Publication details [#1235]

Carter, Julia. 2013. The curious absence of love stories in women’s talk. Sociological Review 61 : 728–744. 17 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Wiley & Sons Ltd


This article deals with how love is or is not talked about by young women, and why stories of falling in love tend to be characterized in ambivalent terms. Its focus is on queestions such as 1) how marriage is viewed among younger women, 2) why marriage still seems to be a popular choice and 3) how notions of love fit in with marriage and relationships. The study is based on a sample of 22 heterosexual women and one bisexual woman. Participants were between the ages of 19 and 30 years old, with an even spread throughout the range. Participants were generally expected to be at the forefront of social change, but varied in terms of being single, cohabiting or married and ranged in terms of education level from secondary school qualifications through to PhD level. The study shows that when adult women were asked about love and how they have experienced love in their own lives, common themes related to opportunities in life, individualization, consumerism, destruction of love, individuals’needs rarely emerged. Instead many women found it difficult to talk about their feelings generally and love in particular. There was an absence of falling in love stories and women explained that they ‘drifted’ into relationships, or that they ‘just happened’.