Hooking Up is a straightforward guide to sexuality for young women. It's written in a cheerful prose and is packed full of what is presumably good advice. It has some funny cartoons illustrating some points, and it has chapters with titles like "Vaginas: What the Hell?" and "Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Feel the Burn." It includes plenty of lists of common myths about sex and misconceptions about people. The book is aimed both at girls who are just starting out thinking about sex and women who are in settled relationships. While not explicitly feminist, it takes a strong pro-woman stance, arguing that women have the right to enjoy sex, that they should always be vigilant to protect their safety and know what they are getting themselves into, and that they should never be coerced into doing anything they don't want to. Madison shows sensitivity to common problems like low self-esteem about body-image and the danger of eating disorders, and she spells out the sorts of psychological pressures women feel to conform to men's demands. Her consistent message is not that women should never do what men want, but rather that they should only do it if they want it too. Hooking Up should be a valuable resource for young women.
Link: Amber Madison website
© 2009 Christian Perring
Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York.