Reproductive Health & Masculine Norms
Table of Contents
• Adherence to traditionally masculine norms and condom-related beliefs (2016)
• Masculinity and HIV (2015)
• Men are Changing (2011)
• Harassment and intolerance lead gay youth to greater sexual risk taking (2010)
• What men have to do with it (2010)
• Gender-specific HIV/AIDS prevention interventions are needed (2009)
• Peer pressure and poor sex education drive unsafe and early sex (2009)*
• Machismo and lack of info from parents increases Latino pregnancy, STIs rates (2009)*
• Education on masculinity reduces gender-based violence and STIs (2008)
• Exploring Dimensions of Masculinity and Violence (2007)
• Machismo increases Latinas' difficulty in preventing pregnancy, STIs (2007)*
• Codes of manhood encourage young Black males to have sex early and often (2007)*
• Culturally appropriate sex ed is more effective with Latinos (2007)*
• Boys struggle with whether to be a stereotypical man (2006)
• Gender expectations harm boys and girls (2006)
• Manhood codes among Black male teens increase partners, lower age of first sex (2004)*
• Male peers challenge the masculinity of black men in committed relationships (2004)*
• Ideas about masculinity shape body image (2004)
• Masculinity attitudes increase promiscuity, HIV rates, and lower HIV testing (2003)
• Gay male sexual risk-taking linked to belief in sexual prowess as masculinity (2003)*
• Fear of being "girly" increases unsafe sex (2002)
• "Mack," "Pimp," and the "Game": Sexual Prestige among Black Adolescents (1998)
• Sexual decision-making and condom use among Black male adolescents (1996)
• Safe sex programs must address cultural norms (1995)
• Boys who buy into traditional manhood have lower R/H outcomes (1993)

Adherence to traditionally masculine norms and condom-related beliefs (2016)

Black and Hispanic men who believe that masculinity is defined by toughness and anti-femininity are more likely to have negative feelings about condom use and are less likely to use them. Men’s beliefs about masculinity also effect their partners’ beliefs and usage of condoms.

TITLE: "Adherence to traditionally masculine norms and condom-related beliefs: Emphasis on African American and Hispanic men.”

AUTHORS: Vincent, Wilson; Gordon, Derrick M.; Campbell, Christina; Ward, Nadia L.; Albritton, Tashuna; Kershaw, Trace

JOURNAL: Psychology of Men & Masculinity YEAR: 2016



Masculinity and HIV (2015)

Three specific norms about masculinity are linked to men’s sexual risk-taking behavior. More specifically, when we believe that men’s sex drives are uncontrollable, that men’s ability to perform sexually is crucial to their manhood, or that it is important for real men to have power over others we are setting the stage for men to behave in sexually reckless ways.

TITLE: "Masculinity and HIV: Dimensions of Masculine Norms that Contribute to Men’s HIV-Related Sexual Behaviors”

AUTHORS: Paul J. Fleming, Ralph DiClemente, and Clare Barrington

JOURNAL: AIDS and Behavior YEAR: 2015



Men are Changing (2011)

Men are Changing, a report by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, analyzes 12 gender transformative programs from around that world that address codes of masculinity as they relate to sexuality, sexual and reproductive health, violence and relationships. This report is part of a growing body of research which illustrates that working with men and boys is effective.


TITLE: "Men are Changing: Case study evidence on work with men and boys to promote gender equality and positive masculinities”

AUTHORS: International Planned Parenthood Federation

Harassment and intolerance lead gay youth to greater sexual risk taking (2010)

Gay or bisexual young men experience more stress related to peer and family abuse which increases the likelihood of HIV-risk factors such as drug or alcohol abuse and unsafe sex. Young gay men often experience harassment for not being "manly” enough, being too "girly,” or just being different. Families add to the stress by expecting gay children to be manlier or hide their sexuality, by verbally or physically abusing their gay kids for not conforming to manly norms, and sometimes even by kicking a gay child out of the home. Stress related to homelessness, financial difficulty, and lack of adult oversight also increase the likelihood of alcohol and drug abuse, and unprotected sex.


