cover image Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape

Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape

Peggy Orenstein. HarperCollins, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-220972-6

Bestselling journalist Orenstein follows up Cinderella Ate My Daughter with a look at what happens when the little princess hits puberty. The result is an eye-opening, sometimes horrifying look at sex for today’s girls and young adults. Through frank interviews, research, and school visits, Orenstein reveals that, on average, young women are engaging in sexual contact earlier than ever, in more varied ways, and reporting more coercion and less satisfaction than their male counterparts. She cuts through many of the prickly topics associated with girls’ sexuality in contemporary culture, including purity debates, hook-up culture, arguments about what girls wear, rape and consent on college campuses, the problem of porn, and what kind of sex education actually works. She looks briefly at gender fluidity and touches on the concerns of LGBTQ young women. Orenstein draws powerful, humane portraits of her interview subjects, self-reliant young women who find themselves trapped by sexist stereotypes about women’s bodies and women’s pleasure. In this smart, earnest, and timely assessment, Orenstein urges frank, open communication among trusted adults and curious teens, declaring it the best way to encourage girls and boys to make safe, healthy decisions that “end in joy and honor rather than regret, guilt, or shame” and achieve “intimate justice.” [em](Mar.) [/em]