The Secret History of Female Desire
by Naomi Wolf

This book is a must for all maidens. Wolf takes a journey through her own adolescence and that of her friends and explores the nature of female desire and how it is represented or rather misrepresented in our culture. Wolf explores the history of female desire and identifies most of the misconceptions about women's sexuality left over from the Victorian era.

One chapter that stood out for me was "Cheap or Precious" where she examines different culture's representation of female genitalia and sexuality. She explores the sexual habits of ancient China where women's genitals were revered and called 'The Golden Lotus', 'The open Peony Blossom' and 'The Golden Cleft' , and contrasts it with the harsh western names used for our genitals ie; cunt, gash, pussy,. She illustrates how these names have been designed to make us feel ashamed of our vaginas.

Wolf explores how girls become women, and highlights the absence of any rites of passage in our society. She identifies cultures in which the elderly women decide when it it time for a girl to become a woman and separate her from the men for a few days and take her away to pass on their wisdom about birth control and their own sexual experiences and answer any questions she has.

She problematises the definition of what is to be a "woman" and concludes that it is not though sex or pregnancy, makeup, or earning money for the first time that a girl becomes a woman but rather when she realises that all the definitions of becoming a woman are flawed and she is going to have to find a way to determine the meaning for herself. In her conclusion she suggests that when a girl turns 13 the female members of her family and other family friends take her camping or a similar activity in which she is separated from men for a few days and pass on their wisdom and answer any questions she has.

I support this idea wholeheartedly and think it should be a part of our social conditioning along with learning to read and write. I think it is vital to encourage maidens to not fear their sexuality or be ashamed of it. The media is only one of those responsible for these distorted images of women's sexuality. We can all play our part in showing our maidens that everything they are feeling whether it be overwhelming sexual desire, or feelings for a member of their own sex is all part of the parcel of femaleness, perfectly normal and to be celebrated not hidden.

So maidens suggest a trip away to your older and wiser womenfolk, and if for some reason that isn't possible seek out a forum where you can ask questions of older women, share experiences and get help to make this journey feel more potent and significant.

Review by Salona

Link to Promiscuities: A Secret History of Female Desire -for further reviews and information on buying the book on-line.

Note; the title and the cover seem to differ in each country.

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