a. Gender and sexuality being related to the brain, chemicals, and genetics
i. gender and sexuality as predisposed and undeniable aspects of human behaviors (Diamond, 2008; Gagnon & Parker, 1995)
b. Gender and sexuality being related to how men and women are socialized
i. taught to behave differently in every aspect of daily life (Gagnon & Parker, 1995)
c. Transition: Sexual relationships are often defined by socialized, gendered behaviors that are controlled by societal “scripts” (Simon & Gagnon, 1984).
i. Socialized gender roles and sexual scripts then normalize how sexuality and is able to be discussed/expressed, attained, and then enacted around others.
2. GENDER SOCIALIZATION AND HETERONORMATIVITY
a. Gender is not only a socialized process, but it creates a social hierarchy in which one gender benefits over the other (Atkinson & DePalma, 2009; Pateman, 1988).
i. gender determines how men and women interact, which further reinforces its social construct
ii. gender then becomes patriarchically constructed through the continued reinforcement that males and masculinity are superior to women and femininity
b. Gender socialization and normative gender scripts are heavily enforced and maintained
i. parents work to ensure their children conform to society’s normalized expectation of his/her appropriate, heterosexual gender (Martin, 2009; Solebello & Elliott, 2011).
ii. gender non-conformity is discouraged and often attempted to be corrected (Mundhammer & Mussweiler, 2012)
iii. Transition: Gender and sexuality are linked.
c. Sexual experiences and sexual scripts are embedded within heterosexual and patriarchal social structures, the pinnacle of which is heteronormativity (Caldwell, Letitia, & Peplau, 1984; Dunne, 1997; Hillier, 2001; Horowitz & Spicer, 2013; Klinkenberg & Rose 1994; Levitt & Hiestand, 2005).
i. heteronormativity is the societal notion that the coupling of a man and woman together is societal norm, and is often assumed to be at the core of social life (Dean, 2011).
ii. research is extensive in regards to how heteronormativity has constructed how society enacts a gender as dimorphic, and each respective gender’s expected sexual habits (Bartoli & Clark, 2006; Dean 2011; Hundhammer & Mussweiler, 2012).
3. FEMALE IDENTITIES WITHIN HETEROSEXUAL SOCIAL STRUCTURES
a. Socially constructed norms often limit the ability for individuals, especially women, to truly express their real identities.
b. Our hetero-patriarchal society restricts women’s abilities to openly express themselves because normative social structures regarding gender are “restrictive and institutionalizes power differentials that disenfranchise women.” (Wasley, 2013, p. 9)
i. Not only do women have less ability and power in regards to simply just their general capabilities within society, but their own sexual manifestations are restricted as well due to the impact of society’s heteronormative, structured expectations of women.
4. TRADITIONAL AND HETEROSEXUAL SEXUAL SCRIPTS PERTAINING TO WOMEN
a. Sexual scripts are traditionally defined as… (Simon & Gagnon, 1984).
i. Taking into consideration the heteronormativity of society, traditional sexual scripts place men in the active and domineering role of sexuality, while women are placed in the restrictive and passive role (Dean, 2011).
ii. These heteronormative scripts then result in the regulation of how men and women express their sexual behaviors within society.
iii. Men are expected and praised for asserting their sexuality through means of being sexual without emotional attachments, as well as increased ability to engage in more numerous occasions of sexual behavior, due to society’s gendered constructions of male superiority and dominance; women, in turn, are socially outcasted for sexual behaviors that do not adhere to society’s regulated and restricted scripts (Wiederman, 2005).
b. THESIS: The regulation and restriction of women’s sexual behaviors enforced by heteronormative social scripts results in their inability to truly manifest their sexuality because their understanding of their sexual identities is institutionalized by society’s sexual scripts; women’s own conceptions of their sexual selves are instead placed within the context of these heteronormative scripts and their interpretations of how to sexually behave as a result of those scripts.
