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Women in Relationships with Bisexual Men

Bi Men By Women

Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli

Framed by a comprehensive review of international research, literature, and film, this book is an intimate journey into the experiences and insights of 79 Australian women in relationships with bisexual men. It takes us into the daily lives, sexual intimacies, and families of MOREs (mixed-orientation relationships) that span the gamut from extremely oppressive experiences with bi-misogynist men to extremely liberating with bi-profeminist men. Aged 19 to 65, the women are in monogamous, open, and polyamorous relationships with bisexual-identifying and/or bisexual-behaving men. The women themselves are bisexual, lesbian, heterosexual, while others refuse to categorize their own sexualities. The book addresses the discovery or disclosure of the man's bisexuality, how the relationships work and where they flounder, how the partners negotiate and establish 'new rules' and boundaries to maintain their relationship, and the impact of class, rural/urban setting, ethnicity, indigeneity, race, religion, and education on these relationships.

But this book isn’t only about MOREs. The research, revelations and reflections in this book tell us much about current and shifting global constructions and understandings of intimate relationships, sexual desires and love, and the socio-cultural representations and labeling of genders and sexualities.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 552Size: 6 3/8 x 9 1/2
978-0-7391-3457-3 • Hardback • March 2016 • $130.00 • (£85.00)
978-0-7391-3459-7 • eBook • March 2016 • $123.00 • (£80.00)
Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli is senior lecturer in the School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University and a founding member of the Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council Inc. (AGMC).
Part One: Introduction
Chapter One: “Outside Belonging”: An Introduction to the Women, their Men, and the Research
Chapter Two: “Border Women and Their Border Men”: Some Theories, Definitions, and Debates Framing the Research
Chapter Three: “You know, the old Kinsey scale”: Women Talk about their Partners’ Bisexualities
Chapter Four: “I Have A Sexuality Too”: Women Discussing their Own Sexualities

Part Two: The Journeys
Chapter Five: “Starting Out Knowing”: Negotiating the Beginning of the Relationship
Chapter Six: “Changing Course Midstream”: From Closet to Confrontation
Chapter Seven: “We’ve Arrived Where We Started and Know the Place for the First Time”: Women Reflecting on ‘Staying the Course’ or ‘Splitting Up’

Part Three: Mapping the Landscape
Chapter Eight: “New Rules, No Rules, Old Rules or Our Rules”: Women Designing MOREs with their Partners
Chapter Nine: “The Problem Is That He’s A Man, Not That He’s Bisexual”: Women Discussing Masculinity, Misogyny, Privilege, and Power
Chapter Ten: “What Do We Tell The Kids?”: Women Talk about Bisexual Fathers
Chapter Eleven: “Spreading Disease With the Greatest of Ease”: Negotiating Sexual Health Issues

Part Four: Borderdwelling as Outsiders Belonging
Chapter Twelve: “Minute by Minute Maneuvering”: Navigating the Heteroworld
Chapter Thirteen: “Ewww, girl germs”: Women’s Experiences and Perceptions of Homonormativity
Chapter 14: “The Priest Told Him to Marry Me and He’d Go Straight”: Bordering Religion and Spirituality in MOREs
Chapter Fifteen: “It’s A Matter of Family Honor and Shame”: Negotiating Ethnic Identity and Community Codes
Chapter Sixteen: “When Your Relationship Isn’t Recognized by Relationship Services”: Misrepresentations and Erasures in Health Services

Part Five: Not Just Belonging but Blooming in the Borderlands
Chapter Seventeen: “A door that hasn’t been opened”: Women’s Final Words for Future Women
Pallotta-Chiarolli identifies a number of reasons that prompted her to undertake the research for this book: she was interested in understanding how relationships between women of various sexualities and bisexual men succeed or fail; how relations with other individuals and groups are negotiated; and what it is like to be a woman in a relationship with a bisexual man. From a broader perspective, she also wanted insight into what such dyads reveal about intimate relationships in the early part of the 21st century. The author's numerous goals have resulted in a thorough and, at times, thoroughly daunting book of over 500 pages (including references) that might be aptly titled 'Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Women in Relationships with Bisexual Men.' The information presented comes from a variety of theoretical paradigms as well as from the author's and other experts' research. The 'narratives, vignettes, and voices' provided by the snowball sample of 78 female respondents provide deep insight into their relationships. For many, the opportunity to speak openly about their non-traditional relationships was cathartic. For readers, the informants' candor is one of the book's main strengths. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.

Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli’s new book, Women in Relationship with Bisexual Men: Bi Men By Women, co-researched with Sara Lubowitz, provides a helpful and descriptive context to understand the specific situations bisexual men negotiate in their lives, particularly in their relationships with women. . . .This book is a great contribution to exploring [bi men's] relationships with women, from the women’s points of view and to framing multiorientation relationships.
Journal of Bisexuality

Women in Relationships with Bisexual Men: Bi Men By Women is the first book I have read for women covering the wide range of male sexual fluidity in a thorough and comprehensive way. It is an excellent resource for debunking the myths of binary sexual orientation. It is well researched and helps to remove the stigma for these women and for these couples who choose to stay together. I hope this begins to end the isolation these women and couples face.
Joe Kort, PhD, LMSW, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist & Supervisor of Sex Therapy; author of Is My Husband Gay, Straight or Bi: A Guide for Women Concerned About Their Men

Women in Relationships with Bisexual Men: Bi Men By Women examines mixed-orientation relationships with bi men and the women who love them. Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli is one our most esteemed, accomplished bisexuality scholars and her thoughtful, comprehensive look at these relationships brings these women's perspectives in focus, not only incorporating contemporary research and scholarship but also bringing to light their unique voices and views.
Ron J. Suresha, editor, Bi Men: Coming Out and Bisexual Perspectives on the Life and Work of Alfred C. Kinsey

Women in Relationships with Bisexual Men: Bi Men By Women is yet another triumph for Dr. Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli. In her ongoing quest to examine the borderlands between/around dichotomous positions, Pallotta-Chiarolli has produced a sophisticated discussion of the intersections of sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, class, and social institutions like health care and religion. Defying the misrepresentation and erasure of bisexuality that is all too common in most research, this book provides a lavish view of the multifarious ways in which bisexuality expresses in relationship, and is impacted by social hierarchies. Refreshingly approachable for a work so rich with complex ideas, it is a must-read for anyone interested in sexuality, intersectionality, sex and gender minority families, and theory.
Elisabeth Sheff, PhD, CSE, CASA, expert witness and relationship coach specializing in consensual non-monogamies and BDSM/kink; author of The Polyamorists Next Door (2014), Stories from the Polycule (2015), and When Someone You Love is Polyamorous (2016)