Gay and Lesbian Couples: Voices from Lasting Relationships

By Bernard A. O'Brien; Eileen F. Mackey et al. | Go to book overview

6
Intimacy

It's more and more a meshing of two spirits.

Relational intimacy was characterized by and nurtured through the mutual sense of communion between partners in the physical, emotional, and intellectual dimensions of their shared lives. Understood in this way, intimacy between partners changed as these relationships evolved from early to recent years. Psychological intimacy progressed over the years. Respondents talked about experiencing psychological intimacy when they were able to share their inner thoughts and feelings that were accepted, if not understood, by the partner. Sexual intimacy moved in a regressive direction, while the physical expression of affection, such as touching and hugging, remained constant from early through recent years. In this chapter, we explore the quality of sexual and psychological intimacy as well as the physical expression of affection.


SEXUAL INTIMACY

Sexual intimacy was defined as genital sexual relations. Genital sex was different from the physical expression of affection, such as hugging, and did not necessarily involve the same level of interpersonal

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Gay and Lesbian Couples: Voices from Lasting Relationships
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Roles 21
  • 3 - Relational Fit 43
  • 4 - Decision Making 67
  • 5 - Conflict 93
  • 6 - Intimacy 119
  • 7 - Social Supports 139
  • 8 - Relationships Are Relationships 157
  • Appendix A: Methodology 177
  • Appendix B: Interview Guide 181
  • Bibliography 187
  • Index 199
  • About the Authors 203
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