“Boys in Power”

Consent and Gendered Power Dynamics in Sex

in Boyhood Studies
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  • 1 University of Iceland katrino@hi.is
  • | 2 University of Iceland jik@hi.is
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Abstract

Sexual consent determines if sex is consensual, but the concept is under-researched globally. In this article, we focus on heterosexual young men and how they negotiate sex and consent. We draw on peer group interviews to understand how young men are constituted by the dominant discourses at play in shaping their realities. We have identified two different discourses that inform consent, the discourse of consent (based on legal, educational, and grassroots discourses), and the discourse of heterosexuality (based on the heterosexual script, porn, and gender roles) resulting in conflicting messages for boys. They are supposed to take responsibility for sex to be consensual as well as being gentle partners, but at the same time, the heterosexual discourse itself produces power imbalances in sex and dating.

Contributor Notes

Katrín Ólafsdóttir completed an MA in History from the University of Stockholm in 2008 and has been a certified secondary schoolteacher from the University of Iceland since 2010. She is an adjunct and a PhD student in the School of Education at the University of Iceland. She is currently working on her PhD project on perpetrators of intimate partner violence, funded by the Icelandic Research Fund and the Icelandic Equality Fund. Her research areas are feminist politics, gender history, masculinity, intimate partner violence, youth, rape prevention, and sex education. Email: katrino@hi.is | ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2429-0888

Jón Ingvar Kjaran is Associate Professor of Anthropology/Sociology of Education at the University of Iceland. His research focus is on gender equality, sexuality, ethnicity, race, and gender violence. He is currently leading two research projects on gender violence funded by the Icelandic Research Fund. One is on the experiences of immigrant women of intimate partner violence/workplace violence, inspired by #MeToo stories immigrant women. The other is on perpetrators of intimate partner violence. Email: jik@hi.is | ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6221-6382

Boyhood Studies

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