Perspectives on intimate relationships among young people in rural South Africa: the logic of risk
2016 (English)In: Culture, Health and Sexuality, ISSN 1369-1058, E-ISSN 1464-5351, Vol. 18, no 9, 1010-1024 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This paper explores how young people in rural South Africa understand gender, dating, sexuality and risk-taking in adolescence. The empirical material drawn upon consists of 20 interviews with young men and women (aged 18-19) and reflects normative gender patterns characterised by compulsory heterosexuality and dating as obligatory, and representing key symbols of normality. However, different meanings of heterosexual relationships are articulated in the interviews, for example in the recurring concept of 'passing time', and these meanings show that a relationship can be something arbitrary: a way to reduce boredom and have casual sex. Such a rationale for engaging in a relationship reflects one of several other normative gender patterns, which relate to the trivialisation of dating and sexual risk-taking, and which entail making compromises and legitimising deviations from the 'ideal' life-script and the hope of a better future. However, risks do not exclusively represent something bad, dangerous or immoral, because they are also used as excuses to avoid sex, HIV acquisition and early pregnancy. In conclusion, various interrelated issues can both undermine and/or reinforce risk awareness and subsequent risk behaviour. Recognition of this tension is essential when framing policies to support young people to reduce sexual risk-taking behaviour.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 18, no 9, 1010-1024 p.
Young people, dating, gender, risk-taking, sexuality
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-118709DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2016.1155749PubMedID: 26986221OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-118709DiVA: diva2:915394