Empirical Research and Developmental Theory

Florida International University

Question Description

Conduct your own research to identify at least one journal article that addresses sexual orientation. Select an article that you find especially relevant to you in your role as a social worker.

  • A summary of your findings regarding sexual orientation and its impact on life-span development, including findings from the resources and from the journal article(s) you selected during your research
  • An explanation of how you might apply your findings to social work practice

My journal selection:

Rose, S. M., & Zand, D. (2002). Lesbian dating and courtship from young adulthood to midlife. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 6(1), 85–109.Another

Another resource:

Rosario, M., Schrimshaw, E. W., & Hunter, J. (2011). Different patterns of sexual identity development over time: Implications for the psychological adjustment of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths. Journal of Sex Research, 48(1), 3–15.

Tags: gender roles race FRIENDSHIP School ethnicity friends 2000 men ADULT PHD director partners Respect however 2002 monday dating miami in turn wow Florida International University that is midlife other like intimate on average “Yes intimacy in fact Lesbian Dating and Courtship from Young Adulthood to Midlife Suzanna M. Rose Debra Zand SUMMARY. Lesbian dating and courtship were explored based on i and midlife age groups. Friendship was found to be the most widely used courtship script across all age groups followed by the sexually explicit and romance scripts with friendship and romance scripts being preferred. Unique aspects of lesbian dating cited by partici- pants included freedom from gender roles heightened intimacy/friend- ship the rapid pace of lesbian relationship development and the effects of prejudice. Friendship was found to be differentiated from romance by two main criteria: emotional intensity and sexual energy or co and those who reported assuming the feminine reactive role nevertheless rejected the traditional notion that Suzanna M. Rose is Professor of Psychology and Director of Women’s Studies at Florida International University. Debra Zand is Research Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology in 1997 from t where she began her research on lesbian relationships. Address correspondence to: Suzanna M. Rose Women’s Studies Center FL 33199 (E-mail: Reprinted from Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services Vol. 11 No. 2/3 pp. 77-104. © 2000 by The Haworth Press Inc. All rights reserved. [Haworth co-indexing entry note]: “Lesbian Dating and Courtship from Young Adulthood to Midlife.” Rose Suzanna M. and Debra Zand. Co-published simultaneously in Journal of Lesbian Studies (Harrington Park Press an imprint of The Haworth Press Inc.) Vol. 6 No. 1 pp. 85-109; and: Lesbian Love and Re- lationships (ed: Suzanna M. Rose) Harrington Park Press Inc. pp. 85-109. Single or multiple copies of this article are available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service [1-800-HAWORTH 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (EST). E-mail address:]. 85 86 LESBIAN LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS women should limit sexual contact. O midlife lesbians were more purposive in their dating and more free from gender roles. Specifically they were more concerned about the “attachment-worthiness” of a prospec- tive partner and were significantly more likely than young adults to view dat to proceed at a rapid pace to ask for a date and to initiate physical intimacy. [Article copies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail address: courtship relationship development sexual attraction INTRODUCTION The question “What will we be?” is one of the most exciting mysterious and confusing aspects of dating and courtship among lesbians. Will the rela- tionship that has just been initiated result in being lovers or friends or some combination? Moreover exactly how do lesbian relationships typi- cally get initiated? Is dating a clearly defined concept or is the establishment of contact usually more ambiguous in its intent? These questions are of consid- erable interest to lesbians. A great many advi Bechdel 1997; Eisenbach 1996; McDaniel 1995) but a lack of empirical evidence on the topic has en- sured that descriptions largely remain anecdotal or speculative. Our intent in the present resea how they defined les- bian dating and what was unique about it and how romantic relations versus friendship were solicited and developed. Also evaluated were the extent to which lesbians adopted gender roles when a qualitative post hoc analysis was conducted to determine whether developmental changes in views about courtship emerged among the three age groups o including young adult and midlife lesbians. Dating and Courtship Scripts Contemporary (heterosexual) courtship typically relies on dating as a way to initiate romantic rela 1988). Dating refers to informal in- Suzanna M. Rose and Debra Zand 87 teractions with no specific commitment or goal between two individuals with the 1992; Laws & Schwartz 1977). Although often the labels “dating” and “court- ship” are used interchangeably courtship is a term arising from an earlier era that refers to the system of searching for a mate with whom to make an emo- tional commitment and ente 1992). A graduated series of dates is considered the first step to a serious romance (Modell 1983). Once an exclusive pairing has been established a couple may enter into a more formal courtship phase. The extent to which lesbians follow patterns of heterosexual dating and courtship has not been lesbians who participated in research by Cini and Malafi (1991) and