Perceptions of gay men’s masculinity are associated with sexual self-label, voice quality and physique

Ravenhill, James and Visser, Richard de (2017) Perceptions of gay men’s masculinity are associated with sexual self-label, voice quality and physique. Psychology & Sexuality, 8 (3). pp. 208-222. ISSN 1941-9899

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Like all other men, gay men may utilise stereotypically masculine attributes and behaviours in an attempt to accrue ‘masculine capital’, a term referring to the social power afforded by the display of traits and behaviours associated with orthodox, ‘hegemonic’ masculinity. Previous research findings suggest that gay sexual self-labels – conveying position preferences in anal intercourse between men – voice quality and muscularity may contribute to gay men’s masculine capital. This study examined the relative contribution to gay men’s masculine capital made by sexual self-labels, voice quality (deep/high-pitched) and physique (muscularity/thinness). It also assessed the beliefs gay men and straight people hold regarding the gendered nature of gay sexual self-labels in anal intercourse. Results from a survey of 538 participants showed that gay and straight people perceived the anally insertive sexual self-label as the most masculine and the anally receptive self-label the least masculine. The findings also revealed that voice quality and physique were more strongly associated with perceptions of gay men’s masculinity than their sexual self-label, although gay men who had masculine attributes and were anally receptive were perceived as less masculine than those who had the same attributes and were anally insertive.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Gay men; Anal intercourse; Masculinity; Masculine capital
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Research Centres and Groups: Social and Applied Psychology Research Group
Depositing User: James Ravenhill
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2017 15:42
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 15:20

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