Her Way: Young Women Remake the Sexual Revolution

Paula Kamen, Author New York University Press $50 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8147-4733-9
With intelligence and flair, Gen-X feminist, journalist and playwright Kamen (Feminist Fatale) presents an exhaustive study of the sexual mores of the women in her generation. Based on 100 interviews and a wealth of statistics, Kamen persuasively argues that ever since the sexual revolution provided widespread access to birth control and information on topics ranging from masturbation to homosexuality, young women have been undergoing a slow, steady ""sexual evolution."" Today, she declares, college-age women's attitudes and behaviors closely resemble those of their male counterparts: on average they have almost as many partners as men and are less opposed to casual sex than previous generations. In Kamen's view, this trend indicates that Gen X women have achieved a high sexual comfort level. Consequently, while young women may have more sexual partners than they once did, virgins are also stepping proudly out of the closet, along with unmarried mothers, women who choose to remain single, lesbians and bisexuals. Their confidence has encouraged a new activism, as women insist on speaking out about once-taboo experiences, such as sexual harassment, molestation and rape. Kamen even goes so far as to suggest that President Clinton would have been in a better position if he had understood Monica's generational perspective on sex. (Jan.) Forecast: Critical yet nonjudgmental, Kamen's lively book is a welcome primer on contemporary sexual ethics. Bolstered by an author tour that will push her visibility beyond academic circles, it's sure to be a hit among feminists of all ages even while it raises eyebrows in other camps.
Reviewed on: 10/30/2000
Release date: 11/01/2000
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 978-0-393-03822-4
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