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The relationship between alcohol and sexual agency for young women in university

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dc.contributor.author Cusack, Erin Elizabeth
dc.date.accessioned 2017-06-01T22:35:12Z
dc.date.available 2017-06-01T22:35:12Z
dc.date.copyright 2017 en_US
dc.date.issued 2017-06-01
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1828/8211
dc.description.abstract A link between binge drinking, negative sexual health outcomes, and sexual victimization among university populations is well established in the research literature (Messman-Moore et al., 2013; PHAC, 2016; Smith et al., 2009). Despite these known risks, young people often hold beliefs that alcohol consumption can enhance or facilitate their sexual experiences, however, less is known about the role of alcohol in young women’s consensual sexual experiences. In this qualitative study, I used a feminist perspective to explore young women’s perceptions and experiences of the role of alcohol in their sexual agency – the ability to communicate and fulfill their sexual desires and boundaries – and the social norms that influence this relationship. I collected data through interviews with 14 young university women between the ages of 19 and 25 who identified as heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual, or queer. Participants identified heteronormative sexuality norms that influence the role of alcohol in their sexual agency, namely the prioritization of women’s sexual inexperience, female sexual fidelity, and women’s attractiveness. Participants perceived that alcohol influenced their sexual agency at an individual and social level. In their individual experiences, participants discussed the dis-inhibitory effects of alcohol as a “tool” to alleviate feelings of shame associated with sexual expression and negative body image. At a social level, participants used alcohol as a means to deflect social stigma associated sexual expression as they could “blame the alcohol” as their motivation for engaging in sexual activity. These findings suggest that young women’s motivations for drinking may be linked to sexuality norms that discourage young women’s sexual agency, which could be relevant to consider in health promotion and harm reduction efforts. en_US
dc.language English eng
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights Available to the World Wide Web en_US
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/ca/ *
dc.subject alcohol en_US
dc.subject young women en_US
dc.subject sexuality en_US
dc.subject sexual agency en_US
dc.subject health promotion en_US
dc.subject harm reduction en_US
dc.subject public health en_US
dc.subject sexual health en_US
dc.subject LGBTQ en_US
dc.title The relationship between alcohol and sexual agency for young women in university en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.supervisor Loppie, Charlotte
dc.contributor.supervisor Pauly, Bernadette M.
dc.degree.department Program: Social Dimensions of Health en_US
dc.degree.level Master of Arts M.A. en_US
dc.description.scholarlevel Graduate en_US
dc.description.proquestcode 0573 en_US
dc.description.proquestcode 0453 en_US
dc.description.proquestcode 0733 en_US
dc.description.proquestcode 0758 en_US


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