TITLE: "The impact of recent stressful experiences on HIV-risk related behaviors.”

AUTHORS: Carolyn F. Wong, Michele D. Kipke, George Weiss, Bryce McDavitt.

JOURNAL: Journal of Adolescence . YEAR: 2010.

DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from PubMed.gov for $31.50.

 

What men have to do with it (2010)*

A result of the Men and Gender Equality Policy Project of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), this report found that Interventions that were gender transformative and questioned traditional masculine norms were most likely to be effective in changing behaviors and attitudes.


TITLE: "What Men Have to do With It: Public Policies to Promote Gender Equality”

AUTHORS: Men + Gender Equality Policy Project

YEAR: 2010.

DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available for free from ICRW website.

Gender-specific HIV/AIDS prevention interventions are needed (2009)

Most efforts to understand the risky sexual behavior of heterosexual men fail to take theories of masculine gender norms and roles into account. Traditional masculine norms glorify sexual risk-taking at the expense of sexual health considerations. Considering traditional ideas of manhood is especially important in intervention strategies for men of color, for whom codes of masculinity are often narrower and more strictly enforced, particularly in low-wealth communities. HIV/AIDS prevention efforts which seek to engage men should seek to undermine or transform the traditional codes of manhood that encourage risky sexual behavior.A


TITLE: "Are HIV/AIDS Prevention Interventions for Heterosexually Active Men in the United States Gender-Specific?”
AUTHORS: Shari L. Dworkin, Robert E. Fullilove, Dean Peacock
JOURNAL: American Journal of Public Health YEAR: 2009
URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2679798




Peer pressure and poor sex education drive unsafe and early sex (2009)*

Young Black and Latino men say peer pressure and lack of parental guidance were factors in how early they had sex. They said they rushed into sex because they were "tired of being picked on” for being virgins and wanted to brag about their sexual conquests. They didn’t really know what the consequences were. It wasn’t until they got an STI or got a girl pregnant that they began to practice safer sex. Many young men criticized their schools’ sex education programs for being fear-based and repetitive. Instead of explaining sex using real-life scenarios, schools terrorized kids with statistics and horror stories. Even when a boy had a parent with whom he could talk, he was afraid to talk about sex.


TITLE: "Male Adolescent Sexual Behavior: What They Know and What They Wish They Had Known.”

AUTHORS: Jennifer L. Collins and Jane Dimmitt Champion.

JOURNAL: Western Journal of Nursing Research . YEAR: 2009.

DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from SAGE Journals Online for $25.

 

Machismo & lack of info from parents increases Latino pregnancy and STI rates (2009)*

Latino youth begin sexual activity earlier and use condoms less often than their white peers, making them more vulnerable to HIV and other STIs. Differences in Latino and mainstream American culture help to explain this difference. Few safer sex programs are tailored to the specific cultural needs of Latinos, who are brought up in a culture of machismo which encourages pregnancy and fathering children as signs of virility and manliness. While boys may pick this up from their parents, they learn little from them in the way of specifics on sex. Establishing family-based interventions may help parents communicate with their boys more thoroughly about sex. This communication would focus on moving machismo away from being a sense of sexual entitlement and prowess and on to the manliness of more responsible behavior like delaying first sex, using condoms and communicating with female partners.


TITLE: "Cultural Factors and Family-Based HIV Prevention Intervention for Latino Youth.”

AUTHORS: Celia M. Lescano, Larry K. Brown, Marcela Raffaelli, and Lori-Ann Lima.

JOURNAL: Journal of Pediatric Psychiatry. YEAR: 2009.

DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from Oxford Journals for $25.

 

Education on masculinity reduces gender-based violence and STIs (2008)

Programs that teach boys about responsibility and respect for women are successful at reducing intimate partner violence, STIs and sexual risk-taking. Boys who learn they don’t need to be aggressive "tough guys” reduced their likelihood of getting genital herpes by 33%, decreased the likelihood of intimate partner violence, and increased safe sex. This is important because men’s sexual behaviors—such as violence against women and lack of condom use—are the leading factors in the spread of HIV.


