Aaron Hoy

Contact Information

Aaron Hoy

Educations & Degrees:

BA, Sociology, Ohio University, 2010
MA, Sociology, Syracuse University, 2014

Research Interests:

Families, Sexualities, Sex and Gender



Broadly speaking, my research interests include families, sexualities, sex and gender. Working at the intersection of these subfields, and using diverse methodological approaches, I ask a range of questions about how people of different sexualities experience and make sense of family life. As I see it, the questions I ask cluster in two ways. First, many of these are questions about how lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (LGBQ) people think about and enact marriage and divorce. Until very recently, LGBQ people were denied the right to marry. In this context, LGBQ communities became sites wherein unique ideas and norms regarding the formation and maintenance of sexual and romantic relationships were innovated. Many radical activists within LGBQ communities even opposed marriage equality because, as they argued, same-sex marriage would undermine these ideas and norms and force LGBQ people to assimilate into a heteronormative institution. Given this history, I use in-depth interviews to ask questions about how LBGQ people see and engage with an institution from which they had long been excluded. Do same-sex couples think and talk about marriage according to the dominant ideas of the day? If marriage is indeed individualized, as family sociologists suggest, do same-sex couples see and describe their marriages in individualized terms? Or might some also express different ideas, rooted in LGBQ subcultures? What might account for differences among LGBQ people? For instance, in what ways might gender shape marital arrangements for lesbian vs. gay male couples? Are those who spend more time in marked LGBQ spaces and with other LGBQ people more likely to express unique ideas about marriage? 

Second, I ask many questions about sexual desires and behaviors and how these shape family life. For the most part, sociologists who study sexualities do so by focusing on sexual identities. That is, they may look at how self-identified LGBQ people fare in schools, on the job market, or in terms of their physical or mental health compared to those who identify as heterosexual. However, ample research from sociology and other social scientific disciplines shows that the dimensions of sexuality – desire, behavior, and identity – do not necessarily co-exist. Thus, many people who identify as heterosexual experience same-sex desires and/or engage in same-sex behaviors. Because of this, I strive to conduct sexualities research that recognizes the complexity of our sexual lives. To this end, I have conducted quantitative research using nationally-representative data sets to examine how same-sex desires, behaviors, and identities all affect various marital outcomes, including divorce and marital duration. 

In terms of teaching, I have been a teaching assistant for a broad range of classes in the Departments of Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies and for the LGBT Studies program. In 2015, I was awarded Syracuse University’s Outstanding TA Award. I have also taught multiple sections of Introduction to Sociology (both in-person and online) and one section of Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies. In the fall, I will begin teaching the Sociology of Families. In all of my classes, I have two primary objectives for my students: first, that they begin to think sociologically about the world around them and their experiences in it, and second, that they develop practical skills that they can use in other classes and beyond.