Klinkenberg and Rose (1994) were able to provide detailed de- scriptions of dating others declined to participate because they had gotten involved with a friend and never dated. Thus dating and courtship as they traditionally occur may not apply to lesbians. Three courtship scripts that have been used by Rose Zand and Cini (1993) to describe lesbian couple formation include a romance and sexu- ally explicit script. A script refers to a set of stereotypical actions defined by cultural norms that serve as a guide for what feelings an 1977; Ginsberg 1988). The lesbian ro- mance script depicts emotional intimacy and sexual attraction as being intertwined in two women’s attraction to each other. The but it appears that the dating phase for lesbians may be very short or that a more serious courtship may be preferred from the beginning. For instance Cini and Malafi (1991) found that by a fifth date respondents re- ported being both sexually and emotionally involved and tended to regard themselves as a couple. In the other two major patterns of le the friendship script and the sexually explicit script the components of emotional intimacy and sexual attraction hypothetically play out differently. Neither script requires dating for its initiation. The believed to be the most common courtship script among lesbians emphasizes emotional intimacy over sexual- ity. According to this script two women become friends fall in love and es- tablish a committed relationship with each other that may or may not be sexual as in the case of lesbian Boston marriages (e.g. Rothblum & Brehony 1993). In contrast the sexually explicit script primarily focuses on sexuality and at- traction; emotional intimacy is less important or may not even be present. In 88 L two women who are physically attracted to each other purposefully initiate sexual contact with no implied goal of future commitment. The most immediat and what script is most preferred? Related issues concern how lesbians define dating and whether lesbian dating has unique characteristics not associa the degree to which scripts may overlap may create ambiguity. The courtship scripts described above may not be as distinct in practice as in theory. T because it is often difficult for lesbians to know whether an informal interaction with another woman is a date or a non-roman- tic friendship overtur they later may tend to classify the interaction as a date/romance script; if not it may be seen as just getting together as friends. The motives of the two women involved also might differ with one assuming they are “just friends” and the other assuming it is a date. Or scripts might be blended with both friendship and romance as the goal. Lesbians place a high value on friendship and appear to act quickly to establish an intimate connection 1993). Two questions raised by script ambiguity that also were ex- plored in the present research concerned how lesbians distinguish friendship from r such as from friendship or dating to commitment. Gender Roles and Courtship The impact of gender roles on lesbian courtship also was investigated in t it was expected lesbians would use more indirect than direct means of communicating interest in a partner. Traditional gender roles prescribe that men lesbians may not have been socialized to initiate dating or courtship. This is perhaps one reason lesbians have been described as notoriously inactive DeLaria 1995; Sausser 1990). For instance Jacqueline Lapidus (1995) la- beled the non-initiating style of lesbian dating she practiced “procrasti-dating.” In addition although the direct initiation of contact in heterosexual interac- tions is traditionally the man’s prerogative research on nonverbal behavior in- dicates that women actually may do the choosing by signaling a partner to approach them using “proceptive behaviors moving close or touching (e.g. Perper & Weis 1987; Moore 1985). What is per- ceived as male choice may be the final step of a selection and artful so- Suzanna M. Rose and Debra Zand 89 licitation by the woman using eye contact positive facial expressions smiling laughing and light touch. Thus as women lesbians may be especially skilled at sending and interpreting nonverbal cues. Subsequently we predicted that lesbians would rely on nonverbal proceptive behaviors more than direct verbal approaches (e.g. asking for a date) to convey romantic interest. Second based on gender socialization we predicted that lesbians would prefer the friendship script over the romance or sexually explicit scripts. For instance the need for one woman to assume the traditional male role of initiator in dating relationships may be circumvented by the friendship script. Women al a pattern of interaction that is most compatible with the friend- ship script. Moreover the process of coming out occurs within the context of a friendship for many lesbians (e.g. Grammick 1984). Third although heterosexuals’ dating scripts have been shown to adhere strongly to gender roles particularly among experienced daters with men as- suming an active role and women a reactive one (Rose & Frieze 1989; 1993) lesbians were not expected to follow suit. When dating lesbians tend not to as- sign the active role to one person instead preferring to share the responsibility for orchestrating the date (Klinkenberg & Rose 1994). In other words lesbi- ans typically behave consistently with gender roles most do not adopt the male role. The prediction that few lesbians would adopt heterosexual roles was explored in the present research by asking partic asking for a date planning it picking her up performing courtly behaviors such as holding doors open paying for the date and initiating sexual contact) or a feminine role (i.e. waiting to be asked for a date