Lisa Louie's Reviews > Promiscuities: An Opinionated History of Female Desire

Promiscuities by Naomi Wolf
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's review
Jul 22, 2009

really liked it
Read in September, 2009

This memoir-cum-analysis of female sexual desire and coming of age is an astounding book. Wolf narrates her own history growing up in the Haight in SF during the free-love Sixties and Seventies. She simultaneously analyzes the way in which her sexual desire was discovered and shaped during those culturally chaotic years and draws conclusions about what girls in Western society lack given the absence of meaningful coming-of-age rituals/rites of passage within our current context. Her arguments are compelling. She explodes the notion that boys' sexual appetite is stronger and more primal than girls and points out the cultural hypocrisy that would threaten girls with degraded status through sexual objectification while simultaneously holding out the golden carrot of status through sexiness and sexual availability. Wolf made me see how fundamental sexual desire is to human identity, and how our society--and some feminists--stunt healthy, whole humane development in girls when they fail to celebrate a girl's sexual desire without demonizing it, pathologizing it, or portraying it as evidence of victimization.

Reading this book has made me more determined to honor adolescent girls' sexuality by looking for appropriate and even reverent ways to validate it.

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