AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 788–798

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

  • Paul J. Fleming
  • Ralph J. DiClemente
  • Clare Barrington
Substantive Review

DOI: 10.1007/s10461-015-1264-y

Cite this article as:
Fleming, P.J., DiClemente, R.J. & Barrington, C. AIDS Behav (2016) 20: 788. doi:10.1007/s10461-015-1264-y


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.


HIV/AIDS Masculinities Sex and gender Sexualities Condom 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (US)
  • T32 AI007001
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (US)
  • T32 HD007168
National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • T32 DA023356

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul J. Fleming
    • 1
  • Ralph J. DiClemente
    • 2
    • 3
  • Clare Barrington
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Global Public HealthUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health EducationEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Center for AIDS Research, Prevention Sciences & Epidemiology CoreAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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