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Mediated Eros

Sexual Scripts Within and Across Cultures

Miglena M. Sternadori

This book makes a unique contribution to the field of media studies by analyzing the perpetuation of sexual scripts through news articles, films, TV shows, lifestyle magazines, advertisements, and other forms of popular mediated culture. Focusing on cultural differences between North America and Europe, the book catalogues and contextualizes common sexual scripts by looking at the ways in which people have or do not have sex, eroticize each other’s bodies, penetrate each other’s bodies, and give meaning to all these activities.
Other such analyses have explored whether, when, and why people decide to have sex, and so on. This book instead focuses on how the sexual interaction itself is culturally scripted to occur – what sequence of events takes place after a couple have decided to have sex. While the first half of the book catalogues sexual scripts in a general way, based on geography and sexual orientation, the second half is framed around sexual discourses associated with some degree of shame and social stigmatization. The book ends by addressing the hegemonic perpetuation of mediated sexual scripts across cultures and the role of sexuality in fourth-wave feminism.
Mediated Eros is suitable as the primary or secondary text in seminars on media, culture, and sexuality, and would also be of interest to journalists and freelance writers whose work explores the sociocultural construction of sex and the sexual self.


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Chapter 7: Just What the Doctor Ordered: The Scientification of Sex and Sexual Dysfunction


· 7 · just what the doctor ordered The Scientification of Sex and Sexual Dysfunction When Alfred Kinsey published his first report, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, in 1948, its findings became “the number one subject of after-dinner con- versations and for jokes by radio comedians” (Bliven, 1948). A New York Times story compared its significance to that of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, Darwin’s The Origin of Species, and Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations (Gumpert, 1948). Soon after the 800-page research report hit the market, it had sold 200,000 copies—a record number at the time (Goodman & Maggio, 2005). Popular culture took immediate notice. “According to the Kinsey report, ev’ry average man you know, much prefers to play his favorite sport when the temperature is low,” pronounced Cole Porter’s (1948) song “Too Darn Hot.” And Martha Raye, in a swing titled “Ooh, Dr. Kinsey”, sang: “I used to think my lover knew some fine, fancy tricks, but according to Kinsey’s data he’s strictly from the sticks.” The song was banned from radio stations for its suggestive lyrics, and as a result sold multiple records, prompting Raye to joke about writing the censors a thank-you note (“Dr. Kinsey Gets Free,” 1949). Since then, the effects of Kinsey’s work and that of the scholars who fol- lowed in his footsteps, William Masters and Virginia Johnson, has continued to ripple through popular culture. This is illustrated by the persistent patterns of news coverage that (a) overemphasize the biological aspects of sexuality over...

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