Sexual Renegades
: Bisexual and Plurisexual Experiences of Sexual Identity, Gender Identity, and Romantic Relationships

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Abstract

Plurisexuality is the sexual or romantic attraction to more than one gender. Plurisexuals are subject to significant social and institutional oppression due to biphobia. Most of these oppressions are due to the monosexist social structure, which suggests that it is more ‘correct’ or ‘appropriate’ to have a single-gender romantic or sexual attraction.
Plurisexuality is understudied and misunderstood within sexuality scholarship. Scholarship into plurisexuality often fails to adequately theorise the role of gender and the body in plurisexuality. Consequently, this thesis seeks to explore the research question “How do plurisexuals interpret, interact with, and experience identity, the body, and gender in their lives?”
Using a queer theoretical framework informed by understandings of gender and the body, this sociological thesis adopts a qualitative approach to answering this question. Semi-structured interviews, photo diaries, and a thematic analysis were used to explore 30 plurisexual people’s understandings of their sexual identity, gender identity, and relationship experiences.
This thesis argues that there is a chasm between plurisexual people’s lived experiences of desire and the dominant monosexist social ontology. This ontological chasm leads to plurisexuals becoming Sexual Renegades, divorced from the normative social order of sexuality and living outside the monosexist order. Although gender is less of a restriction in how participants approach dating, romance, and sex, gender remains critical to lived experiences. This Gender Ambivalence means that participants feel that gender is irrelevant and an empty routine in many regards. However, gender expression and gender roles are integral to maintaining social safety and ensuring participants do not face worse discrimination and oppression in their day-to-day life. This study makes a unique contribution to sexualities scholarship by incorporating plurisexual perspectives and thus redressing the currently monosexist academic landscape.
Date of Award12 May 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SponsorsEconomic & Social Research Council
SupervisorMaud M Perrier (Supervisor) & Therese O'Toole (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • bisexual
  • plurisexual
  • gender
  • desire
  • monosexism
  • trans
  • cis
  • non binary
  • biphobia

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