I just returned from the SSSS (Society for the Scientific Study) plenary session titled Risky Sex and Beyond: The Ecological Context of sexual risk for heterosexual active black men and women. I found the session presented by Lisa Bowleg Ph.d from Drexel University both enlightening and inspiring. She discussed black sexualities from a multi-level approach that involved the historical context of black sexuality to current injustices and inequalities pervasive throughout black communities.
Dr. Bowleg gave us many "take homes," and one that still resonates with me was the discussion on relationship power between heterosexual men and women. Bowleg's research depicted the uneven levels of power between men and women in regards to condom-use moments leading up to intercourse. She talked about the different ways in which women negotiate talking to their partners about using protection through individual narratives. For women, a lot is involved in the negotiation, "convincing the partner to put one on," negotiating her pleasure, desires, and rationality in what the condom use means overall. These ideas were highlighted throughout the presentation and it gave the audience a lot to think about in terms of analyzing and understanding the "full scope" of Black sexualities.