Girl power: risky sexual behaviour and gender identity amongst young Spanish recreational drug users
ISSN: 1461-7382 (on-line)
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GenderGender identityRecreational drug useRisky sexual behaviour
Romo, Nuria et al. Girl power: risky sexual behaviour and gender identity amongst young Spanish recreational drug users. Sexualities. 2009, vol. 12, núm. 3, p. 355–377. [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/22305]
Against a background of significant social change experienced by Spanish women from the 1960s onwards, new gender identities and conflicts have emerged. These factors have barely been taken into account in the research work done in Spain. This article looks into the conversations of young people concerning their relationship with risky sexual behaviour, recreational drug use and sexual identity. Drawing from a qualitative study of discussion groups and emi structured interviews with young recreational drug users, the article suggests that there are at least two models of femininity among the recreational drug consumers that have taken part in this study. First there is a traditional romantic model whereby young women associated risky sexual behaviour with being in love or trusting in the partner. Here the young woman does not link her sexual behaviour to the effects of using recreational drugs but, rather, to the characteristics of her emotional relationship. Second, there is a model of new values and gender roles that are closer to those traditionally associated to males, where the young women use recreational drugs as a form of empowerment to take on new situations concerning their sexuality. The article analyses the perceptions of risk among the different identity groups, along with the negotiations to begin sexual relations and the use of the condom in these groups of recreational drug users. Issues for policy and practice are also briefly considered.