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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Simon Forrest

Forrest, Simon. (2010). Young men in love: the (re)making of heterosexual masculinities through ‘‘serious’’ relationships. Sexual and relationship therapy 25(2): 206-218.

Author(s) from Durham


In this paper I examine how young men’s experience of what they termed
‘‘serious’’ relationships are contexts in which they were engaged in the processes of exploring and, in some important ways, remaking their masculine identities. I refer to data drawn from in-depth interviews with eight middle-class, white young men who are reaching the end of their studies in a Scottish secondary school and planning to enter higher education. I identify and explore aspects of the intimate relationship in which these young men contest culturally patterned
discourses of gender difference and show how, in trying to resolve these
differences, their sense of masculine identities is altered. I suggest that familiar gendered differences – relating to the ways that sex and love, commitment and independence and emotional expressiveness are linked to heterosexual masculinity and femininity – are three of the distinct fields of which these young men are aware and via which they engage in ‘‘gender’’ work. I argue that how
this work is done, the resources employed and the meanings that are generated are independent on specific local and temporal realities of these young men lives.