Psychological Studies

, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 49–58 | Cite as

Subjectifying Construction: Situating Desire, Pleasure and Power in Heterosexual Relationships

  • Pankhuri ChandraEmail author
  • Anuradha Sharma
Research in Progress


This study attempts to understand the gender positions taken up by men and women with regard to desire, pleasure, and power in heterosexual relationships. This would require an insight into the developing sexual selves of the participants. Using the qualitative technique of discourse analysis, the focus was to cultivate an image of the sexual life of these young people such that one is able to see how the elements in the construction of their sexuality have coalesced resulting in the current positions. It became evident through an analysis of the narratives that women were very much aware of and exposed to the notions of desire and pleasure, and thought about their sexual nature and needs. They had no qualms in admitting and accepting the same. Among the men, it was seen that men were not uni-dimensional, single-minded and self-centred with regard to sex. Intimacy and emotionality were very much part of their sexual repertoire. With regard to the construct of power, it is evident from the narratives that there is a power dynamic at play where sexual experience could become a function of a feeling of superiority in heterosexual relationships. A power dynamic appears to exist between the forces of self and society as well and seems to be skewed in the favour of men. Thus, the focus here has not been to complete the jigsaw but to understand how these pieces have come to be a part of this puzzle, being completely aware that the results would only be an entry point into understanding how these complex structures develop.


Subjectivity Gender Sexuality Desire Pleasure Power 


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Copyright information

© National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Amity Institute of Psychology and Allied StudiesAmity University, NoidaNoidaIndia

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