Social Construction of Condom Non-Use: Implications for Condom Promotion Interventions in Bangladesh

Sharful Khan, Edith Cowan University
Nancy Hudson-Rodd, Edith Cowan University
Sherry Saggers, Edith Cowan University
Abbas Bhuiya, ICDDR,B: Centre for Health and Population Research

A qualitative study was conducted to explore Bangladeshi men's emic views on condom non-use. Fifty men of 18 to 56 years from diverse socio-demographic backgrounds and five HIV/AIDS professionals as key-informants were interviewed. Findings suggest refusal to use condoms is not a personal choice, rather a social decision deeply embedded in the relational context. The notion of reduced physical pleasure has social and masculine realities attached to men's lives and emotions. Pornographic movies are referred to as learning media for sex without condoms as 'real' men's sexual skill. AIDS educational materials symbolize condoms as choices for promiscuous men, which discourage men from using condoms to preserve the image of a good man. The size of condoms interferes with men's phallic concerns of masculine sexuality, a social construct. Individually focused condom interventions are less effective because they do not address social and masculine dimensions of male sexuality.

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Presented in Session 145: Men's Reproductive Behavior