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For everyone who was that girl. For everyone who knew that girl. For everyone who wondered who that girl was. Kerry Cohen is eleven years old when she recognizes the power of her body in the leer of a grown man. Her parents are recently divorced and it doesn't take long before their lassitude and Kerry's desire to stand out--to be memorable in some way--combine to lead her For everyone who was that girl. For everyone who knew that girl. For everyone who wondered who that girl was. Kerry Cohen is eleven years old when she recognizes the power of her body in the leer of a grown man. Her parents are recently divorced and it doesn't take long before their lassitude and Kerry's desire to stand out--to be memorable in some way--combine to lead her down a path she knows she shouldn't take. Kerry wanted attention. She wanted love. But not really understanding what love was, not really knowing how to get it, she reached for sex instead. Loose Girl is Kerry Cohen's captivating memoir about her descent into promiscuity and how she gradually found her way toward real intimacy. The story of addiction--not just to sex, but to male attention--Loose Girl is also the story of a young girl who came to believe that boys and men could give her life meaning. It didn't matter who he was. It was their movement that mattered, their being together. And for a while, that was enough. From the early rush of exploration to the day she learned to quiet the desperation and allow herself to love and be loved, Kerry's story is never less than riveting. In rich and immediate detail, Loose Girl re-creates what it feels like to be in that desperate moment, when a girl tries to control a boy by handing over her body, when the touch of that boy seems to offer proof of something, but ultimately delivers little more than emptiness. Kerry Cohen's journey from that hopeless place to her current confident and fulfilled existence is a cautionary tale and a revelation for girls young and old. The unforgettable memoir of one young woman who desperately wanted to matter, Loose Girl will speak to countless others with its compassion, understanding, and love.


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For everyone who was that girl. For everyone who knew that girl. For everyone who wondered who that girl was. Kerry Cohen is eleven years old when she recognizes the power of her body in the leer of a grown man. Her parents are recently divorced and it doesn't take long before their lassitude and Kerry's desire to stand out--to be memorable in some way--combine to lead her For everyone who was that girl. For everyone who knew that girl. For everyone who wondered who that girl was. Kerry Cohen is eleven years old when she recognizes the power of her body in the leer of a grown man. Her parents are recently divorced and it doesn't take long before their lassitude and Kerry's desire to stand out--to be memorable in some way--combine to lead her down a path she knows she shouldn't take. Kerry wanted attention. She wanted love. But not really understanding what love was, not really knowing how to get it, she reached for sex instead. Loose Girl is Kerry Cohen's captivating memoir about her descent into promiscuity and how she gradually found her way toward real intimacy. The story of addiction--not just to sex, but to male attention--Loose Girl is also the story of a young girl who came to believe that boys and men could give her life meaning. It didn't matter who he was. It was their movement that mattered, their being together. And for a while, that was enough. From the early rush of exploration to the day she learned to quiet the desperation and allow herself to love and be loved, Kerry's story is never less than riveting. In rich and immediate detail, Loose Girl re-creates what it feels like to be in that desperate moment, when a girl tries to control a boy by handing over her body, when the touch of that boy seems to offer proof of something, but ultimately delivers little more than emptiness. Kerry Cohen's journey from that hopeless place to her current confident and fulfilled existence is a cautionary tale and a revelation for girls young and old. The unforgettable memoir of one young woman who desperately wanted to matter, Loose Girl will speak to countless others with its compassion, understanding, and love.

30 review for Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity

  1. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book was raw and intense in its revelations. But it suffers from a fatal flaw: the road to recovery was relegated to 9.5 pages of the 210-page memoir. And only one of those paragraphs was devoted to the pain she felt at stopping the promiscuity and attempting to face the aching emptiness without being distracted by a man. She ironically writes: "Days pass. I spend time with my friends. I teach. I read novels and work on my own. I even try reading a self-help book about how to find love. The This book was raw and intense in its revelations. But it suffers from a fatal flaw: the road to recovery was relegated to 9.5 pages of the 210-page memoir. And only one of those paragraphs was devoted to the pain she felt at stopping the promiscuity and attempting to face the aching emptiness without being distracted by a man. She ironically writes: "Days pass. I spend time with my friends. I teach. I read novels and work on my own. I even try reading a self-help book about how to find love. The gist is that when you can love yourself entirely only then can others love you too. Duh. Any moron knows that. But HOW to love yourself after a lifetime of self-degradation and effacement? That would be a book worth reading." Yes, it would. This was her chance to write that book. But she didn't. Instead, she wrote in detail of years of promiscuity and emptiness and unfulfilled longing for love, then glossed over her break from promiscuity in a few paragraphs. The most she wrote about dealing with the aching emptiness of wanting, all of her life, to feel loved was: "Some days, I sit in my small apartment with my loneliness, an unwanted guest, the pain intense enough that I keep my arms wrapped around my middle." Two pages later, she meets the man she married less than a year later. This book had the potential to help people figure out HOW to learn to love yourself, HOW to deal with the aching emptiness without being rescued by a knight in shining armor. Instead, she wrote the book like a fairy tale: after years of hell, she gets the love she has been craving all of her life. I applaud her honesty in detailing her promiscuous years and how it affected her along the way, but the important part, the part about how she managed to heal and find love, is sorely lacking the details that would make this book truly useful to me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Evan

