S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties

Book review by
Mandie Caroll, Common Sense Media
S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties Book Poster Image
Fantastic inclusive, progressive sex guide for teens and up.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Packed with frank, accurate educational content. Definitions, diagrams, tables, explanatory text, sidebars, checklists, and so forth cover topics like defining sexuality, puberty, body image, sexual response, masturbation, gender identity and sexual orientation, dating and relationships, communication around sex, consent, sexual readiness, mechanics of partnered sex, safer sex, contraception, pregnancy, reproductive options, sexual abuse and assault, and bystander intervention. Explicit descriptions of a variety of sex acts, including anal intercourse and BDSM (bondage and discipline and sadism and masochism).  

Positive Messages

You have the power to envision, create, and stand up for a healthy, happy, and satisfying sexual life for yourself. There's no one exactly right model that can define sexuality; learn about the many facets of sexuality, and begin to figure out what makes sense for you. When you make smart, healthy, informed choices (based on accurate information) that feel right for you, at a pace that works for you, you can stay safe and enjoy your sexuality.

Positive Role Models & Representations

As an educational, nonfiction guide, there are no characters per se. Comic-book style panels show inexpensive dates you could go on, in one instance, as well as a series of pages on bystander intervention techniques. These and various other drawings/diagrams are black-and-white with shades of gray that represent skin and hair color variance, body size and shape diversity, different genders, and same-gender and opposite-gender relationships.

Violence

Sexual abuse and assault is covered without explicit descriptions and with resources and advice on healing from abuse and assault. 

Sex

Explicit definitions and descriptions of a wide variety of types of sex (manual sex, oral sex, vaginal and anal intercourse, BDSM, etc.).

Language

Slang words for genitals ("c--t," "p---y," "d--k," "c--k," etc.) are listed when introducing the proper names for parts. "F--king" and "ass" used a few times in the also-known-as section of descriptions of types of sex.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Intoxication's possible impacts on sex and sexuality are discussed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties, by author and sex educator Heather Corinna (Wait, What?: A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up), is a deeply educational dive into sex, sexuality, and relationships for teens and emerging adults. Accurate and nonjudgmental information about such topics as the biology of arousal/sexual response, masturbation, relationships, consent, sexual readiness, types of sex, safer sex, and sexual health care, abuse and assault, reproduction and contraception, and so forth. Diagrams, tables, explanatory text, sidebars, checklists, etc. help readers integrate what they are reading. Gender is never assumed ("people with vulvas," "people who have a penis"), and occasional black, gray, and white illustrations feature people of various skin tones and hair colors/styles, with different body sizes and shapes, and same-gender and mixed-gender relationships. Explicit descriptions of types of sex include manual sex, oral sex, vaginal and anal intercourse, BDSM, and more. Language includes one-time uses of slang for genitals ("c--t,", "c--k," etc.); "f--king" and "ass" are used a handful of times in the chapter on types of sex. This guide is a comprehensive resource for young people as they grow into adulthood. The book's inclusion in some high school health and sex education courses has been controversial because of its explicit sexual descriptions.

Wondering if S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties is OK for your kids?

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byWonkydankmeme September 15, 2020

Awful

I nearly threw up

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What's the story?

Each chapter of S.E.X.: THE ALL-YOU-NEED TO KNOW SEXUALITY GUIDE TO GT YOU THROUGH YOUR TEENS AND TWENTIES  builds on the one before it: A description of the whole-person approach is described before puberty and anatomy are discussed; gender identity and sexual orientation comes before chapters on relationships; consent is covered before the mechanics of sex. Safer sex, abuse and assault, pregnancy and reproductive choice options follow one another. Topics and subtopics are discussed in great detail. Sidebars go into depth on a related concept, recurring pop-outs bust myths, offer definitions, and review tips on communication or tech safety. A combined bibliography and resources list is organized by chapters, and an extensive index can help readers find the information they need fast.

Is it any good?

This frank and comprehensive sex guide for teens and young adults is a powerful and compelling resource. S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties may surprise some adults (as well as younger readers) as it aims to be as explicit, accessible, and nonjudgmental as possible. Gender-inclusive language and never-assumed heterosexuality gives a home to readers of any gender and sexual orientation. This book certainly has a progressive agenda: Respect young people's autonomy to make informed choices that are right for them, at a pace that feels safe, with the goal of developing a healthy sexuality. Adults will benefit from reading this guide before handing it off to teens, and they will probably even learn a thing or two. Many may think, "I wish this existed when I was a teenager."

One quibble concerns advice (in the body image chapter) to talk with a doctor or nurse if you feel like you need to diet or feel bad about your body. Given the fact that anti-fat bias in healthcare has led some healthcare providers to prescribe unhealthy, non-evidence-based interventions to patients, this could be problematic advice. But since that's the only critique in nearly 500 pages, this guide still comes out on top as a must-have for the teen years and beyond. 

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how to use S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Sexuality Guide during adolescence. What's hard (or easy) about discussing sex with family members? Are there other adults you can talk with to learn about sexuality as you grow up?

  • What surprised you about the way the author presents information? How do they avoid assuming the gender of readers? What impact does the explicit discussions of bodies and sex have on you as a reader?

  • What does consent mean to you? Why is consent so important? What have you learned about saying "yes" and "no" to others? What about asking for consent? What's hard and what's good about accepting someone else's "no" or "yes."

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