Chiara Bertone Raffaella Ferrero Camoletto Paola Maria Torrioni

Women's Sexuality: New Desires and New Boundaries

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The article investigates the changes in the experiences and representations of female sexuality in Italy in the last half of the twentieth century. Firstly, with reference to historical and sociological studies on the Italian and European contexts, the article traces the transformation of sexual scripts (the respectability script, the permissiveness script and the intimacy script) shaping women's heterosexual experiences. Moreover, based on data drawn from a recent national survey of Italians' sexuality and other recent research on the same topic, the article explores how these scripts have shifted, overlapped and intertwined in the biographies of three cohorts of Italian women. The analysis shows that the gradual detachment from the respectability script and the emergence of the intimacy and, partially, the permissiveness script have occurred with different patterns and timings with reference to three dimensions of sexual scripts (cultural, interpersonal and intrapsychic).


  • social change
  • women
  • cohorts
  • sexual scripts


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