Body/Middle (“The Impact of Heteronormative Social Scripts on Women”)
5. SOCIETY’S SEXUAL SCRIPTS FOR WOMEN REGULATE THEIR SEXUAL BEHAVIORS AND SELF-IDENTITIES
a. the enactment of sexual scripts within sexual interactions, especially when it comes to women (Wiederman, 2005)
i. how these sexual scripts for women then impact their sexual behaviors and how they ascribe meaning to their sexual experiences.
b. People’s investment in gender norms tends to cause them to determine their self-esteem from others’ approval (Sanchez, Crocker, & Boike, 2005):
i. when people invest in these norms, there creates an inclination for their sexual autonomy to decline, and for their sexual satisfaction within relationships to be lessened
ii. for both men and women, valuing gender conformity creates a negative effect on sexual pleasure due to it being increasingly contingent upon others’ approval, as well as it increasingly restricts sexual autonomy.
iii. people’s adherence to gender norms can affect how they perceive sexual pleasure, as well as their own sexual independence.
1. These perceptions then contribute to not only how they adhere to sexual norms, but how their perceptions can contribute to the continual perpetuation of society’s sexual norms/scripts.
c. Due to society’s sexual scripts being very heteronormative, these messages then cause for people’s individualized sexual scripts to then be very heteronormative. (Pham, 2016)
d. People tend to apply a heteronormative sexual script even to situations that are anything but heterosexual.
i. However, even though there are cultural sexual scripts, individuals still revise their own sexual scripts as a result of their own sexual experiences (Pham, 2016)
e. Transition: Sexual scripts for women make them unable to truly manifest their own sexuality because they are constantly told how their sexual behaviors should be in order to conform to society, instead of however each woman desires her own sexuality to be.
6. THE IMPACT OF WOMEN’S INABILITY TO MANIFEST THEIR TRUE SEXUAL IDENTITIES (ON THEMSELVES, AND ON SOCIETY)
a. The sexual double standard (the sexual script where men can be more sexually free than women) makes women disinclined to acknowledge their sexual desires, especially for sexual intercourse (Muehlenhard, & McCoy, 1991)
i. when women are in situations where they end up refraining from acknowledging their desire for sexual intercourse, their partners (i.e. men) were more likely to accept the sexual double standard than if they had openly acknowledged that same desire for sex
ii. sexual scripts impact women’s desires for sexual intercourse with another partner; these societal influences may contribute to how women view, and engage in, their own sexual behaviors
b. People’s societal sexual scripts often enforce how they view and treat others as sexual beings around them
i. Women’s socialization as female sexual beings influence the manner in which they interpret and understand their relationships with all others.
Conclusion/End (“Implications/Future Steps Everyone Can Take”)
7. WHERE TO GO FROM HERE/HOW MEN CAN HELP/HOPES FOR THE FUTURE
a. Research across all fields of the social sciences have often been limited to focus on heterosexual interactions, and sexology research in general has tended to be seen from a heteronormative, patriarchal perspective (Cohen, Byers, & Walsh, 2008; Gagnon & Parker, 1995; Heise, 1995; Laumann & Gagnon, 1995; Rose, 2000)
i. female sexuality has been constantly seen through a perspective that has not often given women agency, nor the validation of their sexual experiences within our societal constructs
b. It is important to consider how heteronormative sexual scripts not only impact women, but how they contribute to men’s impact (whether it be conscious or not) on women.
i. the same could be said for individuals of non-heteronormative social scripts and structures
c. Women’s ability to determine their own location within these sexual scripts, as well as their ability to subjectively interpret these scripts can ultimately determine how they manifest and identify with their own sexualities.
i. this would then, as a result, shift perceptions around what is “normal” manifestations of female sexuality
ii. a woman’s own sexuality and how she expresses it – or any person for that matter, and how they express – is no one’s business but their own
iii. society should have no control over
our sexual autonomy
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