Gender, Power, and Communication in Human Relationships

By Pamela J. Kalbfleisch; Michael J. Cody | Go to book overview

term dependence upon a particular man might seem less prudent. Women might use whatever resources they had to attract a greater number of male partners. This might result in women, in this lower economic group, having more sexual partners than men in this sample.

If we were right, among those men with more sexual partners (suggesting more economic resources perhaps), we might see more perceived obstacles to using safer sex, especially concerning negative views of condoms. This was the case: Men, but not women, with more partners viewed problems surrounding condoms as more problematic obstacles to safer sex compared to those with few partners. Curiously, although there were no sex differences in goals overall: women who had more sexual partners reported that being physically attractive was an important goal, whereas men who had more partners viewed it as a relatively unimportant goal. Perhaps, women in this group may have viewed attractiveness as one of their few resources for attracting partners and enabling them some measure of control, whereas for men, having more partners may have been associated with very different resources (e.g., economic).

It is important to note that tendencies among some subsamples of African Americans may be the result of factors that may have less to do with African-American historical and cultural factors generally, and more to do with sex ratio imbalances, economic factors, and the dynamic emergence of behavioral tendencies that result from such factors, regardless of the population examined. In taking into account differences in different African-American populations, it is important to consider the relative power of individuals in those populations in terms of male-female sex ratios in their "local population" of "acceptable men," and the structural power women may glean from their own resources and personal determination (e.g., increased income, political and social status, and so forth).


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This work was supported by the California University wide AIDS Research Program (Grant number R90USC021) to the first author; both of the second authors were also funded on a California University wide AIDS Research Program Training Grant, funded to the first author as the Director of that training grant. The authors would like to thank Stephen John Read for comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. We extend special thanks to the editors for their diligent assistance, support, and patience, without which this manuscript would not have emerged.


REFERENCES

Anderson J. E.,& Dahlberg L. L. ( 1992). "High-risk sexual behavior in the general population". Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 19, 320-325.

Belcastro P. ( 1985). "Sexual behavior differences between black and white students". Journal of Sex Research, 21, 56-67.

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