3 years ago

Man Talk: Exploring Sexual Communication Between Fathers and Sons in a Minority South African Community

Elmien Lesch, Shannon Brooks


Much of what is known about father-child sexual communication is based on studies conducted in North America and more research into under-represented groups is needed. Our exploratory study therefore investigated sexual communication within father-son dyads belonging to a minority group in South Africa. We used a qualitative research design, and a total of 30 in-depth individual interviews were conducted with the members of 15 father-young adult son dyads. Thematic analysis of the data indicated that although both fathers and sons believed that fathers have an important role to play in the sex education of sons, the sexual communication in these dyads were mostly indirect, singular, and father-centered warnings, jokes or speeches. The men in our study would therefore benefit from interventions that equip them with knowledge and skills to function as more effective sexual communicators and educators. Furthermore, we found that limiting hegemonic masculinity ideas underpinned father-son sexual communication, which implies that interventions to empower fathers as effective sex communicators should also challenge and expand ideas and practices involving masculinity and fatherhood. We also identified context-specific issues (e.g., being mindful of how the idea of explicit sexual communication fits with local constructions of respectful father-son relationships) that need to be attended to in such interventions.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11199-018-0988-3

DOI: 10.1007/s11199-018-0988-3

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