Now showing 1 - 10 of 13
  • Publication
    Young men's vulnerability in constituting hegemonic masculinity in sexual relations
    This article reports on a qualitative analysis of theThis article reports on a qualitative analysis of the accounts of young men on their experiences of heterosexual encounters. Based on data collected in Ireland using 17 focus groups with 124 young men aged between 14 and 19 years (a subsection of a wider study), the manner in which intricate peer groupmechanisms acted as surveillance strategies in regulating the young men toward presenting themselves in ways consistent with hegemonic manifestations of masculinity is explored. However, there were also elements of resistance to such a culture in the way in which sexual pleasure for some young men was derived relationally through giving pleasure rather than merely through mechanical, emotionally detached sexual acts that characterize hegemonic masculinity. In emphasizing male vulnerabilities such as uncertainty, fear, and rejection in the realm of sexuality, it is proposed that one must not lose sight of the broader context of male sexual dominance for which, as data indicate, men themselves pay a price.
      784Scopus© Citations 42
  • Publication
    Women's accounts of heterosexual experiences in the context of menopause
    A number of biomedical models of female sexuality have emerged during the past few decades, and these have been challenged by feminist theorists who have tended to focus on the influence of contextual issues that mediate women's sexual experiences. In this article, a qualitative analysis of accounts relating to heterosexual experiences obtained from 25 menopausal women in Ireland through in-depth interviews is presented and considered in light of existing theoretical perspectives on sexuality. The average age of women in the sample was 54.2 years, and a diverse range of socioeconomic backgrounds was represented. We found that in describing their contemporary sexual experiences, contextual issues were brought heavily to bear as participants drew on discourses of personal history and biography, including previous relationships, to explain their current sexual experiences. However, a few women foregrounded physiological and biological reasons associated with hormonal changes to explain alterations in their sexual relationship, although overall, these were featured to a far lesser extent compared with their prominent position in biomedical menopause literature. A dominant feature of data was the influence of the discourse of the male sex drive, and many women explained their lesser interest in sexual activity compared with that of their partner in terms of men's nature. The findings suggested that for participants, anxiety around sexuality was socially produced either through the expectation to satisfy a partner, or by dominant discourses that defined sexual engagement as “healthy” and sexual apathy as “unhealthy.”
      412Scopus© Citations 4
  • Publication
    Sexual behaviour and knowledge among adolescents in Ireland
    Background: In the present study the reported sexual activity and aspects of sexual knowledge of adolescents in both rural and urban areas in Ireland was documented. Methods: A questionnaire was administered to secondary school pupils aged 14–19 years during 2003–04. Data were analysed using the software package SPSS version 15.0. Associations between boys and girls, younger (≤15 years) and older respondents (≥16 years), and students from urban and rural schools were measured using the χ2 statistic. Results: The findings indicated that over a third of respondents had experienced sexual intercourse. However, the consistent trend in all previous studies of a greater proportion of boys reporting that they had full sex was reversed in the present study, with a higher proportion of girls stating that they had experienced their sexual debut. With regard to sexual coercion, while only a tenth of boys reported that they felt pressured to have full sex, approximately a third of girls reported that they had at some time felt pressured. Boys manifested a poorer understanding of fertility than girls, with more than half believing that a pregnancy would not occur while a woman was menstruating. Conclusions: Endeavours designed to improve young people’s knowledge of reproductive physiology and the risks they pose to themselves by having sex without a condom need to be improved.
      517Scopus© Citations 9
  • Publication
    Hormone therapy and the medical encounter:  a qualitative analysis of women's experiences
    Objective: The aim of this article was to explore women's experiences in biomedical consultations for menopause symptoms, with a particular focus on how hormone therapy (HT) featured during the encounter. Methods: Semistructured interviews were conducted with 39 women, and data were analyzed using a qualitative strategy referred to as Thematic Networks. Results: Several participants whose menopause started before the period of the HT "scares" described being "put on" HT as a matter of course, even when their symptoms were mild. By contrast, some of those presenting in the more recent time period with what they deemed to be severe symptoms were more likely to describe scenarios whereby they pressured their physicians for an HT prescription. Once on HT, participants were found to be far from passive recipients of a biomedical "treatment" but rather embarked on an active dialogue with themselves about how to manage the distressing aspects of menopause. Conclusions: Using HT did not tend to spell a transition to biomedical advocacy, despite its reported effectiveness in moderating bodily distresses. Rather, HT tended to retain a tentative status as a temporary relief and not a long-term panacea.
      305Scopus© Citations 9
  • Publication
    The silent treatment: parents' narratives of sexuality education with young people
    This paper is based on research undertaken in Ireland that sought to understand how parents communicate with their children about sexuality. Forty-three parents were interviewed and data were analysed using analytical induction. Data indicated that while parents tended to pride themselves on the culture of openness to sexuality that prevailed in their home, they often described situations where very little dialogue on the subject actually transpired. However, unlike previous research on the topic that identified parent-related factors (such as ignorance or embarrassment) as the main impediments to parent-young person communication about sex, participants in our study identified the central obstacle to be a reticence on the part of the young person to engage in such dialogue. Participants described various blocking techniques apparently used by the young people, including claims to have full prior knowledge on the issue, physically absenting themselves from the situation, becoming irritated or annoyed, or ridiculing parents' educational efforts. In our analysis, we consider our findings in light of the shifting power of children historically and the new cultural aspiration of maintaining harmonious and democratic relations with one's offspring.
