If you're a woman who has trouble asking for what you want in relationships, it's not you—it's society.
According to a new study in the Journal of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, social inequalities can have deep-seated effects for women, especially LGBT women.
Researchers interviewed 540 LGBT women currently in relationships about how sexism and homophobia affected them and their love lives.
They paid special attention to participants' tendency to "self-silence," or put partners' needs before their own.
Social inequalities can have deep-seated effects for women, especially LGBT women.
The more sexism and homophobia women had experienced—and the more they'd adopted the beliefs they'd been taught about women and LGBT people—the more self-silencing they were. These behaviors also correlated with lower-quality relationships.
"Dominant cultural messages can have a powerful influence on the construction of and behavior in relationships, particularly for members of stigmatized groups," the study reads.
According to a press release, therapists of LGBT women should take these findings into consideration when exploring how their patients' struggles might result from larger societal oppression. The release also points out that sexism and homophobia aren't just societal issues—they're mental health issues that must be addressed on both an individual and large-scale level.
The authors did not immediately return NTRSCTN's request for comment.