Bisexuals in relationships: uncoupling intimacy from ontology

Gustavson, M., 2009. Bisexuals in relationships: uncoupling intimacy from ontology. Journal of Bisexuality, 9(3), pp.407 – 429.
| Published | English
Gustavson, Malena
Department of Gender Studies
A dominant notion that homosexuality and heterosexuality give meaning to bisexuality already exists. But no one has explored the meaning that bisexuality might accrue with regard to monosexuality. Because bisexuals were never fully recognized within queer theory, the homosexual-heterosexual binary opposition continues to be the primary understanding of difference. Further, within queer theory, the idea of intimacy seems to be attributed to a gendered ontology, that is, the regulation of gender representation as the point of departure for understanding sexual identities. This circular understanding of gender as a reflection of intimacy is predicated on monosexual desires. Drawing on Clare Hemming's critical location of the bisexual middle ground, this article shifts the focus away from gender ontology, to argue for a theory of relationships that problemizes monogamy as a heterosexual norm (and indeed the idea of gay marriage as a way of normalizing bi- and homosexual desire in heterosexual terms). However, the idea that bisexuals are often seen as nonmonogamous is also questioned, as if there were any organizations of desire connected to a specific set of pleasures. This article is based on in-depth interviews with bisexual women in Sweden between 2000 and 2004 and also highlights the “partnership law” from 1995 and gender neutral marriage in 2009
gender ; queer theory ; bisexuality ; monogamy ; Sweden ; partnership ; poly ; women

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