"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 Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/16536

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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.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Women's Studies International Forum. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Women's Studies International Forum, 35, 2,(2012) DOI: 10.1016/j.wsif.2012.01.003
Uncontrolled Keywords:coital imperative, sexual desire, (hetero)sex, heterosexuality, sexuality research, thematic analysis
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences > Department of Health and Social Sciences
ID Code:16536
Deposited By: Dr V. Clarke
Deposited On:20 Feb 2012 13:49
Last Modified:22 Jun 2016 18:01

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