Men, deprivation and sexual risk behaviour
There are concerns about high levels of sexual risk behaviour and negative sexual attitudes among those in lower socio-economic groups, particularly among men. However, this area remains relatively unexplored. Our initial plans are to conduct qualitative research on attitudes and behaviours around gender and sexual risk taking to inform the development of interventions in this area.
We were awarded funding by the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office (CSO) to explore how prevailing constructions of masculinity in the most socio-economically deprived areas of Scotland are related to sexual health attitudes and behaviours in adult heterosexual men; examine whether/how these are related to adverse sexual, physical or mental health consequences for men, their female sexual partners, and other women; and use the findings to develop interventions to improve sexual health for those in areas of high deprivation. The 18 months project is led by Karen Lorimer (Glasgow Caledonian University) and began in September 2013.
We conducted a small scoping review on masculinities, sexual health, gender and risk to inform our work. We reviewed studies with a specific focus on masculinities and sexual health or which include heterosexual men aged 18 years and older from deprived or lower socio-economic areas.
There were insufficient interventions to reduce sexually transmitted infection (STI) acquisition which directly targeted general risk, adult, heterosexual males. Studies have shown that men from deprived areas have fewer resources for constructing masculinity and draw on ‘narrow definitions of masculinity’, which impact negatively on their sexual health. Although masculinities have been shown to have a profound effect on sexual health practices, most research into STI reduction in heterosexual males in the UK and US does not use a theoretical framework of masculinity. We concluded that future research and interventions aimed at lowering STI transmission rates, and using a framework of masculinity theory, should be conducted with heterosexual men from deprived areas.
McDaid L, Ross G, Young I. Men, deprivation and sexual health: scoping review. MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit Occasional Paper 22, Glasgow, 2012open access