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A focus on pleasure Desire and disgust in group work with young men.pdf (536.84 kB)
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A focus on pleasure? Desire and disgust in group work with young men

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 16:46 authored by Ester Mcgeeney
There are a number of persuasive arguments as to why sexual pleasure should be included in sexual health work with young people, including the suggestion that this would provide young people with accounts of gender and sexuality that are more critical and holistic than those presented in the popular media, pornography and current sex education curricula. This paper considers the possibilities for engaging young men in critical group work about sexual pleasure in research and education contexts, drawing on a mixed-methods study of young people’s understandings and experiences of ‘good sex’. The paper provides a reflexive account of one focus group conducted with a group of heterosexual young men and two youth educators. It explores some of the challenges to building relationships with young men and creating ‘safe spaces’ in which to engage in critical sexuality education in socially unequal contexts. In this case study, adult-led discussion elicits rebellious, ‘hyper-masculine’ performances that close down opportunities for critical or reflective discussion. Although there are some opportunities for critical work that move beyond limited public health or school-based sex education agendas, there is also space for collusion and the reinforcement of oppressive social norms. The paper concludes by imagining possibilities for future research and practice.


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Culture, Health & Sexuality




Taylor & Francis



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  • Social Work and Social Care Publications

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