The construction of masculinities and sexuality among young male university students.
This study explores the ways in which masculinity and sexuality is constructed among 18–24 year old young male university students and how these constructions intersect with their sexual practices. A plethora of literature about masculinity and sexuality reveals a normative masculinity where being a man is associated with risky practices. Through literature review it is also emphasised that although masculinity is rather stable, it is contested and subject to struggle and change. Hence there is a call for flexible descriptions of what it means to be a man. The study is situated in a social constructionist framework. Semi-structured interviews were audio-taped and transcribed. Themes are determined and analysed using discourse analysis. Participants’ reflections bring to the fore how idealised construction of masculinity is valued and the extent to which men conform in order to earn the status of manhood. Some discourses that emerged from participants contribute to the idealised construction of masculinity. The university context seems to provide a better space for the attainment of this idealised masculinity as opposed to the home (with parents/members of the family), which is perceived to be placing a strain or restriction on masculinity. The study further found that men are reluctant to use condoms, and label women who initiate condom use. This reluctance and labelling reinforce their urge to present themselves as invulnerable, virile, brave, initiators and thrill seeking. The study concludes that it is impossible to tackle the scourge of HIV/AIDS without looking into the construction of masculinity and sexuality among males.