Tuesday, August 30, 2011

YA Review: SEX: A Book for Teens

Sex: A Book for Teens: An Uncensored Guide to Your Body, Sex, and Safety by Nikol Hasler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was very impressed with this book, but I'm sure it will be the type to get tons of reads in my library's teen room, but not actual checkouts.
I'd learned of the Midwest Teen Sex Show a while back when searching for good resources to direct my teens to about sex and reproductive health. The show is almost jarringly blunt and unrestricted and the conservative in me screamed out in fear. LOL Yet, I found it extremely informative and honest. The same can be said of my experience with the book.

Nikol Hasler, founder of the Midwest Teen Sex Show teams up with doctors and other professionals to hash out this funny and blunt force course in sex and sexual health. While her wit can seem crass at first, as demonstrated especially by the bovine p0rn on the cover, as you begin to actually read, it is very easy to see how a book like this can be important for teens and even some under-experienced adults.

Hasler is even-handed in her approach towards all genders and sexual preferences. Her explanations are clear and direct, and leave absolutely nothing to chance or imagination. For this, I am grateful. So many resources about sex, especially those directed towards young people, tend to leave out the uncomfortable bits and pieces in the hopes that some parent somewhere will do the dirty work. Hasler understands that this is exactly WHY a book like hers is necessary, because parents DON'T want to have these conversations. No mom I know is about to brace the convo of anal penetration. Just isn't going to happen. And if it did, I'd be hard-pressed to find a teen who'd be comfortable listening to it.

Those are the topics that this book simply doesn't shy away from. From stimuli to fantasies and fetishes, she tells it all. Which is probably why I'm sure there will be a parent coming in to complain about it eventually. Some of her advice and information begins to come across as step-by-step instruction. For example, when one teen asks for advice on whether or not he's a pervert for wanting to try anal sex, her response starts with "The human body is a wondrous thing with many places to put a penis"...

UM..Okay.. I don't need you telling my 15 year old that, lady!

That being said, she always follows her jokes with sound information and research. She makes no qualms about the fact that while sex is a fun and natural thing, it is also a big decision, and one that no one should be pressured into or doing if they aren't sure about. She is fair and supportive of those wanting to wait or those teens feeling pressured to even pretend that they've "done it" just to avoid being teased by peers, even to the point of advising them to "come out" about being abstinent in the hopes that they'll help some other teens who want to be proud of their virginity.

If there was anything I would have changed, it would have been to address the reader with the idea that sexual health is important so that they can live the adult life they choose in regards to building a family, etc., and not just because it feels good, but for what it was worth, Hasler included a great amount of valuable information.

In all, I was very pleased with the amount of good information found packed inside. Adults who are uncomfortable with open sexual dialogue presented to teens will hate this one, but teens who are curious will find it the best thing they've read in a while. I would suggest to any adult who picks it up, that they try and remember their own teenage curiosity and work backwards from there rather than reading it with "what they know now".

View all my reviews

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