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Ask Arya: “What is a sexual script?”

what is a sexual script

On this edition of “Ask Arya” LIVE, I’m addressing the idea that we all have a sexual script.

What is a sexual script?

It’s like a picture album in your head that contains everything you’ve ever thought about SEX.

In the 1970’s sociologists (Gagnon & Simon, 1973) coined the term sexual script to refer to what they noticed to be “blueprints and guidelines for what we define as our role” in:

  • sexual expression,
  • sexual orientation,
  • sexual behaviors,
  • sexual desires,
  • and the sexual component of our self-definition (i.e., how we see ourselves; our self-image)

All of us are sexual beings, yet none of us is exactly identical to another in our sexual definitions and script expectations (Hammond, 2014).

This means in couples, we are looking for the overlap between you two. And then we discuss ways of integrating and navigating your differences.

For more on that idea, check out what polyamory and kink has taught me about this.

One way to get the ball rolling in that conversation is to take a quiz with your partner. (Please note, this is NOT a clinical assessment…rather a conversation starter).

Basically this Sexual Interest Inventory for Couples provides:

  • List of sexual fantasies is presented to both partners separately, asking them indicate their level of interest.
  • After the couple has finished the survey, their answers are compared.
  • If they both gave a positive response to an activity, then we’ll share it; if not, we don’t.

So, what does a healthy sexual script include?

Healthy scripts include the idea that:

  • Both partners need to learn to take ownership of the couple’s sexual experiences.
  • Both partners need to learn to communicate openly and honestly about their feelings.
  • Both partners need to learn to meet one another’s: desires, needs, and wishes while making sure that their own needs are being met. (Hammond, 2014).

Bottom line?


Sex is like Chinese Food. It’s not over until we BOTH get our cookies. 😉

Or as the American Psychological Association puts is, sex should be MUTUALLY pleasurable.

Don’t worry so much about the how. Enjoy the journey.

For more reading on this subject, I recommend:

Here’s to more naked or semi-naked playtime!

couples therapistTamara Powell, LMHC is the founder of Arya Therapy Services, a Pensacola based counseling and coaching practice that also offers services ONLINE.  She is the resident “identity guru” with specialties in gender, sexual, erotic, and relational diversity (GSERD), including polyamory and kink. If you’re interested in working with her, please feel free to email her directly at

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