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Dirty Little Secrets: Breaking the Silence on Teenage Girls and Promiscuity
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Dirty Little Secrets: Breaking the Silence on Teenage Girls and Promiscuity

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  156 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews

From the author of Loose Girl

From the author of the provocative hit memoir Loose Girl, this is an eye-opening look at the dangerous, secretive world of today's adolescent girls who use casual sex as a means to prove their worth-to boys, to friends, and to themselves. Cohen examines how we got to this point, where young women use male attention like a drug and why they ke

Kindle Edition, 257 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Sourcebooks (September 1, 2011)
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(showing 1-30)
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Cate (The Professional Fangirl)
This is a Reading Good Books review.

When I found out I won this on GoodReads First Reads, I was excited. I read Cohen's memoir, Loose Girl, earlier this year. I thought it was a moving piece and a rare look into the life of a girl society views as a "slut". It was not an easy read and it left me feeling rather sad and sorry for the girl on the page.

This was not an easy read either. The inclusion of other people's stories seemed very interesting to me. It is difficult to review books like this.
Sarra Lord
The description of this book makes it sound much more interesting than it actually is, instead of anecdotes and stories the book is mostly filled with facts and figures. Much of the material is repetitive and the book doesn't really add much to the subject that was covered in the author's memoir "Loose Girls". The subject matter is important, and the author writes well, but this book just doesn't captivate.
Aug 22, 2011 Amandaj rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I was interested in this book because I was a teenage girl not so long ago, and because I took a class on the philosophy of sex and love that touched on this subject a handful of times--it was a class that really made me do a double take of my own beliefs on sex and love. I wasn't surprised to see Wolf, Levin, or Kilbourne referenced, or a hand full of other names.
The girls mentioned in this book could be anyone you know. Although everyone's sexual experiences are their own, there is a commonal

As a middle school teacher, I'm always on the lookout for books on social issues that affect my students. Last year, I read Cohen's "Loose Girl" and liked it, so when this book came along I couldn't help but to be intrigued. About 20 pages into the book I found that I didn't care for this one at all. Although the writing is very simple and easy to understand and the stories she includes are poignant, Cohen really doesn't add anything new to the topic of teenage promiscuity that we have
Oct 03, 2011 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I don't fully agree with all of her conclusions, but Cohen obviously has done a lot of research on promiscuity and the reasons that cause it. This book incorporated the tales of others besides Cohen, and offered an interesting and different look into the promiscuity of girls. If you have a pre-teen or teen daughter, you may want to take the time to read this.
Sep 12, 2011 Ada rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Good research in terms of finding the case studies. Not so good in terms of the coherence of message. At times it seems cautionary, at times it seems like advocating teen girl sexual empowerment. I suppose one can do both, but I'm not sure this book accomplished either. I was a big fan of the author's first memoir, and maybe that's the arena where she does her best work.
Aug 12, 2011 Sharron rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
*I won this book on Goodreads.

It seems as if there is only a very narrow path for a chance for girls to have a healthy relationship with sex. The book is filled with stories and statistics that are rather sad.
Taylor M
Aug 30, 2011 Taylor M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Eye-opening book. Giving it to my younger sister!
Oct 25, 2011 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this book is a compilation of stories, statistics, ideas and opinions. Although I can't say I agreed with every point is this book it was very enlightening. It made me think about youths and their sexual desires in a way I hadn't really considered previously. I think this book can be very helpful to people, and at the very least make them reconsider their original ideals. I find this book very difficult to give a star rating to because I feel like this book will impact everyone who reads it v ...more
Keith Blair
While this started out with a useful perspective and made me think about things in different ways, as I got father into the book it just seemed to drag on. It kept saying the same thing over and over with different names and slightly different tweaks to the personal stories. In the end, it reinforced what we already know (marketing is bad, puberty is dangerous, girls are victimized, girls are confused, society is unfair to girls, etc) but did so repeatedly beyond where it needed to.
Edward Sullivan
This is an excellent book to pair with Jessica Valent's The Purity Myth. Cohen, a practicing psychotherapist, offers an empathetic, insightful, and thoughtful look at why adolescent girls and young women use sex as a means to prove their self-worth, and successfully tears down many myths, misconceptions, and stereotypes.
Lana Duong
Boring, repetitive, uninsightful
Aug 31, 2011 Brie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very important book for teenagers and women.
Mo Ibrahim
May 31, 2014 Mo Ibrahim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Below is what I posted on The Allure of Nymphets blog about this book:

Kerry Cohen asserted in Dirty Little Secrets Breaking the Silence on Teenage Girls and Promiscuity that:

"...almost every girl you see. They believe in their hearts that they are worth nothing, that they have little to offer. They believe boys will pull them out of their ordinariness and finally, finally, transform them into someone better than who they are."

"They give out blow jobs like kisses and hope for love in return."

