Girls & Sex Book Summary By Peggy Orenstein

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In Girls & Sex (2016), author Peggy Orenstein lucidly explores the complicated and ever-changing world of sex and sexuality that young girls and women face in today's society.

The book shines an illuminating light on how societal expectations often conflict with what these young women want for themselves, while also exploring the delicate balance they must strive to hit between the two.

With her journalistic expertise and personal anecdotes, Orenstein serves to empower girls by advocating for a greater understanding of sex and relationship issues within our culture - equipping them with tools to shape their own futures for the better.

Girls & Sex Book

Book Name: Girls & Sex (Navigating the Complicated New Landscape)

Author(s): Peggy Orenstein

Rating: 3.7/5

Reading Time: 15 Minutes

Categories: Sex & Relationships

Author Bio

Peggy Orenstein is an acclaimed and renowned author renown for her works which can be found in publications such as the New Yorker, USA Today and the New York Times Magazine.

Furthermore, her expertise in the topic of girls and sex has been made evident by her popular books such as Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Flux, Schoolgirls and Waiting for Daisy which have all topped the lists of best-selling books.

Her insights into this topics make her one of the top authorities on teenage girls and a must-read for anyone looking to stay well-informed about these groups.

Exploring The Sexual Double Standard: How We Teach Girls About Sex And Pleasure

Sexual Double Standard

In the US, girls are constantly taught negative and dangerous lessons about their own sexuality.

From epithets like “slut” to the messages of shame around exploration and pleasure, these ideas are pervasive in our society and make it difficult for growing girls to feel confident or excited about their bodies and sexuality.

Unfortunately, this is an issue that goes beyond just the language we use – boys get a free pass when it comes to conversations around sex, sexual pleasure, consent and privilege.

This creates a dangerous gap between the message given to girls compared to boys on these issues – and one which needs urgent addressing.

A crucial part of this redressal is countering these false lessons with accurate information about female sexuality for girls at all stages of development.

Our education systems need to help young women un-learn these treacherous lessons by providing them with opportunities to discuss sex openly in safe spaces, as well as challenging problematic gender stereotypes surrounding female pleasure.

By doing so, we will help start righting wrongs around inequality when it comes to fully embracing our own sexuality without judgement or guilt.

Media Sexualization And How It Impacts Young Women’S Self-Image

It’s no secret that the sexualization and objectification of women in the media has a harmful effect on young women.

It’s all around us – from movies and television shows to ads, celebrities, and music videos – these images present women as mere objects for men to desire.

The author of Girls & Sex found that many of the high school- and college-aged women she spoke with compared themselves to the women they saw in the media – scantily clad, under-developed characters that served little more than eye candy for older men.

Many of the young women she interviewed felt unsure of how to behave around other boys and girls.

Celebrities such as Beyonce and Miley Cyrus have encouraged this type of behavior for years now, performing half naked or wearing tight clothing while making suggestive gestures onstage in front of throngs of young female fans.

The argument is often made that this is done in an effort to reclaim their sexuality and show themselves as strong independent women, but it could just be a marketing ploy to gain increased popularity.

Sadly, within the music industry woman are expected to remain slim and half naked if they want any kind of recognition.

There are rarely representations of fully dressed females or those that are overweight within mainstream pop culture; instead they are continually reduced to being objectified by male viewers.

Parents Need To Have Honest Conversations With Their Daughters About Sex And Relationships To Help Set Positive Standards

If we are to stop girls from being confused and vulnerable when it comes to sexual issues, the first step is to start talking openly about them.

It might be an uncomfortable topic for parents to tackle, but it’s far better that your daughter learns pertinent information from you than from other sources or peers who can’t provide accurate facts or advice.

It’s important that teenage girls have a forum where they can learn more about their own sexuality without experiencing pressure or judgement.

Many girls feel expected to behave in conflicting ways and this leads to confusion as they try to juggle societal expectations while exploring what they want sexually.

This double standard can lead to bullying and distress, especially if they’re labelled “prudes” or “squares”.

Girls can also face harassment if they’re seen as overly sexualised, even though society tends to present these same traits positively in terms of being ‘hot.

This disconnect between sex, confidence and the desired ‘hotness’ label can be difficult for young girls.

On top of this, there’s the common expectation that girls should perform sexual acts for boys.

Watching pornography has been known to distort this behaviour and create an image whereby men are rewarded despite their disrespectful attitude; leaving many girls feeling obligated when it comes to oral sex.

The only way out of this confusing cycle is through honest discussion, with parents using open dialogue with their children so that they understand what healthy relationships consist of and how sexuality should be respected rather than brushed off as something less important than it really is.

It’s Time To Re-Define Intimacy And Empower Women To Seek Pleasure

Seek Pleasure

We need to start having an open conversation about sex and sexuality in order to ensure that young women grow up to have healthy sex lives.

