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

J.P. Ravenhill, R.O. de Visser

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-222
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology and Sexuality
Issue number3
Early online date28 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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