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Brianna Aguilar
John Kubler
English 115
16 October 2014
Views on Dominance and Sexuality: How it affects our Relationships
Everyday we see couples out in public holding hands, hugging, or embracing each other
ways, happy to be in each others company. We put a lot of emphasis on being happy with ones
own relationships, but what factors in on that happiness? Some might say that happiness comes
from the trust and attention that is given to them by their partner, but they dont always seem to
take into consideration the deeper psychological factors that have a major impact on
relationships. Im not talking about the ways a boyfriend or girlfriend can shower their partner
compliments to build them up. Im talking about the views that both partners, men and women,
have about gender roles, and their views on sexuality. These views are what ultimately decipher
if a relationship is healthy or unhealthy based on how they treat their partner in different
situations. It also allows for others outside of the relationship to judge which gender is the
dominant one in the relationship, or if the relationship is more of a democracy.
In order to dig deeper into the idea of gender dominance in romantic heterosexual
relationships six couples were interviewed about their personal views about everyday gender
issues, and about their own relationship. The first couple that I interviewed was observed before
I interviewed them so I could determine which partner, from my observations, was the dominant
one. It was quite obvious since I previously knew the couple, Anthony and Jessica, and they
were acting as they usually do. The setting was also very casual. It was Jessicas home on a
Saturday morning where the observation took place. I decided this would be the best place to
observe the couple because this seemed to be where the couple was more inclined to be

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themselves, unlike a public setting. Here the couple did what they did most Saturday afternoons,
which was hanging out and watching television. After about ten minutes of observation Jessica
decided she would make a late breakfast for her father before he came home for work and
insisted that Anthony go into the kitchen with her to keep her company. Jessica was making
pancakes, and at one point she poured too much mix, Anthony then reacted by saying Why are
you pouring so much its only for your dad Jessica then responded, I know thats what I was
As I continued to observe the behavior I also noticed many other little things that were
very distracting to me. These things included Anthony and Jessica often raising their voices at
each other at odd times, and telling each other what to do when the other was already doing said
thing. Although they were both somewhat judgmental of each others actions I couldnt help but
feel as if Anthony was more dominant than Jessica in this relationship. This was simply due to
the way Anthony reacted to Jessicas actions, although he thought he was giving her constructive
criticism about the way she was cooking it seemed to be more like unnecessary comments. In a
sense it was like he wanted to boss her around more than help her. This bossiness then became
more evident after I interviewed them.
During the interview it was confirmed by Anthonys words that he was in fact the
dominant one in the relationship, with out Jessica denying it. It was Anthony who seemed to
always decide where to go on dates, and who even made the first move. So, it was no surprise
when I bluntly asked the couple who they believed the dominant partner was, I am, Jessica
said and then continued to laugh, Im just kidding she added. It was then that Anthony said I
am, even your mom and dad say you listen to me instead of them. Apparently it wasnt only me
that had noticed who was dominant in this relationship, and Anthony didnt even think twice
about his answer, he was the dominant one. Jessica didnt seem to disagree her only response to

this was Its to keep us from arguing, which implied that he was the dominant partner. No
surprise, but what was surprising was the survey part of the interview.
Although Anthony seemed to be very stereotypical macho man when talking about his
relationship with Jessica, he didnt answer all the questions about gender roles and sexuality as I
thought he would. In fact most of his answers included the phrase equal rights. Jessica on the
other hand was a little less open to the possibility of letting girls, and women take on nontraditional roles and letting women express their sexuality more freely. One example of Jessicas
opposition to these ideas was when I asked if women should be allowed to fight side by side with
men in combat. Her response was No, we shouldnt have to do that, let them [men] fight which
was odd because she had previously stated that women can do as well as men when asked
about competing on same athletic teams. They also differed in response to the question of
whether or not women should be allowed to go topless on Los Angeles beaches, Jessica not in
favor while Anthony believed it was up to the women to decide what she wanted to do with her
body. When I showed them a group ad it was Jessica who believed that the women were the
dominant gender because it seemed to her that the women in the ad were having an affair while
Anthony thought otherwise. Most of the views Jessica had about these questions were on the
conservative side while Anthonys were a bit more liberal. This led me to believe that this was
the reason for Anthony being more dominant. Both partners actions are driven by their beliefs
about gender roles and sexuality; this greatly affects the dynamic of their relationship. It wasnt
so much that Anthony wanted to be the dominant partner it was Jessicas tolerance of Anthonys
behavior that made him seem so.
Moving along to the other couples, they were also asked the same questions but werent
observed prior to being interviewed. Because of this it was much harder to expect a certain
response from either partner. It was quite interesting to me when some of the couples answered,