and allowing or refusing sexual ad- vances). Previous heterosexual and lesbian dating experience also was as- sessed in order to test whether dating e it appears that an exploration of lesbian dating and courtship would be a fruitful place to begin the study of lesbian relationship initiation. In the the four issues raised above were investigated including: (a) what courtship scripts lesbians used and preferred; (b) how lesbians de- fined dating including what was unique about it; (c) how romantic relations were distinguished from friendship including how they are solicited and pro- gress; and (d) the extent to which lesbians adopted gender roles and how previ- ous dating experience affect courtship scripts might be quite ro- 90 LESBIAN LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS bust and show little variation over the life span. For example scripts for a first date among both young heterosexual adults in their 20s and lesbians and gay men in their 20s and 30s were found to be quite simila suggesting that compli- ance with cultural norms occurs across age and is particularly likely at the early stage of a relationship (Klinkenberg & Rose 1994; Rose & Frieze 1989; 1993). In contrast the little information we have about lesbians’ adult develop- ment suggests that notions of dating and courtship may be affected by age. Key developme 1995). Rose (1996) has suggested that lesbians entering their first relationship may be partic- ularly likely to adopt a friendship script because cul a same-sex attraction initially may be la- beled or encoded as friendship rather than attraction. In young adulthood les- bians also may lack opportunities to learn or apply other scripts due to confusion about their sexual identity lack of role models lack of same-age partners or fear of anti-lesbian violence from peers (Savin-Williams 1995). Even so many lesbians establish their first serious relationship in their 20s. Research on adult (30-39 years) and midlife (40-65) lesbians largely has been a which assumes that young adult courtship will be followed by lifelong monogamy. Although often not true for heterosexuals today this lin- earity may be even less applicable to lesbians for several reasons. First al- though many lesbians aspire to the cultural norm of establishing a lifelong monogamous relationship with a partner few achieve this during their early adulthood as is prescribed by traditional values. Instead there is a strong like- lihood that lesbians may have several episodes of same-sex dating and partnership in their lifetimes. Available research indicates that a majority of lesbians in their thirties have had at least one previous lesbian 1990). At midlife most lesbians in committed partnerships have had more than one previous significant relationship and a substantial pro- portion (33 to 43 percent) are 1991; Hall & Gregory 1991; Sang 1991). Second not all lesbians endorse the concept of lifelong monogamy. West (1996) has contended that a substantial proportion of lesbi- ans–about one in five–pra they are openly romanti- cally and/or sensually involved with more than one woman concurrently. Thus we expected to find that many lesbians would be actively dating and courting well beyond their 20s. By midlife (40-65) it is possible to speculate based on limited information that developmental changes in dating and courtship might occur in a few areas. Lesbians betwe 1995). Subsequently they may adhere less to gender roles. Because most lesbians work from economic necessity work continues to be a strong part of their identity. However lesbians persist in deeply valuing relationships all their lives often wanting more time at midlife to enjoy partners and per- sonal interests. Lesbian couples often follow a “best friend” model in their re- lationships that promotes equality (Rose & Roades 1987). Friends play a particularly strong role in the lives of both coupled and single lesbians. Les- bian friends around the same age often including ex-lovers constitute one of the greatest sources of support for a majority of midlife lesbians (Bradford & Ryan 1991). In addition for at least some midlife lesbians the idea that they would live “forever after” with one partner has been tempered by their experi- ence (Hall & Gregory 1991). Thus midlife lesbians may approach dating and courtship with more maturity. For instance they may have used more court- ship scripts developed clearer preferences for how and what kind of relation- ship they wish to establish be more skilled at interpreting or signaling romantic interest and be less affected by gender expectations. The pattern of adult development is affected further by social age norms his- torical effects and idiosyncratic transitions (Kimmel & Sang 1995). Lesbians who enter their first courtship today face an immensely improved social climate compared to those who came out decades ago. How these the multiplicity of influences on dating and courtship for lesbians across the life span makes developmental changes difficult to predict. Not enough our in- tent in the present research was to investigate how and why lesbians date with- out specifically focusing on developmental issues. However a qualitative post hoc analysis of lesbian dating was undertaken to determine whether develop- mental changes could be identified. To that end responses from 38 lesbians we interviewed were examined as a function of three age groups including young adults (20-29) adults (30-39) and midlife (40-65). In summary the research on lesbian dating and courtship presented here was intended to provide an exploratory descriptive analysis of lesbian relation- ship form how dating was defined how romantic relationships versus friendships were solicited and developed and what