Let’s (Not) Talk about Sex: The Gender of Sexual Discourse

Elizabeth Montemurro, Jennifer Bartasavich, Leann Wintermute

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although much attention is given to women’s sexuality, sex is often an uncomfortable or avoided topic. There are taboos about women openly discussing their own sexual behavior, sexual desire, or sexual problems in large part because sex talk is masculinized. Based on in-depth interviews with a diverse group of ninety-five women aged 20–68, we examine gendered discourses about sexuality. We find that most women are uncomfortable talking about sex in general and fear judgment for communicating desire or talking about sexual behavior. Yet, when women construct sex-related conversations in a feminine way, such as a means of supporting a friend or emotional bonding, they are more open to sex talk. Furthermore, we see women’s talk or avoidance of sex talk as compliant with interaction norms and gendered face-saving behavior for themselves and others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-156
Number of pages18
JournalSexuality and Culture
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies

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