Construction of Masculinities, Femininities, and Sexual Risk Negotiation: Exploratory Evidence from Urban Ghana

Daniel Yaw Fiaveh, University of Ghana
Clara Korkor Fayorsey, University of Ghana
Michael Kweku Okyerefo, University of Ghana

The present study explores the narrative constructions of masculinities and femininities, and how they influence the negotiation of sexual intercourse. Men defined themselves at least by one of three main features identified, i.e. physical characteristics, phallic competence (ability of the penis to erect) and responsibility. These factors do not conflict but rather reinforce each other in the construction of masculinity. Women distinguished between four characteristics, i.e. independence, physical characteristics, responsibility, and reproduction. For example, a characteristic that indicates independence included being smart, fulfilled, financial autonomy such as the ability to fend for oneself and one’s children. Most women did not construct their femininity around the ability to bear a child. Refusal of sex attitude was gendered and derived from sexual myths (e.g. sex positions) and sexual health such as feelings of sexual displeasure, and fear of infecting a partner with a disease.

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Presented in Session 77: Sexuality and Gender issues