‘Emotional and spiritual and every other thing but not sexual’ – An exploration of the dating experiences of Black women practising faith-based secondary sexual abstinence

Abstract

Sex is no longer seen as being reserved for those in marital relationships, rather it is seen as an integral part of most adult dating and romantic relationships. Currently, literature in the area of romantic relationships and sexuality largely focuses on women who are sexually active. There is limited research on the experiences of those who choose to practise sexual abstinence; of the research that does exist, the experiences of sexually abstinent Black women often remain unexamined. Religious belief is one of the reasons some Black women choose to practise sexual abstinence even when they are sexually experienced; this is known as secondary sexual abstinence. In view of the general sexual expectations relating to adult relationships, the practice of secondary sexual abstinence is likely to have a profound impact on their dating experience. 

Considering the race-based sexual stereotypes Black women are subjected to, the decision to practise sexual abstinence and the subsequent impact on their romantic experiences may differ from that of women from other racial backgrounds who choose to practise sexual abstinence. This study employed Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to gain insight into the lived experiences of eight sexually abstinent Black women who were practising faith-based secondary abstinence. The women’s narratives highlighted various challenges and triumphs on the journey of dating while practising sexual abstinence, and the way in which being a Black woman shapes such experiences.   

Keywords

Dating, Romantic relationships, Black sexuality, Black Women, Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis, Sexual abstinence, Religious relationships

How to Cite

King-Asata, R. C., (2023) “‘Emotional and spiritual and every other thing but not sexual’ – An exploration of the dating experiences of Black women practising faith-based secondary sexual abstinence”, Fields: journal of Huddersfield student research 9(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/fields.1292

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Authors

Rebecca Chinonye King-Asata (University of Huddersfield)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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