    Apropos the naysayers of this book, it would be easy to criticize or impugn or second-guess Kerry Cohen's motives for writing it. I don't pretend to fully know what those motives were, and frankly I really don't care. The book is exactly what it says it is -- a memoir of promiscuity -- and unless you're too dense to read the title before you even crack the spine then I'm hardly amenable to taking seriously any whining you have about her behavior or character. Cohen writes about what it means to w Apropos the naysayers of this book, it would be easy to criticize or impugn or second-guess Kerry Cohen's motives for writing it. I don't pretend to fully know what those motives were, and frankly I really don't care. The book is exactly what it says it is -- a memoir of promiscuity -- and unless you're too dense to read the title before you even crack the spine then I'm hardly amenable to taking seriously any whining you have about her behavior or character. Cohen writes about what it means to want and need acceptance as a young girl, not understanding the game and making mistakes while figuring it all out -- or trying to. She isn't always admirable in her pursuit of same -- and she says so -- and to criticize the book because you may not like her or think she's hypocritical is disingenuous and absurd, and ultimately irrelevant to the point. I always detect the whiff of self-righteous moralistic hypocrisy in readers who knowingly pick up books on sexual topics with sexual protagonists and then proceed to criticize the books for being sexual and having sexual protagonists! Although much of this covers familiar territory, I think she brings a lot of issues under the microscope with unforced ease and thankfully does not delve too hamfistedly into pop psychology. She writes it unpretentiously, cohesively and vividly. She keeps the narrative moving, provides a good sense of place without overdescription, and elucidates clearly what she is seeing and feeling. She captures well the contradictory impulses of growing up, and I really felt by reading this that I understood what was going on inside the head of a young girl. I sensed a true individual in the pages, even though the issues are common and have been written about millions of times. Unlike another book I recently read -- David Henry Sterry's Chicken, about the life of a teen boy prostitute -- this book avoids mixed messages about the protagonist's familial influences and the bits we get clarify rather than confuse. As a man and as a reader, I found the book illuminating; it took me somewhere I have never been and can never go, and that's what I want from nonfiction. The book is honest and earnest and surprisingly non-sensational, and, truth be told, I went into it with a prurient interest and came out of it getting more than that, and that is the mark of a good book. Good job.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jenn(ifer)

    "For everyone who was that girl. For everyone who knew that girl." You know. That girl. Well it says you do right on the back of the book, so it has to be true. Right? Kerry Cohen wants us all to believe that that girl, the slutty girl who slept with your boyfriend, you know the one, is just misunderstood. She's not slutty because she wants to be; she's slutty because she has a deep-seated need, a void, and the only way she can fill it is by seeking and getting male attention. Problem is, it only "For everyone who was that girl. For everyone who knew that girl." You know. That girl. Well it says you do right on the back of the book, so it has to be true. Right? Kerry Cohen wants us all to believe that that girl, the slutty girl who slept with your boyfriend, you know the one, is just misunderstood. She's not slutty because she wants to be; she's slutty because she has a deep-seated need, a void, and the only way she can fill it is by seeking and getting male attention. Problem is, it only works in the short term. Most guys are well adept at weeding these girls out. So the void remains, and that girl is back on the prowl before her panties come out of the dryer. Kerry Cohen wants us to believe that going from lover to lover to lover is an addiction. It's an addiction to a certain feeling, or non-feeling that she gets from sex. It's an addiction to the power that comes from making someone want you. Addiction to the rush. And I guess for her it is. Or was. Or is. See, I'm not sure because on the back of the book it says "...she found her way toward real intimacy." But I'm not so sure she did. Because she was pretty slutty right up to the end. Then she has, what, a couple of months of not fucking anyone? Then she meets her fiancé and doesn't have sex with him right away (THIS IS HUGE!) (cough). And they get married 8 months later. I call bullshit. See, that doesn't sound like healing to me. Had she gone a year or so on her own, no random encounters with dudes she meets in bars, maybe then I would have bought her story of "finding her way to toward real intimacy." But as it stands, I'm thinking all of those insecurities are right underneath the surface, ready to pounce the next time she's feeling down on herself. I could be wrong. I can't help wondering why, when Ms. Cohen writes about her own promiscuity, it comes from a place of shame, where as Tucker Max is downright proud of his harlotry. One man's virtue is another (wo)man's vice I suppose. Either way, the story is engaging. She is completely balls out in her approach; she keeps nothing hidden from the reader. But then it just sort of ends without any real ending. Where's the third act? How has what she learned about herself affected the way she interacts with her spouse, the way she parents her children, the way she relates to her family of origin now? Girl, you should have given us a little bit more! As it stands, it fell flat.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Yulia

