Emotional Intimacy Among Coupled Heterosexual and Gay/Bisexual Croatian Men: Assessing the Role of Minority Stress.

Research paper by Sandra S Šević, Iva I Ivanković, Aleksandar A Štulhofer

Indexed on: 28 May '15Published on: 28 May '15Published in: Archives of Sexual Behavior


Emotional intimacy cuts across contexts as diverse as sexual motivation and satisfaction, psychological and physical health, and relational well-being. Although the experience of intimacy and its effects on sex life may be gender and sexual orientation-specific, the role of intimacy in personal and sexual relationships has been studied mostly among heterosexual individuals and couples. Using the minority stress framework (Meyer, 2003) to address this gap in knowledge, the present study comparatively explored levels and predictors/correlates of emotional intimacy, and its association with sexual satisfaction among coupled heterosexual and gay/bisexual men sampled online in a predominantly homonegative country (Croatia). Heterosexual participants (n = 860; M age = 36.4, SD = 9.09) were recruited in 2011 and gay/bisexual participants (n = 250; M age = 29.4, SD = 7.13) in 2013. Controlling for age and relationship duration, gay/bisexual men reported higher levels of emotional intimacy than heterosexual men. Suggesting that the role of emotional intimacy in sexual satisfaction is not sexual orientation-specific, the strength of the association between these two constructs was similar in both samples. However, internalized homonegativity, which was negatively associated with emotional intimacy in this study, remains a challenge to creating and maintaining intimacy in male same-sex relationships.