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not because of the answer itself but because of the manner in which they answered it. The first
four questions concerned the couples personal relationship and helped in figuring out which
gender was dominant in the relationship. The first question asked which partner usually decided
where to go on dates, in which case 60% said that they had a mutual or equal way of deciding
where to go while the other 40% revealed it was the man that often chose where the dates would
take place. When asked which partner made the first move, the results were 60% female and
40% male, and when it came down to which partner was more dominant, 40% of the couples
believed it was the woman who was more dominant while another 40% believed that the
relationship was equally dominate. Only one couple, the last 20%, believed that the male was the
dominant one in the relationship.
When it came down to the questions about the gender roles, and sexuality of others the
answers werent as simple. Some couples agreed while others had opposing views from their
partner so the best way to express this information would be women versus men views on each
question. When asked if females should be on the same track teams as men in collegiate leagues
and the Olympics, 80% of woman said yes while on 60% of the male partners said yes. For the
second question, which asked if women should fight in the combat force along with men, 80% of
women answered yes while all of the male partners said yes, a major difference from the
question about track teams. Along the topic of sexuality we asked if women should be allowed to
go topless on Los Angeles beaches the result was 40% yes for men and only 20% yes on the
womens side, although it seemed as if the partners had an influence on each other with this
question. The couples were then asked if they were familiar with pop performers Miley Cyrus,
and Nicki Minaj, which they were. Most of the women, 80%, believed that their performances
were going to far and the outcome was the same for the men. The couples were then shown
pictures of high school girls in cut-offs, shorts that are meant to be shorter than the average

pair. Only 20% of the female partners said that high school girls should be allowed to wear these
kinds of shorts to school, while 40% of the males said it was okay. Legalizing prostitution was
also a matter in the survey; every single woman said it should not be legal while 20% of the men
said it should be legalized, not much of a big difference. Finally, when asked about whether or
not a girl wearing micro-skirt to the club or a party was degrading 60% of the men and women
said it was degrading while the other 40% of men and women believed its not degrading. As for
the ad, which included two half naked women one on the be the other in the closet, and a man
fully clothed looking at the blonde in the closet, most of the male partners interpreted as the male
being the dominate gender. Most of the women thought otherwise, they believed it was the
women with the dominance as they pointed out the women on the bed seemed to be having an
affair with the women in the closet. Only one couple mutually agreed that it was the women in
the ad who were the dominant gender, it was only after the female partners explained to their
male partner that they believed the affair was between the two women.
It was interesting to watch the couples answer the questions, especially because often
times one partner had an affect on the way the other would answer the question. This gave me
the feeling that some of these answers were not completely truthful because sometimes the
person answering, mostly male, only said what theyre partner wanted to hear. Many of these
answers also gave me a great understanding of how women are viewed simply through what they
wear and what kind of activities they choose to pursuit. One of the guys interviewed had even
said that girls shouldnt wear cut-offs or micro-skirts because its the reason they get raped its
obvious that much of what women choose to do, even today, is often frowned upon. I was also
struck with surprise when all males thought it was fair for women to fight in the infantry but
didnt believe it was the same thing to let women on the same athletic teams as men, yet they all
stressed the idea of equality. Overall it was the ad that gave the most insight on how each

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individual viewed gender dominance. This is why most of the men though that it was the man in
the ad that was dominant at first sight, and not the woman.