Male sexuality can be at times misrepresented, and this misrepresentation has real impact on how men perceive themselves, as well as how others perceive male sexuality. The man who lacks the sexual appetite might feel marginalized; the sensitive man who doesn't fit into hegemonic stories might suffer from exclusion, especially when part of a homosocial environment. To show these old-fashioned stereotypes, it is important to get behind the scenes of how these stories unofficially reveal other sides of masculinity. Exploring real life men, real life setting to combat so widely misunderstood male sexuality is meant to broaden these misconceptions. Stereotypes create symbolic boundaries - they often limit and define us. People act according to their narrative identities, but stories do influence how people understand themselves and how they act in the world. We are in a time of changing sexual molds, while there are still ways in which men are supposed to behave. Thus, claiming agency in stories is a way in which men fight these stereotypes, reclaim masculinity and negotiate with hegemonic stories.
First of all, this study explores what men talk about when they tell their sex stories. The multivoicedness and multifaceted nature of these stories are presented in light of narrative framework, highlighting the importance of understanding male sexuality through narratives while challenging traditional male sex scripts. Secondly, I look at what these stories accomplish, using the interview situation as an important bridge for understanding.
Nineteen men had been interviewed for this study which was conducted in Oslo, Norway. Fourteen of the nineteen men's stories are included, where half of the men are from Latin America, the other half is a mix of European men, including Norwegian men. A qualitative interview study was conducted using dialogical narrative analysis, a method of interviewing and analysis coined by Arthur Frank (2012) where the interview situation is an interactive process conducted through open storytelling and active listening. Storytelling is presented here as a constitutive, creative process that constructs identities, giving new representations to older frames, and through reflection opening up for change. Narrative analysis is the backbone of the methodology in this study. The methods chapter includes important issues such as conducting a pilot study, the steps for conducting interviews, problems and solutions during analysis, ethics, and being a female researcher.
Results ranged from stories about virgins and shy men, to erotic stories and stories about sexual art of hustling and prostitution stories. I draw on theories of narrative criminology, homosociality, script theory and prostitution research. Overall, findings showed a range of sexual practices, where stories, often fun and entertaining, laced with humor, showed an interplay between the participants' self-determination and adherence to a homosocial culture. An overall impression of the study was that men's sexual life was under stimulated, as stories proved a de-emphasis on sex, and an existential sexual crisis. The four predominant themes were as follows: (i) – sexual modesty in men; (ii) – erotic stories; (iii) – the art of sexual hustling; (iiii) – stories of men paying for a sex and romance. Results showed a straying away from mainstream male stereotypes and a move towards another sexual narrative identity, construction of counternarratives and alternative formula stories.
The data presented in this thesis reveals rather atypical tales of sexual modesty that separate and even alienate men from a masculine culture of sexual pursuit and sexual prowess. Unlike hegemonic sexual stories, the stories in this study are characterized by shyness, avoidance, even sexual innocence. Told in private, perhaps only once, men might risk social exclusion if they shared these. The untapped narrative potential of these stories paves ground for another, hidden and conservative masculinity, presented as an alternative to homosociality and hegemonic masculinity. Although the rest of the findings demonstrate erotic, experimental stories involving S&M and other "taboo" activities, these reflect yet another side of erotic masculinity, where a man shows his readiness to succumb to the sexual appetite of a woman, or two women, coining himself as the pleaser, secretly.