Date of Award

Summer 7-2-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Wendy Simonds

Second Advisor

Layli Maparyan

Third Advisor

Maura Ryan


This paper explores how people of color, particularly black people in the Atlanta area, navigate inside and outside of their sexual communities – particularly, BDSM, polyamory and swinging communities. I investigated how participants’ (N=11) identity construction and sexual actions/behaviors contributed to the benefits and/or consequences that fostered the navigation of non-sexual and sexual communities using queer theory and intersectionality theory with a womanist approach. Particularly, I found that my participants migrated towards communities based on privilege, comfort, and acts of resistance. In addition, I found that while they all identified as “perverts of color,” they did not identify as “promiscuous.” Overall, this study highlights the potential for people to resist certain oppressions, all while maintaining a sex-positive politic inside and outside of their alternative sexual communities. It also emphasizes the need to broaden our scopes on sexual liberation movements that marginalize those with various intersections of identities.