Sexuality and Culture

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 3–29 | Cite as

Sex symbols: The bachelorette party as a window to change in women’s sexual expression

  • Beth Montemurro


The bachelorette party, a women’s version of the traditional men’s bachelor party is rooted in the idea that marriage requires monogamy. This implies that women sacrifice sexual freedom when they get married in a way that was previously considered to be the case only for men. Furthermore, the bachelorette party is a means for expressing oneself sexually and acknowledging the sexual element of one’s identity. Until recently, this aspect of women’s identity was assumed to be either nonexistent or inapropriate in public. Sexual expression at the bachelorette party comes in many forms, such as the use of sexual props or objects and intimate interaction with men strangers or men exotic dancers. In this paper, I describe the changes in society that led to the development of the bachelorette party at this time in society. I then discuss the sexual element of this ritual by exploring the meaning of women’s behavior at this party, the structure of the ritual itself, and the objects used to create a hyperexualized atmosphere. I conclude that the bachelorette party symbolizes the ambivalence that is characteristic of modern women’s sexuality.


Sexual Expression Sexual Double Standard Sexual Freedom Sexual Revolution Exotic Dancer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Transaction Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beth Montemurro
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Social SciencesPenn State AbingtonAbington

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