African township high school boys' articulations of masculinity, sexuality and sexual risk in the age of HIV / AIDS.
Ngubane, Sibusiso Siphesihle.
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The aim of this study was to explore African high school boys' articulations of masculinity, the meanings they give to their sexuality and risky sexual behaviours in the age of HIV/AIDS. The study focused on finding out what explanations boys offer for engaging in risky and unsafe sexual practices. The study used qualitative research in the form of focus group discussions and individual interviews. Seven African high school boys aged 16 turning 17 were the source of data. The findings show that some boys engage in unprotected sex, while others indicated that unprotected sex is risky. This study argues that the risky sexual behaviours that boys engage in are closely related to their constructions of masculinity. It also found that the meanings boys give to their sexuality are also influenced by external factors whereby they imitate what their peers do in order to gain acknowledgement from them and the society. Alcohol is a key factor promoting unsafe sexual practices, while social networks, such as Facebook and Mixit, are used by boys to share sex videos and pictures, thus exposing them to too much sex. With regards to implications, this study shows that the notion of being a real man is something that most boys want to achieve. Being a real man is tantamount to being courageous enough to engage in risky practices.