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Masculinity and Condom Use: Using a Rejection Sensitivity Framework to Understand Women’s Condom Negotiation in Mixed-Gender Sexual Encounters

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Previous research has linked the masculine gender role with negative attitudes towards condoms and a lower likelihood of condom use. Expanding the construct of sexual rejection sensitivity, we propose that men’s greater precarious manhood beliefs will lead to greater condom rejection sensitivity, or anxiety about interpersonal rejection when negotiating condom use. Across two studies utilizing an undergraduate (Study 1; N = 382) and an online adult sample (Study 2; N = 347), cisgender men and women reported their precarious manhood beliefs (for women, their perception of their male partner’s precarious manhood beliefs), condom rejection sensitivity, sexual rejection sensitivity, condom use, and sexual satisfaction in their most recent mixed-gender sexual encounter. We examined the associations between these variables using path analyses separated by gender. Across both studies, we found that, for women, greater perceived precarious manhood beliefs about their partner significantly predicted greater condom rejection sensitivity, which predicted a lower likelihood of condom use. For men, greater endorsement of precarious manhood beliefs significantly predicted greater sexual rejection sensitivity, which predicted lower sexual satisfaction. For men, greater condom rejection sensitivity also predicted a lower likelihood of condom use. These findings add to the literature on the role of masculine gender role ideology in men’s and women’s sexual, romantic, and health outcomes, with particular importance for women’s condom negotiation and sexual health.

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The lead author on this manuscript is supported by the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship.


No funding was received for conducting this study.

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Correspondence to Grace M. Wetzel.

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This research using human subjects was approved by the Institutional Review Board. Informed consent was obtained from all participants electronically and documentation of consent was waived. 

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Wetzel, G.M., Cultice, R.A., Cipollina, R. et al. Masculinity and Condom Use: Using a Rejection Sensitivity Framework to Understand Women’s Condom Negotiation in Mixed-Gender Sexual Encounters. Sex Roles 90, 458–474 (2024).

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