Intimate Partner Violence in Gay and Bisexual Men’s Relationships


"Abuse That Dare Not Speak Its Name" edited by Dr Steven Maxwell

Play video

"Abuse That Dare Not Speak Its Name" edited by Dr Steven Maxwell

This illustrated e-book tells the invisible societal story of the gay male journey through an abusive relationship with an intimate male partner, from the early days of happiness to the depths of despair and struggle to survive. The e-book is based on multiple experiences from the research and is not the story of one person. This book contains sensitive depictions of intimate partner violence.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) may be more prevalent in gay and bisexual men’s relationships than in heterosexual relationships, with prevalence studies estimating that 34-45% of men in same-sex relationships experience IPV. Men who experience IPV from same-sex partners have increased risk of mental ill health, substance misuse and transmission of sexually transmitted infections.

The World Health Organisation defines IPV as behaviour by an intimate partner or ex-partner that causes physical, sexual, social, and mental health harm, including violence, sexual coercion, psychological abuse and controlling behaviours.

The research conducted by Dr Steven Maxwell in collaboration with Waverley Care aimed to understand how men who self-identify as having been subject to IPV within a same-sex relationship dynamic conceptualise and understand their experiences. Between June-July 2022, virtual in-depth narrative interviews were conducted with such individuals, allowing them to tell their story in their own language, starting where they wanted, and structuring it in a way that made sense to them.

Whilst forms of gay and bisexual men IPV abuse and its health impact bore similarities to those found in a heterosexual dynamic, research suggests that there were distinct same-sex relationship influences, risk factors, wellbeing effect and disclosure/support factors which marked the IPV experience of gay and bisexual men as different to that of heterosexual people.

Access full research report and research briefing via download buttons below.