    It's a challenge not to judge the character of someone who writes such a revealing and vulnerable memoir, but I'll do my best to stick to my views on the book, not my opinions of the author, whether I saw myself in her or what she should have done. It's somewhat awkward when she comments on her own writing ability, as none of her characters come to life. Either her friends are known only by name, or a man is identified by his sexy eyes and hair (often long and tousled). Is Eli scrawny, athletic It's a challenge not to judge the character of someone who writes such a revealing and vulnerable memoir, but I'll do my best to stick to my views on the book, not my opinions of the author, whether I saw myself in her or what she should have done. It's somewhat awkward when she comments on her own writing ability, as none of her characters come to life. Either her friends are known only by name, or a man is identified by his sexy eyes and hair (often long and tousled). Is Eli scrawny, athletic and fit, or of average build? I'm certain if I were marking up the book for a class, I'm certain I could locate the passages where she directly contradicts her previous descriptions. it's no problem to have your regard for someone change as you get to knt them and become more fond of them, but she should at least have noted how her opinion of him had changed over time. The first and only time we realize Eli is simply "too handsome" is when Norah states it: nowhere else do you get the impression he's anything but a dorky guy with an out-of-date hairstyle and a round face. She notes several times how awful she feels about having put guys over her friendships, but she doesn't ever develop these friend characters to convince the reader they really are true friends. Having someone to party with or gossip to doesn't make them a friend. She complains how she could never be herself with the three Jennifer's, yet bemoans the loss of their friendship. I have to wonder if she knows a true friend when she finds one (Bevin being the only obvious friend she had in the book). I was also struck by the sense her therapist in college, Dierdre, was a composite character. It's rare when you're being helped by those finishing up their masters or have an internship at a college to see the same therapist for more than one year. No, this isn't a big problem that she may have fused various therapists into one, but it did prevent her from making Dierdre into a real character, making her comments and responses to Kerry's struggles consistent, and make it clear where her insights came from, when in truth I couldn't understand at all what Dierdre was getting at. Obviously, Kerry has gone through a lot of counseling, both as a client and in getting her masters in counseling therapy, but none of this progress is shown in the book. This, in turn, makes it difficult to believe that Kerry expresses from the outset theories about her poor self-image that are most likely the result of significant therapy. She says numerous times that she knew at heart she was unlovable, but this doesn't strike me as a belief a person would simply come upon by introspection. Rather, such a core issue would likely follow years of fruitless guessing as to why she can't find a good boyfriend: Is my nose too big? Am I too fat? Am I too short? Tall? Am I too serious? Do I not dress well-enough? The realization that none of these is the root of her troubles would come only after disproving one by one each of these attempts at fixing her problems unsuccessfully. People in bad relationships don't jump to the conclusion, "I must be unlovable." They tend to focus on more specific issues. Such phrases come only from years of therapy, which is fine, but she shouldn't present it as if it were obvious that was her core issue. On a similar note, I questioned the finality with which she made many of her declarations: "Obviously I should have tended to Eli's hangover, put a damp towel on his forehead": obvious to whom? At another point, she concludes that anyone who sleeps with strangers while not intoxicated but fully conscious of their decisions is obviously a slut. I have to question that. Whether she truly believes this or not, it's a statement that speaks more to how others may regard you than a definite "truth." *************SPOILER WARNING************************ Unfortunately, I came to doubt her story that she was a regular at Dorrian's, where Robert Chambers frequented. No, this isn't because I doubt all memoirists, and I do believe she'd at least seen Chambers at Dorrian's, where she may have gone a couple times, but I can't believe she went there as regularly as she said she did. For one, she notes how the girls there wear cocktail dresses, yet she never mentions what she wore, how she felt induced to go on a shopping spree to meet the standards of the "perfect girls" at Dorrian's. I wouldn't expect her to mention what she wore if she didn't refer at other times to wearing jeans and t-shirts (however sexy she wants us to imagine they fit her). And when later, she went to a party at Columbia and was shocked to find the females in cocktail dresses, I thought, well, why should she be surprised? Sure, noyt every scene in New York dresses up, but if she'd been a regular at Dorrian's, she would have at least considered it a possibility that this party was one such affair. Finally, the ending was disconcertingly hasty. I didn't mind that she left it ambiguous whether she was "cured" of her desire to seek validation from men by getting their sexual interest, but I wish she could have made her future partner more substantial, not just presented him as a very empathetic guy but shown what else they had in common. Was she planning to marry the guy decent guy who came along? To me, that isn't the bass for a lifetime partnership. Had she focused on her interactions with one male, as Toni Bentley did in Surrender, perhaps Kerry Cohen would have also failed in making him a three-dimensional character that is no more than a caricature. Or had Cohenraced through her sexual encounters, as did Catherine M. in her own sexual memoir, with a complete lack of insight into her own motives or longings, perhaps this book would have been less frustrating, however less human. But as it is, Cohen is self-aware to a certain degree and does make a great attempt at psychological awareness, and what results is a murky middle ground between Bentley's obsessive focus on sex and Catherine M,'s disturbing lack of emotion. So why three stars? Because Cohen did unsettle me with her stories, which are all too painful and recognizable. She did make me question my own behavior and choice and my constant search for male approval. And for that, she should be commended. This is a painful book to read, but however flawed, well worth the time. Anyone who identified with Kerry's experiences should definitely read Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem by Kimberlee Roth and Freda Friedman (2003). No, I don't get a commission by recommending it: it is a very valuable tool for those who've grown up with self-absorbed parents who put their own needs before those of their children.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    This book was depressing to read. I know so many girls who are so much like the author it isn't even funny. I was struck by pure sadness that Kerry went through her teens and young adult life feeling that the only time she was worthy of love was when she was having sex with some boy. That need to be loved was so strong that it influenced every thing that she did......EVERYTHING!! Many girls I work with don't care what the boy looks like, his personality, nothing...just so long as he "likes" her. This book was depressing to read. I know so many girls who are so much like the author it isn't even funny. I was struck by pure sadness that Kerry went through her teens and young adult life feeling that the only time she was worthy of love was when she was having sex with some boy. That need to be loved was so strong that it influenced every thing that she did......EVERYTHING!! Many girls I work with don't care what the boy looks like, his personality, nothing...just so long as he "likes" her. Glad that I read it but makes me realize that there are many long and painful years for these girls to get through until they realize that they are worthy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ratscats

