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Abstract

Using qualitative data gathered through in-depth interviews with women in Accra, Ghana, this paper explores narratives of masculinity and femininity and sexual risk negotiation practices among women. While women framed 'proper' masculinity in terms of stereotypical reproductive norms, they also acknowledged the fluidity and multiplicity of masculinities. Femininity was more uniformly characterised in terms of physical attractiveness and beauty, responsibility and reproduction. These features, especially those related to adherence to morally and socially appropriate sexual norms (e.g., menstrual and bodily hygiene, unplanned pregnancy etc.), influenced women's approach to sexual negotiation. Work aiming to support women to negotiate sex safely needs to pay attention to their notions of gender and practices of sexual negotiation.

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