Sexual Discourse and Sexual Intercourse: How the Way We Communicate Affects the Way We Think About Sexual Coercion
Rhonda K. Reinholtz University of Kansas
Charlene L. Muehlenhard University of Kansas
Joi L. Phelps University of Kansas
Arthur T. Satterfield University of Kansas
Newspapers, television programs and advertisements, movies, academic journals, popular music, literature, personal conversations -- all are modes of communication. All serve to communicate ideas, both explicitly and implicitly, and in so doing they simultaneously reflect and shape cultural beliefs and values.
Communication about sexuality, through these modes as well as others, creates and perpetuates cultural assumptions about sexuality. These assumptions are communicated both explicitly and implicitly because the language we use conveys more than the obvious content of its message -- it also expresses cultural values. These assumptions about sexuality influence our thinking about sexual coercion: the extent to which sexual coercion is visible or invisible, our perspectives on the victim and the perpetrator, and many subtle notions about what constitutes sexual coercion.