Let’s talk about sex: Discourses on sexual relations, sugar dating and “prostitution-like” behaviour in drug treatment for young people

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

Sexual relations are a recurrent theme in drug treatment that aims for a holistic inclusion of concerns considered important in young people's lives. Nevertheless, it remains understudied how counselors attend to this theme. To investigate the discourses on sexual relations in drug treatment for young people provided by the Scandinavian welfare state of Denmark. Drawing on qualitative interviews with 16 counselors the analysis first identifies three discourses that legitimize sexual relations as a theme in drug treatment by linking the theme to a) pleasure, b) risks, and c) problems. These discourses legitimize the theme by constructing sexual relations as part of the good life, as potentially harmful, or as related to past trauma triggering present problems. Second, the analysis identifies a gendered storyline on sexual relations in exchange economies, e.g., sugar dating, described by some counselors as “prostitution-like” behavior. The gendered storyline is almost exclusively linked to young women's behavior and produces a gendered shame by indicating deviant femininity. Simultaneously, the storyline taboos how the young men may experience vulnerable sexual relations in exchange economies. Alternative discourses can provide a broader repertoire of subject positions to the benefit of all genders.
TidsskriftNordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)399-413
StatusUdgivet - 24 jun. 2021


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