impact gender roles and previous experience had on dating. The impact of adult development on dating and courtship for lesbians at three stag SD = 10.5). All participants were recruited at lesbian and gay community events or through friendship networks in a large midwestern city. The group s 687 with a range of $5 000 to $58 000. Most lesbians (89%) currently were involved in a committed rela- tionship with another woman. The age groups represented by participants included adults (30-39 years; N = 12) and midlife adults (40-65 years; N = 13). The education and income of the sample are reported by age group in Ta- ble 1. Mean scores for the following number and length of previous romantic relation- ships length of current relationship and amount of lesbian and heterosexual dating experience. Analyses of variance indicated that adult and midlife lesbi- ans earned significantly more t income and other demographic information also was obtained. In addition participants were asked to evaluate the extent of their lesbian and heterosexual dating experiences on a five-point scale ranging from 1 = no experien participants rated the fre- quency with which they engaged in eight gender role behaviors (e.g. asks for date pays for activities) found by Rose and Frieze (1989) to be highly stereo- typed on first dates for heterosexuals (5-point scale 5 = occurs frequently). Procedure The second author interviewed all participants in their homes. Interviews took approximately 15 minutes to three hou F (2 27) = 4.36 p # .03. bAdult and midlife groups had been lesbians significantly longer 27) = 4.44 p # .03. cAdult and midlife groups had significantly longer previous relationship than younger adults F(2 35) = 3.09 p # .06. d5-point scale 5 = extensive experience Coding A coding system consisting of 48 categories was used to classify responses to the 12 open-ended questions. The categor lesbians had 3 to 4.6 previous romantic relationships in addition to their current relationship. Thus most had from 4 to 6 relationships as a basis 94 LESBIAN LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS for describing their courtship script usage. The use of courtship scri or sexually explicit script. About 29% of participants had used all three scripts 47% had used two and 29% had used only one. As predicted the results indicated that the friendship script was the most widely used. About 74% of lesbians reported having been friends with a woman on at least one occasion before becoming romantically involved with her. In comparison 55% had used the romance script and 63% had engaged in a sexually explicit script. An example of each script taken from participant transcripts is pre with half of the lesbians preferring the friendship script and half preferring the romance script across all age groups. None of the partic- ipants in despite the preva- lence of its use. The most used script generally proceeded according to the fol- lowing schema. A friendship was established between two women who highly valued the emotional intimacy of th Romance or Sexually Explicit Friendship Script We had known each other for nine years in total and we’ve been a couple for almost seven of those years. We had a really strong foundation as friends. We drank together and went to the movies togeth but neither one of us knew about the other’s lesbianism. (A 25-year-old les- bian) Romance Script We started out dating. It wasn’t like we had been fr she said she wanted to be more than friends. Then she was expecting me to spend more time with her. It was difficult because l had four kids and work but we found that time. I started to feel like [we were] a couple after about a month. It kind of reminds me of the old joke ”Friday night you go out you’re married and Tuesday you make the appointment with the therapist.” (A 42-year-old lesbian) Sexually Explicit Script I was out of town at the time. It was at a low point in “Go for it.” I thought “OK since you are in- sisting.” We had a great time. We essentially had a long weekend. After that I wasn’t inter- ested. (A 51-year-old lesbian) Suzanna M. Rose and Debra Zand 95 friendship before getting romantically involved varied. For some a friendship was developed first because one (or both) was unaware of her lesbianism. In other cases the women were aware of their sexual attraction but were constrained from acting on it because one was in a serious relationship with someone else. Al the finding that it was preferred by fewer (50%) suggests this script may have some drawbacks. One disadvantage that was mentioned by a number of lesb I’m going to find a love relationship and be attracted. That’s where it gets real cloudy. Once I embraced a lesbian identity it seems the people that I am best friends with wind up becoming a partner. Even so those who preferred the friendship script frequently did so because they believed it led to a more secure basis for a permanent commitment. The romanc the preferred courtship script of half of participants had two major characteristics including an emotional intensity and a con- scious sexual attraction between the two women. The pair often began by dating or flirting with each other occasionally by being fixed up on a blind date by a friend. The development of an intimate friendship often forged by long hours on the telephone or many lengthy one-on-one conversa- tions combined with a strong physical attraction quickly led to overt sexual contact. Being sexual enhanced the couple’s emotional bond. For many becoming sexual also served as a “marker” that signified they were a couple. One reason given for preferring the romance script was participants’ emo- and that usually is not the case. But [one night] she had this loung- ing appearance with her arms up