Between Mainstream and Marginality: The Case of Men and Women of Mixed-Orientation Relationships

Adir Adler, Adital Ben-Ari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The literature regarding mixed-orientation relationships (MORs) focuses on individual and relationship aspects. Our study, informed by the social construction of reality theory, illuminates social aspects by examining social attitudes toward MORs as they are experienced and perceived by individuals of MOR. Within the scope of this study, we focused on self-identified non-straight men (gays, bisexuals, or men who have sex with men) who are in a relationship with self-identified straight women. Based on the phenomenological paradigm, we conducted 38 interviews with men and eight with women currently in MOR. The findings show that individuals of MOR primarily encounter negative attitudes from people in society regarding themselves and the nature of their relationship. Participants perceived that others viewed their relationships in terms of conflict, impossibility, or transitional stage. Social attitudes individuals of MOR encounter affect the degree of closeness of these couples to others in their social environment, resulting in constant tension between the participants’ desire to be open to and close to others and the need to conceal and keep a distance. We argue that the dialectical tensions between disclosure-concealment and autonomy-closeness are related to the marginalization of these couples as a social category.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1813-1832
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • LGBT families
  • Mixed-orientation relationship (MOR)
  • bisexuality
  • mixed-orientation marriage
  • non-monogamous relationships
  • qualitative research
  • social construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • General Psychology


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