The Co-existence of Love and Desire: Experiences of Bisexual, Lesbian, and Heterosexual Women

Christine E. Leistner, Katherine R. Haus, Dani E. Rosenkrantz, Kristen P. Mark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent research has focused on the connection between romantic love and sexual desire from psychological, neurological, and sexual health perspectives. However, studies examining this connection are varied, often are limited to heterosexual reports and rarely include women’s lived experiences. Therefore, the current study aimed to examine perspectives on the link between romantic love and sexual desire from a sample of heterosexual, bisexual, and lesbian women. Interviews were conducted to assess perceptions of the connection between love and desire with 31 women (10 bisexual, 8 lesbian, and 13 heterosexual) from the United States ranging in age from 20 to 69 years old. Utilizing thematic analysis, interview transcripts were coded into themes. Four main themes were identified in which participants described the connection between love and desire as (1) separate experiences, (2) fueling one another, (3) intertwined experiences, and (4) love encompassing desire. The current study offers exploratory findings and supports future research incorporating diverse women’s perspectives in research on romantic love and sexual desire.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-547
Number of pages17
JournalSexuality and Culture
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Patty Brisben Foundation for Women’s Sexual Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

Keywords

  • Love
  • Sexual desire
  • Sexual orientation
  • Women

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