Date of Award

2000

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Social Sciences Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

Abstract

The issue of undisclosed sexual duality amongst outwardly heterosexual men is virtually silent within mainstream western discourses. However, there is evidence that it is a widespread practice and one which is common knowledge amongst workers in related areas such as HIV prevention. When women become aware that their male partner is homosexually active, they may be extremely traumatised, hurt, confused, angry and ashamed. Many are too ashamed to disclose the truth about their partner to friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances. Some women want to talk about their experience but can find nobody willing to listen, or able to understand. Women partners of men who have sex with men can experience social and emotional isolation, frequently resulting in loss of self-esteem and depression. This research aimed to provide the opportunity for some women to share their stories with each other and to identify their needs, both met and unmet. Using feminist principles, the voices of the women who participated are loudly heard m this report and their subjectivities are validated and respected. Cultural context shapes each woman's experience of her male partner's homosexual behaviour. Her understandings of sexualities, her expectations of relationships, and her perception of femininity and masculinity, together determine her needs and influence her responses. The impact of these complex social constructions is explored in this research project.

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