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J Sex Res. 2017 Sep;54(7):923-935. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2017.1279258. Epub 2017 Feb 16.

Relationship Power Among Same-Sex Male Couples in New York and San Francisco: Laying the Groundwork for Sexual Risk Reduction Interventions Focused on Interpersonal Power.

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a Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences , University of California , San Francisco.
b Center for AIDS Prevention Studies , University of California , San Francisco.
c Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health , Columbia University , San Francisco.
d Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality , San Francisco State University.


Research is clear that power differentials between women and men shape women's human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) risks; however, little research has attempted to examine power differentials within same-sex male (SSM) couples and whether these influence sexual risk outcomes. To produce the first quantitative scale that measures power in SSM relationships, the current work was a Phase 1 qualitative study that sought to understand domains of relationship power and how power operated in the relationship among 48 Black, White, and interracial (Black-White) SSM couples recruited from San Francisco and New York. Interview domains were focused on definitions of power and perceptions of how power operated in the relationship. Findings revealed that couples described power in three key ways: as power exerted over a partner through decision-making dominance and relationship control; as power to accomplish goals through personal agency; and as couple-level power. In addition, men described ways that decision-making dominance and relationship control could be enacted in the relationship-through structural resources, emotional and sexual influence, and gender norm expectations. We discuss the implications of these findings for sexual risks and HIV care and treatment with SSM couples that are focused on closing gaps in power.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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