Sexual Lives

Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life book series (PSFL)


When I began to explore the role of technologies in home life through my ethnographic study, I repeatedly found myself engaged with participants’ sexual stories. I did not seek these; they were just part of people’s lives and were embedded in their life histories and everyday businesses. This was perhaps a consequence of the method used because I explored family life by drawing on biographical and observation analyses. Perhaps this is pertinent given that sexuality is also a ‘misrecognised’ field in the terms of Bourdieu (with Waquant, 1992), who speaks about practices of symbolic violence resting upon the invisibility of certain social issues. The lesbian families had sexual relationship stories explicitly woven into their accounts, including issues of insemination, transitions from heterosexual to homosexual partnerships or bringing up children in unconventional families. Often the stories of the lone parents, particularly in connection with the breaking up of a relationship, were woven around a painful episode involving a sexual liaison. Heterosexuals living in partnerships offered perhaps more subtle stories within takenfor-granted ‘normalised’ sexual lives. Yet, some stories revealed ways in which uncommon sexualities are encompassed in otherwise ordinary occurrences of contemporary family life. My sharpest eye was directed to the interplay of technologies with ordinary sexual practices.


Sexual Life Artificial Insemination Lone Parent Symbolic Violence Lesbian Family 
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Copyright information

© Elizabeth B. Silva 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Open UniversityUK

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