    This book was okay. It was a very fast read (books about slutty girls alway are). I guess I can just say it's an "in between the good stuff" book. A readable but forgettable account of a young womans life of being a ,well, Loose Girl. Most of the time I just wanted to shake the author and say "Yeah, I get it! You're a needy, bottomless pit that tries to fill it up with PENIS! Real original. Get over it!" It's kinda like a poorman's version of Less Than Zero.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    Reading this book was kind of hard going, especially at first. I don't want to give the indication that the writing was bad; it was actually really good, but that was part of why it was hard to get through. Kerry Cohen's matter-of-fact narration of her teenage years, and the way she spared nothing in her quest for attention and approval from boys, is unflinching, and sometimes it's hard to make it through the harsh stories she tells, especially when she describes with clarity and detail the feel Reading this book was kind of hard going, especially at first. I don't want to give the indication that the writing was bad; it was actually really good, but that was part of why it was hard to get through. Kerry Cohen's matter-of-fact narration of her teenage years, and the way she spared nothing in her quest for attention and approval from boys, is unflinching, and sometimes it's hard to make it through the harsh stories she tells, especially when she describes with clarity and detail the feelings of need and desire that lay under the surface for her throughout these experiences. I actually put the book down for longer than a week on two separate occasions, both times because I just didn't feel like I could take any more of the book's bleakness. However, towards the end, when Kerry started to pull herself together, recognize the bad behavior patterns she had, and work towards changing them, I started to feel a bit better about the story I was reading. Even though I didn't have that much fun reading a lot of this book, I think it was quite well-written, succeeding in its effort to place the reader inside the mind of the titular "loose girl", a teenaged and, later, twentysomething girl who sought affirmation in sex, often from men who didn't care about her and treated her like an object. And it was probably good for me to read it, too, because even though I didn't recognize myself in Kerry's methods of dealing with her own feelings of emptiness and insignificance, I saw a lot of myself in those feelings. There was a point, towards the end of the book, when Kerry started talking about her desire to be a writer, and how she wasn't working towards it, instead focusing all her energy on her boyfriend. She said, "I'm wasting my life on this man," and I realized that I myself do a lot of the same things--waste my life on constantly worrying about whether or not I'm in a relationship, and, when I'm in one, focusing on it to the exclusion of all of my other goals in life. Thankfully, I've never gone the route of frequent, meaningless sex, but I've done plenty of things that were just as damaging in my own way. In the end, even though I'm a shy boy instead of a loose girl, I saw a lot of myself in this book. It may not be a fun read, but it's definitely a worthwhile read, even for those whose experiences are very different than those of Kerry Cohen.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I could have written this book myself. I found a lot of myself in the story. The needing and wanting to be loved I personally deal with still to this day. I thought it was a brave story, to put yourself out there like that and admit to your sexual past is humbling at best. I thought it was an easy read. It also made me look at the girls we called 'sluts' in high school in a new way. We are all searching for love. Some of us are just better at it than others. I hope my own life ends with the happ I could have written this book myself. I found a lot of myself in the story. The needing and wanting to be loved I personally deal with still to this day. I thought it was a brave story, to put yourself out there like that and admit to your sexual past is humbling at best. I thought it was an easy read. It also made me look at the girls we called 'sluts' in high school in a new way. We are all searching for love. Some of us are just better at it than others. I hope my own life ends with the happy ending hers did.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    “Loose Girl” is the type of book that I normally won't pick up, but I was looking for something to read from a section of my book store I normally don't browse. "Memoirs and Biographies" is one of those sections. I won't lie, the title caught my eye right away. Who doesn't want to know about that one girl we all know who everybody calls a slut? Strangely, this book with such a promising and controversial subject, failed to touch me in any way. First of all, for a book written by a person who has “Loose Girl” is the type of book that I normally won't pick up, but I was looking for something to read from a section of my book store I normally don't browse. "Memoirs and Biographies" is one of those sections. I won't lie, the title caught my eye right away. Who doesn't want to know about that one girl we all know who everybody calls a slut? Strangely, this book with such a promising and controversial subject, failed to touch me in any way. First of all, for a book written by a person who has a MFA in creative writing and MA in counseling psychology, the story is very superficial and definitely lacks self-reflection. I am no psychologist, but surely you can't explain away every encounter in your life by saying "I craved any attention from any man." Surely, there is a lot more goes on in a teen girl's life than craving for sex with any man. Cohen attempts to bring all her sexual exploits down to the fact that she felt sex was substituting real intimacy, but strangely she never shows how she attempted to find intimacy at all and what made her think in a first place to use sex as a means to hold on to a man. But what about drugs and alcohol? Did they affect her sex addiction? Cohen also attributes a lot of her issues to her family but she almost never touches upon her relationships with her parents and sister. The same way, her release from the addiction is understated and never really explored. This is what makes this book so pointless – Cohen barely scratches the surface of the issue. Maybe a few more years of self-examination would have helped her to produce a better book. I applaud Cohen for her courage to expose her dark past, but the book in itself is not that special. If you are looking for some explosive story that narrates numerous sexual encounters over the years and expect to be shocked or appalled, you can give this book a try. If you are looking for a meaningful exploration of promiscuity, seek elsewhere. Reading challenge: #25

