Safer heterosex: perspectives from young men in Ireland

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Title: Safer heterosex: perspectives from young men in Ireland
Authors: Hyde, Abbey
Drennan, Jonathan
Howlett, Etaoine
Brady, Dympna
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Date: 22-Feb-2008
Abstract: Background: Existing research indicates that large numbers of people do not consistently use condoms when embarking on sexual relationships and instead use unreliable social cues to determine whether a potential partner is likely to have a sexually transmissible infection. This article reports on an aspect of the first major piece of qualitative research that explored young people's perspectives on sexuality in Ireland, and focuses Oil how young men made sense of risk when it came to sexual behaviour. Methods: Seventeen focus group interviews (collectively comprising 124 young men) were conducted with male secondary school pupils in Ireland, whose ages ranged from 14 to 19 years. Results: The data are structured around three themes that capture how study participants made sense of sexual safety. These themes are: (i) rumour, local hearsay and 'knowing' a potential partner; (ii) the social construction of the 'slut' category; and (iii) women as 'bearers of disease'. Young women in the young men's social group tended to acquire a specific sexual identity, not necessarily through any definitive evidence of their sexual history, but rather through their normative behaviours - dress, presentation, appearance and so forth. It was on this basis that the sexual status of a young woman was judged. Conclusions: Based on participants' accounts, we conclude that notions of safer sex are not merely established in individual discussions between a couple embarking on a sexual relationship, but rather are produced discursively in the wider social setting beyond the sexual encounter
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: CSIRO
Copyright (published version): CSIRO 1996-2013
Keywords: Safe sex;Sexual identity;Young men
DOI: 10.1071/SH07062
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems Research Collection

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