Sociology, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Gender & Society 34:2 (April 2020), pp 233–258.

DOI: 10.1177/089124322090581


Copyright © 2020 by Kelsy Burke and Trenton M. Haltom. Published by SAGE Publications. Used by permission


The literature on hybrid masculinity suggests that some men manage subordinate or contradictory forms of masculinity while still maintaining and benefiting from gender inequality. Drawing from 35 in-depth qualitative interviews with religious participants in pornography addiction recovery programs, we expand this literature by illustrating how hybrid masculinity operates through shared cultural knowledge about sex, gender, and sexuality. We find that participants use distinct cultural schemas related to religion and science to explain how men are created by God to be biologically “hard-wired” for pornography addiction. We use the phrase redemptive masculinity to describe a type of hybrid masculinity that upholds the cultural association between hegemonic masculinity and pornography consumption, but allows religious men to describe their avoidance of pornography as a masculine feat. Redemptive masculinity depends upon particular beliefs about gender that give advantage to the religious men who work to overcome pornography addiction. We show how their stories reinforce essentialist differences between male and female bodies that protect the interests and sexual expressions of religious men. In turn, we show how hybrid masculinities may involve gender-flexible practices for men but also how these may ultimately reinforce strict and inflexible beliefs about so-called “opposite” sexes.