Sexploitation by Cindy Pierce

Of all the parenting books I’ve read in the past few years (and there have been quite a few), this book has been, by far, the most eye-opening and informative. Written from the perspective (and experience) of a lecturer, educator, and especially mother, author Pierce challenges what parents currently know about sexuality, how they address it with their children of all ages (toddler to adult), and especially how the accessibility and pervasiveness of internet porn has changed our ‘norms’ about how we (and they) approach sex and relationships. You wouldn’t expect there to be that much that could be said on the topic – but I was quite impressed with the expansiveness of the book and the modern parenting information provided within. The tone is friendly and this is a very easy read at 250 pages.


The book breaks down as follows: 1 Inner Compass, 2 Umplugging, 3 Porn Culture, 4 Sexuality Education for Young Kids, 5 Sexuality Education for Older Kids and teens, 6 Worthy Girls, 7 Empowering Girls, 8 Worthy Boys, 9 Setting Boys Free, 10 A Hookup Culture Fueled by Alcohol, 11 Moving Beyond Hookups, Conclusion, References, Index, Acknowledgements.

Beyond the surprising amount of ‘wow’ moments within the book, there is a comprehensive list of references for taking the topics further. It means that parents have places to go when the book is finished to continue their own education or to help with specific situations (e.g., how to broach sexuality questions with toddlers or deal with alcoholism or self esteem issues). The book smartly doesn’t attempt to be a one-size-fits-all and instead provides a basis for understanding but also pairs that with where to go after the book.

There was so much I learned – it would be impossible to list all the ‘aha’ moments here here but I had very interesting discussions with my husband about our own views on sexuality as well as how we approach discussing them with our daughter after reading the book. Since frank discussions with children about sexuality should be done over a stretch of years, I was most surprised to discover that starting at the toddler years/first grade smooths the way for the more detailed discussions by puberty and then the teen years. As such, this is a good book for parents of children from 6-26 years of age.

The book really isn’t about dos and don’ts – nor is it a cautionary tale. Author Pierce is frank, honest, and doesn’t mince words. Studies are cited but she also draws upon years of discussions with kids and as a mother of several teens herself. So although she doesn’t have a doctorate in psychiatry, what she does have is a lot of practical information from someone actually ‘in the trenches’. And although the book is primarily about how the porn industry has changed how we approach sexuality, there is a lot more meat to the book than just that. From the casual hook-up society to a bit about helicopter parenting.

Because I learned so much from the book, it’s one I highly recommend. The internet has changed so much about how our children are growing up that it really is a whole new world out there. With Sexploitation, we have a book with practical and down-to-earth advice and information to pave the way for our kids to have healthy and happy relationships through the teen years and beyond. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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