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Dirty Little Secrets: Breaking the Silence on Teenage Girls and Promiscuity Paperback – Bargain Price, September 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


""[Cohen] seeks to identify the loose girl experience and help girls gain power over their own lives."" - Publishers Weekly

""Cohen (Loose Girl, 2008) returns to her signature subject: teenage girls and promiscuity...Smashing statistics, ferreting out falsehoods, and exploring a multitude of reasons behind why girls use sex to prove their worth, Cohen calls for us to "transform the culture when it comes to teen girls and sex"."" - Booklist

""Ms. Cohen's Dirty Little Secrets is a perfect catalyst for mother/daughter discussions. It is a safe place to start a scary talk about this issue so relevant to young women-and young men...At its heart, Dirty Little Secrets is a wake-up call. Settle in, relax, and embrace its shocking content."" - New York Journal of Books

""Serves as an engaging catalyst for discussions about a taboo issue."" - Kirkus

""Dirty Little Secrets is eye-opening, insightful, and definitely an exercise in self-reflection. Most importantly, it's a conversation starter for a talk that's been a long time coming."" - Slasher Chick

""A strong beginning to an important conversation. An important book for feminist and social science collections."" - Library Journal

""Includes first-hand accounts, discussion questions for school counselors and parents, behavior assessments, and resources for teens and parents about sex and relationships."" - Books News Inc

About the Author

Kerry Cohen is the author of the memoir Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity and three young adult novels. She received an MA in creative writing from the University of Oregon and an MA in counseling psychology from Pacific University. A psychotherapist who has focused her practice on adolescent girls and issues related to promiscuity, she lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402260695
  • ASIN: B0076TPSEG
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,704,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kerry Cohen is the author of seven books, including the bestselling Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity and Seeing Ezra: A Mother's Story of Autism, Unconditional Love, and The Meaning of Normal. Three more books: The anthology Spent: Exposing Women's Complicated Relationship to Shopping; The Truth of Memoir: How to Write about Yourself and Others with Honesty, Emotion, and Integrity; and Girl Trouble: A Memoir are forthcoming. She has appeared on Dr Phil and Good Morning America, and has had her essays featured in The New York Times Modern Love series and The Washington Post. She has a psychotherapy practice and lives with the writer James Bernard Frost and their four children in Portland, Oregon.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By ellison on March 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
After her own book Loose Girl the author has followed that up with this offering. She talked to 75 gals and has created a handbook of sorts for... Loose girls. She shares some of what girls shared with her such as accepting an invitation into the restroom by a fast food worker.

Some of the girls say they want to stop their behavior but do not know how. When a guy acknowleges their existance they obcess and become needy calling and texting until the guy doesn't like them any more.

A married loose girl grows restless and seeks out other rellationships. Girls at a slumber party make-up profiles, go on web sites and talk dirty, then laugh about it. Some send pictures on phones and the pictures get passed around, so they feel degraded. Others decide dirty text is alright.

There is talk as to weather a single parent family causes a girl to be loose, a girl says her dad is so focused on taking care of her that she thinks he is a loser, all he does is go to work and take care of her. It just seems nothing satisfies them.

Some drink to get past the first time. Then, when they are called 'loose' they say, "Oh, its the drinking, that's not me.

She claims that abstinance programs do not work. They are too busy telling a girl to say 'No' and don't tell them how to say 'Yes.' Mentions movies and compares how females see the stories and how that is different than reality.

A load of information, much of which is depressing. Informatiive. At the end it features work sheets on charting the Loose Girls behavior, what causes it, and what the response was. Additional books mentioned for further study. At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women.
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This book encourages us to ask a really important question - not when are girls having sex, or with how many people, but WHY?
Whether girls and women start young or wait until they are older, we should be more concerned with why they are doing what they are doing and we as a society should work to stop shaming them for their actions and start supporting them in their desire to make good choices and to love and be loved.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Kerry Cohen has followed up her book `Loose Girl' with this volume which analyses the reasoning behind young girls' promiscuity. The theme of this book and the girls' reasoning is "that if they got a man's attention it would mean they were worth something in the world".
The statistics are alarming 48% of new STDs occur among 15-24 year olds, 1 in 4 teenage girls has an STD. The author presents many more statistic and analyses, for example those about the growth of the human brain at puberty. The book is full of her study of this problem.
Despite the fact she interviewed 75 girls for the book, there are really not many case studies presented, except as bits here and there which would have made it much more readable. At times her statistics are just down right confusing.

Be prepared that her philosophy is that it is "perfectly honorable" for girls to want sex; but this is a subject no matter what your views are: that adults and yes young girls should be aware of. It is emphasized that most parents do not see this as a problem. The irony is that if girls have a lot of sexual activity it is perceived as a problem, but usually the opposite is true for the case of boys.
Much emphasis is given to the point of view of many females is that they must have someone to care about them to validate their worth.

This is not a pleasurable read, but everyone that has a daughter, works with girls, are close to them and even of boys should read this...it's a life lesson that too many are not aware of and or do not want to believe.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Writer Mo Ibrahim on May 31, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kerry Cohen asserted in Dirty Little Secrets Breaking the Silence on Teenage Girls and Promiscuity that:

"...almost every girl you see. They believe in their hearts that they are worth nothing, that they have little to offer. They believe boys will pull them out of their ordinariness and finally, finally, transform them into someone better than who they are."

"They give out blow jobs like kisses and hope for love in return."

"But they aren't sex addicts or even love addicts. What they crave is the attention [which is their "dirty little secret"], that moment when a boy looks at them and they can believe that they are worth something to someone. They can believe that they matter.

Cohen wrote that despite wide-spread belief to the contrary, girls are sexual and "...have just as much sexual desire and curiosity as boys." And we know that Cohen's claim that girls masturbate can be confirmed by Nancy Friday's My Secret Garden: Women's Sexual Fantasies; thus, it isn't surprising that she shared that the Guttmacher Institute reported that:

Almost 50% of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 had sex at least once and 27% of girls between the ages of 13 and 16 had sex more than once.
Approximately 8.8 million girls between the ages of 15 and 24 acquire a STD every year.
And approximately 750,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 get pregnant every year - 82% of them are unplanned.
In addition, Cohen wrote that "Thirteen year old girls proudly extol their abilities to give blow jobs, which they do in the bathrooms at parties or at school. Middle and high schoolers have sex parties...and lots of adolescent girls watch porn."

Cohen makes a vital point that there's a distinction between "...
Read more ›
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