Same-Sex Romantic Relationships
on Our Radar Screen?
Ritch C. Savin-Williams
Same-sex relationships have been stigmatized or ignored by social scientists, perhaps because they violate the cultural imperative to procreate and because they depart from sex-role expectations. Yet, romantic relationships are at least as developmentally significant to an adolescent who is attracted to same-sex individuals as they are to an adolescent who is attracted to different-sex individuals. Diamond (chap. 4, this volume) notes, “The average sexual-minority youth spends far more time ruminating about love and romance than about suicide, hate crimes, or homelessness, and they have nowhere to turn with their concerns. ” When considering the multiple transitions that occur during adolescence for healthy development, love does not discriminate based on sexual orientation or the object of one's infatuation.
My task is to review how the present volume covers romantic relationships that include two adolescents of the same sex. A previous book on adolescent romantic relationships (Furman, Brown, & Feiring, 1999) integrates information about same-sex relationships in several chapters and includes a separate chapter discussing reasons investigators should be inclusive of sexual orientation issues. Given that most contributors in the present volume appear familiar with this collection and, therefore, the arguments about why same-sex romantic relationships ought not be ignored, and because several contributors are innovative thinkers, willing to set agendas, I anticipate that this volume will realize an inclusive approach to romantic relationships.