Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Meredith Katz

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Bodnar-Deren


The purpose of this study was to explore the power dynamics in relationships between women who sleep with women (WSW). Using private, semi-structured interviews, the areas of financial and sexual power were explored. A total of 10 participants were interviewed individually using a snowball sample. Previous literature has shown that WSW partners are egalitarian, meaning both partners share in the decision making, with respect to household chores and other decisions in the home (Blumstein & Shwartz, 1984; Kurdeck, 2006). Instead of WSW following gender scripts like some heterosexual partners, WSW couples decide roles by preference, choice and after discussing what each woman needs to feel comfortable, safe, respected (Schwartz, 2013). Additional findings from this study reveal that it is the fluid nature, active caring, the ability to communicate and continuous checking in that leads to an equitable relationship. Strategies WSW partners in this study employ provide tools to inform and impact other couples to rethink how they navigate power dynamics in their relationships.


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