SXSW 2017: Girls and Sex: Navigating from Shame to Joy

For her New York Times bestseller “Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape,” journalist Peggy Orenstein interviewed more than 70 girls ages 15-20 about their attitudes towards and experiences of sex. Orenstein has been chronicling the lives of young girls for more than 25 years. Her previous book “Cinderella Ate My Daughter” highlighted the impact of “princess culture” on young girls.

In this SXSW Interactive session, Orenstein discusses that disconnect, its political and personal implications in young women’s lives and the imperative to talk to young women about sexual pleasure.

So what is this idea of “hot”? Orenstein explains that young women today are obsessed with their body image based on the idea of “hot” in pop culture, media portrayals, and such.

Orenstein makes an excellent point that how sex is portrayed in porn and in movies is far from realistic. She pokes fun at the ridiculousness of the scenes.

Makes you think of that one Marvin Gaye song “Let’s Get It On.” It comes out so much for foreplay scenes in movies.

Although… Depending on the rating of the movie, you’ll definitely see some of the middle of the sex scenes, but we digress. Orenstein gets serious again about porn and its portrayal of women during sex.

Orenstein highlights the importance of sexual education in public schools. Texas does a poor job of properly informing young adults about sex (schools use the abstinence-only approach). Furthermore, the Texas Tribune reported last month that according to a study, a quarter of public schools no longer teach sex education.

The terminology used in sex culture is highly ambiguous. Orenstein makes a point that “hooking up” can mean anything from kissing to having vaginal intercourse.

Orenstein moves on to discuss about sexual assaults on college campuses, especially in Greek life.

Another way to change understanding of sex is to look at how other counties do it, Orenstein points out.

What’s next up for Orenstein? She’s got another projects in the works!

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