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Sex books to read online

“Whereas earlier generations of media-literate, feminist-identified women saw their objectification as something to protest,” she writes, “today’s often see it as a personal choice, something that can be taken on intentionally as an expression rather than an imposition of sexuality.” Her investigation into the sex lives of teenage girls finds plenty of evidence to suggest that the confidence and power conferred by “a commercialized, one-dimensional, infinitely replicated, and, frankly, unimaginative vision of sexiness” is largely illusory.

The fact that being “the girl everybody wants to fuck” can now be characterized as a bold, feminist aspiration is one measure, she suggests, of how successfully old-fashioned sexual exploitation has been sold to today’s teenage girls as their own “sex-positive” choice.

Peggy Orenstein, the author of Girls and Sex, is equally skeptical about the emancipatory possibilities of hotness.

Taking their cues from celebrities like Kim Kardashian—whose vast following on Instagram Sales identifies as a marker of social media’s decadent values—they post “tit pics,” “butt pics,” and a variety of other soft-porn selfies as a means of guaranteeing maximum male attention and approbation.

“I guarantee you,” a seventeen-year-old from New Jersey tells Sales,every girl wishes she could get three hundred likes on her pictures.

(Several rejected the idea of cunnilingus as embarrassing and worried that their vaginas were “ugly, rank, unappealing.”)Some of the misery of teenage girls’ sexual experiences is attributable, Orenstein contends, to the “hookup culture” in which sex, “rather than being a product of intimacy…has become its precursor, or sometimes its replacement.” (Rates of female orgasm are much lower for casual encounters, she notes, than for sex that takes place within committed relationships.) Another contributing factor, she suggests, is the part that pornography now plays in determining normative standards of teenage sexual behavior.

As one example of this, she points to the fact that most of her interview subjects had been dutifully shaving or waxing their “bikini areas” since the age of fourteen.

Girls have higher graduation rates than their male counterparts at all educational levels.

The popular culture abounds with inspirational images and anthems of girls “leaning in” and “running the world.” But according to two new, rather bleak books, these official signs of progress have given us an unduly rosy impression of the modern girl’s lot.

There were some in the 1950s who were pretty sure that the decadent new practice of “going steady” augured moral disaster.

Both Sales and Orenstein have undoubtedly grim and arresting information to impart about the lives of American girls.

Orenstein, it is worth noting, is not concerned about the quantity of sex that young women are having.