Raffaella Ferrero Camoletto

Having sex, doing gender? Analysing young men's sexual scripts of their first sexual intercourse

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Emotional detachment is a core aspect in the traditional construction of masculinity: however, in the last decades a broad range of social practices has emerged, opening up to new ways of being men which are expanding and hybridizing hegemonic masculinity. An important research field to explore the transformation of male emotional cultures deals with young people's sexual life. Based on 41 in-depth semi-structured interviews with Italian young men aged 18 to 35, the article analyses the scripts, as narratives and accounts, this sample of men adopt to make sense of their first sexual intercourse with a female partner, focusing more specifically on how they differently define and discuss their emotional involvement within the experience accounted. The analysis shows how the young men interviewed adopt and manage the sexual scripts socially available in the contemporary cultural scenario, in a complex intertwining of conformity with, adaptation to, negotiation and challenge of gendered sexual scripts. The use or self-irony emerges as a cultural tool to make room for an ordinary masculinity, downplaying the tension between being sensitive and real macho at the same time.


  • Gender
  • Masculinity
  • Youth
  • Sexual Scripts Intimacy


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