How do social inequalities affect practices related to sexuality and gender that seem deeply personal, but are actually shaped by social context? To explore this question, I conduct research using qualitative interviews and nationally representative surveys. My current projects fall into two main areas.
First are projects that investigate how social contexts affect how individuals understand their sexuality and gender, particularly when there is behavior-identity discordance. One example of this is my forthcoming book with New York University Press, Still Straight: Sexual Flexibility among White Men in Rural America.
Second are those that explore the demographic characteristics of adults in romantic partnerships with large age gaps, as well as the identities associated with these partnerships.
Overall, my research examines socially advantaged identities as well as individuals who appear to be at the margins of society, with the shared goal of understanding social patterns that shape gender and sexuality.
Silva, Tony J. 2019. “‘Daddies,’ ‘Cougars,’ and Their Partners Past Midlife: Gender Attitudes and Relationship and Sexual Wellbeing among Older Adults in Age-Heterogenous Partnerships.” Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2378023119869452.
Silva, Tony J. 2019. “Straight Identity and Same-Sex Desire: Conservatism, Homophobia, and Straight Culture.” Social Forces 97(3): 1067-1094. https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/soy064.
Silva, Tony J. 2017. “Bud-Sex: Constructing Normative Masculinity Among Rural Straight Men That Have Sex With Men.” Gender & Society 31(1): 51-73.