hope and hopelessness. Suffered too long, these emotions can deaden feeling and make it impossible for people to move on with their lives. Yet the central message of this book is that they can move on. Drawing on her research and clinical experience, Boss suggests strategies that can cushion the pain and help families come to terms with their grief. Her work features the heartening narratives of those who cope with ambiguous loss and manage to leave their sadness behind, including those who have lost family members to divorce, immigration, adoption, chronic mental illness, and brain injury. With its message of hope, this eloquent book offers guidance and understanding to those struggling to regain their lives. Table of Contents: 1. Frozen Grief 2. Leaving without Goodbye 3. Goodbye without Leaving 4. Mixed Emotions 5. Ups and Downs 6. The Family Gamble 7. The Turning Point 8. Making Sense out of Ambiguity 9. The Benefit of a Doubt Notes Acknowledgments Reviews of this book: You will find yourself thinking about the issues discussed in this book long after you put it down and perhaps wishing you had extra copies for friends and family members who might benefit from knowing that their sorrows are not unique...This book's value lies in its giving a name to a force many of us will confront--sadly, more than once--and providing personal stories based on 20 years of interviews and research. --Pamela Gerhardt, Washington Post Reviews of this book: A compassionate exploration of the effects of ambiguous loss and how those experiencing it handle this most devastating of losses ... Boss's approach is to encourage families to talk together, to reach a consensus about how to mourn that which has been lost and how to celebrate that which remains. Her simple stories of families doing just that contain lessons for all. Insightful, practical, and refreshingly free of psychobabble. --Kirkus Review Reviews of this book: Engagingly written and richly rewarding, this title presents what Boss has learned from many years of treating individuals and families suffering from uncertain or incomplete loss...The obvious depth of the author's understanding of sufferers of ambiguous loss and the facility with which she communicates that understanding make this a book to be recommended. --R. R. Cornellius, Choice Reviews of this book: Written for a wide readership, the concepts of ambiguous loss take immediate form through the many provocative examples and stories Boss includes, All readers will find stories with which they will relate...Sensitive, grounded and practical, this book should, in my estimation, be required reading for family practitioners. --Ted Bowman, Family Forum Reviews of this book: Dr. Boss describes [the] all-too-common phenomenon [of unresolved grief] as resulting from either of two circumstances: when the lost person is still physically present but emotionally absent or when the lost person is physically absent but still emotionally present. In addition to senility, physical presence but psychological absence may result, for example, when a person is suffering from a serious mental disorder like schizophrenia or depression or debilitating neurological damage from an accident or severe stroke, when a person abuses drugs or alcohol, when a child is autistic or when a spouse is a workaholic who is not really 'there' even when he or she is at home...Cases of physical absence with continuing psychological presence typically occur when a soldier is missing in action, when a child disappears and is not found, when a former lover or spouse is still very much missed, when a child 'loses' a parent to divorce or when people are separated from their loved ones by immigration...Professionals familiar with Dr. Boss's work emphasised that people suffering from ambiguous loss were not mentally ill, but were just stuck and needed help getting past the barrier or unresolved grief so that they could get on with their lives. --Asian Age Combining her talents as a compassionate family therapist and a creative researcher, Pauline Boss eloquently shows the many and complex ways that people can cope with the inevitable losses in contemporary family life. A wise book, and certain to become a classic. --Constance R. Ahrons, author of The Good Divorce A powerful and healing book. Families experiencing ambiguous loss will find strategies for seeing what aspects of their loved ones remain, and for understanding and grieving what they have lost. Pauline Boss offers us both insight and clarity. --Kathy Weingarten, Ph.D, The Family Institute of Cambridge, Harvard Medical School
Article
Twenty-one heterosexual women who were or had been married to bisexual or homosexual men and had children by them responded to a 28-page questionnaire that explored their experiences as wives and mothers. All of the married women expected a lasting, monogamous marriage. Only three had partial knowledge of their husband's sexual orientation before marriage. All of them went through a painful grief reaction when they learned that their husbands had emotional or sexual, or both, attachments to other men. The suffering was aggravated by feeling deceived or stupid for not having guessed the truth. What made it difficult for them to seek support from family and friends was the fear of encountering social disapproval or ostracism. They were afraid for themselves, their husbands, and their children. At the time of the study 11 of the 21 women were still married and living with their husbands, but most of them felt unsure that the marriage would last. Ten were in transition, separated, or divorced. Only three of the still married wives had complete confidence in the future stability of their relationships. These marriages were characterized by good communications, husbands who considered themselves bisexual, and an open marriage contract whereby wives could have heterosexual affairs. Findings cannot be generalized from this small convenience sample, but will hopefully encourage further research. The writers are also soliciting more subjects to enlarge the sample.
Article
Theory and research concerning sexual orientation has been restricted in its scope and influence by the lack of clear and widely accepted definitions of terms like heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual. In an attempt to better demarcate and understand the complexities of human sexual attitudes, emotions, and behavior, the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid (KSOG) was developed and administered. The KSOG is composed of seven variables that are dimensions of sexual orientation, each of which is rated by the subject as applying to the present, past, or ideal. Analysis of the data from subjects who filled out the KSOG in Forum Magazine indicated that the instrument was a reliable and valid research tool which took into consideration the multi-variable and dynamic aspects of sexual orientation.
Article
History and perspectives of qualitative research are presented together with an overview of the major methods in their application in the field of social psychiatry. Methods for analyzing subjective points of view (various forms of interviews), for describing everyday life and routines of actions in and outside of institutions (participant observation, conversation analysis), and for interpreting in-depth-structures (objective hermeneutics, theoretical coding) are discussed. Triangulation of different methods, strategies for assessing interpretations, and findings and processual evaluation of qualitative research are outlined as perspectives.
