Ready and Waiting: Heterosexual Men’s Decision-making Narratives in Initiation of Sexual Intimacy

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15 Scopus citations


Recent sexualities scholarship generally frames men as adhering to narratives of sexual assertion and constructions of hegemonic masculinity. However, research on masculinities notes scripts are changing and providing mixed messages regarding the expression of sexualities for heterosexual men. Given this, we look closely at sexual scripts in initiation of sexual intimacy as a means of exploring transformation in sexualities and understanding men’s interpersonal/intrapsychic narratives as expressions of masculinities. Based on in-depth interviews with sixty-nine heterosexual men, ages twenty to fifty-nine, we found that interviewees recounted feelings of readiness and desire for sex as boys and young men. We also found that though, as boys and young men, interviewees felt ready for and desired sex, yet in first experiences, they shared they were anxious and usually waited for partners to initiate or for clear clues partners were ready. Men’s accounts reflect concerns with sexual performance and the incongruence of sexual scripts at the cultural and interpersonal/intrapsychic levels, as well as a private expression of masculinity, reserved for situations with intimate partners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)872-892
Number of pages21
JournalMen and Masculinities
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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