      720Scopus© Citations 23
  • Publication
    Parents' constructions of the sexual self-presentation and sexual conduct of adolescents: discourses of gendering and protecting
    In this paper, we explore the discourses on sexuality that a sample of parents drew upon when they talked about teenage sexual self-presentation and conduct. The sample consisted of 43 parents (32 mothers and 11 fathers) of young people aged 10–19 years. Data were gathered using in-depth interviews and were analysed using a strategy known as modified analytical induction. Findings indicated that while an acceptance the traditional heterosexual script permeated participants' accounts, and protective discourses in relation to young women were brought to bear, so, too, were protective discourses invoked in relation to young men. On the whole, young women tended to be cast as sexual subjects who chose to self-sexualise and this was sometimes seen by participants as a threat to young men. We argue that the discourses that parents connoted were multiple and sometimes contradictory, and our analysis problematises the notion that conventional discourses singularly cast women as objects of male sexuality. However, the overall picture indicated that in parents' narratives, young women tended to be more heavily regulated and either viewed as needing protection from male sexual advances or castigated for encouraging them.
      536Scopus© Citations 8
  • Publication
    The ending of menstruation: perspectives and experiences of lesbian and heterosexual women at menopause
    This article aims to theorize how a sample of menopausal women, lesbian and heterosexual, construct the ending of their periods, and what the experience means for them. Findings indicate that for most of the lesbian participants (who were in a sizeable minority), emotions of loss at the ending of periods were simultaneously expressed alongside positive feelings, and they engaged in greater introspection around the issue than did heterosexual women. However, lesbians did not all take up a singular subject position in relation to menstruation, indicating that there is fragmentation and plurality in how the body is experienced across a group.
      446Scopus© Citations 10
  • Publication
    Parents' constructions of communication with their children about safer sex
    Aims and objectives: To analyse how a sample of parents reportedly communicated with their adolescent and preadolescent children about safer sex (contraceptive and condom use). Background: Among the plethora of existing research available on parent–child communication about sexuality (more broadly), very few studies detail the substance and tenor of what parents actually convey specifically about safer sex.Design: The study adopted a qualitative methodology and involved interviewing 43 parents (32 mothers and 11 fathers). Data were analysed using modified analytical induction. Results: Findings indicated that although the majority of parents professed to being open about sexuality with their children, only a minority reportedly conveyed direct messages about contraception and condom use. Moreover, these direct messages appeared to be imparted at a superficial level. Parents were more likely to communicate such messages in a tacit manner through innuendo and intimation. The complacency that parents displayed about the need to undertake safer sex education with their adolescents arose from an understanding that this was covered adequately at school and the belief that their teenager was not in a romantic relationship. In addition, some parents expressed concern that discussing safer sex with teenagers might actually encourage sexual activity. Conclusion: We conclude that some parents may consider themselves to have engaged in sexuality education around safer sex when it appears to be predominantly surface-level education; that what constitutes ‘doing’ sexuality education is far from clear-cut may cast some light on why there is little consistency in the literature on the impact of parental communication on sexual health outcomes for young people. Relevance to clinical practice: For nurses engaged in sexuality health promotion with parents, we caution about presenting unequivocal messages to parents about the impact of parental communication about sexuality on adolescent sexual behaviour without due acknowledgement of the grey areas indicated in the literature.
      839Scopus© Citations 28
  • Publication
    Heterosexual experiences of secondary school pupils in Ireland: sexual coercion in context
    (Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2008-06-17) ; ; ;
    This paper reports on data from a wider study of young people's heterosexual experiences in Ireland, but focuses in particular on issues of sexual coercion. Data were gathered from 29 focus group interviews with 102 young women and 124 young men and were analysed using a qualitative research strategy. Drawing on concepts of social coercion and interpersonal coercion, we argue that both female and male participants reported a general sense of social coercion to lose their virginity by a certain age. However, narratives of interpersonal coercion were far stronger in the case of the young women compared with their male counterparts, while the young men reported a particular type of social coercion that propelled them to subscribe to conventional heterosexual male behaviour. We argue that while the distinction between social coercion and interpersonal coercion is far from watertight, it is a useful conceptual tool in identifying broad variations in women's and men's sexually coercive experiences.
      582Scopus© Citations 10
  • Publication
    Masculinities and young men's sex education needs: problematising client centred health promotion approaches
    In recent decades, dominant discourses in health promotion have emphasized empowerment, client participation and the notion of people identifying and being facilitated to meet their own health needs. However, there has been little analysis of the concept of ‘need’ and the possibility, at least, that the fulfilment of some such self-defined needs are not in the interest of social justice and equality. In this article, we present an account of the sex education needs of secondary school pupils from their own perspectives, and problematize the concept of self-identified needs in health education. Twenty-nine focus group interviews were conducted with 226 secondary school pupils in Ireland, and data were subjected to a qualitative analysis. Findings suggested that young men tended to prioritize practical guidance that would provide them with the skills and confidence to take the lead in sexual encounters, and display competence in the act of penetrative sex. We argue that these self-defined sex education needs emanate from a culture of traditional masculinity where, for a male, one's place in the pecking order is derived from one's capacity to conquer, lead and display mastery with regard to sex. In the discussion, we attempt to unpack the notion of clients identifying their own needs and the concept of empowerment as it relates to our data, in the context of gender-based structural inequalities
      205Scopus© Citations 14