Navigating Sexual Stereotypes Across Time, Space, and Place: Exploring Black Women’s Practices of Resistance, Refusal, and Reclamation

Document Type



This article engages a Black feminist analysis of sexual stereotyping and its effect on Black women’s health outcomes. Specifically, this work centers the experiences of 29 young Black women (Mage = 23.97) living in New York City, and their practices of resistance, refusal, and reclamation of self in the face of sexual stereotypes. Our qualitative inquiry explores how sexual stereotypes function dynamically across time, space, and place to influence (but not define) Black women’s lives. Using critical thematic analysis, the first author identified three recurring contexts in which Black women discussed how sexual stereotypes affect them in their transitions through adolescence and young Black womanhood: during interpersonal interactions with others, during encounters in health care, and while negotiating their sexual self-making and sexual agency. Across these contexts, the first author situates Black women as critical theorists whose self-analysis, self-theorizing, and self-descriptions are the focus of this article. Their explanations and theorizing emphasize how navigating and negotiating sexuality, pleasure, and agency in a sea of sexual stereotypes is complex, and rarely Black or White. The discussion offers a series of reflections for future research on Black women’s health and sexuality. © 2023 American Psychological Association

Publication Title

Stigma and Health

Publication Date







Black women, intersectionality, sexual stereotypes