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acts are appropriate (and in what order) once sexual behavior is initiated.
Sexual scripts are not rigid or absolute; individuals engaged in sexual behavior do not feel like they are simply performing a script they have memorized. Accordingly, scripting is theorized on three levels: cultural, interpersonal, and intrapsychic. Cultural sexual scripts can be defined as “the instructions for sexual and other conduct that are embedded in the cultural narratives that are provided as guides or instructions for all conduct” (Laumann et al., 1994: 6), and it is these cultural scripts that form the general basis for sexual conduct. However, these cultural scripts are interpreted on both interpersonal and intrapsychic dimensions, which accounts for both the range of sexual behaviors and the sense of individual expression inherent in many sexual encounters. Laumann and his colleagues defined interpersonal scripts as “the structured patterns of interaction in which individuals as actors engage in everyday interpersonal conduct,” and intrapsychic scripts as “the plans and fantasies by which individuals guide and reflect on their past, current, or future conduct” (6). Thus, the intrapsychic dimension of scripting allows individuals to derive personal meaning from cultural scripts, while the interpersonal dimension opens the door for situational symbolic interactionism, where reality is defined by interacting people in a given situation.
In addition to these two uniquely sociological frameworks, sociologists studying sexuality also make use of two additional frameworks. These are the social exchange framework, which is based upon economic as well as sociological principles, and Sexual Strategies Theory, which falls under the umbrella of evolutionary psychology.
Social Exchange Theory
The social exchange framework, developed in the 1960s, focuses on the exchange of resources between people and has thus been used extensively in the study of relationships. All social