Drawing on research from the social sciences, and in particular psychology, this chapter explores sexuality socialization. This chapter examines the processes of acquiring knowledge, norms, attitudes, cultural symbols, codes of conduct, and values relative to sex and sexuality. We begin by highlighting three overarching theories that inform feminist psychological understandings of sexuality socialization: symbolic interactionism, scripting theory, and intersectionality. These theories elucidate how processes of sexuality socialization are socially constructed. Next, we focus on sources of sexuality socialization to show how, over the course of their life, individuals acquire information on sexuality through a variety of formal and informal sources, including social relationships (e.g. parents and peers) and institutions (e.g. media, education, government and policies, and religion). We provide an overview of the content of these messages, how they are conveyed, and to what extent they occur within and across cultural and national contexts. We conclude with a discussion that bridges the connection between theory and sources of sexuality socialization.
Sexuality and Socialization
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