An affective (re)balancing act? The liminal possibilities for heterosexual partners on MDMA

Anderson, Katie; Reavey, Paula and Boden, Zoë (2018). An affective (re)balancing act? The liminal possibilities for heterosexual partners on MDMA. In: Juvonen, Tuula and Kolehmainen, Marjo eds. Affective Inequalities in Intimate Relationships. Routledge, pp. 19–33.



This chapter explores how the different expectations for men and women might be seen to constitute an affective inequality, and the repercussions of this for heterosexual couples who take MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine or ‘ecstasy’). Qualitative data from ten couple interviews conducted as part of a doctoral thesis are drawn on. The chapter begins with a literature review exploring the intersection between relationships and MDMA use before outlining a practices approach to intimacy as what couples do (Gabb & Fink 2015; Jamieson 2005). A Deleuzian understanding of affective capacity (Deleuze 1988) helps to frame how affective expectations and patterns are reassembled within couples’ liminal MDMA experiences. A novel affective landscape is produced where men can more easily express how they feel and tune into their partner’s emotions. This is argued to enhance couples’ communication and intimacy, but this liminal space also allows men to raise questions about the desirability of this kind of discursive selfhood in everyday life.

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