Masculinity and sexuality : investigating risky sexual behaviours amongst high school boys in Umlazi.
In this paper I address the problem of risky sexual behaviours among boys between 16 and 17 in an Umlazi high school, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The main question, which I address, is what boys in an Umlazi high school consider as risky sexual behaviour. My central thesis in addressing this question is exploring the boys’ risky sexual behaviours in an Umlazi high school in order to understand their risky sexual behaviours which can lead to HIV and AIDS infection. My aims and purpose in this essay are thus to understand the boys meaning of risky sexual behaviour, why do these boys in the study engage themselves in risky sexual behaviors and how does the social constructions impact on risky sexual behaviours of boys in an Umlazi high school. The research context of this study is in the domain of masculinity and sexuality. I start from premise that masculinity and sexuality are dynamic and fluid assuming that their risky sexual behaviours are the result of social construction of masculinities and sexualities. I used the qualitative methods in order to understand their world and their meaning of risky sexual behaviours. My results showed that the society shaped the boys meaning of masculinity and sexuality, their identity of being boys and attitudes towards sex and being a boy. In addition to that these boys were urging to be the boys that their society know and expect, they did not want to be different or act differently to what the society consider normal of which there is a price of being alienated or subordinated and ostracized if a boy perform alternative masculinity and sexuality and these constructions affects the girls and young women as they are expected to be permissive. Furthermore the boys aspirations in this study were geared by powerful males such as the President of South Africa in his openly polygamous relationships and they revealed that they promote polygamy which is the culture of the Zulus, so they are already practicing it by having multiple partners which they take as their prerogative as boys. In short, this paper addresses the problem of risky sexual behaviours among boys in a selected Umlazi high school by the group interview held in the research site in order to understand the boys meaning of risky sexual behaviours in an Umlazi high school. Furthermore the study explores what boys consider risky sexual behaviours, their reasons to engage themselves in risky sexual behaviours and the impact of the social construction of masculinity and sexuality.