Pleasures and Perils

Girls' Sexuality in a Caribbean Consumer Culture

by Debra Curtis

Series: Rutgers Series in Childhood Studies

Pleasures and Perils follows a group of young girls living on Nevis, an island society in the Eastern Caribbean. In this provocative ethnography, Debra Curtis examines their sexuality in gripping detail: why do Nevisian girls engage in sexual activity at such young ages? Where is the line between coercion and consent? How does a desire for wealth affect a girl's sexual practices?

Curtis shows that girls are often caught between conflicting discourses of Christian teachings about chastity, public health cautions about safe sex, and media enticements about consumer delights. Sexuality's contradictions are exposed: power and powerless¡ness, self-determination and cultural control, violence and pleasure. Pleasures and Perils illuminates the methodological and ethical issues anthropologists face when they conduct research on sex, especially among girls. The sexually explicit narratives conveyed in this book challenge not only the reader's own thoughts on sexuality but also the broader limits and possibilities of ethnography.

In The Press

"Pleasures and Perils is an accessible yet theoretically astute introduction to theories of sexual subjectivity, discourse, and mediation. It is also a compellingly written story about an island in transition and about the girls who are coming to adulthood as these shifts take place."
— New West Indian Guide

About The Author

DEBRA CURTIS is an assistant professor in the department of sociology and anthropology at Salve Regina University in Rhode Island.