behind her head in a kind of daring position “Come over here and kiss me. I dare you.” There was a playful energy between us as to which one of us was going to make the first move. So she had kind of set the stage for it and it was up to me to go ahead with it or not. So I did. It was fun! 96 LESBIAN LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS A second reason given for preferring a romance some of those who rejected the romance script specifically mentioned feeling uncomfortable with sexual play and seduction. Responses classified as fit most had initiated the relationship at bars (46%) followed by parties (13%) ads in lesbian/gay news- papers (8%) work settings (4%) and public places (4%). A typical script in- volved two women meeting being aware of a mutual sexual attraction acting on it and either parting ways immediately or after a relationship of relatively short duration (e.g. a few weeks or months). For instance one woman (age 25) indicated “On three different occasions I went into a bar got to know a few people there had drinks with a woman and went home with her. It was very casual. Just a convenient couple of weeks resulted. No long-term relation- ship.” Evaluations of the sexually expl ” a 30-year-old lesbian explained. “Before I knew it we had gotten in- volved and we hadn’t established any kind of friendship. That was a disaster. We had a relationship for a few turbulent months.” How positive out- comes including the development of a friendship or romantic relationship were cited by 58% of participants who had used this script for example: I was at a conference. I was involved in a lot of grassroots organizations in various cities and she is someone I met at a conference. Sh and there wasn’t any room for her with the party she was staying with. I said “We can fix this.” We went home and didn’t sleep all night. I heard from her several times after that. It then became more of a friend- ship. We lost most young adult and midlife lesbians had participated in several successful courtships. A majority had used the friendship script at least once but many also used the romance and sexually explicit scripts. How- ever lesbians were split about equally in their preference for friendship versus romance scripts whereas the sexually explicit script was not endorsed by any- one as a preferred script. These results show that lesbians are versatile in their use o as expected that issues concerning courtship are salient to lesbians throughout the life span. Suzanna M. Rose and Debra Zand 97 Lesbian Dating and Uniqueness Que ” indicating they had dated in the past were in the majority (63%). They defined dating as being a way to get to know another woman and have a good time or to explore the romantic or sexual unchaperoned male-female interaction with no specific commitment (Murstein 1974). One lesbian (age 23) described dating as “like what the traditional American teenager considers a date . . . I’ve had women call me up and say ” “to get to know someone before you have them in your apartment ” and “to pursue an interest in another woman in a social context.” One woman (age 23) offered the advice “I agree with a gay man friend of mine who says ‘The first two months that you go out with somebody you shouldn’t have any real deep conversations. You should just have fun.’ ” The second most common response to the question of whether lesbian dat- i endorsed by 24% of participants was to assert that courting rather than dating was the correct term to use. Midlife lesbians comprised the major- ity of participants in this group. Courting implied a more serious purpose than dat one 46-year-old woman indicated “I prefer [the term] ‘courting.’ ‘Dating’ is not a courting process. In my experience courting has always been [for the purpose of] getting to know the person for a potential lifetime commitment.” Another lesbian (age 60) said dating exists [among lesbians] but minimally . . . Unlike heterosexuals lesbians get seriously involved more immediately in- stead of having a trial or dating experience. That’s been my experience.” “There is dating but it is difficult dating ” explained another (age 41). “We [older lesbians] tend to get very territorial and I think that’s because there are so few of us. We’re like the dinosaurs–a dying breed.” The remaining 13% of participants distributed about equally across age groups said they had never dated and believed that dating did not exist among lesbians. These women had established all their romantic relationships via a fr ” indicated one lesbian (age 45). “I felt that I was going out with a friend and that we were building something greater than friendship.” “I don’t kn ” claimed another (age 29). 98 LESBIAN LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS “For me it has been kind of a mutual discovery process.” Similarly one (age 36) explained “It has always been more knowing someone and at some point becom- ing attracted to them and moving from there. The period of dating isn’t there.” The including freedom from gender roles heightened TABLE 3. Descriptions of What Is Unique About Lesbian Dating by Category of Response and Age Group Category of Response Not anything uniqu X2(2) = 9.99 p # .01. due to multiple responses. Suzanna M. Rose and Debra Zand 99 intimacy/friendship and the effects of prejudice. A fifth category was used to classify miscella- neous responses mentioned only once. The characteristics “freedom from gender roles” and “heightened inti- macy” sugges such as who initiates and pays were usually shared. The interaction also appeared to be less geared to- ward trying to impress the other person by spending money doing courtly be- haviors such as opening doors or worrying about appearance and more towards