"I'd be just as happy with a cup of tea": Women's accounts of sex and affection in long-term heterosexual relationships
Hayfield, N. and Clarke, V. (2012) "I'd be just as happy with a cup of tea": Women's accounts of sex and affection in long-term heterosexual relationships. Women's Studies International Forum, 35 (2). pp. 67-74. ISSN 0277-5395
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wsif.2012.01.003
This article reports a feminist analysis of interview data with 10 British women, in which they discuss sex and affection in their heterosexual relationships. We explore the popular cultural notion that women lack sexual desire and are more concerned with love and affection. Feminist research has highlighted how in mainstream cultural discourses, men’s sexuality has been positioned as superior to women’s. Women’s (lack of) desire is viewed as problematic and men’s (active) ‘need’ for sex contrasts sharply with the construction of women as (passive) recipients of men’s desire. The women in this research reported a lack of sexual desire, but positioned themselves as wanting to want sex, or ‘desiring desire’. They expected penis-in-vagina intercourse to be an inherent part of (hetero)sex, and some participated in unwanted (consensual) sex in order to satisfy what they perceived as men’s inherent ‘need’ for sex. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for feminist research and practice.
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