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Review of Sluts by Beth Ashley

I want to press this book into the hands of every young person. A couple of years ago, we reviewed Losing It: Sex Education for the 21st Century, the debut by Sophia Smith-Galer. This, along with Sluts by Beth Ashley are now my top recommendations for anyone interested in sex and gender related non-fiction but I also cannot stress enough how important it is to get these books onto some sort of curriculum. 

Beth Ashley is a sex and relationships journalist that I have admired for years so I jumped at the chance to review her debut book. Here, in digestible chapters, she unpacks our culture of slutshaming but also offers practical solutions. I learnt so much from this book, finding myself saying facts aloud to anyone around me whilst reading. I was fascinated by ‘The True History of Sluts’, a chapter in which Beth explores attitudes towards STIs and sex workers throughout history, the etymology of the word ‘slut’ in different languages and cultures and why the slutshaming of historical figures such as Anne Boleyn still matters. There are also very interesting chapters on slutshaming and class, race and LGBTQ+ communities. Be warned - you’ll need a highlighter when reading this book! Behind all of this lies the thread of the author’s own experiences as a bisexual woman, including her experiences of being slutshamed in school by teachers - an issue I think isn’t spoken about enough. Beth Ashley is a phenomenal writer and I urge even those reluctant to read non-fic to pick up this book. It is important and it is brilliant and I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

Reviewed by Abi.

Sluts was published on 09/05/24 by Penguin Random House.


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Abi Whitaker
Abi Whitaker
May 29

Such an important book! Should be on everyone's reading list

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