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'Girls are conditioned to feel shame about their sexuality, that's not OK,' says Reese Witherspoon

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Reese Witherspoon has spoken out about female sexuality, saying "young girls are conditioned to feel shame about their sexual experiences and that's not OK", writes the Hollywood Reporter.

Talking at the Toronto Film Festival about her latest film Wild, in which she plays a woman who's addicted to heroin and sleeps with multiple men, Witherspoon said, "It's such an important message about female sexuality. We kissed that guy or we had sex with that dude in college. We're totally ashamed of so many things."

"I think this movie says, 'That's OK. Maybe I was meant to sleep with all those guys. Maybe I wanted to. Maybe if I could go back and do it all again, I'd do the same thing.' It's a total liberation, especially for young women," continued the star.

After a string of light-hearted roles - Sweet Home Alabama and Legally Blonde to name a few - Witherspoon, 38, stars in her first gritty and sexually-daring role in Wild, based on the best-selling memoir by Cheryl Strayed.

"You have to understand, for someone who's been doing this for as long as I've been doing it, it's like, "Oh my gosh, finally!" Finally, it's so exciting to be honest about things," said the actress in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.

"I developed it with my own money and an incredible producing partner, and then we went to the studios afterwards, because I did not want to hear, "We don't want to see Reese doing that," or "We don't want to include the sexual scenes.""

Reese Witherspoon plays Cheryl Strayed, a promiscuous drug addict who embarks on a thousand-mile hike, in film Wild

"The ideas of what a woman can and can't do on film have really changed, and I think that's in great part thanks to wonderful female writers like Lena Dunham, who tell very honest stories and explore female sexuality without shame," continued Witherspoon.

"Just recently, I saw Jenny Slate in Obvious Child — so great — and I love characters like that who are that unapologetic and realistic. Even Bridesmaids changed the landscape of what we can see a female lead doing in a film. I've never seen a film like Wild where the woman ends up with no man, no money, no family, no opportunity, but she still has a happy ending," added Witherspoon.

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