[ONLINE] University of Aveiro, Portugal

October 21, 22 and 23 2020

Sexual Fluidity and Masculinities: Intersections, Discourses, and Practices

Rita Grave
António Manuel Marques
Conceição Nogueira

Sexuality is a complex facet of human experience, influenced by several factors and expressed in multiple forms. Sexual fluidity, defined as the capacity to change sexual attractions, depending on changes in situational, contextual, or relational conditions, illustrates the complexity of human sexuality and presents the variability of sexual categories. Sexual fluidity was introduced into the scientific literature by Lisa Diamond in a study involving exclusively women who, alongside other contemporary investigations, contemplate this concept with apparent greater potential for exclusively female experiences. The theory of sexual fluidity emerges in a universe of gender norms, thus building social expectations about the most appropriate manifestations for subjects whose genderization derives from institutions and social practices in several domains including sexual. Therefore, the category expected for the universe of hegemonic masculinities is “dominant” and might bound male sexual diversity. Raewyn Connell presents hegemonic masculinity as a constant form of surveillance and control of masculine conduct, systematic verification, and validation of masculinities according to heteronormativity, competition, aggressiveness, restricted emotionality, and avoidance of everything that is considered feminine, therefore likely to limit men’s sexual diversity. Taking into account the context in which the theory of sexual fluidity emerges and taking into account the scarcity of literature on male sexual fluidity, as well as the gender bias that follows the developments around sexual fluidity, this study aims to understand the dynamics of male sexual fluidity, accessing men’s narratives about fluid sexual experiences and, consequently, to understand the dynamics of sexual fluidity in relation to hegemonic masculinity. Semi-structured interviews were carried out throughout 2019, with an average duration of 2 hours, to 16 participants aged between 21 and 53 years old who claimed to have experiences of sexual fluidity. We accessed a set of narratives about male sexual practices with fluid experiences, in an implicit intersection with masculinities. Thematic analysis is being carried out, so the following thematic clusters stand out from the expected results: Experiences make sexuality; From coming out to coming in; The limbo of sexualities; Quantity vs. quality; and finally The categorically sexual disidentifications. This work reiterates the diversity of sexuality, a concept and an intricate phenomenon imbued with social construction, and reinforces the multiplicity of sexuality that is definitely not rigidly determined but potentially monitored and controlled by gender institutions.

Keywords: sexual fluidity, sexualities, genders, hegemonic masculinity.