In this paper, we explore the discourses on sexuality that a sample of parents drew upon when they talked about teenage sexual self-presentation and conduct. The sample consisted of 43 parents (32 mothers and 11 fathers) of young people aged 10–19 years. Data were gathered using in-depth interviews and were analysed using a strategy known as modified analytical induction. Findings indicated that while an acceptance the traditional heterosexual script permeated participants' accounts, and protective discourses in relation to young women were brought to bear, so, too, were protective discourses invoked in relation to young men. On the whole, young women tended to be cast as sexual subjects who chose to self-sexualise and this was sometimes seen by participants as a threat to young men. We argue that the discourses that parents connoted were multiple and sometimes contradictory, and our analysis problematises the notion that conventional discourses singularly cast women as objects of male sexuality. However, the overall picture indicated that in parents' narratives, young women tended to be more heavily regulated and either viewed as needing protection from male sexual advances or castigated for encouraging them.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health(social science)