What is Sexual Script Theory

Hi Readers!

Do you know what Sexual Scripts are? 

The Sexual Script Theory describes the way in which societal and cultural expectations around sex shape our behaviours and interactions by providing us with clear expectations and boundaries to adhere to. 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. A sexual script is a mental story detailing specific events and assigning certain roles (parts that each actor plays in the story; like a movie or TV series).  

These expectations are very gendered and shaped by the media, language, and interactions we have with others. 

Sexual Script Theory is the playing out of social psychology in our sex lives. Although the word ‘script’ implies that these ideas are explicit – and they can be at times in the language we use – they are often implicit, alluded to by stories in the media, folklore, and social convention. 

Below are just a few of the most common sexual scripts in the Western world (Mind the Gap by Dr Karen Gurney):

  • Men are sexual subjects with desires to be acted on and women are sexual objects who gain gratification from being desired
  • Heterosexual sex ends when men ejaculate
  • Women are more motivated by relationship intimacy and closeness in sex than pleasure. 
  • Women’s orgasms are more challenging to achieve than men’s
  • Men show masculinity through high desire and having many partners and women show femininity by sexual restraint
  • Penetrative vaginal sex is the most important sexual act in heterosexual sex

It is important to be conscious of these societal and cultural factors as they can limit/constrain what we believe is possible or acceptable in a relationship. Instead, listen to your mind & body and be open to a world of possibilities that exist to increase the enjoyment of sex and experience of desire. Sex can be whatever you want as long as it is consensual and respectful.

Be kind to one another,

Julia, Sexologist


For further reading click here. 

Guides and workbooks are available here.

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