The queer joys of sexless marriage: coupled citizenship’s hot bed!

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A “sexless marriage” seems a most joyless and banal union to many, old as matrimony itself. Yet the new sexless marriage championed in this paper does not concern cold-bedded companionships, but the legal union of two citizens whose sexed bodies remain unspecified, unsignified and unimportant … in legislation (their importance in bed is left to participating citizens to determine). This article consider sthe recent changes to marriage legislation in European countries through the frame of Queer Theory. It particularly reflects on the introduction of the sexless marriage in Norway and Sweden, in the context of other models. It applies Judith Butler’s notions of gender performativity to the policisation of partnerships, applying her concepts of Overplay, Transference and Erasure in the disruption of the heterosexual matrix within coupled citizenship. It considers the varying value of marriage models to Queer projects in “opening up” citizenship, offering new perspectives on “gay marriage”debates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • marriage
  • policy
  • legislation
  • queer
  • sex
  • sexual citizenship


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