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Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love…

Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Lisa M. Diamond (Author)

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1713102,498 (3.85)2
Title:Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire
Authors:Lisa M. Diamond (Author)
Info:Harvard University Press (2008), 352 pages
Collections:Your library

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Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire by Lisa M. Diamond (2008)



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I found this book boring. It was really quite repetative and the author had the annoying habit of throwing in exclamation marks all over the place. I expected a greater emphasis on the actual subjects of the study but there were only a smattering of interview transcripts. The whole thing can be summed up simply. Based on the women the author interviewed over ten years, they showed variation in their sexuality over time. I had a problem with the subset of women in the study. The author appeared to choose them because they were close to her and easy to get to. I think if this study was repeated today making use of the internet for communication, it would bear more fruit. ( )
  KatiaMDavis | Dec 19, 2017 |
I enjoyed this book when I first read it, but in retrospect, coming from a place in my life where I'm far more aware and critical of compulsory heterosexuality, I find the lack of discussion of social pressures on women to be be "fluid" — i.e, involved with men — to be highly suspect. Diamond's analysis positions itself as rejecting traditional models of sexual orientation and desire, but, ultimately, it reinforces heterosexuality, which falls far from the challenge of social expectations about women's desire.
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
Starting in the mid-1990s, Diamond, a professor of Psychology and Gender Studies at the University of Utah, conducted a longitudinal study that tracked sexual attitudes among a cohort of non-heterosexual identified women from their late teens into their early thirties. From this work Diamond concluded that while a model of sexual orientation in which a person is unswervingly straight or gay may be appropriate for men, it is too rigid for women. Over the course of a few years, a typical woman in Diamond's study might move from being attracted to other women to being attracted to men, or vice versa, with the nature of the attraction dependent on an individual's circumstances and partner in ways that often rendered simple straight/lesiban/bisexual categorizations too coarse to be informative. This fluidity is not a matter of dilettantish sexual experimentation or repressed lesbianism in the face of homophobia. (Nor, contrary to the wishes of religious traditionalists, does it mean that sexuality is a conscious lifestyle choice that can be reset by bullying therapy.) Instead, Diamond contends, it is a natural course of many women's development which has been overlooked by both the general public and researchers into human sexuality.

Sexual Fluidity mixes a discussion of Diamond's statistical results and anecdotes about the women she studied, along with theoretical taxonomies of female attraction styles and speculation on why women would be more fluid than men. It is academically rigorous but still pitched at a lay audience. It's a credit to her work that you come away wishing that Diamond could broaden her research to older women, straight-identified women, and men. The only shortcoming is that the book presents all its quantitative data in prose, which can be difficult to follow. Presumably people who really care about the statistics can look up Diamond's journal articles, but a few bar charts would have still gone a long way.

All in all, Diamond's findings are not surprising to anyone young enough to have been dating women since the 1990s. (I'm one of those people—I discovered this book because an old girlfriend was one of Diamond's subjects—and the descriptions of sexual fluidity so neatly fit almost every woman I've been involved with I found myself getting surprisingly sentimental over what is basically a dry research precis.) Still, it's nice to see one's informal impressions in print with research to back them up. Sexual Fluidity is both a compelling study of women's sexual nature and an interesting snapshot of society's evolving attitude towards the same. ( )
  billmcn | May 19, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0674032268, Paperback)

Is love “blind” when it comes to gender? For women, it just might be. This unsettling and original book offers a radical new understanding of the context-dependent nature of female sexuality. Lisa M. Diamond argues that for some women, love and desire are not rigidly heterosexual or homosexual but fluid, changing as women move through the stages of life, various social groups, and, most important, different love relationships.

This perspective clashes with traditional views of sexual orientation as a stable and fixed trait. But that view is based on research conducted almost entirely on men. Diamond is the first to study a large group of women over time. She has tracked one hundred women for more than ten years as they have emerged from adolescence into adulthood. She summarizes their experiences and reviews research ranging from the psychology of love to the biology of sex differences. Sexual Fluidity offers moving first-person accounts of women falling in and out of love with men or women at different times in their lives. For some, gender becomes irrelevant: “I fall in love with the person, not the gender,” say some respondents.

Sexual Fluidity offers a new understanding of women’s sexuality—and of the central importance of love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:34 -0400)

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"Sexual fluidity offers moving first-person accounts of women falling in and out of love with men or women at different times in their lives. For some, gender becomes irrelevant: "I fall in love with the person, not the gender." they say." From the bookjacket.… (more)

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