Research on the influence of gender on sexual behavior has tended to focus on women, leading to a relative lack of knowledge of the male side of gender, and the development and content of men's perspectives on their sexual behavior, prompting NICHD to issue PA-05-033, Men's Heterosexual Behavior and HIV Infection. In addition to the paucity of research on men's perspectives, HIV-prevention research has employed limited theoretical models that focus primarily on cognitive factors as predictors of decision-making and behavior. In the proposed project, we will develop and test an expanded model of heterosexually active young men's sexual risk taking behavior, explicating mechanisms as well as outcomes. Using a sexual scripts perspective, we will incorporate intrapsychic, interpersonal and cultural levels into this new model, which will expand on the social cognitive models that have dominated sexual risk behavior research in the first two decades of HIV research. We will examine gender role norms and ideologies, concurrent partnerships, sexual violence perpetration and victimization, and emotional arousal. The project will contribute both to empirical knowledge of young adult men's perspectives on sexual behavior and sexual risk- taking, and to development of theory that incorporates cultural, emotional, and interpersonal factors as predictors of sexual behavior. The research will proceed in three phases: Initial interviews will elicit young men's sexual scripts and examine their relationship to sexual risk and protective behaviors. These interview data will then be used to describe the sexual scripts embedded in these stories, and to create synopses of the scripts to identify script elements that are of theoretical or empirical interest in relationship to sexual risk. In the second phase, we will use these script elements to develop scales to refine a survey that will be administered to a larger sample of men in the third phase. The goal of the third phase is to survey a sample of 500 men to assess the degree to which these scripts act as mediators between hypothesized predictor variables and HIV risk/protective factors. Sufficient numbers of African-American, Asian-American, and white men will be included for analyses and comparison of these ethnic groups.

Public Health Relevance

The lack of knowledge of the male side of gender, and the development and content of men's perspectives on their sexual behavior limits our ability to design effective HIV- and STI-prevention interventions. This project will extend our understanding of heterosexual men's behavior and provide a base on which to develop new theories and interventions.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Behavioral and Social Science Approaches to Preventing HIV/AIDS Study Section (BSPH)
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Newcomer, Susan
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University of Washington
Schools of Social Work
United States
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Masters, N Tatiana; Casey, Erin; Beadnell, Blair et al. (2015) Condoms and Contexts: Profiles of Sexual Risk and Safety Among Young Heterosexually Active Men. J Sex Res 52:781-94
Morrison, Diane M; Masters, N Tatiana; Wells, Elizabeth A et al. (2015) "He enjoys giving her pleasure": diversity and complexity in young men's sexual scripts. Arch Sex Behav 44:655-68