Article
Disclosure of homosexuality by a family member frequently creates a crisis within the family. Previous research has focused primarily on families' response to this initial crisis and how they cope with and transform initial negative reactions. Little attention has been given to how families respond to disclosure over time and to how families integrate a gay or lesbian family member--and his or her relationships--once they have come to accept his or her homosexuality. Using a narrative approach and interviewing whole families, this project explores these questions. We present 12 themes we found consistently recurring in family members' narratives. We discuss the relationship between these themes and current models in the literature within the context of heterosexism and suggest that this approach may represent a first step in developing a model of successful adaptation subsequent to disclosure.
Article
This article explores some of the social and clinical issues facing the many different kinds of gay and lesbian families that are becoming increasingly visible in the United States. Research findings are discussed that dispel popularly held myths and stereotypes concerning these families, gays and lesbians as parents, and their children. Clinical vignettes are presented to illustrate issues often encountered in the consulting room, some unique to gay and lesbian families and some common to all families.
Article
This paper outlines the major concerns of gay and lesbian couples who seek therapy. Presenting problems are classified as either internal to the relationship or as external (contextual) ones that reflect the influence of oppressive cultural and gender biases. Throughout the article, distinctive therapy methods are described that address the unique concerns of lesbian and gay couples, with special sensitivity to heterosexist and homophobic bias.
Article
The purpose of this study is to identify central aspects of feelings in relation to the experience of being a brother or sister of someone who suffers from schizophrenia. The study makes use of a hermeneutical method for the collection of data as well as for the systemizing and interpretation of data. The participants in the study were 16 siblings of persons with diagnosed schizophrenia. In total 80 interviews were done, with an average length of 50 min. A theory of interrupted feelings was developed within the tension between empirical data and preunderstanding. Mixed feelings of grief, hope, anger, guilt and shame are interrupted by four interrelated factors: ambiguous loss, the fluctuating nature of the illness, an inner prohibition of feelings and the tendency of others to invalidate the feelings. The interruption may lead to a lonely and painful experience which is difficult both to process for oneself and to share with others.
Article
Eighty respondents in 20 gay male and 20 lesbian couples were interviewed in depth to determine the nature and influences of their intergenerational relationships. Most respondents reported that their partner relationships were not affected by parental disapproval. Both the lesbian and gay male participants assertively defended the emotional, intergenerational boundaries around their unions. However, the gay men emphasized the importance of independence from their parents, whereas the lesbians sought harmonious intergenerational connections. The findings suggest how Bowen's ideas about intergenerational relationships may need to be modified to reflect the gender-specific ways coupled gay men and lesbians manage their family relationships.
Article
The Philippines is one developing country in which a systematic inquiry on the homosexuality of men in heterosexual consensual union is rare. With the thought that the public can be guided more knowledgeably in forming some responsible knowledge and opinion about homosexual men's lives within heterosexual unions, a small-scale exploratory study was carried out and completed in 1997 among 15 married or co-habiting men in Metro Manila, the Philippines. The research delved into respondents' sexual histories; their perceptions of own homosexual attraction, desire and orientation; and their reasons, motivations and expectations for marrying or cohabiting. It also looked into respondents' reports of whether their partners knew their sexual orientation; respondents' roles and responsibilities in household management and decision making; and effects of respondents' homosexuality on marital and familial relationships.
Article
The theory of ambiguous loss is applied to chronic illness in individuals, couples, and families. Lack of clarity about prognosis, daily physical condition, and fluctuating capabilities create relationship confusion, preoccupation with the illness, or avoidance of the ill individual. Immobilization, depression, and relationship collapse may occur in response to features of chronic illness over which there is no control. A case study illustrates helpful therapeutic interventions for couples and families with chronically ill members.
Article
A recent special section of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy (October, 2000) focusing on the mental health needs of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals neglected to address the clinical needs of homosexual persons who desire to increase their heterosexual potential. This article attempts to correct this omission by outlining common motivations for pursuing change, updating the current state of knowledge regarding the effectiveness of change efforts, and providing some ethical guidelines when therapists encounter clients who present with unwanted homoerotic attraction. Finally, to assist marriage and family therapists (MFTs) in more deeply understanding divergent perspectives about reorientation treatments, an examination of the role of moral epistemology is presented and some examples of its potential influence are described. MFTs are encouraged to recognize and accept, rather than ignore or deny the valid needs of clients who seek to modify their same-sex attraction.
Article
DNA predictive testing to diagnose the presence of hereditary disease in asymptomatic individuals has become increasingly available. Information provided by these tests has implications for all relatives. In an exploratory study we examined the impact, from the family's perspective, of predictive DNA testing for Huntington disease on the family as a system. Central to their stories was a sense of loss and grief that was perhaps unique to the testing situation. The description of these losses is presented in the context of ambiguous loss as defined by Boss, disenfranchised grief as presented by Doka, and anticipatory grief as addressed by Rolland. These theories suggest clinical interventions that can be used by healthcare professionals to help families adjust to the psychosocial consequences of testing.
Article
A team of therapists from Minnesota and New York worked with labor union families of workers gone missing on September 11, 2001, after the attack on the World Trade Center, where they were employed. The clinical team shares what they did, what was learned, the questions raised, and preliminary evaluations about the multiple family meetings that were the major intervention. Because of the vast diversity, training of therapists and interventions for families aimed for cultural competence. The community-based approach, preferred by union families, plus family therapy using the lens of ambiguous loss are proposed as necessary additions to disaster work.