genuinely getting to know each other. Participants also pointed out that societal prejudice against lesbians placed limits on how ope 2 (2) = 9.99 p # .01. As one woman (age 41) explained “the shortness of it [is unique]. You immediately find yourself in a lot more serious relationship than what you might want.” Another (age 46) elabora “[Lesbians] get involved really quickly and then think of themselves as being in a relationship and not dating anymore. That means they live together; due to age and experience midlife lesbians may have different values and expectations for relationships. For instance they may be more clear about what they are looking for in a partner or be less willing to spend time in ca- sual interactions than younger lesbians. S they may go out with someone only if they feel there is a strong possibility for the relationship to de- velop. This interpretation is partially suppo ” to signify that their goal was to establish a long-term relationship. Alternatively midlife lesbians may have fewer available partners from which to choose. If so the resulting anxiety about finding a companion among those who desire one may cause them to escalate the course of the relationship. Two midlife lesb if they found one they would feel considerable pressure to pursue her. However more research would be re- quired to accurately explain why midlife lesbians saw the rapid pacing of lesbian relationships as unique more so than youn dating was viewed as an informal interaction with no goal of commitment across all age groups by a majority of lesbians most of whom had dated. However “courtship” and “friendship” were two alternatives to dating 100 LESBIAN LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS that were preferred by some. Lesbian dating was descri and quick to develop. Constraints on dating due to societal prejudice against lesbians also were noted. Midlife lesbians dif- fered from younger lesbi and (b) they were more likely to view lesbian relationships as proceeding at a fast pace. These findings indicate that midlife lesbians may approach d five lesbians (13%) maintained that there was no distinction between the two. They only became partners with friends and saw the sexual aspects of the used two main characteristics to discriminate between friendship and ro- mance. Of these 58 percent described friendships as being both less emotion- ally intense (for example “don’t invest as much emotional energy ” “less tension ” “talk about surface things”) and lacking in sexual energy or contact. Participants also indicated being more direct about their intentions (25%) and verbal declarations of love or commitment (37%) and living together or buying a house together (29%). On average it took six Suzanna M. Rose and Debra Zand 101 months for this change to occur with a range of two weeks to two years. Markers varied for many depending on the relationship for example: It’s been different with everybody. I’ve gone from knowing it’s leading that way because we became more serious and gradually spent more I realized we were a cou- ple when every plant that she owned was in my house. I woke up one morning and had a house full of green stuff and her. I th “Oh I guess she’s gonna stay.” (a 41-year-old) Lastly how lesbians convey and interpret sexual attraction is an interesting question given neither woman is likely to have been socialized to assume the initiator role. One current stereotype about lesbians is that they approach dat- i like sheep; that is they wait to be asked out and to be pursued sexually (Rose et al. 1993). Based on this stereotype we predicted that lesbians would tend not to favor a direct verbal approach. This prediction was supported for two categories of behavior including “asking for a date ” and “waiting to be asked for a date.” Relatively few lesbians indicated they had directly asked another woman for a date. (See Table 4.) In addition 50% indi- cated on the gender role measure that they “always” or “almost always” waited to be asked for a date. However contrary to expectation a majority of lesbians used direct verbal declarations to convey and read romantic interest (e.g. “tell her how I feel ” “proposition her sexually ” and “declare my affection”). This suggests that les- bians are far from shy in terms of signaling attraction. The second most fre- quently cited cat lesbians relied heavily on the nuances of touching TABLE 4. Percentage of Participants (N = 38) Citing Behaviors that Convey At- traction Behavior Ask for a date Direct statements Nonverbal cues Atten eye contact Sexual energy listening to partner intuition Draw attention to self indirectly No behavioral displays Used by Self 18 79 45 40 18 3 Used by Partner 16 74 66 42 13 8 Percentage Citing and maintaining eye contact to convey interest behaviors that were described in elegant detail by many participants. The finding in Table 4 that more lesbians depended on nonverbal signals to decip it may indicate simply that more lesbians are aware of the other woman’s behavior than their own in a romantic situation. Attentiveness to the partner such as “showing off” or “telling a mutual friend ” were cited by only a small percentage. An even smaller number insisted that they engaged in no behavioral displays of interest. One age difference w 2 (2) = 11.7 p < .005. Conversely older lesbians were more likely to have asked someone for a date. It is reasonable to speculate that as lesbians age they may move farther away from the traditional feminine role or they may become comfortable adopting either role depending on the occasion. These findings challenge the stereotype of lesbians as being passive wh I would let her know by letting my sexual energy be felt–to let it flow. [That means] I would be relaxed