Masculinity and Novel Male Contraceptives: Does Masculine Norm Conformity Influence Preference?

July 4, 2022
Undergraduate Research

By Connie Dean

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University


Background: The impact of masculine norm endorsement on decision making regarding male contraceptive methods is a bounteous, yet unexplored, area of research.

Aim: The aim of this paper is to understand how masculinity and attitudes towards sex impact male contraceptive usage and how preference could inform strategies to ultimately improve uptake and usage. Increased contraceptive use could have profound public health and financial impact given the potential to prevent unwanted pregnancies and promote equitable family planning.

Method: 103 male participants aged 18+ completed a self-report electronic survey assessing masculine norm endorsement, attitudes towards sexuality and likelihood-of-usage of three novel male contraceptives; namely Nestorone, MENT and RISUG. Masculine norm endorsement was measured using an adapted version of Parent and Moradi’s Conformity to Masculine Norms Inventory-46, and the Sexual Opinion Survey was used to assess positive-negative attitudes toward sex. Participants were also asked which of the three contraceptive they would be most likely to use and why

Results: The data showed no significant correlation between either masculine norm endorsement or attitudes towards sexuality and likelihood-of-usage for novel male contraceptives. However, the sample did show a hierarchy of preference; Nesterone was the most preferred method, followed by RISUG, and finally the sample indicated a significant aversion to MENT. For each contraceptive, common themes for preference were easily identifiable. Those who preferred Nesterone cited ‘Non-invasiveness’ and ‘Ease of use’ as their reasoning. Those who preferred RISUG indicated the ‘Convenience’ and ‘Longevity’ of the method as the reason for preference. Those who preferred MENT, cited ‘Non-daily use’ and ‘Less invasive [than RISUG]’. Those who preferred MENT seemed to ft a niche between RISUG and Nesterone: while they do not wish to partake in the daily application of Nesterone, they are also opposed to the procedure involved with RISUG.

Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that the sample showed preference with regards to the novel forms of male contraceptives. The reasons indicated by the sample regarding their preference pointed to specific driving factors, motivated by what the individual values. Namely: ease of use, longevity, and surgical procedure avoidance. Furthermore, this suggests the need for multiple methods of male contraceptives to satisfy a broader range of individuals. Thus, this study yields important data that may help to inform future contraceptive design and research to meet the needs and preferences of young adult males.

Keywords: contraceptives; masculinity; sexuality; conformity

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