Debra Lowman
This is Cohen's follow-up book to Loose Girl (2008), Cohen's self-analysis of her own sexual promiscuity during her younger years. As Cohen points out in Dirty Little Secrets, when Loose Girl was released, thereby Cohen became a self-proclaimed "slut" having been with 40 odd men, there was mixed reaction. Some thought the number was low for the "slut" designation, some related to her memoir and found a message, and others berated her her actions.

In Dirty Little Secrets Cohen takes a look at tee
Mar 26, 2012 P. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfic, yyay
The guts of this book is its commitment to a message that could be lost to ambiguity: girls should be able to have sex in their own way, without cultural pressure. But because our world is shaped by that culture, the message is in danger of being skewed towards cultural constructions - teenage sex is bad! Girls who have sex don't like themselves! Cohen does a good job of repeating that she doesn't believe this, and deconstructing the studies she mentions, but I think the book could have been sho ...more
Angelina Justice
This book is not marketed for teens, but it contains content that is pertinent for them. As Cohen points out repeatedly, we have an irrational code of silence when it comes to talking about sex with teenage girls. Putting this book in the hands of a teen might be just the honest discussion they need.

One of the things that I wish she'd spent more time on was how responsibility for emotion is displaced onto the boy who is, himself, still growing up and learning about physical and emotional relatio
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. Thank you for choosing me. I often start and read more than one book at a time. Then I read whatever strikes my fancy at the time, and often if a book is really good, I will start and finish the same book without reading any of the others at the same time. I started this book a long time ago, and it just never drew my attention. I had to force myself to read as far as I did, which in the end, wasn't all that far. I didn't read the prev ...more
Kyle Wendy Skultety (
Good, empowering read about girls and sexual attitudes. Cohen treats the subject with honesty and candor. One of the most impressive statements comes from a section on "good" girls and virginity. We are taught to "respect" our bodies and not give sex away, wait until marriage. Cohen says how is that respecting your body, when you deny yourself pleasure? Not that 13 year olds should be sexually active; just that waiting for marriage and being virginal does not make you more of a woman or more res ...more
Jun 14, 2012 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
She's good at talking about feelings from "slutty" girls but she only lightly touches upon girls who are ashamed because they are virgins. Virgins can feel horny, too. It's so common to be sexually active at a young age that girls who do choose to wait can sometimes be the ones to feel left out or ashamed to be different. Cohen only has experience as the loose girl, so it's understandable that she could only speak from one angle. It would be nice if she did some research on girls who are not loo ...more
Jan 19, 2013 Eléah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays, society
Well I couldn't finish this book because it is too repetitive especially in the last chapters. But she did a great job in her research and sometimes I even recognize myself in some chapters. It is an eye-openly book and I think that teenagers or older women who struggle from love or sex issues should read this book. And those who want to know about loose girls' feelings should too instead of judging the girls they call sluts.
It's going to be a short review. The book was okay for a non-fiction book. It had some interesting real-life stories.
It was thought provoking. It made me realize how different are expectation of the society towards boys and girls (in the context of desire).
However I found it quite repetitive and biased. So I just skimmed the rest of the book.
Aug 16, 2013 Gizzard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is more about society's expectations of girls and women and our requirement to get attention through men and sex than it is about sex or promiscuity.

Very good, interesting stories, but the solutions were tiny and personal rather than broad and societal - which would have been fine, but the book is more broad and societal than personal.
Dec 23, 2011 kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
thought provoking modern perspective on teen girls and sex. very relatable. totally recommend this to people who have teens, work with teens, or even just younger women - it covers lots of stuff about the influence of parents and society.
Nov 15, 2012 Heartofkenna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Abandoned at 60 percent. the book is repetative and the people in it don't seem real outside their sexuality which seems like the opposite point this book is attempting to make.
Robert Dufalo
Feb 04, 2012 Robert Dufalo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read book for anyone that wants to dig into the world of sex in the US and just how broken it is right now.
Kait Smith
I was excited to read this book but disappointed once I picked it up. The concept is there but her detail and reasoning are lacking.
May 29, 2012 Rachek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the author brings up some good points. Others are erroneous. And she contradicts herself quite a bit.
Jul 02, 2015 Chelsea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A brutally honest look at adolescent girls and their promiscuity in today's world. A skimmer for sure, but definitely interesting and shocking. Worth the read.
Johnna rated it really liked it
Jun 30, 2012
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Kerry Cohen is the author of Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity; Seeing Ezra: A Mother’s Story of Autism, Unconditional Love, and The Meaning of Normal; Dirty Little Secrets: Breaking the Silence on Teenage Girls and Promiscuity; as well as three young adult novels – Easy; The Good Girl; and It’s Not You, It’s Me. Her essays have been featured in The New York Times' "Modern Love" series, The Wash ...more
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