Misrecognition and managing marginalisation: Bisexual people’s experiences of bisexuality and relationships

Hayfield, Nikki; Campbell, Christine and Reed, Elizabeth. 2018. Misrecognition and managing marginalisation: Bisexual people’s experiences of bisexuality and relationships. Psychology and Sexuality, 9(3), pp. 221-236. ISSN 1941-9899 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Many negative portrayals of bisexuality within Western culture relate to relationships, yet only a small body of research has explored bisexual people’s experiences of their bisexual identity within their partner relationships, particularly within the wider cultural context of binegativity. Twenty qualitative interviews were conducted with bisexual men, women, trans, and genderqueer/non-binary people in relationships. Participants were based in the United Kingdom and ranged from eighteen to forty years old. We conducted a thematic analysis of the data and identified two key themes: The case of the disappearing bisexual: Invisible identities and unintelligible bisexual relationships and That’s not my bisexuality and not my bisexual relationship: Defending self, relationships, and partners against bisexual negativity. In the first theme we report how bisexual identity was understood by participants as largely invisible, particularly when they were in relationships, and discuss how the notion of a “bisexual relationship” was seemingly unintelligible. In the second theme, we discuss how participants engaged in identity and relationship work to defend themselves and their partners against binegativity in order to protect their bisexual identity, their partners, and their relationships. These results contribute novel findings to our understandings of how bisexual people experience and manage their identities and relationships within the wider context of binegativity. We conclude with a discussion of the importance and implications of our findings.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Psychology & Sexuaity, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/19419899.2018.1470106


Biphobia; Bisexual relationships; Identity work; Invisibility; Partner relationships; Relationship work; Romantic relationships

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25 April 2018Accepted
14 May 2018Published Online

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Date Deposited:

27 Apr 2018 09:12

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:45

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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