Franz, Anke, Marcia Worrell, & Claus Vögele (2016). Discourses of sexual relationships in a sample of German and British young people: A Q methodological study. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 18(4), 391-404. (

Abstract: Young people live in an environment that sexualises them, particularly women, along traditional gender roles. This, in parallel with a silence about positive sexuality in policy development, means that sexual double standards prevail in young people’s lives. The aim of this study was to explore the discourses young women and men from two European countries, Germany and England, draw on when making sense of sexual relationships and how these are steeped in the local cultural climate and messages. The study used Q methodology and included 65 German and English young people between 16 and 19 years of age. Six accounts emerged: sex as responsible, intimate and shared experience; sex as joint fun; ideal versus reality; sex has to be responsible, consensual and shared; caring relationships offer the perfect context for fulfilling sex; and equality between partners. The importance of cultural context in the availability of specific dominant and alternative discourses is discussed with a focus on how this influences young people’s sense-making with regard to sexuality and sexual relationships. Future directions for research are highlighted.

Anke Franz <> is in the School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury, UK.

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