Finding love: Passion, intimacy, and commitment in the relationships of gay men

Jac Brown*, Oscar Modesto Ramirez, Carolyn Schniering

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper identifies the stages of gay male relationships through a qualitative analysis of the interviews of 12 gay men within the context of the Sternberg () three component model of love. Four stages were identified: Confrontation with sexuality: Preparing for intimacy, Exploration of Sexuality: Engaging with passion, Experimentation with Relationships: Uniting intimacy and passion, and Formation of Committed Relationships: Integrating passion, intimacy, and commitment. Confrontation with Sexuality was a necessary first step before forming intimate relationships, as it provided a context for the second stage of Exploration of Sexuality, where passion could be explored. Once sexuality had been explored, Experimentation with Relationships was the next stage which involved uniting passion with intimacy, often including a period of experimenting with the types of relationships that are usually explored much earlier for heterosexuals. Finally, the fourth stage of Formation of Committed Relationships was identified which involved the integration of passion, intimacy, and commitment. The therapeutic implications of these results are elaborated by an analysis of these stages in clinical cases.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)32-53
    Number of pages22
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


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