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Meanings of Intimacy: A Comparison of Members of Heterosexual and Same‐Sex Couples

Meanings of Intimacy: A Comparison of Members of Heterosexual and Same‐Sex Couples Arguments for restricting access to legal marriage for same‐sex couples are commonly based in claims about differences between heterosexual and same‐sex couples regarding the social and psychological meaning of marriage. This mixed methods study examined meanings of intimacy and relational experience in a purposive North American sample of members of long‐term heterosexual and same‐sex couples (N = 150) in order to examine the validity of meaning‐based justifications for restricted access to legal marriage. Guided autobiographical techniques elicited narrative accounts of four significant events in participants’ relationships. Directed Content Analyses revealed no detectable differences between members of heterosexual and same‐sex couples in multiple qualitative and quantitative indicators of the meaning of intimacy. Members of same‐sex couples, however, evidenced experiences of stigmatization more frequently than heterosexuals. By integrating theoretical and methodological approaches across psychological and sociological traditions within a mixed methods study, the present findings usefully inform ongoing policy debates regarding the legalization of same‐sex marriage. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Analyses of Social Issues & Public Policy Wiley

Meanings of Intimacy: A Comparison of Members of Heterosexual and Same‐Sex Couples

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References (43)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2015 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
ISSN
1529-7489
eISSN
1530-2415
DOI
10.1111/asap.12072
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Arguments for restricting access to legal marriage for same‐sex couples are commonly based in claims about differences between heterosexual and same‐sex couples regarding the social and psychological meaning of marriage. This mixed methods study examined meanings of intimacy and relational experience in a purposive North American sample of members of long‐term heterosexual and same‐sex couples (N = 150) in order to examine the validity of meaning‐based justifications for restricted access to legal marriage. Guided autobiographical techniques elicited narrative accounts of four significant events in participants’ relationships. Directed Content Analyses revealed no detectable differences between members of heterosexual and same‐sex couples in multiple qualitative and quantitative indicators of the meaning of intimacy. Members of same‐sex couples, however, evidenced experiences of stigmatization more frequently than heterosexuals. By integrating theoretical and methodological approaches across psychological and sociological traditions within a mixed methods study, the present findings usefully inform ongoing policy debates regarding the legalization of same‐sex marriage.

Journal

Analyses of Social Issues & Public PolicyWiley

Published: Dec 1, 2015

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