Stigma, Disclosure and Relationship Agency in Black Women’s Sexual Relationships with Behaviorally Bisexual Black Men

Sonja Mackenzie, Durryle N Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The health needs and relationships of Black women partnered with behaviorally bisexual Black men are under addressed in the public health literature. This paper explores the relationship dynamics of Black women’s sexual relationships with behaviorally bisexual Black men. We conducted thirty qualitative interviews with a group of HIV negative and HIV positive women partnered with behaviorally bisexual Black men in the San Francisco Bay Area. Women took part in a one-time qualitative interview that addressed relationships, bisexual partners, sexuality, HIV risk behaviors, and disclosure. Women described experiences of their own and their partner’s experiences of disclosure and sexual stigma, along with structural racism and masculine cultural norms that contribute to men’s non-disclosure of sex with men. The paper identifies the ways in which disclosure and stigma are experienced by a sample of women in relationships with behaviorally bisexual Black male partners, pointing to the ways in which these women demonstrate sexual agency in these relationships. These sexual narratives emphasize the ways in which Black women are at once agentic and also navigate gendered vulnerability in their relationships with bisexual men. These findings of Black women’s sexual agency present a call to develop health interventions resonant with Black women’s relationship experiences and structures of bisexual relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalSexuality and Culture
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 5 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • African American
  • Behaviorally bisexual men
  • Bisexual
  • Disclosure
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Relationships
  • Sexual agency
  • Stigma
  • Structural inequalities
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies

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