This entry introduces research on intimacy as it is shaped by internalized societal gender norms. It begins by presenting gender schema theory as it applies to people’s ideas about intimacy. It then reports research findings revealing gender-related behavior patterns in intimate interactions and intimate relationships. The entry concludes by showing how gender schema theory can help us understand gender-related behavior (or the lack thereof) in intimate situations.

Gender Schema Theory and Gendered Intimacy

Gender exists in a multilayered context that begins with the individual’s biological and psychological gender, broadens to include the individual’s personality and close relationships, and concludes with the broader cultural context in which ideas about and prescriptions for gendered behavior are maintained and passed down. According to gender schema theory, the sociocultural context ...

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