Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Mary Jane Brotherson


Young female sexuality continues to be portrayed as problematic within cultural expectations of acceptable sexual conduct among young people (Moran, 2000; Russell, 2005; Welles, 2005). Contributing to this negativity is the marginalization of positive conceptualizations of female sexuality and the silencing of female sexual desire and pleasure within sexual education practices (Fields & Tolman, 2006; Fine, 1988; Tolman, 2002; Tolman, Hirschman, & Impett, 2005). This feminist critical ethnography utilizes the narratives of four young women participants in the From Object to Subject (O2S) curriculum--a curriculum emphasizing a sex-positive approach to sexuality education--to explore: (a) how adolescent females have been educated about sex and sexuality in the past; (b) how young women have experienced their own sexuality; and (c) the societal circumstances and messages that young women experience and have contributed to their sexual socialization. Findings revealed two major societal taboos that contribute to the marginalization of young female sexuality. The taboo of sexual awareness and the taboo of female sexuality, desire, and pleasure are described in detail. These taboos inform understanding of the realities young women experience within our nation's contemporary climate of sex-negative sexual education practices and the nature of sexual socialization of young people. Implications for future research regarding young female sexuality and sexuality education policy reform are addressed.


Copyright Owner

Erin Noelle Chapman



Date Available


File Format


File Size

182 pages