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Religious Faith and Heterosexuality: A Multi-Faith Exploration of Young Adults

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the views and experiences of 515 self-defined heterosexual religious young adults living in the United Kingdom, in order to offer an in-depth analysis of the intersection between heterosexuality and religious faith. It also focuses on heterosexuality exclusively rather than the more commonly examined and contentious topic of non-heterosexuality in order to problematize the hegemonic and naturalized status of heterosexuality. The chapter demonstrates that, despite its normative status, heterosexuality is understood and lived out by young adults in a contested and negotiated fashion, often characterized by ambivalence and contingency. It explores the specific ways through which marriage is privileged in participants' accounts, demonstrating how heterosexuality, marriage, and religion intersect. This prioritization of marriage by our religious participants comes at a time when marriage in the broader context has been seemingly demoted.

Keywords: Christian marriage; heterosexuality; religious faith; United Kingdom; young adults



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