What are Sexual Scripts?
Sexual scripts are thoughts, expectations, behaviors, mental patterns, and reactions in response to a person's romantic or social move or the lack of it. These scripts are very individualistic in nature and are influenced by a number of factors, such as culture, societal norms, education and values, personal beliefs, and people's notions about love, romance, and sex. These messages are also influenced by friends, families, authority figures, and institutions that a person believes in. The media, in all its forms, has a significant role to play in shaping sexual scripts.
Although these scripts are highly individualistic, there are few elements found in most sexual scripts. People behave and think as per the romantic and sexual expectations they think others have of them or they have of themselves. Similarly, they also have expectations from other people and how they should behave. These scripts are mental and are predominantly heteronormative. That is, they usually take place between people of opposite genders.
Sexual Script Theory
The sexual script theory is a sociological theory. According to this theory, human sexual behavior follows a type of social script. This sexual script theory was introduced by sociologists John H. Gagnon and William Simon in their 1973 book Sexual Conduct.
Sexual scripts always begin as cultural scripts, and then they transform into interpersonal scripts. Over time, these interpersonal scripts become a pattern when the person internalizes the same. The internalizing of a sexual script shapes their identity and makes them who they are. They act as per the years of conditioning or their internal idea of who they are as a person sexually or who they want to be seen as.
Most sexual scripts start out as cultural scripts, and as they develop along, they change to interpersonal scripts. Interpersonal, as the name suggests, means between people.
This is how it all starts. As a person grows up, whatever society tells them, they tend to accept it. Now, it will shape their sexual scripts as time progresses and increase their awareness of themselves. Scripts handed down from the society are called the cultural script. For example, a woman should get married at an earlier age is a cultural script; she should bear children at an early age is also a cultural script.
Cultural scripts are passed on by society. For instance, all along with her childhood, adolescence, or even adulthood, a woman might think of herself as someone who knows what she wants. But the messages passed on from the society are something different. These cultural scripts recommend that she be coy and shy in bed. Or the fact, it's the man who needs to take the lead or initiative in bed. When other people get involved in the situation, and they start interacting with the owners of these cultural scripts, it transforms into an interpersonal script.
When the interpersonal script is carried on for a long time, the person internalizes it, which is when it becomes an intrapersonal script. Taking the previous example, the woman knows what she wants, but she plays it cool and shy when she interacts with the guy she meets. Over a period of time, this behavior gets cemented in her brain. This is it becomes intrapersonal because she has now internalized the exact behavior of being shy when in the company of her male partner.
Development of Scripts
Scripts that are passed on in society are called cultural scripts. A disadvantage of sexual scripts is that with the evolving society and with the evolving idea of love, partners, and sexuality, the script is no longer only for heterosexual partners. The idea that women are not supposed to express their sexuality are not supposed to ask for sex are supposed to play coy and shy was a prevalent sexual script. Or, for that matter, men are more aggressive and are supposed to take the initiative in bed. Women, if they had more sexual partners, were termed cheap or characterless, and men, if they had the same number of sexual partners, were termed studs and machos.
However, the scripts rely heavily on society as people who form it are a quintessential part of society. Therefore, they also get influenced by society and, in return, impact society. Scripts change as society changes and vice-versa. Nowadays, women have strong and evolving sexual scripts. Likewise, women who have multiple sexual partners are now an acceptable sexual script.
Sexual scripts are thoughts, expectations, behaviors, mental patterns, and reactions in response to a person's romantic or social move or the lack of it. While these scripts are very individualistic in nature, they are influenced by a number of factors, such as culture, societal norms, education and values, personal beliefs, and people's notions of love, romance, and sex.
There are various types of sexual scripts, such as a cultural script that is passed down from society; or how it transforms into an interpersonal script when two people start interacting. When the sexual script people play in their heads over and over again to the effect that it is internalized, it is called an intrapersonal script. One problem with sexual scripts is that they tend to be heteronormative, whereas many people are not heterosexual. Traditional sexual scripts had notions like women should have only one sexual partner, which is a conventional, archaic sexual script. Thankfully, it's changing with the times.
To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account
What are the two sexual scripts?
- A sexual script that has been passed down by society is a cultural script. For example, a cultural script is that women should get married at an earlier age and should bear children early on in their lives. Or that man should take the lead in bed.
- When a person starts internalizing their head's behavior and thought patterns, it transforms into an intrapersonal sexual script.
What is the meaning of sexual scripts?
Sexual scripts are thoughts, patterns, or behavior that a person has about themselves in a romantic or sexual context. It is how they picture themselves or want to project themselves in front of others. Society, media, friends and family, authority figures, and institutions play a vital role in shaping these cultural scripts.
Register to view this lesson
Unlock Your Education
See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com
Become a Study.com member and start learning now.Become a Member
Already a member? Log InBack