The purpose of this research project was to develop a better understanding of how people experience sexual orientation. To do this, I interviewed 16 people in mixed identity relationships.

I was interested in the diversity of people's experiences, so my definition was broad. You would have qualified for inclusion in this research project if you were in an ongoing romantic and/or sexual relationship where the way in which you identify your sexual orientation, either now or in the past, is different from that of a current partner.

Sexual orientation identities do not have to to be limited to traditional categories like bisexual, gay/lesbian and heterosexual. They can be much more diverse. See sexual orientation for more details.

I chose to focus on mixed identity relationships for a number of reasons.

First, I wanted to speak with a broad range of people with a variety of sexual orientation identities. People in mixed identity relationships included a broad range of people who were willing to talk about their experiences.

Second, having a partner of a different sexual orientation identity would, I thought, make someone think about and experience sexual orientation differently from many people.

Third, I believe that there is a connection between the personal and the political. Exploring personal relationships should offer an insight into the politics of sexual orientation.

Finally, a lot of research has been done on relationships where both people were (presumably) heterosexual. A fair bit has also been done on same-sex relationships. But no one has looked at functional mixed orientation relationships, until now.

For more information about how the interviews work, see Interviews.