Catchin' Feelings: Experiences of Intimacy during Black College Students' Sexual Encounters


Research regarding intimacy within Black relationships is often deficiency-focused, reinforcing negative stereotypes about Black people's capacity to relate in sexual and romantic relationships. Utilizing social exchange theory and social learning theory as a combined framework, we examined intimacy-related narratives of 18 Black college students during their first and last sexual encounters. A thematic analysis constructed five themes: (a) limited knowledge of intimacy, (b) internal barriers to non-sexual intimacy, (c) external barriers to non-sexual intimacy, (d) seeking an emotional connection, and (e) experiencing intimacy. Findings suggest varying perspectives and experiences related to intimacy. Intimacy barriers and facilitators are discussed.

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2018

Notes/Citation Information

Published in Journal of Black Sexuality and Relationships, v. 5, no. 2.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)