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dooley

    I don't see how this memoir benefits anyone but herself. This is not a novel about self-reflection and/or improvement, this is a depiction of a "notchpost" sex addict who comes off as bragging about her sex life. If the author was *truly* seeking love and used sex as a means to find it, then why did she cheat on everyone that she ever claimed to have "loved"? Why, after a lifetime of promiscuity, complete with STD/HIV scares, who knows how many pregnancy scares, and pushing away loved ones, woul I don't see how this memoir benefits anyone but herself. This is not a novel about self-reflection and/or improvement, this is a depiction of a "notchpost" sex addict who comes off as bragging about her sex life. If the author was *truly* seeking love and used sex as a means to find it, then why did she cheat on everyone that she ever claimed to have "loved"? Why, after a lifetime of promiscuity, complete with STD/HIV scares, who knows how many pregnancy scares, and pushing away loved ones, would she put herself in a situation where she exchanges glances with another man at a bar WHILE SHE IS MARRIED?? This novel does nothing but reinforce the shameful family values system that is tolerated in today's society. It's okay to cheat, lie, and not take accountability for one's actions. While it is important to teach safe sex practices, it is equally important to teach accountability, complete (and perhaps brutal) honesty, and values. After reading this memoir, I am relieved that I am not her son.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I debated on giving this 1 or 2 stars. On one hand, I did enjoy the book. However, there are quite a few issues that I just can't get past. For example, in the beginning Cohen writes about the feeling of power she felt from sexual attention. So, I expected the book to follow that theme. But it didn't. Cohen gained nothing from her multiple sexual encounters ~ not popularity, money, career advancement and certainly not the power she spoke of. True, she did get the momentary attention she sought. I debated on giving this 1 or 2 stars. On one hand, I did enjoy the book. However, there are quite a few issues that I just can't get past. For example, in the beginning Cohen writes about the feeling of power she felt from sexual attention. So, I expected the book to follow that theme. But it didn't. Cohen gained nothing from her multiple sexual encounters ~ not popularity, money, career advancement and certainly not the power she spoke of. True, she did get the momentary attention she sought. But that was it. It was a little pathetic the way so many men would reject her, and how quickly they would do it. In doing such a thorough job of documenting her promiscuity, Cohen lets the other people and hobbies in her life fall to the wayside. Her mother ~ such a large influence in the beginning, rarely surfaces after Cohen's early teen years. Her sister is distant throughout the novel, until at one point in their adult lives Cohen and her sister seem to have a heart to heart. Cohen's friends come and go with little joy or sense of loss. And at some point in her college years, Cohen switches from drinking & drugs to developing an interest in reading, writing and running. The audience is left to speculate exactly when & why this happened. As Cohen grows older, she does develop a handful of long term relationships with men. However, she continues to be clingy and needy in each one, and in between relationships she goes back to her old ways of fooling around with any available guy. At no point did she mention something she may have learned from a past relationship or experience. She mentions being unhappy with herself and her actions. But any lessons learned are not noted and don't seem to be applied. Finally, as many have already mentioned, the conclusion seemed forced and left a lot of unanswered questions. The reader is left to believe that Cohen is finally "cured" because she met and married her husband. But really.... what process did she take to get there? Are we to believe that marriage alone leads to a happily ever after fairy tale life? Cohen married her husband relatively soon into the relationship ~ so how are we to know that her marriage will not end up the same as her other relationships? After all, her husband is the first man to ever propose to her. What makes him so special? For all the reader knows, Cohen would have accepted the proposal of any of her multiple hookups. When everything was said and done... this was an interesting read. But I don't feel that Cohen actually learned from her actions. Yes, she is introspective and seems to understand she has/had a problem and some of the reasons for it. But for her to believe ~ and expect the reader to believe ~ that she is changed by the institution of marriage... well, that's a load of crap. I simply don't believe that a lifetime of poor self-esteem can be "fixed" by the few months of abstinence she experienced before meeting her husband. Has anyone read her YA book Easy? From the synopsis, it appears to be another veriosn of Loose Girl. Don't know why, but somehow that irritates me. Tell your story once, in one format & be done with it!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    In "Loose Girl", Kerry Cohen has written a memoir of startling clarity and unblinking honesty. So often, memoir has proven to be a vehicle for proselytization or even vindication, but Cohen resists the temptation to assign blame or explain away the personal impulses that drove her to reckless behaviors and a pattern of promiscuity and heartbreak. Instead she is straightforward and clear, exploring her own weaknesses and her dysfunctional quest for love and intimacy through unrewarding physical r In "Loose Girl", Kerry Cohen has written a memoir of startling clarity and unblinking honesty. So often, memoir has proven to be a vehicle for proselytization or even vindication, but Cohen resists the temptation to assign blame or explain away the personal impulses that drove her to reckless behaviors and a pattern of promiscuity and heartbreak. Instead she is straightforward and clear, exploring her own weaknesses and her dysfunctional quest for love and intimacy through unrewarding physical relationships. Cohen's writing style is engaging and intimate. She writes about her sexual encounters with a real sense of presence, and when she falls into familiar patterns of behavior, the reader shares her stumbles with genuine pain. Parts of "Loose Girl" can be difficult to read, in the very best ways that a memoir can challenge a reader, and Cohen doesn't sugarcoat her experiences or attempt to explain away her behaviors. In her memoir, Kerry Cohen displays an addictive personality, but she also possesses keen self-awareness and a burning (and often heartbreaking) commitment to change. "This time will be different," she seems to say, over and over, and it is on the strength of her writing that we hope right along with her every time. The pain that she feels when old patterns reassert themselves becomes visceral. The book ends not with false epiphany or some kind of phony life change, but rather with a quiet sense of hopefulness and the feeling, perhaps no more than a whispered and fragile promise, that even the most broken of us can find happiness and perhaps even a measure of peace. "Loose Girl" is ultimately a story of quiet personal redemption, and I recommend it without reservation.