An Affective (Re)balancing Act? The Liminal Possibilities for Heterosexual Partners on MDMA

Book chapter


Anderson, K, Reavey, P and Boden, Z (2018). An Affective (Re)balancing Act? The Liminal Possibilities for Heterosexual Partners on MDMA. in: Juvonen, T and Kolehmainen, M (ed.) Affective Inequalities in Intimate Relationships London Routledge. pp. 19-33
AuthorsAnderson, K, Reavey, P and Boden, Z
EditorsJuvonen, T and Kolehmainen, M
Abstract

This chapter explores how the unequal expectations around men and women’s emotional expressiveness are experienced and modified by heterosexual couples while together on MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine). Qualitative data from ten couple interviews and seven individual diaries conducted as part of a doctoral thesis will be drawn on. The Deleuze-Guattarian (1980) notion of an ‘affective assemblage’ will help to frame how emotional expectations and patterns are reassembled within couples’ MDMA experiences to produce a novel affective landscape where men can more easily tune into and express their emotions. The chapter will begin with a literature review exploring the intersection between intimate relationships and MDMA use. Intimate relationships will be understood within a practices framework as what couples do (Gabb & Fink, 2015; Jamieson, 2005). The pluralistic, qualitative approach used and thematic analysis performed will then be outlined and justified. The first main subsection will discuss how what is termed here as an affective inequality exists between how men and women express their emotions; with the emotional expressiveness of women licensed to a much greater degree. The reader is invited to see this as partially rebalanced within MDMA space-time. This will be suggested to take place due to the primacy of pre-reflective, felt ways of knowing and the ‘safe’ emotional space produced by MDMA. The second main subsection critically considers how this apparent greater parity for men could actually be seen to make women more powerful; as well as examining the ways in which their male partners both embrace and resist this shift. The concluding arguments will focus on how tracing affective assemblages on MDMA can illuminate the significance of inequalities of affect and the extent to which this particular inequality might or might not be viewed as problematic by all couples, not just those who choose to take MDMA together.

Keywordsintimacy; drug use; romantic relationships; heterosexuality; gender
Page range19-33
Year2018
Book titleAffective Inequalities in Intimate Relationships
PublisherRoutledge
Place of publicationLondon
Edition1
ISBN978-1138092747
Publication dates
Print29 Jun 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Feb 2018
Accepted30 Jan 2018
Accepted author manuscript
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