Masculinity and HIV: Dimensions of Masculine Norms that Contribute to Men’s HIV-Related Sexual Behaviors
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- Fleming, P.J., DiClemente, R.J. & Barrington, C. AIDS Behav (2016) 20: 788. doi:10.1007/s10461-015-1264-y
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Numerous studies have documented a relationship between masculine norms and men’s HIV-related sexual behaviors, but intervening upon this relationship requires a nuanced understanding of the specific aspects of masculine norms that shape men’s sexual behaviors. We integrate theories on masculinities with empirical HIV research to identify specific dimensions of masculine norms that influence men’s HIV-related sexual behaviors. We identify three major dimensions of masculine norms that shape men’s sexual behavior: (1) uncontrollable male sex drive, (2) capacity to perform sexually, and (3) power over others. While the existing literature does help explain the relationship between masculine norms and men’s sexual behaviors several gaps remain including: a recognition of context-specific masculinities, an interrogation of the positive influences of masculinity, adoption of an intersectional approach, assessment of changes in norms and behaviors over time, and rigorous evaluations of gender-transformative approaches. Addressing these gaps in future research may optimize prevention efforts.