TITLE: "Gender and AIDS time to act”

AUTHORS: Alan Greig, Dean Peacock, Rachel Jewkes, and Sisonke Msimang.

JOURNAL: AIDS. YEAR: 2008.

DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from AIDS: Official Journal of the International AIDS Society.

 

Exploring Dimensions of Masculinity and Violence (2007)

Exploring Dimensions of Masculinity and Violence, a report by the International Center for Research on Women, in partnership with CARE Balkans, details the work by CARE Balkans with young men between the ages of 13 and 19 to examine the role masculine gender norms play in the development of gender inequality and inequitable behaviors towards women.


TITLE: "Exploring Dimensions of Masculinity and Violence.”

AUTHORS: Anne Eckman, Aparna Jain, Sarah Degnan Kambou, Doris Bartel, and John Crownover

URL:http://www.icrw.org/files/publications/Exploring-Dimensions-of-Masculinity-and-Violence.pdf

 

Machismo increases Latinas' difficulty in preventing pregnancy and STIs (2007)*

Adolescent Latinas face higher pregnancy rates than their white or Black counterparts. Part of this is due to failed communication between Latinas and their parents but also the machismo and behavior of their male sex partners. Direct, frank communication between partners about sex is difficult because boys consider discussions about feelings to be feminine. Furthermore, boys believe it is a girl’s responsibility to prevent pregnancy. She should either use birth control or insist her partner wear a condom. However, getting Latino boys to wear a condom is difficult for girls.


Latino boys are by and large either indifferent or hostile toward condom use. Common complaints include reducing sensation, that they are "too small,” they take too long to put on or are unnecessary for preventing pregnancy. In the view of many young Latinos, withdrawal during sex is more effective and pleasurable. Another part of machismo that depresses boys’ condom use is the social expectations that boys only become men by having children and a family to take care of. So many boys believe that getting a girl pregnant validates their masculinity. And they see contraception, as only serving as impediment to becoming a real man.

TITLE: "The Role of Parents and Partners in the Pregnancy Behaviors of Young Latinas.”

AUTHORS: Melissa L. Gilliam.

JOURNAL: Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences. YEAR: 2007.

DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from Sage Journals Online for $25.

URL:http://hjb.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/29/1/50

 

Codes of manhood encourage young Black males to have sex early and often (2007)*

Codes of masculinity have a tremendous effect on the sexual behavior of African-American boys, who have three main ways to prove their manhood: 1) be an economic provider, 2) toughness, and 3) sexual prowess. Unfortunately, many of these boys have absent fathers, and no male role model to guide them on a path to manhood. Instead they rely upon their peers. Fights and threats of violence are common in order to prove one's toughness and protect economic turf. When it comes to sex, boys are encouraged by peers to have sex early. As one boy put it, "Once you're pretty much like 13,” you're supposed to have had sex already. Boys who have not done so are told to work on their "game” or get money to attract young females. Peer pressure further encourages boys to have sex with multiple partners. Monogamous relationships are discouraged because it takes a potential sex partner away from a boy's friends. These pressures discourage level-headed, responsible sexual activity in order to please others and establish manhood.


TITLE: "Staying Strong: Gender Ideologies among African-American Adolescents and the Implications for HIV/STI Prevention.”
AUTHORS: Deanna Kerrigan, Katherine Andrinopoulos, Raina Johnson, Patrice Parham, Tracey Thomas, and Jonathan M. Ellen.
JOURNAL: Journal of Sexual Research. YEAR: 2007.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from InformaWorld with registration.

