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Library JournalElliott (sociology, North Carolina State Univ.) examines parents’ attitudes toward their teenagers’ sexual identity and finds that parents equate sex with dangerous and risky behavior, which in turn colors their views of their teens’ maturity. She emphasizes how these views are closely tied to a broader cultural attitude that stems “in large part from a complex blend of free-market economics and restrictive sexual morality…characterized by a paradoxical mix of sexual obsessions and sexual shames.” Essentially, parents do not view their “biological children as sexual agents with sexual desires, even though they view adolescents in general as highly sexually motivated.”
VERDICT Elliott’s sampling of four schools from a liberal city in a conservative state is far too small to draw cultural conclusions from, but her book provides interesting background for reframing the conversation about adolescents and sexuality. Appropriate for undergraduate and graduate sociology collections.
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