around her and be more myself which means that she is going to feel a sense of my sexuality as opposed to being around someone straight or a friend. I would be perceptive about her nonverbal language. She may make slight innuendoes. I can tel maybe with a little sexy edge to it. Her voice may drop. It is definitely not a nor- mal speaking tone. That is a sure indication of her attraction. [ how Suzanna M. Rose and Debra Zand 103 much I like the person her style as it meshes with mine. It depends on so many different things. The results concerning how romantic relationships progress suggest that lesb have developed markers for relationship transitions that are based pri- marily on sexual and emotional intimacy and are verbally and nonverbally ex- pressive about their attractions during courtship. Evidence that young lesbians are more tied to gender roles in p < .001); planned the date (r (31) = .36 p < .02); did courtly behaviors during the date such as buy- ing flowers giving compliments and holding doors open (r (33) = .43 p < .006); paid for the date (r (33) = .34 p < .023); and initiated physical intimacy on the date (r (32) = .35 p < .024). Thus it appeared that if a lesbian initiated a date she also assumed other aspects of the traditional male role. Conversely lesbians who waited to be asked for a date were significantly unlikely to pick up the date (r (34) = 2.39 p < .05); plan it (r (32) = 2.54 p < .01); do courtly behaviors (r (34) = 2.36 p < .05); or initiate physical intimacy (r (33) = 2.48 p < .01). However waiting to be asked for a date did not corre- late with ratings for the item “turned down physical intimacy ” a behavior that traditionally has been assigned to heterosexual women (e.g. Peplau Rubin & Hill 1977). What these findings suggest is that lesbians who assume the femi- nine reactive role in dating unlike heterosexual women do not play a restric- tive role in terms of limiting sexual contact. Previous research has demonstrated a relationship between dating experi- ence an with more experienced heterosexual daters engaging in more stereotypical behavior (Rose & Frieze 1989). The impact of lesbian and heterosexual experience on ratings of the eight gender role behaviors was ex- amined using analysis of variance to te those with ratings of 1 or 2 on a 5-point scale) and experienced ones (i.e. ratings of 4 or 5 on the scale). Experienced lesbian dat- ers were found to have initiated physical intimacy on their dates (M = 3.19) significantly m F (1 28) = 6.84 p < .02. Lesbian dating experience was not significantly related to other gender behaviors. Those with extensive heterosexual dating experience were f 30) = 5.83 p < .02; no other effects were found. Last the relationship between age and the “initiate physical intimacy” mea- sure was explored. Adult and midlife lesbians were found to be significantly mo respectively) than young adult lesbians (M = 1.82) 32) = 3.24 p < .05. In sum the findings concerning gender roles and dating experience suggest that lesbian dating experience enables women to freely initiate sexual interac- tio whereas heterosexual dating experience reinforces the role of the woman as the sexual “limit setter.” Thus it appears that the use of gender roles as practiced by lesbians does not dictate sexual interactions. Also as lesbians get older and have more lesbian dating experience they appear to become more comfortable with initiating sexual intimacy. Age and Courtship Research on adult development and romantic relationships has courtship has been rooted in the developmental phase of young heterosexual adulthood by most relationship researchers and developmental psychologists. only a few tentative predictions concerning courtship and age were advanced. Specifically midlife lesbians were expected to be less bound by gender roles to be more mature in terms of how they ap- proached courtship as expressed in terms of having more realistic expecta- tions and being aware of their own needs and to be more skilled at communicating or interpreting interpersonal attraction. The four significant results reported earlier provide support for th midlife lesbians undertake courtship with greater freedom from gender roles and with more maturity. Midlife lesbians were found to differ significantl perceiving lesbian dating as having the serious goal of commit- ment describing lesbian relationships as developing at a rapid pace and to be more likely to ask for a date and to initiate physical intimacy. Based on our re- view of each transcript as a whole we labeled the midlife lesbians as being Suzanna M. Rose and Debra Zand 105 more “purposive” in their attitudes and behaviors than the young adult or sexual gratification or other needs unrelated to what they considered now to be more important. As they aged they became more concerned about the “attachment-worthiness” of a partner; that is whether the necessary warmth and reciprocal liking necessary to sustain a rela- tionship was present before pursuing a sexual relationship. Once they judged these attributes to be they acted quickly. Thus their current behaviors seemed to be motivated by a more accurate assessment of their needs and greater experience concerning what will sustain a rela with the sexually explicit script having been widely practiced but not preferred. These results suggest that lesbians prefer courtship and relation- s as opposed to favoring sexual attraction over intimacy. Both increasing intimacy and sexuality were used to mark when a relationship was “going be- yo most were found to be quite direct in their verbal expressions of affection as well as very skilled in the use of proceptive non- verbal cues to signal attraction. Definitions of lesbian dating and uniqueness as well as