Balancing the sexology scales: a content analysis of Black women’s sexuality research

Candice Nicole Hargons, Jardin Dogan, Natalie Malone, Shemeka Thorpe, Della V. Mosley, Danelle Stevens-Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Existing research adopting a sex positive and intersectional framework for investigating Black women’s sexualities is scarce. We conducted a 46-year (1972–2018) content analysis of sexualities research focussed on Black women. It sought to examine which sexualities topics were published most; whether the publications aligned with sex-positive, neutral or negative discourse; what methodologies were used; and differences in how various identities were investigated among Black women. Using human coding, we applied an integrative approach to the content analysis. Results found 245 articles meeting criteria. Approximately one-third of articles within the analysis focussed on the topic of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV and sexual risk behaviours among Black women. Only 6.5% of articles utilised a sex-positive discourse. Quantitative articles were the most published methodology, and publications disproportionately overlooked Black women’s intersectional identities. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1287-1301
Number of pages15
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The second author is a US National Institute on Drug Abuse T32 trainee at the University of Kentucky under NIDA Grant T32DA035200 (PI: Rush). The funding agency had no role in study design, data collection or analysis, or the preparation and submission of the manuscript. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the US National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Black women
  • content analysis
  • intimate justice
  • sex positivity
  • sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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