'Risk' and sexual coercion among gay and bisexual men in Aotearoa/New Zealand-key informant accounts

Braun, Virginia; Terry, Gareth; Gavey, Nicola and Fenaughty, John (2009). 'Risk' and sexual coercion among gay and bisexual men in Aotearoa/New Zealand-key informant accounts. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 11(2) pp. 111–124.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13691050802398208


Research over the past decade on rape and sexual coercion among gay and bisexual men has shown that significant numbers of men report some form of unwanted or coerced sexual experience. Most studies have investigated the prevalence and impact of sexual assault, with little exploration of the nature and meanings of sexual coercion. This paper contributes to understandings of the latter, analysing the notion of ‘risk’ as it appeared in the talk of 23 key informants interviewed. These informants offered expert perspectives on the issue of sexual coercion and unwanted sex among gay and bisexual men, based on their professional and community experience. Thematic analysis led us to identify two predominant patterns of talk around risk: a focus on sociocultural contexts as risky for sexual coercion and a focus on certain types of individuals as vulnerable and ‘at risk’ of sexual coercion. Accounts of individual risk fit with currently dominant prevention models, which work to strengthen individuals’ abilities to avoid or resist coercion. The accounts that emphasised context fit with recent theorising which suggests broader interventions are also necessary to prevent sexual coercion, ones that challenge normative constructions of sexuality and sexual practice.

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