Gay and Lesbian Couples: Voices from Lasting Relationships

Gay and Lesbian Couples: Voices from Lasting Relationships

Gay and Lesbian Couples: Voices from Lasting Relationships

Gay and Lesbian Couples: Voices from Lasting Relationships

Synopsis

The voices in this book come from the stories of gay and lesbian partners who talk about their struggles over the years in building a life together. The stories reach beyond the obvious realities of sexual orientation to speak to the joys, sorrows, hopes, and fears of human beings who are committed to making their relationships work. Based on a life-span perspective, in-depth interviews of people whose relationships have lasted more than 15 years explored how partners adapted over the years. Each interview consisted of questions that focused upon dimensions of these relationships over time from the unique perspective of each partner. They were asked about conflict over the years, decision-making styles, ways of working out roles, the importance of social supports, and sexual and psychological intimacy.

Excerpt

Until recent years the voices of gays and lesbians were still. Although homosexuality is as old as heterosexuality, relatively little attention has been paid to studying the lifestyles of gay and lesbian couples. One of the more effective ways of neutralizing the social ills of oppression and prejudice directed toward lesbian and gays is through human understanding. In the spirit of furthering the understanding of an important minority group in our society, our work focuses on how individuals in committed relationships adapt to each other as they live out their lives together from the early years of their relationships through the present time. The voices are those of seventy-two individual partners in thirtysix committed, same-sex relationships that have lasted for more than fifteen years.

Our goal in writing the book is to sensitize people, regardless of their sexual orientations, to the world of lasting relationships of lesbian and gay couples. This book breaks new ground in exploring the development of relationships among couples about whom relatively little is known. It speaks to the need for seeing others clearly rather than through a stereotypical lens.

As social scientists we are committed to understanding the human condition in its many forms and shapes. Understanding without judg-

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