New Book Says There’s One Very Important Thing Nobody Is Teaching Teen Girls (15+) About Sex

Posted by on May 27, 2018 in Conscious Living, Relationships & Sex with 4 Comments

Teen couple-compressed

Source: npr.org

Author Peggy Orenstein says that when it comes to sexuality, girls today are receiving mixed messages. Girls hear that “they’re supposed to be sexy, they’re supposed to perform sexually for boys,” Orenstein tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, “but that their sexual pleasure is unspoken.”

While researching her new book, Girls & Sex, Orenstein spoke with more than 70 young women between the ages of 15 and 20 about their attitudes and early experiences with the full range of physical intimacy.


She says that pop culture and pornography sexualize young women by creating undue pressure to look and act sexy. These pressures affect both the sexual expectations that girls put on themselves and the expectations boys project onto them.

Related Article: 9 Cool Things About Female Sexuality

Orenstein adds that girls she spoke to were often navigating between being considered “slutty” or a “prude,” and that their own desires were often lost in the shuffle. Girls, Orenstein says, are being taught to please their partners without regard to their own desires.

“When I would talk to girls, for instance, about oral sex, that was something that they were doing from a pretty young age, and it tended to go one way [and not be reciprocated],” Orenstein explains.

She recommends that parents examine the messages they send regarding girls and sexuality. “One of the things that I really took away from this research, is the absolute importance of not just talking about [girls] as victims, or not just talking about them as these new aggressors, but really surfacing these ideas of talking clearly and honestly to girls about their own desires and their own pleasures,” she says.


On the silence surrounding girls’ genitals

Parents don’t tend to name their infant baby’s genitals if they’re girls. For boys, they’ll say, “Here’s your nose, here’s your shoulders, here’s your waist, here’s your pee pee,” whatever. But with girls, there’s this sort of blank space — it’s right from navel to knees, and not naming something makes it quite literally unspeakable.

Then they go into puberty education class, and girls have periods and unwanted pregnancy, and you see only the inside anatomy — that thing that looks like a steer head, with the ovaries and everything — and then it grays out between the legs, so we never talk about the vulva, we never talk about the clitoris. Very few girls explore, there’s no self-knowledge, and then they 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.

Related Article: How We Stigmatize Female Genitalia: a Brief History of Vagina Worship

On whether kids are having more sex at a younger age, and the prevalence of oral sex

Kids are not having intercourse at a younger age, and they’re not having more intercourse than they used to. They are engaging in other forms of sexual behavior, younger and more often. And one of the things that I became really clear on was that we have to broaden our definition of sex, because by ignoring and denying these other forms of sexual behavior that kids are engaging in, we are opening the door to a lot of risky behavior, and we are opening the door to a lot of disrespect. …

[Oral sex] is considered to be less intimate than intercourse, and something that girls say repeatedly to me would be, “It’s no big deal.” There’s an argument that some of the girls have in the book about exactly what it is. Is it sex? Is it not sex? Is it no big deal? … It was something that they felt that they could do that boys expected — that they could do to not have to do something else. It was a way that they could cultivate popularity, it was a way that they felt — interestingly, they would talk about feeling more in control than if it was reciprocal. …

They felt it was safer sex, which is true and not true, because the rates of STDs have actually shot up among teenagers, even though the rates of intercourse have not, because they think that oral sex is safer sex and things like gonorrhea are spreading much more quickly.

On talking to girls about their partners not reciprocating oral sex

I started saying, “Look, what if every time you were with a guy, he told you to go get him a glass of water from the kitchen and he never offered to get you a glass of water. Or if he did he’d say, “Ugh, you want me to get you a glass of water?” You would never stand for it! Girls, they would bust out laughing when I said that, and they’d say, “Oh, I never thought about it that way.” I thought, well, maybe you should if you think that being asked repeatedly to give someone a glass of water without reciprocation is less insulting than being asked to perform a sexual act over and over. …

Related Article: Women, Feel Uncomfortable Receiving Oral Sex? Here Are 7 Tips To Help You Relax & Enjoy!

On what “hooking up” means

It can mean anything. It can mean kissing, it can mean intercourse, it can mean any other form of sexual interplay. It really is a nonphrase. But what the hookup culture means, I mean, kids did not invent casual sex, right? But what has changed is the idea that casual sex is the pathway to a relationship, that sex is a precursor rather than a function of intimacy and affection. …

[In college] pretty much if you didn’t want to stay home with microwave popcorn calling your parents, especially for freshmen and sophomores, that was kind of what they did. They went out, they got drunk, they hooked up.

On drinking and hookup culture

Hookup culture, particularly, it’s not just lubricated by alcohol anymore — it’s completely dependent on it. One sociologist told me that alcohol was what created this compulsory carelessness, so that it was a way to signal that the sex that they were having was meaningless. Alcohol, it was almost like it had replaced mutual attraction as kind of reason in and of itself to have sex, so it was a way to not care. It was a way to say, “We’re just doing this for one night.”

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…

Tags: , , , ,

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

4 Reader Comments

Trackback URL Comments RSS Feed

  1. We should be teaching girls that they are just fine studying in school, being involved in after school activities, working a part time job, having fun with friends, being well-rounded, whole individuals. And that the right man will come along and will be willing to earn her affections.

    • suzanne.rutherford@xtra.co.nz' Suzanne says:

      We should be teaching our girls how to take control of their lives, finances and happiness which includes what kind of sexual experience they want. We should be teaching our girls how to be ok with being alone. How to be sexually complete and NOT at the expense of either partner. We should NOT be teaching our girls that the right man will come along. This is a complete falacy. We all change, whether for the better or worse. It only stands to show whether we as girls and woman will accept either the bad behaviour and drama or the good behaviour and a happy life.

New Title

NOTE: Email is optional. Do NOT enter it if you do NOT want it displayed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use'...you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Top

Send this to friend