Why a Handbook on Sexuality in Close Relationships is Warranted
Although sexuality is an integral part of close, romantic relationships, research linking these two constructs has been less systematic and less developed than some other areas of inquiry pertaining to close relationships. To some degree, this lack of development speaks to the difﬁculty of deﬁning either close relationships or sexuality, to the absence of a reference to close relationships in deﬁnitions of sexuality, and to the absence of references to sexuality in deﬁnitions of close relationships. In an early, signiﬁcant collection of writings about sexuality within various types of close relationships, McKinney and Sprecher (1991) deﬁned sexuality as referring to “sexual behaviors, arousal, and responses, as well as to sexual attitudes, desires, and communication” (p. 2). Similarly, a close relationship has been deﬁned as a relationship involving “strong, frequent, and diverse interdependence [between two people] that lasts over a considerable period of time” (p. 38, Kelley et al., 1983). Added to this latter deﬁnition might be the stipulation that the two people mutually consider themselves as involved in a close relationship (Harvey & Weber, 2002).