Sexual script

While gendered sexual scripts are hegemonic at the cultural level, research suggests they may be less so at dyadic and individual levels. Through interviews with 44 heterosexually active men and women aged , we delineated ways young people grappled with culture-level scripts for sexuality and relationships. Specifically, we found three styles of working with sexual scripts: Conforming, in which personal gender scripts for sexual behavior overlapped with traditional scripts; exception-finding, in which interviewees accepted culture-level gender scripts as a reality, but created exceptions to gender rules for themselves; and transforming, in which participants either attempted to remake culture-level gender scripts, or interpreted their own non-traditional styles as equally normative. Changing sexual scripts can potentially contribute to decreased gender inequity in the sexual realm and to increased opportunities for sexual satisfaction, safety, and wellbeing, particularly for women, but for men as well. Sexual scripts are cognitive schema that instruct people how to understand and act in sexual situations. But because sexual scripts also operate on inter- and intra-personal levels, there can be areas of discontinuity between people's dyadic or individual scripts for gendered behavior in heterosexual relationships and their cultural scripts.
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Sexual Script Theory: Definition & Development of Sexual Scripting

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Sexual scripts among young heterosexually active men and women: Continuity and change

Sexual Scripts are ideas of how males and females are supposed to interact with each other, including how each gender should behave in sexual or romantic situations. Like a script for a TV show or movie, a sexual script is a mental story detailing specific events and assigning certain roles parts that each actor plays in the story. If he does not, then he is violating the traditional sexual script for a date. If his date subscribes to the traditional version of this script then he might fail to meet her expectations, with the possible consequence that she will not go out with him again.
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Sexual scripts among young heterosexually active men and women: Continuity and change

According to the sexual script theory, human sexuality is largely determined by culturally-prescribed scripts, or templates for behavior. These gender-normative scripts are typically heterosexual, where men are depicted as sexually active and assertive, while favoring nonrelational sex. Conversely, women are described as sexually passive and seeking relational sex. Such tendencies are learned through socialization and then acted out, thereby creating further reinforcement of the conventions, making these scripts cyclical in nature.
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Handbook of the Sociology of Sexualities pp Cite as. Since its formal introduction in the early s, sexual script theory has been a popular conceptual framework among social scientists examining human sexuality. In this chapter the basic tenants, history, and foundational sources of sexual script theory are presented.
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