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Sexual scripts are mutually shared conventions that guide actors to enact a sexual situation interdependently. Scripts are composed of three realms and include the interrelationship between cultural scenarios, interpersonal scripts, and intrapsychic scripts (Simon & Gagnon, 1984, 1987). Cultural scenarios are those norms that guide sexual behavior at the societal, cultural, or subcultural level and help to determine the details (who, what, where, when, why, and how) of sexual interactions. The interpersonal script includes individuals' interpretations of cultural norms and allows cumulative personal experiences, socialization, and motives to shape action in a sexual situation. Finally, there is the intrapsychic realm, the way in which actors use the first two levels to construct the domain of their own desires and fantasies. It is here that repeated enactment of interpersonal and cultural codes also shapes individual beliefs and values in sexual scenarios, providing a link between broader societal-level scripts and the interpersonal realm. There is some suggestion that sexual scripts may be changing for heterosexual women and men (Ortiz-Torres, Williams, & Ehrhardt, 2003; Segal, 1995). Researchers argue that contemporary femininity has stretched past notions of sexual passivity and responsiveness to men's advances to include assertiveness in sexual initiation, plea sure-seeking, influencing reluctant male partners, coercive behavior, and success at negotiating safer sex (Anderson & Aymami, 1993; Anderson & Sorensen, 1996; Exner, Hoffman, Dworkin, & Ehrhardt, 2003; Kamen, 2003; O'Sullivan & Byers, 1992, 1993, 1996). Researchers have also found that men have internalized shifts in contemporary masculinity in a manner that pushes male sexual scripts beyond sex as a conquest or instrumental outcome to include emotionality, commitment, and love (Seal & Ehrhardt, 2003; Seal, Wagner-Raphael, & Ehrhardt, 2000).

May 1
Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.

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