Too often, girls feel pressured to start engaging in sexual activities before they are ready, and they end up regretting it afterwards.

This is why it’s important for people to understand what it truly means to be “intimate”: real and meaningful intimacy doesn’t always have to involve sex.

But in order for any of this education to make a difference, we need better sex education in schools.

We need empowered teachers who can discuss topics such as female pleasure, masturbation and how one can achieve true satisfaction through different kind of intimate activities other than oral -and- vaginal sex.

This will help young women become more comfortable with themselves and their bodies, which will then enable them to have meaningful and fulfilling sexual experiences with their partner that don’t just result in their partner’s climax but also theirs own.

The Dangers Of College Hookup Culture: Moving Beyond Alcohol-Fueled Experiments To Build Safe And Informed Sexual Communities

College life can be a time for exploration and liberation, but it can also lead to confusion and even date rape.

For many young women, the casual hookups of college are an opportunity to explore their sexuality outside the bounds of a traditional relationship.

With 72 percent of students having hooked up by senior year and seven partners on average, it appears that many are taking advantage of this lifestyle.

However, this environment isn’t all just positive experiences; there is an insidious “rape culture” that goes with it as well.

Parties can easily end with legally drunken people unable to give sexual consent, and the definition of “consent” itself can be hazy.

Take Megan and Tyler’s situation for example: after some initial kissing and oral sex, Tyler pressed her into going further despite her protests.

When sobering up later, she then felt confused about what happened.

Stories like this happen all too often on campuses nationwide, but only about 20 percent make it to a report or hearing.

It’s important that college students understand both the positive potential for healthy sexual liberation in college life while also being aware of the risks they may find themselves in if they are not careful when exploring risky situations involving intoxication or consent expectations.

The Internet Is A Lifeline For Lgbtq Teens Struggling To Find Support

The internet can be a great resource for LGBTQ teens when they’re looking to better understand their identity and sexuality.

It’s filled with posts, sites and videos that can help curious or confused teens find information on gender identity, how to come out safely to friends and family, and various other topics relating to embracing their sexuality.

These resources are incredibly valuable, as growing up in a conservative environment can be especially difficult for LGBTQ teens who don’t have support at home.

However, it’s important that parents also take the time to educate themselves about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) issues.

Unlike even just a few decades ago when people rarely publicly acknowledged queer identities until they were 25 – today’s youths are coming out around the age of 14-16 so parental support is becoming more crucial than ever before.

Sadly this isn’t always the case though; many young LGBTQ teens still face rejection from their families which has been linked to an increased risk of suicide.

It’s vital that both parents and children continue to look for reliable resources for learning more about lesbian, gay and bisexual issues as well as having open conversations about these topics at home in order to create a safe space for all youth regardless of sexual orientation.

It’s Time We Acknowledged Abstinence-Only Education Does More Harm Than Good


When it comes to teaching teens about sex and sexuality, it is becoming increasingly clear that proper education can lead to better outcomes for young adults.

This is being demonstrated in the Netherlands, where kids receive thoughtful and responsible sex education.

Adults in this country understand that this information will be acquired one way or another; hence, it is best to deliver accurate and accessible instruction.

Not only do Dutch parents and teachers have authentic conversations about the consequences and advantages of sexual activity, but their youth also tend to engage in intercourse later on in life than those living in the United States—and with positive feelings, too!

More than 80% of those surveyed perceive their first experience as properly timed, while over two-thirds of all American teens depict the opposite sentiment.

It seems simple: We should encourage open dialogue regarding sex rather than relying on abstinence-only classes.

Abstinence-based curriculum does more harm than good—as it sets teenagers up for unsatisfactory moments—as studies have proved that students from these courses are 60% more likely to become pregnant unintentionally compared to other groups.

A pioneer of this effort is Charis Denison, an educator hailing from California high schools, who creates a safe space between her pupils by giving honest responses to curious questions posed during lessons.

This shows us just how beneficial talking frankly about sex can be—many of her former students show appreciation by visiting again after class has concluded or sending Denison messages expressing their gratitude weeks afterwards!

Wrap Up

Girls & Sex is all about empowering young women.

The key takeaway is that female sexuality should no longer be treated as a taboo topic but instead become an open source of knowledge and education.

Young women need to be able to talk openly and confidently, not just about pleasure but also about safety.

Parents play an important role here by setting a good example and promoting healthy conversations about sex and sexuality in the home.

At the same time, it’s important for people to learn from their own experiences, instead of relying on outdated ideas or standards that don’t fit with modern life.

Ultimately, this book encourages women to start thinking for themselves, understanding their needs and desires better – so that when it comes to sex, they can have rewarding encounters that truly satisfy them.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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