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DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS by Kerry Cohen

DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS

Breaking the Silence on Teenage Girls and Promiscuity

By Kerry Cohen

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4022-6069-8
Publisher: Sourcebooks

Cohen (Loose Girl, 2009) broadens her examination of promiscuity by sharing stories of women from varying backgrounds and experiences.

The author asserts that she wrote the book because many women “wanted answers, a formula, to get themselves to a new place, to stop harming themselves with their promiscuity.” As in many works that explore women and self-image, Cohen discusses how media and society’s distortion of women’s roles starts early, often before we even realize what is happening. She relates how, despite careful parenting, she noticed that when her 3-year-old son put on a cape, the people he pretended to save were always female. With respect to technological advancements in society, Cohen includes a chapter titled “Brave New World,” which tackles modern topics like sexting and online chatting. Young girls use these avenues to explore their sexuality; the author provides an example of Amelia, who uses “sexting and cyber sex to pick up boys she likes who she meets in school, but is too shy to speak to in person.” Cohen goes on to say that Amelia admits that she uses this activity obsessively and gets insulted when rejected. The author offers tangible advice including how sharing stories and creating new habits, such as self-reflection and setting boundaries, can address this issue.

Largely anecdotal but serves as an engaging catalyst for discussions about a taboo issue.