 

Culturally appropriate sex ed is more effective with Latinos (2007)*

Sex education that accounts for the cultural belief of machismo, or "male pride,” and other cultural beliefs have shown a 31% lower chance of acquiring an STD, a 56% increase in condom use, and a 25% lower chance of having multiple sex partners,. The most effective education includes addressing barriers to condom use or sexual abstinence, attempting to change peer attitudes, and practicing condom skills. Effective educators realize that machismo—making men prove masculinity through power and dominance—leads to risky sex. Educators aware of cultural differences and language barriers had more success than those who did not focus on Latino culture.


TITLE: "A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Behavioral Interventions to Reduce HIV Risk Behaviors of Hispanics in the United States and Puerto Rico.”
AUTHORS: Jeffrey Herbst, Linda Kay, Warren Passin, Cynthia Lyles, Nicole Crepaz, Barbara Marin.
JOURNAL: AIDS and Behavior. YEAR: 2007.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from University of California, San Fransisco.

 

Boys struggle with whether to be a stereotypical man (2006)

Stereotypical "manly” behavior is linked to girlfriend abuse, promiscuity, and unsafe sex, and the stereotypes make it hard for boys to be who they want to be. Boys report less confidence and more relationship anxiety than do girls because boys don’t know how to act. Contrary to gender stereotypes boys and girls really don’t report much difference in what they value in relationships, especially being loved, or in how much power they perceive they have in a relationship. One boy reported, "I'm like a little girl in a relationship.” He felt this way because he learned that "men” do not express feelings, don’t feel love, and are supposed to simply want sex. Many boys discussed the "player” stereotype as negative, but most still felt pressure to live up to the stereotype and feared telling friends their deep feelings for their girlfriends. Most boys only pretend to be stereotypical men, but this pretending encourages some boys to act violently or irresponsibly. Without anyone telling them it is okay to just be themselves, boys are conflicted between wanting to be good and wanting to be "men.”


TITLE: "Gender and the Meanings of Adolescent Romantic Relationships: A Focus on Boys.”
AUTHORS: Peggy C. Giordano, Monica A. Longmore, and Wendy D. Manning.
JOURNAL: American Sociological Review. YEAR: 2006.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from Sage Journals Online with subscription.

Gender expectations harm boys and girls (2006)

Men are often not concerned with what the woman wants because there is so much pressure for them to find sexual partners to prove they are not "gay.” Men think that penetration in sex is important to prove manhood. Some men fear that putting a condom on will make them lose their erection and they will be accused of being gay.


TITLE: "Factors that shape young people’s sexual behaviour: a systematic review.”
AUTHORS: Cicely Marston and Eleanor King.
JOURNAL: American Sociological Review. YEAR: 2006.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from The Lancet with subscription.

 

Manhood codes among Black male teens increase partners and lower age of first sex (2004)*

Friends play an important role in the sexual health and activity of Black teenagers. In male teens, this peer influence has positive and negative effects on their behavior. Friends talk to each other openly about the number of partners they’ve had to the point that it is a competition.Rarely is sex described as a mutual act with another person. Instead it is viewed as a conquest and something to be bragged about.This encourages young Black males to have sex early and with as many partners as possible to impress their friends and prove their manhood. However, friends do encourage each other to use condoms to prevent unwanted pregnancies and STDs.


TITLE: "The Role of Close Friends in African American Adolescents’ Dating and Sexual Behavior.”
AUTHORS: Gary W. Harper, Christine Gannon, Susan E. Watson, Joseph A. Catania, and M. Margaret Dolcini.

JOURNAL: The Journal of Sex Research. YEAR: 2004.

DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from InformaWorld with registration.

Male peers challenge the masculinity of black men in committed relationships (2004)*

The male friends of men in this study openly encouraged the men to have multiple sex partners even when they are in committed monogamous relationships. Male peers often challenge the masculinity of men in committed relationships to encourage them to cheat. Men in committed relationships referenced their masculinity when they expressed that they are ok with other men encouraging them to be promiscuous. These findings reinforce the idea that "real men” are promiscuous and don’t allow themselves to get tied to a single woman. Also, men who scored high on traditional forms of masculinity are more likely to have sex at times when they do not want to.


