Women's constructions of heterosexual non-romantic sex and the implications for sexual health

Moran, Claire and Lee, Christina (2012) Women's constructions of heterosexual non-romantic sex and the implications for sexual health. Psychology and Sexuality, 1-22. doi:10.1080/19419899.2012.715588

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Author Moran, Claire
Lee, Christina
Title Women's constructions of heterosexual non-romantic sex and the implications for sexual health
Journal name Psychology and Sexuality   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1941-9899
Publication date 2012-09-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/19419899.2012.715588
Start page 1
End page 22
Total pages 22
Place of publication Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Qualitative interviews with 15 Australian women who engage in non-romantic sex demonstrate that women choose a variety of non-romantic sexual arrangements and activities. A discourse analysis examined the ways in which the women position
themselves relative to dominant constructions of femininity and heterosexuality, themselves embedded in neoliberal, post-feminist assumptions of women’s unproblematic capacity for individual empowerment, choice and sexual freedom. Despite choosing non-normative sexual encounters, the women were frequently constrained by the gendered hetero-normative discourses of hetero monogamy and gender differences. The analysis demonstrates that the conventions of heterosex implicit in both of these discourses subordinate the legitimacy of women’s sexual agency, sexual desire and sexual entitlement. Although the women resisted these constructions with varying levels of success, we argue that they cannot be resisted outright because women have no discourse to draw upon which encapsulates an empowered female sexual agency. Thus, women who have non-romantic sex frequently internalise the discourses of hetero monogamy and gender differences, posing serious risks to their sexual health, both physically and emotionally. For women to ensure their sexual health, conventional constructions of female sexuality need to be challenged at a societal level.
Keyword Non romantic sex
Discourse analysis
Women's sexual health
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes iFirst - first published: 14 Sep 2012

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 9 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sat, 13 Apr 2013, 02:26:25 EST by Mrs Alison Pike on behalf of School of Psychology