the findings con- cerning gender roles illustrated that lesbians either rejected or modified con- temporary heterosexual practices. Freedom from gender roles contributed to an egalitarian a those who did rejected heterosexual notions of the woman as the sexual limit-setter. Age and lesbian dating experience also were found to be related t they do not necessarily reproduce heterosexual power rela- tions in terms of sexual behavior. Furthermore their courtships may be more sexually satisfying because satisfaction with sex has been shown to be linked to equality in initiating and refusing sex (Blumstein & Schwartz 1983). Courtship among older lesbians was found to differ from younger ones as a function of both maturity and historical change with midlife lesbians being more oriented toward establishing an emotional commitment being less tied to gender roles and expressing appreciation for greater societal tolerance of lesbians. However conclusions concerning adult development were limited by the small sample size and narrow scope of questions investigated. In addi- tion the relatively few age differences that were observed suggest that court- ship is a strong script in the sense that it is highly codified by cultural the results suggest that one interesting area for future research might focus specifically on retrospective evaluations of how courtship has changed o certain guidelines for therapists can be derived from the data which are consistent with five of the tenets of a feminist theory of psychological prac 1997). Remaining close to the “data of experience.” Any theory of lesbian relation- ship development must remain close to lesbians’ real-life experien participants discussed their relationship histories with candor. We sought meaning of their stories within the context of the relationships we develop and it was our hope to give an accurate voice to their stories. We acknowledge that neither their nor our understanding of relationships is static. Given a different setting or point in time participants’ stories may have varied and we may have drawn different con- clusions. We hope that therapists reading this article will learn as much from the process of our research as the and create understanding from both the “data of experience ” as well as from human connection. Embracing diversity. Historically little has been written about lesbians across the life span. The present research was intended to begin to close this gap in knowledge. Although the p their life experiences were quite diverse. It is Suzanna M. Rose and Debra Zand 107 likely that even more diverse stories may have been obtained using class or ability. We caution therapists to be mindful of the differences among lesbians and to em- brace diversity as a foundation for their practice. we viewed the women as active participants in defining their re- alities. The interview process was interactive and at no point did we view ourselves as the only or most important voice of knowledge. During the inter- views we witnessed participants derive new meanings from their relationships and give voice to experiences that previously had been unspoken. Throughout the we learned as much about ourselves as we did about participants. For example based on female socialization we anticipated that only a minority of lesbians would have participated in casual sexual encounters. Instead we found that many women had engaged in this script as well as reported as having learned a great deal about themselves in the process whereas others rejected the casual sex script entirely. Thus we recommend that clinicians acknowledge multiple subjectivities within the context of the therapeutic relationship. Reformulating understanding psych heterosexuals) at the center as “normal ” “right ” or “healthy.” The func- tioning of marginalized groups (e.g. lesbians) is viewed as being deficient by comparison. In terms of relationship development specifically contemporary heterosexual norms endorse lifelong monogamy as superior to other types of romantic pairings. If the dominant view of permanent pairings it may be helpful for the therapist to help her explore alternative paradigms for assessing her own behavior that are based more on lesbian experience 1997). In conclusion

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Sexual orientation
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Sexual orientation

The first article I read was based on non-verbal behavior and its relationship in courtship.
All findings in the research were documented after results were obtained using observation and
self-report methods. Lesbianism has become an issue of significant concern in the society. In many
communities, lesbianism is regarded as being immoral. It is against the norms of different cultures.
According to stereotypes, the man is considered as the head of the family and is expected to
perform the chores associated with masculinity. However, it has not yet been proved how female
counterparts end up having this type of relations and how they engage in courtship. Various
researchers have argued that nonverbal communication is a key aspect when it expression of love
comes to relationships. Courtship is a form of interaction whereby two partners who are mostly
men and female end up marrying. It involves an understanding of the different personalities of
each person. before engaging in any form of relationship the first step is developing a common
bond between the two parties. Non-verbal communication has been described as the key to any
It is important to note that the first behavior a person depicts speaks a lot about them. According
to research, there is a common relationship between the flirting...

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