Tiny Pants's Reviews > Virginity Lost: An Intimate Portrait of First Sexual Experiences

Virginity Lost by Laura M. Carpenter
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Aug 25, 2009

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bookshelves: academic, borrowed-library, sociology, cultural-studies
Read in August, 2009

Though not a page-turner, Carpenter brings a good game and an eminently readable peace of social science. Genuinely remarkable as an example of grounded theory, the author solicits a range of subjects' recountings of how they lost their virginity (or in a few cases, why they still have it). From this, she develops a framework based around the metaphors individuals use for describing virginity, and uses her findings to formulate intelligent public policy interventions (a goal to few sociologists have for their work). While occasionally she oversteps in her interpretations and makes a few unseemly normative judgements about her subjects, on the whole a strong piece of work that appears to have made a nice, clean jump from dissertation to book.
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