Recent studies have discussed the negotiable aspects of sexual behaviors. These studies generally argue that the context in which sex takes place could influence the type of sexual behaviors in which a person would engage. The meaning a person attaches to specific sex acts would also affect whether they would enact it. The objective of this study is to examine how men interpret different sex acts in relationship to their sexual identity, and whether these interpretations differ between Brazilian and American men.
Design and Method
This study is based on in-depth interviews conducted in 2002-2006 with American and Brazilian men. Participants were solicited via a snowball sampling approach. A grounded theory approach was used to analyze the data.
The results indicate that certain sex acts are stigmatized and are to be avoided as they are regarded as indicative of a homosexual orientation. However, the stigma associated with these sex acts is partly dependent on cultural context and local sexual systems. Being the passive person in anal intercourse is considered the final line drawn between being straight and being gay for Brazilian men, whereas this sex act is not necessary the boundary between the two sexual identities for American men in my sample.
Definitional criteria of sexual identification and of the sex act boundaries are situational. Sexual identities are fluid in part because the criteria used to determine them are also fluid.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.