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity by Kerry Cohen is a memoir about her life. Specifically, it is a memoir about a girl learning about sex, sexuality, and the power she can have when she uses both things to her advantage. Loose Girl goes from Cohen’s first experience of discovering the power her body has over men to the point of her life when she finally learns that she can be loved, more importantly when she finally learns that she can accept that love and give it back in return without needin Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity by Kerry Cohen is a memoir about her life. Specifically, it is a memoir about a girl learning about sex, sexuality, and the power she can have when she uses both things to her advantage. Loose Girl goes from Cohen’s first experience of discovering the power her body has over men to the point of her life when she finally learns that she can be loved, more importantly when she finally learns that she can accept that love and give it back in return without needing to rely on her body or sex alone. I originally picked up this memoir because I love books about controversial topics. Yes, you read that right. I find things that would be considered taboo or risqué to be fascinating. When I picked up this book I had recently read Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison and I loved it. I was also already a huge fan of Holly Madison it was easy to love. However, going into Cohen’s memoir, a woman I knew nothing about, who wasn’t famous to any degree, who I had never heard of before was somewhat more of a challenge than Madison’s book. Regardless, I was ready to take the plunge. Cohen is an amazing writer, she sucked me into her story right from the beginning. The memoir itself is not very long, only a little bit over two hundred pages, but what Cohen manages to fit into those pages is a knockout punch. Starting the story with her first sexual experience alone was enough to throw at someone, considering she is eleven years old at the time, but it only escalates from there. Cohen wanted love, coming from divorced parents it was all she had ever wanted. She was not sure how to get that love but she knew the power of her own sexuality and in turn, used sex and her sexuality to try to fill a void. Cohen does not shy away from anything, she is very blunt and to the point about the experiences that she had and the things she had done, it makes this memoir even more of a page turner. Another thing that Cohen does with this memoir is bring up an important issue that never really gets discussed in our society, sex and women. Cohen is unapologetic for her behavior, she makes it very clear that in every sexual situation she was in, she was in control, she wanted these things. Cohen even goes so far as show throughout the memoir that she was using the men more than they were ever using her. She was craving that love and thought this was the only way that she could ever receive it. Yes, she might talk about some regrets later in life but at the time this was exactly what she wanted. Painfully unapologetic is the perfect way to describe this memoir and personally, I think it is beautiful. I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say even while Cohen is at her lowest of lows the reader is really hoping for a happy ending for her. As the reader, you want Cohen to realize there are other ways and other types of love for her out there. I found myself rooting for Cohen throughout the memoir, wanting her to find a love that would not only be found through her body. I was shocked at times, appalled at times, crying at times, happy at times, throughout this memoir but the story that Cohen is telling is beautiful and honestly needs to be heard. I recommend this book to anyone but specifically to women. Cohen gives a voice to women that needs to be heard, that has been silenced for way to long.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    This is a book that every woman needs to read! Even more so if you are the parent of a daughter. I pair this with Pledged by Alexandra Robbins as "Must Reads" for any girl on her way to college, in college, or about to send their own daughter to college. Kerry gives a powerful and moving picture of what could happen when we don't empower our own girls to take charge of their bodies as well as their minds. By sharing her painful past with us, she hopes to give us the tools we need not to let anyon This is a book that every woman needs to read! Even more so if you are the parent of a daughter. I pair this with Pledged by Alexandra Robbins as "Must Reads" for any girl on her way to college, in college, or about to send their own daughter to college. Kerry gives a powerful and moving picture of what could happen when we don't empower our own girls to take charge of their bodies as well as their minds. By sharing her painful past with us, she hopes to give us the tools we need not to let anyone we care about make the same mistakes.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    2 stars= "it was ok" I used to love reading memoirs about real people(not celebrities, although I have read some good celebrity biographies over the years). This is the first one I've read in years, I believe. It feels like years. I had wanted to read it for a while and I saw it in a secondhand shop for under a dollar. It really disappointed me. I found it lacking in a lot of things. Maybe because I've read amazing books lately and it's hard to read something that's brilliant("One Day", which was 2 stars= "it was ok" I used to love reading memoirs about real people(not celebrities, although I have read some good celebrity biographies over the years). This is the first one I've read in years, I believe. It feels like years. I had wanted to read it for a while and I saw it in a secondhand shop for under a dollar. It really disappointed me. I found it lacking in a lot of things. Maybe because I've read amazing books lately and it's hard to read something that's brilliant("One Day", which was oh-so-smart and lovely) and then read something like this. And what makes it harder is that this was a person's life. I can't critisize the plot or characters because it's all real. But I didn't feel it. I just didn't think it was written well. It was just the author going through her experiences with men. And what bugged me was it was guy after guy and I couldn't seem to keep track of who she was dating, who she was cheating on and who she was just sleeping with. I wouldn't have minded if she focused more on a few of the guys but a lot of the guys she talked about were one night stands. Yes, she did focus on a few of her "longer" "relationships".(Sorry, I had to "" both those words because most of her relationships weren't even really relationships and I don't really know how long most of them lasted for). But it was just a bit confusing keeping track of what the hell she was doing. Or whom, I should say. I'm not judging, really. I'm sure she had her reasons for doing the things she did(insecurity, lack of a proper reliable father figure, etc.) but it just kind of bored me and I couldn't like this girl. I'm guessing she's different now; I really have no idea. But she treated people badly, got treated badly, cheated on boyfriends, slept with friends boyfriends, couldn't keep track of who she was sleeping with, etc. And it's not a double standard thing. If a guy was like that, I wouldn't like him either. I feel like the book should have focused more on why she did the things she did and felt the things she felt. Why she thought sex equaled love. It didn't really, not in a way that satisfied me. It just went through each sexual encounter she had and it got boring. So boring. It wasn't even like the descriptions of her sex life were entertaining or exciting in any way. It was like "and we had sex." and usually it seems like her sexual experiences suck. This book just left me feeling cold. It didn't do anything for me, really. I read "Easy" by Kerry Cohen and that was slightly better(from what I remember). I think it was a 3 star book. So yeah. Just wasn't fussed.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Well written and fast-paced, I beg anyone to read this book and tell me they can't identify with at least one of the characters. Straying from the all too easy trap of recreating history that is commonly found in memoirs, Cohen's latest is as honest as a Burger King bathroom light at 3am. There are moments throughout the book when you're not sure if you want to hug or slap the author; whichever knee-jerk reaction you may have though, it is to the author's outstanding ability to gather you in her Well written and fast-paced, I beg anyone to read this book and tell me they can't identify with at least one of the characters. Straying from the all too easy trap of recreating history that is commonly found in memoirs, Cohen's latest is as honest as a Burger King bathroom light at 3am. There are moments throughout the book when you're not sure if you want to hug or slap the author; whichever knee-jerk reaction you may have though, it is to the author's outstanding ability to gather you in her world that you react at all. Which is why I was so utterly disappointed with the last third of the book. After countless years of therapy, self-examination, and a serious concentration to heal all her broken parts, to end with the author learning nothing. Instead, she declares change is impossible...which this reader found both insulting and sad. I feel like you can't be both self-aware enough to know your own shit - where it comes from, how you respond to it and what the consequences are - and then turn right around and act ignorant of the solution. You also can't claim to be in "recovery" and that you "overcame your addiction" if the only thing you're NOT doing is the actual drug, yet behave in every other way as if you were still engaging. It's as if the author herself exorcised all of her demons without actually understanding why they came to her house in the first place.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Elsborg

