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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 3. Sex as an Existential Journey: Heterosexual Scripts in European Popular Culture


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Heterosexual Scripts in European Popular Culture

A young woman decides to have a baby. She goes with her mother to the city, where, by another woman’s recommendation, they find an eligible man: a handsome lad in a leather jacket, defined solely by his motorcycle ownership. The young woman sits on his bike until he appears, then smiles silently. In the next scene, the two are on the motorcycle, arriving in front of a castle-like hotel. Classical music plays in the background. They enter a room, and the young woman bounces on the bed to test it. Cut: They are in bed, having sex. The motorcycle man moves deliberately, like a tantric god, on top of the young woman, gently stroking her hair. Cut: He is asleep, and she is tapping him on the shoulder. A second sensual encounter follows, culminating with a shot of the nude, athletic heroine doing a handstand to improve her chances of conceiving. Her pubic hair (the so-called “European bush”) is visible, her body is strong but average, and her body language suggests complete comfort with her nudity.

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