Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 491–497 | Cite as

Sexual Scripts: Origins, Influences and Changes

  • William Simon
  • John H. Gagnon


The rejection of explanations of sexuality rooted in biological naturalism and sociological functionalism was the first step in formulating the scripting perspective on sexual conduct. The complex relation between intrapsychic experience, interpersonal relationships and the intersubjective cultural surround was the focus of what was first conceived as a social learning approach to sexuality. This was later transformed into a social constructionist framework as the intellectual context of the social studies of sexuality changed under the influence of feminism, gay and lesbian studies, self-psychology, and new developments in social and sexual theory in England and on the Continent. The scripting perspective has remained remarkably robust and stable as an explanatory framework for sexual conduct which is responsive to a globally changing historical and cultural environment.

sexual scripts sexual conduct biologism functionalism pragmatism Chicago School Kenneth Burke gender feminism post-structuralism self psychology sexual theory anomie 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Simon
  • John H. Gagnon
    • 1
  1. 1.Eden BeachNiceFrance

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