Life course perspectives on (bi)sexuality: Methodological tools to deprivilege current identities

Jones, Rebecca L. (2019). Life course perspectives on (bi)sexuality: Methodological tools to deprivilege current identities. Sexualities, 22(7-8) pp. 1071–1093.



Scholars of sexuality have known for many years that sexual identity claims do not map neatly on to sexual histories. However, many studies continue to use currently claimed sexual identities as the basis for data collection and analysis, which can erase this complexity, particularly in relation to bisexuality. This paper identifies four methodological techniques that help to operationalise theoretical sensitivity around the complex relationship between identities and histories. It does so by bringing together life course perspectives and two mixed methods datasets from older people with bisexual histories. Combining life course perspectives with these unusual datasets makes evident the particular way in which moment-in-time perspectives oversimplify sexuality and privilege monosexual identities. A life course approach thus helps to explain a long-standing puzzle in the study of sexuality: the relative under-claiming of bisexual identities compared to the prevalence of bisexual behaviours. Furthermore, it offers methodological tools that facilitate richer theorisations of sexuality more widely.

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