Drawing on interview data from rural Nigeria, the article explores male youth perceptions of the risks and benefits of multiple sexual partnerships. Participants associated having multiple sexual partners with several harmful health and nonhealth outcomes, including sexually transmitted infections, and frequently confirmed that the practice also bolsters their sense of maleness and boosts their acceptance and ranking among peers. Young males' involvement in multiple sexual partnerships should not be seen as always consequent on their ignorance of and/or indifference to the risks inherent in the behaviour. It could also result from the integrality of the behaviour to the social processes through which male youths validate their masculinity, mark their transition from boyhood to malehood, and configure their identities to gain acceptance into a local male peer community. Sexuality education curricula that ignore adolescents' understandings of the benefits of their sexual practices may not deliver expected objectives.
American Journal of Men’s Health 1 (3) 197-207 [doi:10.1177/1557988307301341]