Gender Norms and Discourses Informing College Men’s Perceptions of Heteronormative Sexual Health Responsibilities and HPV Prevention

Samantha J. Stanley, Sara Kim, Margaret Jane Pitts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Focus group data revealed that despite reporting expectations for high levels of sexual activity, college men primarily identifying as heterosexual were ambivalent about sexual health responsibility and their role in preventing human papillomavirus (HPV). Participants identified shared sexual health responsibility as an ideal but invoked heteronormative gender discourses to rationalize inequality in partnered sexual health. Self-categorization processes based on gender may prevent college males from engaging self- and partnered protective behaviors. Yet, self-categorization processes also enabled college men to envision a future relational identity as husband and father in which they engaged protective sexual health behaviors. Although discourses may signify latent benevolent sexism, they may also make room for behavior change through dissonance or messages encouraging superordinate categorization that urges engaging in preventive sexual health behaviors regardless of gender. Implications for self-categorization processes in HPV prevention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-244
Number of pages20
JournalCommunication Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 27 2018



  • College Men
  • Gender Discourse
  • HPV
  • Norms
  • Self-Categorization
  • Sexual Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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