Tag Archives: Intimate relationship

Research Evidence: Same – Sex Partners Happier than Straight Ones.

Research shows that gay relationships are “happier and more positive” than straight ones.

The popular perception that gay relationships don’t last is not surprising, but it’s a myth. We all know that same – sex relationships face difficulties not encountered by our opposite – sex counterparts, arising from some measure of public disapproval, hostility or active discrimination or even violence, and from the greater difficulties in arranging the emotional and legal support of family and community in marriage ceremonies and contracts. So the misperception that our relationships are fragile, and the companion allegation often heard from our opponents that gay men are doomed to unhappiness, is not surprising – but is contradicted by the evidence.

The latest study to show this result comes from the UK Open University, widely reported this week in the British press. This research, based on a survey of 5000 people, including in-depth follow – up interviews with 50 of the participants, examined much more than just the sexuality of the couples, which explains the headline of the report in the Independent:

The key to a happy relationship? Be gay. Or childless. Or make tea

Joe and  Will

Gay couples are likely to be happier and more positive about their relationships than heterosexuals, according to a major study by the Open University published today

However, they are less likely to be openly affectionate towards each other – holding hands in public, for instance – because they still fear attracting disapproval.

The study of 5,000 people – 50 of whom were later followed up with in-depth interviews – aimed at finding out how modern couples keep their relationships on track through life’s difficulties.

It found that simple things – like making a cup of tea in the morning and taking it up to them in bed – were the most treasured by couples as examples of intimacy rather than more dramatic gestures such as declaring “I love you”.

It was on the relative happiness of people within different types of relationships that the survey threw up the most interesting insights into modern day life, however.

“LGBQ participants (lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer) are more generally positive about and happier with the quality of their relationship and the relationship which they have with their partner” the research concludes.

“Heterosexual parents are the group least likely to be there for each other, to make ‘couple time’, to pursue shared interests, to say ‘I love you’ and to talk openly to one another.”

Independent

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Hildegard of Bingen, Doctor of the Church

With the news that Hildegard of Bingen is one of the two people that Benedict has just named as doctors of the church, I repost below a portion of my earlier post on her:

Hildegard’s name is one to be reckoned with. Although today we usually use the term “Renaissance Man” to indicate one with a wide range of learning to his credit, perhaps we should also recognize in a similar way some extraordinary medieval women -such as Hildegard, and others who entered convents and applied themselves with distinction to learning over many fields.

Even in some distinguished company, Hildegard stands out. Her music is highly regarded, as are her literary output and her mystical writings – which of course is what makes her particularly honoured inside the church. To round out her skills, she was also recognized as a notable poet, artist, healer and scientist.  What makes her of particular interest at this site, is that she also had an intense attachment to a fellow nun, Richardis, who may have inspired some of her finest writing.

I have known a little (very little) about Hildegard for some time, and have come across suggestions of her possible lesbianism, but have not had enough knowledge to write about her myself. I was delighted then to find that my colleague Kittredge Cherry has done some digging, and produced a wonderful extended post on this great woman.

 We need to be careful though not to confuse this undoubted emotional attachment with a sexual relationship. The medieval church sanctioned and publicly approved many particular friendships between monks, and between nuns. These were not necessarily sexual. Although some undoubtedly were, others equally certainly were fully celibate. Indeed, there is much of value to reflect on in this connection, of relevance to modern gay men and lesbians.

Kittredge Cherry, in the the post I took as my starting point, stated that “Some say she was a lesbian because of her strong emotional attachment to women”. Sexuality, and its expression as emotional or sexual attachments, are two distinct issues. In modern terms, it is perfectly possible to be both gay and celibate (as a notable proportion of Catholic priests are), just as it is possible to be heterosexual in orientation, but celibate.

There is a problem here in the use of the word “lesbian”, a word, like “gay”, which perhaps has inappropriate connotations when applied to earlier historical periods. However, what Kittredge has drawn attention to, and that I see as important, is the undeniable evidence of a powerful emotional (not sexual) attachment to women – and to one in particular.

With her newly elevated status, which draws attention to the enormous but neglected contributions of so many influential women, we also need to take another look at her specifically religious contribution. Sadly, I am unable to do this today – but will return to it later.

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