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Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape
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Archive: Other Books > Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein - 4 stars

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annapi | 5159 comments Hearing the NPR interview with this author was what prompted me to pick up this book. I had looked over the Amazon reviews for it last year, and several of the negative ones caused me to purchase For Goodness Sex instead (which was the better book by the way). But after reading this and then revisiting the negative reviews, my own rating is firmly 4 stars. I'm going to have my daughter read it, and I have already told her I would like to discuss it with her, preferably as she is reading it.

I do agree with many reviewers that her pool of survey respondents gave a rather narrow view of the sexual landscape that girls have to navigate. The book makes it sound terrifying out there for girls, and when I look around at my daughter's schools and hear what she has to say about girls who have bragged about sex, it doesn't sound anywhere near as dire as the book makes it out to be. I get that she could only write about those who responded to her study, and that other sections of the demographic naturally would not want to participate in such a study and therefore were underrepresented, so the reader has to keep that in mind. College sounds really frightening when you read these anecdotes, but I wonder how much of the fear she projects is intentional in order to encourage parents to have these all-important conversations with their girls before it's too late? Then again, if this does push them to do so, who cares?

Regardless, this is an important conversation to have with your children, both girls and boys, and this book is an excellent conversation starter. It may not have all the information girls and boys need to answer their questions, which is another reason to withhold that final star in my rating, but I will continue to explore other books to help guide my ongoing conversations with my kids.


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Joi (missjoious) | 3834 comments I've had this on my TBR since it came out, and haven't read it because I felt it might be a little "one sided". Does it read more as a non-fiction fact-finding mission on the subject of sex and teenagers in the modern era , or more of a parental tool for their kids?


annapi | 5159 comments Joi wrote: "I've had this on my TBR since it came out, and haven't read it because I felt it might be a little "one sided". Does it read more as a non-fiction fact-finding mission on the subject of sex and tee..."

More of a fact-finding, laying the facts out there. As a parental tool, it's really up to you to use it to have a conversation with your daughter. The complaints about the book being anti-male are I think exaggerated, though I can see why some women might find it so. But the reality exists that women are more the victims of men than vice-versa and that women have to be more careful than men; she doesn't sugarcoat that. Regardless of its flaws, it's worth reading. But I recommend more the book For Goodness Sex by Al Vernacchio (my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...).


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Joi (missjoious) | 3834 comments Haha, I was actually just asking because I was going to take this OFF my TBR if it was more geared towards being a parent tool. I was much more interested in the study and reflection on current girls and the stigma of sex, what has changed in recent years, insightful thoughts on a male-dominated society, feminism, rape culture, and how girls/young women fit into that. That kind of stuff. Which I don't think this book is really about? Maybe?

Just to clarify- I do NOT have kids, nor do I want them anytime soon, haha.


annapi | 5159 comments Joi wrote: "Haha, I was actually just asking because I was going to take this OFF my TBR if it was more geared towards being a parent tool. I was much more interested in the study and reflection on current gir..."

Yes, I think you will find this interesting, it's full of that sort of stuff. The conversations she details with the girls who were willing to discuss their sex lives with her are very thought-provoking. How insightful it is I'm not sure, but she ponders the motivations behind the girls' behavior. I've read two of the books she references occasionally, which are For Goodness Sex and Not Under My Roof.


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Joi (missjoious) | 3834 comments Thanks Annapi- sounds interesting nevertheless. Looks like a pretty short page count too- only 300 pages so it should be a quick read.


annapi | 5159 comments Joi wrote: "Thanks Annapi- sounds interesting nevertheless. Looks like a pretty short page count too- only 300 pages so it should be a quick read."

It's actually 238 pages of actual book - the rest is bibliography.


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