Gender power and sexuality : Basotho High School boys' responses to risky sexual behaviour.
This study explores young men understandings of, and engagement in, risky sexual behaviours. The group of young men the study focuses on is in a high school in Lesotho. They are aged between 16 and 17 years. The motivation for the study is that, despite a series of campaigns designed to increase awareness and knowledge associated with sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV/AIDS, young boys in Lesotho continue to engage in risky sexual behaviours and practices. It is in this context that the purpose of the study was to investigate how gender power is intimately tied in with meanings young men in Lesotho attach to sexuality. The related aspect investigated in this study, furthermore, was to investigate ways in which gender power operates, and ultimately contribute into boys’ and girls’ risky sexual behaviours that make them vulnerable to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The study employs qualitative research methods to achieve these aims and, accordingly, utilises focus group and individual interviews, with six purposively selected high school boys as research instruments. The findings reveal that, while some boys engage in risky sexual practices, others express determination to practice safe sex. Thus, the study reveals that despite the fact that some boys are engaged in unsafe sexual practises and multiple sexual partners in heterosexual relationships to comply with the notion of masculinity and societal expectations of MANHOOD, others are beginning to question such attitudes. There is therefore multiple and varied perspectives on this issue among the small sample selected for this study.
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