Societal discourses tied to gender play apowerful role in shaping ideas and views about normalsexual experience. This study investigated whether“male sexual drive” discourse themes inheterosexual dating could be reproduced in a laboratorysetting, and whether these themes could be disrupted bymeans of a laboratory intervention. Young, single,heterosexual adults, most of whom were Caucasian and middle class, role played a series of datingscenarios. In half of the 37 dyads, male participantswere instructed to initiate a first date and then latergreater sexual intimacy, to which their female partners were instructed to say they were notready (the condition designed to reproduce dominantdiscourse themes). In the other half, the instructionsfor the male and female partners were reversed (the condition designed to change or disruptdominant discourse themes). Analysis of the role-playeddialogues indicated that dominant discourse themesassociated with the male sexual drive discourse wereprevalent in both experimental conditions. Ways ofbroadening our understanding of how gender processes arereproduced and disrupted are discussed in the context ofheterosexual dating relationships.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 30, 2004
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