February 1, 2011

Dog-eared and oft-consulted

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Submitted by: Sarah Peck

I was 10-years-old and in the sixth grade when my mother gave me the 1984 version of Our Bodies, Ourselves.

I read the 900-page tome eagerly, cover to cover.  I learned about my body, about sexual health, sexual pleasure, masturbation, birth control and abortion, about reproductive rights and women’s rights and the continuing, intertwined struggles for those rights.

My girlfriends and I pored over the book at slumber parties.  Middle school guy friends ran off into the woods with it, to reap the secret knowledge of women’s bodies and their own bodies, too.  I can’t think of a better guide for them to have stolen away for an afternoon.  By high school it was well-worn: dog-eared and oft-consulted.

Neither my mother nor I could have guessed that this book would serve as the seed for my future career, an early catalyst igniting what I expect to be a lifelong passion for and commitment to promoting sexual health and reproductive rights through research, education, and policy reform.

But that’s exactly what it was.  Twenty-four years later, Our Bodies, Ourselves remains one of the most important books I have ever read.


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