TITLE: "Love, Sex, and Masculinity in Sociocultural Context : HIV Concerns and Condom Use among African American Men in Heterosexual Relationships”
AUTHORS: Lisa Bowleg
JOURNAL: Men and Masculinities. YEAR: 2004.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from Sagepub.com for $25.00.

URL: http://jmm.sagepub.com/content/7/2/166.full.pdf+htm


Ideas about masculinity shape body image (2004)

Negative body image in males can increase the use of anabolic steroids and lead to the development of an eating disorder. Over the past 10 to 20 years, the ideal size of a guy's muscles has increased to an almost impossible standard. Even the iconic action figure GI Joe's muscularity has increased to a point where his proportions can never be achieved in real life. Since guys now have to compare themselves to overly buffed-up supermen, they feel worse about their own body and as a result themselves.Guys also believe that the "ideal masculine body" relates to being a winner, being more respected, having lots of women around them, and being a solid worker. If they do not believe their body is ideal, guys tend to feel less masculine and feel the pressure to look like other, buffer guys they see in television and magazines.


TITLE: "Measuring Masculine Body Ideal Distress: Development of Measure”
AUTHORS: Sara B. Kimmel and James R. Mahalik
JOURNAL: International Journal of Men's Health. YEAR: 2004.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from Men's Studies Press for $14

URL: http://mensstudies.metapress.com/content/66781267r360w615/


Masculinity attitudes increase promiscuity, HIV rates, and lower HIV testing (2003)

Manhood may ultimately mean having and providing for a family, but until then, boys think it means having lots of sex, having many partners, and bragging to male peers about both, again increasing odds of contracting HIV and/or passing it on. In addition reproductive health services are largely oriented toward girls, and seldom used by boys. Teenage boys perceive going to a clinic as a last resort, as showing weakness. They feel that it proves their manliness to "be tough,” ignore a medical problem and hope it goes away. This includes getting tested for HIV. These beliefs increases boys’ odds of contracting HIV, and decrease their odds of knowing about it.


TITLE: "Where does Reproductive Health Fit into the Lives of Adolescent Males?”

AUTHORS: Arik V. Marcell, Tina Raine, and Stephen L. Eyre.

JOURNAL: Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. YEAR: 2003.

DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from JSTOR online by subscription.

 

Gay male sexual risk-taking linked to belief in sexual prowess as masculinity (2003)*

HIV-positive gay men who believe that sexual prowess is a core aspect of masculinity are more likely to take sexual risks including intentional unprotected anal sex. This behavior HIV-positive men has serious implications for the spread of HIV. Efforts to prevent the spread of HIV should address the belief that masculinity is dependent upon sexual prowess.


TITLE: "Intentional unsafe sex (barebacking) among HIV-positive gay men who seek sexual partners on the Internet”
AUTHORS: P.N. Halkitis and J.T. Parsons
JOURNAL: AIDS Care. YEAR: 2003.
DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available for purchase for $36.00 from TandFonline.com

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0954012031000105423


Fear of being "girly” increases unsafe sex (2002)

A boy’s fear of being "too girly” leads to greater hostility toward other boys, more homophobic beliefs, earlier school drop-outs, and less condom use. 67% of heterosexual guys do not regularly use condoms. Men who think they are tougher and manlier also report having sex at an earlier age and having more sexual partners. The "manlier” a boy tries to be the less likely he is to use a condom and the more danger he risks for himself and his partners.


TITLE: "Constructions of masculinity and their influence on men's well-being: a theory of gender and health.”

AUTHORS: Will H. Courtenay.

JOURNAL: The Social Science and Medicine. YEAR: 2000.

DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from Ohio State University.

 

"Mack," "Pimp," and the "Game": Sexual Prestige among Black Adolescents (1998)*

Gamesmanship can be more important than the romantic and physical aspects of sex for young Black males. It’s seen as a way to prove manhood and gain prestige with peers who set the rules for sexual behavior. Praise from other boys is heaped on those able to have lots of partners, being a "mack” or "pimp.” Deviating from promiscuity can endanger a boy’s prestige and social standing. Maintaining a monogamous relationship leads peers to question a boy’s manhood, because it implies his girlfriend is controlling the boy. Not engaging in any sexual behavior often leads to accusations of being a "fag.” The emphasis on using sex as a tool for prestige reduces the attention paid to health and emotional consequences.


