Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Counseling and Human Development

Degree Program

Counseling and Personnel Services, PhD

Committee Chair

Pössel, Patrick

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Budge, Stephanie

Committee Member

dickey, lore

Committee Member

Owen, Jesse

Author's Keywords

transgender; sexual behavior; sexuality; grounded theory; romantic partners


Transgender populations demonstrate significant sexual diversity, with over three-fourths (77%) of transgender individuals identifying as sexual minorities (Grant et al., 2011); however, a majority of research on sex, sexuality, and sexual practice has focused exclusively on cisgender and heterosexual individuals and, perhaps more importantly, addressed these issues a heteronormative and cisnormative perspective (Nichols, 2014). Such frameworks have created significant gaps in research about sex, sexuality, and sexual practice for trans individuals including understanding how gender transition influences sex and sexuality and how trans individuals and their partners engage in sexual practice. The current study addressed these omissions in the literature through a feminist, grounded theory qualitative inquiry into sex, sexuality, and sexual practice for trans individuals and their partners. A sample of sixteen individuals (eight total couples) participated in in-person interviews about sex and sexuality. The transcribed interviews were analyzed using Charmaz’s (2006) approach to grounded theory and results yielded four themes: Internal Level, Change Processes, Relationship Level and Outside the Dyad. Findings revealed that the participant experiences of sex, sexuality, and sexual practice occur on multiple levels, including the individual, the couple and, for some participants, outside of the couple. Changes/transitions in gender impacted both trans and cis partners and influenced understanding of sexuality, sexual behaviors, and even relationship structures.