Get access

Young Adult Relationship Values at the Intersection of Gender and Sexuality


Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota, 267 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (


Recent decades have brought significant social changes in the industrialized West that may influence young adults' attitudes about intimate relationships, including changes in gender expectations and behaviors and changes in sexual attitudes and practices. We used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N = 14,121) to compare men to women and sexual minorities to heterosexuals on ratings of the importance of love, faithfulness, commitment, financial security, and racial homogamy for successful relationships. We found that nearly all young adults adhere to dominant relationship values inherent in the romantic love ideology; we found, however, modest but significant differences by gender and sexual identity in relationship values. Significant interactions demonstrated that gender and sexual identity intersect to uniquely influence relationship views.