    A bit dreary. It felt very self-indulgent to me, rather like those celebrities that claim to do something for charity and want us to sponsor them to do it. So she slept around - a lot - so what? Are we supposed to be learning something, because it doesn't appear as if she did. She has a husband, kids and still gets that buzz over guys. Well, most women like looking at handsome guys - that's why there are popular film stars. It was just like reading a teenage diary of boys i have slept with. Yes, A bit dreary. It felt very self-indulgent to me, rather like those celebrities that claim to do something for charity and want us to sponsor them to do it. So she slept around - a lot - so what? Are we supposed to be learning something, because it doesn't appear as if she did. She has a husband, kids and still gets that buzz over guys. Well, most women like looking at handsome guys - that's why there are popular film stars. It was just like reading a teenage diary of boys i have slept with. Yes, her parents were dysfunctional but again - so what? There were some very good lines in it though and some truths that were worth hearing but overall I didn't find it a very interesting read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    While I certainly could relate to a story of continually using boys/men to boost self esteem, I didn't think this particular story was very interesting or insightful.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kartika

    Rating: 2.5 ⭐/5 Loose girl : a memoir of promiscuity is a memoir written by Kerry Cohen in view of all those teenage girls who are coming to terms with their puberty, hormonal changes and sexual desires. She wrote it as a voice for those and wanted to write about her promiscuity and how it developed over the course of years as she understood herself better as a person. Kerry Cohen, a renowned psychologist, tries to connect the dots between her emotional neglect throughout childhood, need for love, Rating: 2.5 ⭐/5 Loose girl : a memoir of promiscuity is a memoir written by Kerry Cohen in view of all those teenage girls who are coming to terms with their puberty, hormonal changes and sexual desires. She wrote it as a voice for those and wanted to write about her promiscuity and how it developed over the course of years as she understood herself better as a person. Kerry Cohen, a renowned psychologist, tries to connect the dots between her emotional neglect throughout childhood, need for love, attention, care and her promiscuity that begins in her teens, in this memoir. I thought I would hate this book but it actually developed a bit towards the end. I just wish it hadn't taken so long for Kerry to understand how stupid she was being. As soon as I think, that now she would come to understand, she goes to being dumb all over again. Kerry talks about her desire and how she related love with sex and how she learnt to separate one from the other. Even though the book ended on a perfectly good note, there were a lot of moments that frustrated me to read about Kerry. Coming from a broken family, Kerry longs for love and thinks that the only way to get it is by making a man love her and want her. Her low self esteem eventually destroys her relationships and her own mental health to certain degree. She reaches her saturation point finally and figures herself out with the help of counseling and self discovery. I just wish the story had been told in a more engaging way. There were some phrases that sounded like they were just thrown out there without a second thought. Like the one line - " my story about a retarded girl who got gang raped got chosen for the first prize in a short story contest." Here, the use of words to describe her story feels so weird and unattractive. (Problematic?) There were some more instances like this. What I absolutely hated about the book was the fact that there were actually two instances where Kerry harasses/assaults two men in her life and she never really comes to realise this later in life either. There wasn't even repentance. Instead, she craved pity that those men didn't want her back. And surely enough, she didn't understand the idea around consent because she does realise later on in the book when she talks about her own assault. But doesn't really connect it with she did to those men. The idea that a victim can never be a criminal was disturbing. I wish this book was as good as its entertaining element. But it wasn't. It was problematic and really poorly written.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christy Sibila

    Everyone has a story to tell: about their shitty childhood, failed marriage, battle with cancer, a parent with Alzheimer's, but quite honestly, not everyone should share their story with the world. Yet people do, and the result is piles and piles of simply awful memoirs, that would be better served as pages in a private diary. Loose Girl is not one of these memoirs. Kerry Cohen is a talented, bona fide writer, who masterfully connects her story to the human condition, without the added benefit o Everyone has a story to tell: about their shitty childhood, failed marriage, battle with cancer, a parent with Alzheimer's, but quite honestly, not everyone should share their story with the world. Yet people do, and the result is piles and piles of simply awful memoirs, that would be better served as pages in a private diary. Loose Girl is not one of these memoirs. Kerry Cohen is a talented, bona fide writer, who masterfully connects her story to the human condition, without the added benefit of drivel, tear-jerking, or cheesiness. As a teen and young woman, Kerry finds flashes of self-worth in sex with boys. However, the moment is always fleeting, and as with any addiction, the emptiness becomes larger, and more impossible to fill. Kerry is unable to identify with others, and does not see the pain similar to her own that is a unifying bond in the human experience. She only sees herself as needy, full of want, and overall, unlovable. I see my own younger self in Kerry's story, in her raw hunger for love and understanding, but I also see myself in her hard-won happiness.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Very well written book and very sad account of a young girl's search for fulfillment, self, meaning, and love. I don't find the heroine promiscuous. To me, her encounters were not at all about sexual or erotic gratification; if one chooses to read this book for the purpose of titillation you will be disappointed. This is rather the story of a girl's search for love, partnership, bonding and belonging which she believes she will derive by entering sexual relationships. Like many young women, she Very well written book and very sad account of a young girl's search for fulfillment, self, meaning, and love. I don't find the heroine promiscuous. To me, her encounters were not at all about sexual or erotic gratification; if one chooses to read this book for the purpose of titillation you will be disappointed. This is rather the story of a girl's search for love, partnership, bonding and belonging which she believes she will derive by entering sexual relationships. Like many young women, she confuses the intense physical and emotional rush of early physical intimacy with falling in love and mistakes boys' and mens' sexual interest with romantic inclination. There are significant clues as to why she ventures down this path in her excellent narrative of her homelife, esp. her mother's absence from the home and her lack of female role models. I really don't find the author very different from most young women, just perhaps a difference of scale. To confuse sex with love is so typical for young women...yes, the author did it over, and over, and over, until she was able, with the help of a therapist, and with experience, to break her pattern, but I can't label her "promiscuous." To me, that implies a sexual voracity or appetite that isn't here. At any rate, a thought-provoking, interesting, read that I recommend.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Geoffrey Kleinman

    Loose Girl is a well focused look at one woman's journey through insecurity, dysfunction and unhappiness. It reads a lot like many other 'addiction' books but since the 'addiction' it covers is sex, the highs and lows are a lot less extreme. Author Kerry Cohen does a good job of drawing the reader in and creating a very vivid and engaging world. Her writing is clear, flowing and polished. I found myself zipping through the book fully engaged with Cohen's journey. My biggest gripe is that the boo Loose Girl is a well focused look at one woman's journey through insecurity, dysfunction and unhappiness. It reads a lot like many other 'addiction' books but since the 'addiction' it covers is sex, the highs and lows are a lot less extreme. Author Kerry Cohen does a good job of drawing the reader in and creating a very vivid and engaging world. Her writing is clear, flowing and polished. I found myself zipping through the book fully engaged with Cohen's journey. My biggest gripe is that the book has almost no third act. Cohen's story has a very distinct beginning, middle, but a very soft end. I felt there was more book in Cohen and she stopped short of where the story could have taken her. The writer's Bio indicates that Cohen is now married with children, but the book never really ventures into how her past has shaped her present or now how reflecting on all this has impacted her as she moves forward. Even with a less than full ending, I still did like Loose Girl, it's well written, engaging and worth reading especially for fans of the genre.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    I gained some insights reading "Loose Girl," although not as many as I had hoped. As a boy - Hoffmann's word for any eligible male - it was fascinating to hear the thoughts of a girl so completely oblivious to the arc of her own actions. As a teen, a young adult, and as a grown woman, Hoffmann plays variations on the same promiscuous theme. But even as I wondered at her actions - "Is she doing that again!" - I felt strangely distant. There is no real shape to the unending sequence of conquests, I gained some insights reading "Loose Girl," although not as many as I had hoped. As a boy - Hoffmann's word for any eligible male - it was fascinating to hear the thoughts of a girl so completely oblivious to the arc of her own actions. As a teen, a young adult, and as a grown woman, Hoffmann plays variations on the same promiscuous theme. But even as I wondered at her actions - "Is she doing that again!" - I felt strangely distant. There is no real shape to the unending sequence of conquests, and even the conquests are at once tedious and forgettable. And then, in about a paragraph, Hoffmann just decides to change, and she does, and she gets married. It's too bad that this wasn't more compelling; perhaps I'm a book slut who's feeling a little cheated now that I've spent myself on this less than satisfying date.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Marla Williams

