Thursday, September 1, 2016

Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape

Book: Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape
Author: Peggy Orenstein

With casual hookups and campus rape relentlessly in the news, parents can be forgiven for feeling anxious about their young daughters. They’re also fearful about opening up a dialog. Not Orenstein. A contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and the New York Times best-selling author of books like Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Orenstein spoke to psychologists, academics, and other experts in the field and yes, 70 young women, to offer an in-depth picture of “girls and sex” today.-Goodreads

Review: This was a book club read from a few months ago that I finally got to and I really wish I had been able to read it sooner and attend the meeting, because this is a good book to spark conversation. I went to middle school and high school in upstate NY in the mid-90s. I've never thought of my hometown as particularly liberal by any stretch, but we did had sex education starting in 6th grade and it went through high school. I'm not sure what is taught now, but I understood how my body worked, what sex was, std's, etc. From the girls interviewed in this book, I was shocked at their lack of sex education. I would say my primary takeaways were:
*there is a major lack of sex education in school and rarely open dialogue at home
*teens are going online to learn about their bodies and sex, which apparently means watching a lot of porn
*girls are giving a lot of blow jobs while they are rarely on the receiving of oral play
*the definition of 'sex' and 'virgin' are not clear
*girls have been so ingrained to be 'people pleasers' many partake in activities they aren't even interested in to make guys happy

I have an eight year old daughter and another one on the way (due today and late...arg) so this book definitely made me think about our communication and how to handle certain situations when they are teenagers. I also have spoken to several friends after reading this to discuss what kind of education they received and their experiences. We've had some interesting discussions to say the least. 

Now, a two major things that bothered me about this book were the lack of references. Yes, there is a huge list at the end but it would have been nice if studies were footnoted when statistics were thrown out there. Next, in several cases Orenstein often seemed to take one person's story and use that to generalize a whole topic with a broad stroke. I also wish she had focused more on the consent chapter. 

 Overall-an interesting yet alarming book. Parents of teens should def read it. 

Grade: 3.5/5

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