Virginity Lost: An Intimate Portrait of First Sexual Experiences

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NYU Press, Nov 1, 2005 - Health & Fitness - 295 pages
6 Reviews

Nervous, inexperienced, confused. For most, losing your virginity is one of life's most significant moments, always to be remembered. Of course, experiences vary, but Laura Carpenter asks: Is there an ideal way to lose it? What would constitute a “positive” experience? What often compels the big step? And, further, what does “going all the way” really mean for young gays and lesbians?

In this first comprehensive study of virginity loss, Carpenter teases out the complexities of all things virgin by drawing on interviews with both young men and women who are straight, gay or bisexual. Virginity Lost offers a rare window into one of life's most intimate and significant sexual moments. The stories here are frank, poignant and fascinating as Carpenter presents an array of experiences that run the gamut from triumphant to devastating.


Importantly, Carpenter argues that one's experience of virginity loss can have a powerful impact on one's later sexual experiences. Especially at a time of increased debate about sexual abstinence versus safe sex education in public schools, this important volume will provide essential information about the sex lives of young people.



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Review: Virginity Lost: An Intimate Portrait of First Sexual Experiences

User Review  - Rebecca - Goodreads

While Virginity Loss is a phenomenon that has gone unexplored for too long, this work does not do enough to explore the phenomenon. I found the gaps in Carpenter's analysis problematic and the lack of nuance in the analysis troubling. I would have liked to read more anecdotes from the participants. Read full review

Review: Virginity Lost: An Intimate Portrait of First Sexual Experiences

User Review  - Danyel - Goodreads

I found this book facinating to read. The interviews were candid and the research was solid. I feel that the groups of people she sampled could have been more broad. Read full review


1 A Brief History of Virginity Loss
2 Defining Virginity Loss Today
3 A Gift of Ones Own
4 An Unendurable Stigma
5 A Natural Step
6 Abstinence
7 Virginity Lost
Methodological Appendix
About the Author

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Page 273 - Steele, JR (1999). Teenage sexuality and media practice: Factoring in the influences of family, friends, and school.

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About the author (2005)

Laura M. Carpenter is Associate Professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University and author of Virginity Lost: An Intimate Portrait of First Sexual Experiences.

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