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Wants & needs

Author Peggy Orenstein: Discussing pleasure with young women is crucial

March 30, 2016

A new book from bestselling author Peggy Orenstein dives into the world of young women and sexuality. Aptly named Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape, the work expands on the author’s conversations with 70 young women between the ages of 15 and 20 about physical intimacy and their attitudes and experiences. In a conversation with NPR’s Terry Gross, Orenstein said she learned that the pressures young women face are culture-driven — to be sexy but not too sexy so as to be a slut (an expectation Women in the World has reported on before) and that sexual activity serves at the pleasure of a man. It’s on parents to talk honestly with their daughters about “their own desires and their own pleasures,” she said.

(Courtesy HarperCollins)
(Courtesy HarperCollins)

“There’s no self-knowledge,” the author explained, detailing how female anatomy is glossed over by parents and teachers starting from an early age. “Then [young women] go into their sexual experiences and we expect them to be able to have some sense of entitlement, some sense of knowledge, to be able to assert themselves, to have some sense of equality, and it’s just not realistic that that’s going to happen.”
The full interview gives telling insight to the state of sex among modern American girls — including another look at what “hooking up” means in a drinking culture.

Read the full story at NPR.