In any given society, at any given moment in history, people become sexual in the same way they become everything else
without much reflection. They pick up directions from their social environment. They acquire and assemble meanings, skills and values from the people around them. Their critical choices are often made by going along and drifting. People learn when they are quite young and few of the things they are expected to be, and continue slowly to accumulate a belief in who they are and ought to be throughout the rest of their childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Sexual conduct is learned in the same ways and through the same processes; it's acquired and assembled in human interaction, judged and performed in specific cultural and historical worlds. (Gagnon 1977, p. 2)
The idea of sexual scripts is advanced. Viewing conduct as scripted is a way of organizing our thinking about behavior. Scripts are the plans people may have in their heads for what they are doing and what they are going to do as well as devices for remember what they have done in the past. Scripts specify, like blue prints, the who's, what's, where's, when's, and why's for given types of activity. According to this perspective all social behavior is scripted.
Who an individual has sexual relations with is defined. Most people do sexual things with a restricted number and kinds of people who are usually members of the opposite sex and of the same age. There are limits set by blood relations, marital status, race, ethnicity, religion, and social class. What one does sexually is also important. Of the whole range of sexual acts, most are classified as right or wrong, appropriate or inappropriate.
Sex is usually in private and in the absence of children. It can be constituted in a number of ways the day, week, year, or person's age. Most societies tend to see sex as more or less appropriate at one age or phase. It comes as a shock to many young people that adults...
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