Whose Orgasm is this Anyway? ‘Sex Work’ in Long-term Heterosexual Couple Relationships

Part of the Explorations in Sociology book series (EIS)


The growing instability of heterosexual couple relationships has deep roots in socio-economic change. Yet it also stems from the increased media emphasis on ‘the pure relationship’ as the ultimate source of emotional and sexual fulfilment: according to Giddens, pressures from women for ‘the transformation of intimacy’ clash with men’s dominative sexuality and fear of intimate emotion (Giddens, 1992); and Rubin identifies deep contradictions in the search for self-fulfilment through another person:

we are left [by media images] with an extraordinarily heightened set of expectations about the possibilities in human relationships that lives side by side with disillusion that, for many, borders on despair. (Rubin, 1991, p. 160)


Brick Wall Sexual Difficulty Emotion Work Sexual Feeling Intimate Emotion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© British Sociological Association 1996

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