Families' Control and Youth Sexuality As Meaningful to Young Peoples' Transitions into Adulthood

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Room: 511
Ana Cristina MARQUES , Sociology, CIES, ISCTE-IUL, Lisbon, Portugal
Nowadays, in Western societies, youth transitions into adulthood are, usually, considered as floating, diverse, complex, nonlinear and reversible. However some authors point to the importance of continuities, social positioning and the epistemological fallacy in the lives of young people and in the representations of youth and youth transitions into adulthood. Although the family context tends to be recognized as important to young’s people trajectories, sexuality is often forgotten or, even, considered as insignificant to their transition into adulthood. Thus, sexual transitions can be seen as non-important, disconnected from other transitions, and having no decisive consequences; being just a hobby or children’s play.  Based on 60 in-depth interviews conducted in Central Portugal, with 60 white young adults, aged between 18 and 29 years old, I intend to look for possible articulations between family control over young people’s leisure times, sociability and sexuality, young people’s representations and experiences of sexuality, and their transitions into adulthood. I will argue that the family context and the domain of sexuality are not meaningless for young people’s trajectories into adulthood. Instead aspects related with family control, sexuality and gender can have implications on the ways (some) young people go from young to adults, especially in what concerns educational paths, leaving home, conjugality and parenthood. This happens especially in two main ways. First, the maintenance of some control concerning young women’s leisure time, sociability and sexuality can be associated with a smaller period of sexual experimentation for these young women and with some of them leaving home, entering into conjugality and/or parenthood earlier than the others. Second, the problem of “coming out” and/or assuming a non-heterosexual identity can be related with the need to lie, being (or being afraid of being) kicked out from home, the search for autonomy and the difficulty of becoming a parent.