‘Femme it up or dress it down’: Appearance and bisexual women in monogamous relationships.

Sarah Daly, Nigel King, Tracey Yeadon-Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports on findings from a qualitative study into the lived experience of bisexual women in monogamous relationships. Nineteen self-identified bisexual women from across the UK, who were either in a monogamous relationship or desired to be in one, were explored. Participants completed diaries and took part in telephone interviews. The data was analysed using Template Analysis (King, 2004) which identified themes from the data set. It appeared that women in different-gender relationships choose appearance markers that could be classed as lesbian orientated in a bid to illuminate their bisexuality. Women in same-gender relationships were more likely to opt for feminine appearance signifiers in a
bid to avoid being identified as a lesbian based solely on their appearance. The study suggests that the gender of participants’ partners matters with regards to their appearance decisions. However, despite the apparent influence of their partner’s gender, bisexual women demonstrated a degree of flexibility and fluidity in their appearance choices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-277
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Bisexuality
Issue number3
Early online date5 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2018


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