My research interests include queer intimacies (relationships & families), polyamory, assimilationism, sexual citizenship, sexual politics, and intersectional approaches. My current project explores queer (LGBTQ+) polyamorous relationships, families, and community. I have examined the linkages between polyamorous values and practices and cultural contradictions of the ‘transformation of intimacy’ as well as queer polyamory’s implications for assimilationism and sexual citizenship.

I’ve been involved in several research projects that utilize a variety of methodologies such as in-depth interviews, content analysis, social experiments, and quantitative data analysis, and have experience with mixed-methods. These projects have spanned multiple areas of Sociology including Families and Crime, Historical Sociology, Social Psychology, and more.

Please see below for more details.


Academic Journal, Book Chapter, and Technical Report Publications

  • Pain, Emily. 2019. “Race, Class, Gender, and Relationship Power in Queer Polyamory” in Expanding the Rainbow: Exploring the Relationships of Bi+, Trans, Ace, Polyam, Kink, and Intersex People, edited by Brandy Simula, J.E. Sumerau, and Andrea Miller. Brill|Sense.
  • Pain, Emily. 2018. “Is Teen Risk of Having Sex with Strangers Associated with Family Environment?: Family Processes, Household Structure, and Adolescent Sex with Strangers.” Youth & Society.
  • Lachmann, Richard, Emily Pain, & Anibal Gauna. 2014. “Museums in the New Gilded Age: Collector Exhibits in New York Art Museums, 1945-2010.” Poetics.
  • Pain, Emily. 2014. “Polyamory and Polygamy.” in Encyclopedia of Social Deviance. Sage.
  • Sharp, Susan & Emily Pain. 2010. “Study of Incarcerated Women and Their Children.” Report to the Oklahoma State Legislature, published by the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth.


Articles Under Review and Works in Progress

  • Pain, Emily. “Queer Polyfamily Performativity: Family Practices and Adaptive Strategies among LGBTQ+ Polyamorists.” Article, Under Review.
  • ––. “‘It Feels Very Vulnerable, Particularly as a Black Woman’: Gender, Race, and Class in Queer Polyamory.” Working Paper.
  • ––. “Polyamory and Cultural Contradictions of the Transformation of Intimacy.” Working Paper.
  • ––. “Queerness, Polyamory, and Anti-assimilationist Political Critiques.” Working Paper.
  • Rijo Sánchez, Vanessa and Emily Pain. “Gender Negotiation in Queer Polyamorous Relationships.” Paper Draft.
  • Pain, Emily. “Invisible and Imagined Borders: Queer Narratives of Polyamorous Community Exclusivity and Inclusivity.” Paper Draft.
  • ––. “Queering Polyamory: LGBTQ+ Polyamorous Relationships, Families, and Cultural Constraints.” Manuscript Draft/Book Project.


Research Experience

  • 2015-2018, Dissertation Research, University at Albany. “’I Think That’s Really What It Comes Down To, Is Intimacy’: LGBTQ+ Polyamory and the Queering of Intimacy.”
  • 2011-2015, Research Assistant, Research Foundation, University at Albany.
    • “Family and Health Consequences of Imbalanced Sex Ratios in India,” Dr. Kathy Trent.
    • “Adult Sibling Relationships,” Dr. Glenna Spitze and Dr. Kathy Trent.
    • “Museums in the New Gilded Age,” Dr. Richard Lachmann.
  • 2009-2010, Thesis Research, University of Oklahoma. “Contact with Mothers in Prison and Children’s Behavioral and Psychological Problems.”
  • 2010, Research Assistant, University of Oklahoma. “Stigma and Status Consequences of Psychiatric Labels, Pilot Study,” Dr. Amy Kroska.
  • 2009, Project Coordinator, University of Oklahoma. “Children of Incarcerated Mothers, Interview of Caretakers,” Dr. Susan Sharp.


Research Honors and Awards

  • 2017, UUP Individual Development Award. New York State/United University Professions Professional Development Committee, University at Albany.
  • 2016, IFW Feminist Research Award. Initiatives for Women, University at Albany.
  • 2016, Research Grant. Graduate Student Association, University at Albany.
  • 2016, Graduate Research Award. Benevolent Association, University at Albany.
  • 2015, Dissertation Fellowship Award. Office of Graduate Studies, University at Albany.
  • 2015, Professional Development Award. Graduate Student Association, University at Albany.
  • 2010, First place, Visual Sociology Competition. Southwestern Sociological Association.
  • 2009, Third place, Student Research and Performance Day. University of Oklahoma.