‘This might be him; the guy I’m gonna marry’: Love and sexual relationships between female elite-athletes and male coaches
2016 (English)In: International Review for the Sociology of Sport, ISSN 1012-6902, E-ISSN 1461-7218Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Infatuation, love and sexual relationships exist virtually anywhere. Coach–athlete sexualrelationships (CASR), however, are overlooked and under-researched. Within sport sociology, CASR have been framed predominantly by a sexual abuse discourse. Informed by Foucault’s discourse analysis, this study explores how discourses regarding performance enhancement in elite-sport and coaching, and romantic love, frame female elite-athletes’ experiences with CASR. Interviews with four female elite-athletes aged 26–30 were conducted. The results indicate that CASR are potentially problematic because they intersect and challenge discourses comprising elite-sports, coach–athlete relationships, female sexual agency, and love. Moreover, discourses of power differ between the professional and private contexts. While the athletes expect their coaches to exert dominance and control in the elite-sport context, love relationships are about equally and mutually giving away power and control. Although CASR can facilitate motivation and performance, framing CASR as inherently unequal and abusive can contribute to stigmatisation, secrecy and athlete disempowerment.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
coach–athlete relationship, elite-sport, romantic love, sexual agency, sexual abuse
Research subject Social Sciences/Humanities
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-4303DOI: 10.1177/1012690215626593OAI: oai:DiVA.org:gih-4303DiVA: diva2:895561