Odd Couples

Friendships at the Intersection of Gender and Sexual Orientation

Odd Couples

Book Pages: 208 Illustrations: Published: April 2012

Author: Anna Muraco

Gender and Sexuality > LGBTQ Studies, Sex and Sexuality, Sociology

Odd Couples examines friendships between gay men and straight women, and also between lesbians and straight men, and shows how these "intersectional" friendships serve as a barometer for shifting social norms, particularly regarding gender and sexual orientation. Based on author Anna Muraco's interviews, the work challenges two widespread assumptions: that men and women are fundamentally different and that men and women can only forge significant bonds within romantic relationships. Intersectional friendships challenge a variety of social norms, Muraco says, including the limited roles that men and women are expected to play in one another's lives. Each chapter uses these boundary-crossing relationships to highlight how key social constructs such as family, politics, gender, and sexuality shape everyday interactions. Friendship itself—whether intersectional or not—becomes the center of the analysis, taking its place as an important influence on the social behavior of adults.


Odd Couples explores the untraditional ‘chosen’ families that many in the gay and lesbian community have turned to whether out of necessity in the face of rejection from biological families or out of preference for constructing a community with shared values. These explorations are especially relevant in a time when more people-inside or outside the gay and lesbian community-are claiming their own kin. . . . [I]f you're invested in a timely exploration of shifting friendship paradigms in relation to sex, gender, and family, it starts a conversation you should join.” — Nina Lary, Bitch

Odd Couples presents a wealth of information on the initiation, development, and sustenance of intersectional friendships. . . . People in gay-straight friendships living outside of urban areas with large LGBT communities would especially appreciate this book. They need confirmation that they are not alone, and that their friendships are probably stronger than others.” — Rachel Wexelbaum, Lambda Literary Review

“Social research like this breathes life into queer theory by grounding it in the mire of human proficiency. All of these best buddies demonstrate the skills required to maintain affection across sex/gender binaries in scenarios that are largely unscripted by dominant culture. Muraco selects vignettes that illustrate some of the delicate negotiations that transpire between lesbians and their straight male mates, and straight women and their gay chums.” — Sally R. Munt, Times Higher Education

“Overall, Odd Couples is well organized and enjoyable to read...[Muraco’s] study offers scholars a perceptive investigation into the complicated dynamics of gender and sexuality in friendships.” — Elroi J. Windsor, American Journal of Sociology

“...by page 2 of this book, I knew that Muraco had managed to articulate what is most precious about my intersectional friendship in a way that I had not previously been able to do.” — Rebecca G. Adams, Gender & Society

Odd Couples is therefore a significant analysis of how people negotiate the vicissitudes of sex, gender, and sexual orientation in everyday life as well as a much-needed contribution to the sociology of friendship. It should be read by anyone interested in the complexities of contemporary intimacy.” — Harry Blatterer, Contemporary Sociology

"In this extremely engaging and enlightening book, Anna Muraco sheds new light on the intersection of sex and sexual orientation, the complexity of friendship, and its relevance in contemporary North American society." — Brian de Vries, coeditor of Gay and Lesbian Aging

"Theoretically important and fascinating to read, Odd Couples adds to the surprisingly scant social scientific literature on friendship. More significantly, it explores friendships between gay men and straight women and between lesbians and straight men in a way that no other work has. Clearly locating her study in the psychological and sociological literature on friendships, family, identity development, and gender issues, Anna Muraco adds to our understanding of gay and lesbian lives and raises provocative questions about gender and sexuality." — Peter M. Nardi, author of Gay Men's Friendships: Invincible Communities


Availability: In stock
Price: $24.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Anna Muraco is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Loyola Marymount University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1. You've Got to Have Friends
Vignette: Frank and Rebecca 13

2. Snapshots of the Intersectional Friendship
Vignette: Ming and Ben 35

3. We Are Family
Vignette: Brenda and Dan 56

4. Gender Cops and Robbers
Vignette: Mark and Cristina 78

5. What's Sex Got to Do with It?
Vignette: Justine and Antonio 101

6. The Personal Is Political
Vignette: Leyla and Ethan 118

7. The Future of Intersectional Friendships 145

Appendix 1 155

Appendix 2 157

Appendix 3 163

Notes 167

References 173

Index 187
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5192-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5177-1
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