    Bought this book at the Columbia bookstore in NYC with my suite-mate Aimee; thought we'd have a mini book club as the "Memoir of Promiscuity" seemed interesting. It was a very quick read, two evenings falling asleep. And while I appreciated some of the Upper West Side lore considering our locale on 114th and Broadway, I kept waiting for the author's self-revelation to become apparent to the reader. And on the last page, you'll still be waiting. The writing style in this book is very odd. At first Bought this book at the Columbia bookstore in NYC with my suite-mate Aimee; thought we'd have a mini book club as the "Memoir of Promiscuity" seemed interesting. It was a very quick read, two evenings falling asleep. And while I appreciated some of the Upper West Side lore considering our locale on 114th and Broadway, I kept waiting for the author's self-revelation to become apparent to the reader. And on the last page, you'll still be waiting. The writing style in this book is very odd. At first I thought it was an intentional craft to cope with the difficult subject matter, but I think that Cohen really is just brief, chronologically narrative instead of deep and reflective. I was disappointed. I approached the memoir wanting to know more about not only writing a memoir but understanding the mindset of a promiscuous teenage girl, and Cohen didn't really deliver on either front. She never fully resolved her understanding of her relationship with her father, and more importantly, the reader never feels satisfied when it comes to believing that Cohen truly knows who she is because she can't show us how she became "non-loose" as it seems she just fell into the next sexual relationship that happened to turn into marriage. No agency, no command decision, no moment of revelation... The loose girl just ages. Cohen does show some regret and in her contemplation of her behavior she does play with some family psychology, but the reader is always kept at a distance. It would be easier to critique the book if it were characters in a novel and not a real person, and it must be incredibly difficult to publish such an intimate and revealing history with a husband and two sons aware. But for the risk and weight of the subject matter, the payoff should’ve been more substantive. Cohen told her tale, but fails to fulfill the main tenant of the memoir genre – showing how she’s grown and changed. A story without a process of becoming.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ali Lafferty

    I picked this up off the side of the road walking home from a first date with someone; I call this move "If they don't tolerate me picking up books from the sidewalk, esp. books about promiscuous teenage girls coming of age, then I don't want them in my life." I finally got around to reading this and while I was pleasantly surprised by how relatively non-preachy this was, it didn't hold my attention, and the plot felt flat. I realize that this is a MEMOIR and thus, the plot is merely Cohen's lif I picked this up off the side of the road walking home from a first date with someone; I call this move "If they don't tolerate me picking up books from the sidewalk, esp. books about promiscuous teenage girls coming of age, then I don't want them in my life." I finally got around to reading this and while I was pleasantly surprised by how relatively non-preachy this was, it didn't hold my attention, and the plot felt flat. I realize that this is a MEMOIR and thus, the plot is merely Cohen's life. Nonetheless, everything felt too linear and every now and then Cohen would narrate a moment in her youth with the psychological clarity of her present self, and the effect was unnerving. Of course, all the slut-shaming throughout the text got annoying as well, but the 80s were a different time (I tell myself, despite being born in the 90s).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Laura • lauralovestoread

    “This isn’t a story about how some guy finally saves me from myself. I’m my own hero here; I do the saving.” I discovered Loose Girl by accident and thought wow, this is a fast paced book on the road to self-destruction. There were parts I loved. Parts that were so honest and raw. And parts that made me want to reach out to Kerry and say "GIRL" what are you doing?! Rape is NOT ok.. it's not the same as regular sex, and you ARE worth more than this. What started as a 4 star book for me, just fizzle “This isn’t a story about how some guy finally saves me from myself. I’m my own hero here; I do the saving.” I discovered Loose Girl by accident and thought wow, this is a fast paced book on the road to self-destruction. There were parts I loved. Parts that were so honest and raw. And parts that made me want to reach out to Kerry and say "GIRL" what are you doing?! Rape is NOT ok.. it's not the same as regular sex, and you ARE worth more than this. What started as a 4 star book for me, just fizzled at the end, so I'm giving this 3 stars. I hope that she finally gave herself more self appreciation and got over the demons in her past.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    Honest and sad. Nothing at all erotic, just pure desperation, trying to hard to fill up the emptiness. And she finally managed to do it, but not with sex. The ending is wonderful, but not fairy tale, just something that she worked so hard for and is still working at and finally got. I like that kind of ending the best. She writes this book in first person present tense, which makes it more real and powerful.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Esteban del Mal

    Browsed this as the wife and kiddo wandered around the very un-PC Target today. I was thinking it was gonna be all Samantha Fox but it came off as tending more toward Jesus Loves Porn Stars. Just sayin'. Browsed this as the wife and kiddo wandered around the very un-PC Target today. I was thinking it was gonna be all Samantha Fox but it came off as tending more toward Jesus Loves Porn Stars. Just sayin'.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kara

    Remind me not to read this when my daughter gets closer to adolescence. An honest (but depressing) narrative.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

    This is probably one of the most cringe-worthy books I've read in a long time. I just wanted to jump into the narrative and stop her from sleeping with all those randos!

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