This short piece, written for boys, reflects on what I wish I'd known when I was starting out sexually, the things which make hot sex and healthy relationships more likely.
One-third of the Australian population believe that ‘homosexuality is immoral’, and this belief is spread in distinct ways across the nation. Using data from a survey of nearly 25,000 Australians, we can ‘map’ homophobia in Australia. Homophobic attitudes are worst in country areas of Queensland and Tasmania. Men are far more likely than women to feel that homosexuality does not have moral legitimacy, and this gender gap in attitudes persists across age, socioeconomic, educational, and regional divides. Surprisingly, Catholics are the least homophobic of those Australians with a religious affiliation. Finally, homophobic attitudes seem to be improving over time.
Students in the third-year Sociology course Men and Masculinities at the University of Wollongong have the option of writing a piece of critical autobiography – what I’ve termed a ‘Reflective Journal’ – rather than a conventional essay, for their final written assessment. This document provides guidelines for the Reflective Journal, and further resources on critical autobiography.
Discrimination against women in public sector organisations has been the focus of considerable research in recent years. While much of this literature acknowledges the structural basis of gender inequality, strategies for change are often focused on anti-discrimination policies, equal employment opportunities and diversity management. Discriminatory behaviour is often individualised in these interventions and the larger systems of dominance and subordination are ignored. The flipside of gender discrimination, we argue, is the privileging of men. The lack of critical interrogation of men’s privilege allows men to reinforce their dominance. In this paper we offer an account of gender inequalities and injustices in public sector institutions in terms of privilege. The paper draws on critical scholarship on men and masculinities and an emergent scholarship on men’s involvement in the gender relations of workplaces and organisations, to offer both a general account of privilege and an application of this framework to the arena of public sector institutions and workplaces in general.
Citation: Flood, M., and B. Pease. (2006). Undoing Men’s Privilege and Advancing Gender Equality in Public Sector Institutions. Policy and Society, 24(4): 119-138.
This report examines how violence against women specifically affects children and young people. It looks at the nature of violence they experience in their homes and their own relationships, its impacts, and the priorities for action if efforts to prevent violence among, and protect, young people are to be successful.
Citation: Flood, M., and L. Fergus. (2008). An Assault on Our Future: The impact of violence on young people and their relationships. Sydney: White Ribbon Foundation.
Men, Sex and Homosociality: How Bonds Between Men Shape their Sexual Relations with Women (Journal article)
Male-male social bonds have a powerful influence on the sexual relations of some young heterosexual men. Qualitative analysis among young men aged eighteen to twenty-six in Canberra, Australia, documents the homosocial organization of men’s heterosexual relations. Homosociality organizes men’s sociosexual relations in at least four ways. For some of these young men, male-male friendships take priority over male-female relations, and platonic friendships with women are dangerously feminizing. Sexual activity is a key path to masculine status, and other men are the audience, always imagined and sometimes real, for one’s sexual activities. Heterosexual sex itself can be the medium through which male bonding is enacted. Last, men’s sexual storytelling is shaped by homosocial masculine cultures. While these patterns were evident particularly among young men in the highly homosocial culture of a military academy, their presence also among other groups suggests the wider influence of homosociality on men’s sexual and social relations.
Citation: Flood, M. (2008) Men, Sex, and Homosociality: How bonds between men shape their sexual relations with women. Men and Masculinities, 10(3), April: 339-359.
Boys’ and young men’s lives are shaped by powerful social and sexual relations, which limit their ability to form healthy relationships and to nurture their own and their sexual partners’ sexual and reproductive health. Typical social constructions of manhood and masculine sexuality inform males’ risk-taking behaviour, constrain their access to health services and thwart health promotion efforts. Such constructions increase the likelihood of boys’ and men’s participation in unplanned pregnancy, disease transmission, and sexual violence.
This paper outlines key aspects of the current ordering of young men’s sociosexual lives. I focus on practices, discourses and relations of gender and sexuality among boys and young men which shape their sexual behaviour, social interactions and sexual relationships. These patterns influence boys’ and young men’s involvements in a range of health issues, including contraception and pregnancy, bodily health, unsafe sex and disease transmission, violence, and sexual and familial relationships more broadly. Therefore, in order to understand both health-related behaviour and the possibilities for health promotion among young men, it is crucial to ‘map’ their social and sexual relations. It is to this exercise that I now turn, beginning with a brief explanation of the terms I use.
New formations of sexuality are emerging among young heterosexual men. There are signs of diversity, and flux, in the sexual cultures of such males, shaped by wider shifts in gender and sexual relations. This chapter maps some of the clearest examples of diversity and flux among them, as part of a wider project on young men’s sexual and social relations with women.
Citation: Flood, M. (2008) “Bent Straights: Diversity and flux among heterosexual men.” Intimate Citizenships: Gender, Subjectivity, Politics. Ed. E.H. Oleksy. Routledge.
Around the world, there are growing efforts to involve boys and men in the prevention of violence against women: as participants in education programs, as targets of social marketing campaigns, as policy makers and gatekeepers, and as activists and advocates. Efforts to prevent violence against girls and women now increasingly take as given that they must engage men. While there are dangers in doing so, there also is a powerful feminist rationale for such work. This article provides a review of the variety of initiatives which engage or address men in order to prevent violence against women. It maps such efforts, locating them within a spectrum of prevention activities. Furthermore, the article identifies or advocates effective strategies in work with men to end violence against women.
Most everyday users of pornography are heterosexual men. Looking at, and masturbating to, pornography is the routine practice of large numbers of men. And most of the commercial pornographic industry caters to heterosexual men. These men – and their consumption of pornography – are the subject of a growing body of research. This chapter offers an overview of what we can learn about heterosexual boys’ and young men’s use of pornography, focusing particularly on quantitative studies of the extent, nature and meaning of pornography consumption.