Sex Roles

, Volume 65, Issue 11–12, pp 774–782 | Cite as

The Relationship between Rape Myths and Sexual Scripts: The Social Construction of Rape

  • Kathryn M. RyanEmail author
Feminist Forum


Rape myths can influence sexual scripts that determine sexual attitudes and behavior. Sexual scripts are culturally determined patterns of behavior that inform desire and influence sexual behavior. Sexual scripts include hook up, seduction, rape, and acquaintance rape scripts (e.g., the too-much-to drink script, the man-is-ready-for-sex script, and the friends-gone-too-far script). However, research shows that many individuals still hold an erroneous real rape script, even when asked to describe acquaintance rape. This may prevent acquaintance rape victims from acknowledging their rape and it may allow acquaintance rapists to engage in sexual aggression while denying it is rape. Rape scripts research supports several of the rape myths reviewed by Edwards and her colleagues (Edwards, Turchik, Dardis, Reynolds, & Gidycz, 2011), but suggests two additional rape myths (i.e., the myth that men cannot stop once they have started to become sexually aroused and the myth that rapists are obviously different from other men). The study of the relationship between rape myths and sexual scripts may help to understand the social construction of rape and consensual sex. Rape myths and sexual scripts may work in conjunction to support rape.


Rape Rape myths Rape scripts Sexual scripts 



Thanks to M. Diane Clark for comments on this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology Department, Box 1Lycoming CollegeWilliamsportUSA

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