Boys' thoughts and talk about sex in a working class locality of Glasgow

Wight, D. (1994) Boys' thoughts and talk about sex in a working class locality of Glasgow. Sociological Review, 42(4), pp. 703-737. (doi: 10.1111/j.1467-954X.1994.tb00107.x)

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This paper analyses data on sexuality from ethnographic research and from group discussions and in-depth interviews with 58 14–16 year old males in two schools. The research was carried out in a working class locality (Brockhill) in Glasgow, Scotland. Fourteen to sixteen year old boys in Brockhill lead homosocial lives and learn about sex and develop their sexual identities almost entirely from males. Hetero-sexuality is taken-for-granted as the cultural norm. There is considerable ambivalence about heterosexual sex, however, because of the gulf between male and female worlds, the inconsistencies between the dominant norm of teenage male sexuality and the boys' own personal experiences and emotions, and the vulnerability of their sexual identities. Although most boys conform to the convention of talking about sex in a way that objectifies women and focuses on male gratification, this discourse does not always reflect their more private views, particularly amongst those most familiar with girls. Several of these latter respondents expressed frustration with the passive role to which girls usually conform. There is a strong sense of the social construction of sexuality, but resignation to the idea that existing norms are inevitable.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wight, Professor Danny
Authors: Wight, D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Sociological Review
ISSN (Online):1467-954X

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