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Promiscuities: An Opinionated History of Female Desire: A Secret History of Female Desire Paperback – 5 Mar 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (5 Mar. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099205912
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099205913
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 65,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Her book is a searing and thoroughly fascinating exploration of the complex wildlife of female sexuality and desire." (New York Times)

"At last, a new generation of women writers is addressing the powerful issues of female sexuality. I gulped this wonderful book down in one sitting, like a novel. Brava Naomi Wolf for your courage, your intelligence, your lucid prose." (Erica Jong)

"Refreshing... Highly evocative... Wolf does two important things very well: reminding readers her own age what it felt like to be a teenage girl, and providing a crash course on the wildly varying cultural meanings attached to female sexuality throughout history" (The Ottawa Citizen)

"Naomi Wolf [is] the best writer about women and sexuality that we have" (Toronto Sun)

"Fascinating... Wolf celebrates the ancient concept, heavily suppressed in the 20th century, that women are the more carnal sex" (Vancouver Courier)

Book Description

In this provocative and highly personal book, bestselling author Naomi Wolf explores a subject that has long been taboo in our society: women's sexual coming-of-age.

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Once upon a time, a scattered group of girls undertook the passage from girlhood to womanhood in a city built around a bay. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
Wolf's exploration of female adolescence is heightented by the time scale it covers. Her own journey and those of the women she interviews mirrors the sexual and feminist revolution of the 1970s. This makes it an apt and very intimate account of the challenges faced by girls through the turbulent and emotional times of adolescence. Ending in 1996 with the publication of the book, it is a positive celebration of the beauty of becoming a woman. Promiscuities is a highly accesible book, one which females (and perhaps males)will feel they can relate to.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Orna Ross on 30 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Naomi Wolf is "the most controversial feminist of her generation", the jacket blurb on her new book tells us. Many feminists have long suspected her of being the most conservative and this book will confirm those suspicions.

That is not to say that Wolf is not a committed feminist thinker. She sees her "controversial" standing on many feminist issues as proof not only of her discernment but of her engagement: "Taking a critical look at one's own cherished movement is an act not sacrilege but of love", she has said. But her more questionable assertions - that abortion is an evil that demands atonement, for example, or that patriarchy is ready to roll over and die if women would only discover the power within - are born not of an acute critical faculty which detects the part other feminists cannot reach, but of a naivity which is insensitive to context and which reduces complexity and multiplicity to the simple and one dimensional.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in this book which deals with female sexuality a subject that demands a creativity and fluidity of thought which is alien to Wolf. In it she describes what she found when she went home to San Francisco and asked some school friends to help her "what it was like to grow up sexually when we did and how we did".

From the experience of these girls who became women in "a time that was permissive but still not free", Wolf tells us, she "will explore the nature of female desire". A tall order, and this book does no such thing. What it does explore is aspects of her own unfolding sexuality, and that of her friends, all white, more or less middle-class and all, apart from Genevieve who "always thought of other girls romantically" and Tonya who has a lesbian fling, straight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Mar. 1998
Format: Hardcover
Whenever a woman tells the truth it is radical and ground-breaking - even if it's only for her own benefit. I felt deeply moved and validated in my own personal choices by the honesty of Wolf's acount. Whatever the criticisms of her work as feminist theory or sociology, these pale in comparison to the contribution she has made by simply naming her experience, and sharing it.
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By A Customer on 18 Nov. 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is the best non-fiction book I have ever read. It really makes you think. I now know I am not the only one who has felt these same feelings. I have grown up feeling ashamed and dirty about my sexuality. I have come around a little on my owm, but this book really helped me. I think that these problems can be solved, but more girls and women need to be aware. The only way to solve this problem is to first educate girls and women, to somehow unite them. Women are each others worst enemy. I think this book could really open the eyes of a lot of women and make them realize things they have not before. It did for me.
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Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book greatly for the history and background Wolf gave on various rituals for the coming of age. It was a surprise to learn that puberty is celebrated in some cultures! Compared to "Reviving Ophelia", the same issues were addressed but with more clarity and in a more realistic setting. The fact that Wolf based her arguements on her personal experience of coming of age and then related them to modern times, created a well defined arguement about what is wrong with our culture in the way that it treats adolescent women. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and reccomend it to all!
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By A Customer on 23 July 1997
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be a facinating study into what it meant to grow up female in San Francisco in the 1970's. Having grown up in rural america about the same time as Ms. Erlich I found the accounts of growing up in San Francisco as facinating as I did find growing up female. I found many of the stories both shocking as well as facinating. The phenomological research method imploid by the author clearly presented the material in the humanistic manor it deserved. In short I would highly recommend this book to anyone who would like a glimse into this world.
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