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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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Introduction: What’s “Okay” in Bed? Identifying and Comparing Sexual Scripts in Media Content


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What’s “Okay” in Bed? Identifying and Comparing Sexual Scripts in Media Content

A ghost is haunting the world—the ghost of sexual (un)fulfillment. It always has, but it is now more omnipresent than ever. It manifests itself through desirable images on portable screens, television, magazine pages, and billboards. It whispers, suggests, and titillates between story lines. And it reveals itself in ubiquitous guilt-free narratives from media outlets that are so much more reputable than online porn, pay-per-view channels, or the old-fashioned “smut” surreptitiously sold at gas stations. The erotic pagan tales once told within the confines of a village have found a worldwide equivalent in music videos, sitcoms, news stories, and movies. Thanks to contemporary communication technology, they not only cross borders in milliseconds, but also encourage mass conformity in the once deeply private sphere of sexuality.

The mainstream availability of sexual narratives creates expectations and pressures that can be difficult to meet in real life. “I can’t get no satisfaction,” sang the Rolling Stones in 1965. “And that man comes on the radio, and he’s tellin’ me more and more about some useless information supposed to fire my imagination” (Jagger & Richards, 1965). A song banned by many radio stations for its suggestive lyrics (Kalis & Neuendorf, 1989), “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” makes a rarely discussed association between media content and sexual frustration. Is the band’s lead Mick Jagger singing about a radio-mediated sexual script ← 1 | 2...

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