Sex Roles

, Volume 73, Issue 7–8, pp 332–339 | Cite as

Living in Metaphors, Trapped in a Matrix: The Ramifications of Neoliberal Ideology for Young Women’s Sexuality

  • Laina Y. Bay-Cheng
Feminist Forum Review Article


By proposing that gendered sexual norms dictating young women’s sexuality (i.e., the Virgin-Slut Continuum) are now joined by neoliberal scripts for sexual agency (i.e., the Agency Line), my hope was to prompt new conversations about the ideological context in which young women in the U.S. forge their sexualities. The responses to my original commentary indicate that there are many such conversations to be had. Before pursuing those, I wish to clarify some of the tenets of my proposal, most importantly that I do not advocate for the Agency Line and the matrix created by its intersection with the Virgin-Slut Continuum to be a fair or apt characterization of young women’s lived experiences. To the contrary, I see neoliberal sexual agency as a prescribed and prescriptive normative force that works in tandem with enduring gendered prohibitions to constrain young women’s sexual expression and to reinforce the sexual stigmatization of minority girls and women.


Young women Adolescent female sexuality Sexual agency Neoliberal ideology 


Conflict of Interest

The author is unaware of any potential conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University at BuffaloBuffaloUSA

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