TITLE: "The Gamesmanship of Sex: A Model Based on African American Adolescent Accounts.”

AUTHORS: Stephen L. Eyre, Valerie Hoffman, and Susan Millstein.

JOURNAL: Medical Anthropology Quarterly. YEAR: 1998.

DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from Wiley InterScience with registration.

 

Sexual decision-making and condom use among Black male adolescents (1996)*

96% of Black boys will have had sex with an average of 11 partners by age 19. Black male adolescents have more sexual experience than their white or Hispanic counterparts. Yet communication between Black adolescents on sex and condom use is often difficult or non-existent and insisting on its use can ruin a sexual relationship. Such a request can lead to accusations of one partner being promiscuous and infected with a disease, "dirty,” or being untrusting. Boys are also suspicious of girls’ motives for having sex, which complicates condom use and condom negotiation as well. Boys worry that girls may purposely sabotage a condom in order to get pregnant and bind the boy to them.


TITLE: "Sexual Decision Making by Inner City Black Adolescent Males: A Focus Group Study.”

AUTHORS: Sonia Gilmore, John DeLamater, and David Wagstaff.

JOURNAL: The Journal of Sex Research. YEAR: 1996.

DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from JSTOR online by subscription.

 

Safe sex programs must address cultural norms (1995)

Because HIV prevention programs neglect the different gender roles of men and women in sex, especially among young Hispanics, they fail to be effective. Cultural gender codes, marianismos, discourage young Latinas from insisting on condom use or taking charge of their own sexual behavior. Women learn to be more submissive, and, since the man controls condom usage by being the wearer, women lack control over whether condoms are used.

Meanwhile young men are not taught that condom use is a positive or manly thing. Men and boys who want to be manly are more sexually aggressive and take more sexual risks. They see pregnancy as a sign of masculinity, and they dislike condoms because of it. Not using a condom under the masculine ideal could be compared to a male dog marking a tree; the boys want their peers to know where they have been.
Male/female power imbalances make this worse. Following learned gender roles increases the risk of HIV infection among young Latinas and women generally.

TITLE: "Love, Sex, and Power: Considering Women’s Realities in HIV Prevention.”

AUTHORS: Hortensia Amaro.

JOURNAL:American Psychologist. YEAR: 1995.

DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from University of Massachusetts Boston.

URL:http://psych.umb.edu/faculty/kogan/files/Amaro_LoveSexPower.pdf.pdf

 

Boys who buy into traditional manhood have lower R/H outcomes (1993)

Boys who believe in traditional masculine stereotypes of toughness, aggression, and romantic prowess are more likely to have early sex, more unsafe sex, more sexual partners, and to be involved in unplanned pregnancy. Boys who idolize traditional male personality traits are more likely to believe that getting a girl pregnant is a sign of their manliness. "Manly” boys dislike using condoms and believe safe sex is the girl’s responsibility. These beliefs increase the risk of STIs, HIV, and teen pregnancy.

Boys learn how to be men from school and their communities. Several studies have shown that the absence of a male role model (i.e. a father or male teacher) does not affect a boy’s beliefs about how men should be. Society teaches boys harmful ideas of how to be men focusing on three factors: 1) status, 2) toughness, and 3) anti-femininity.

TITLE: "Masculinity Ideology: Its Impact on Adolescent Males’ Heterosexual Relationships.”

AUTHORS: Joseph Pleck, Freya Sonenstein, and Leighton Ku.

JOURNAL:Journal of Social Issues. YEAR: 1993.

DIGITAL RIGHTS: Available from Oxford Journals for $25.

URL: http://jpepsy.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/jsn146

 


   

 

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