20 December 2011

Sex : a book for teens : an uncensored guide to your body, sex, and safety by Nikol Hasler

Interested in sex?  (Yeah, you are.)  This book has pretty much everything you might have ever wanted to know, and a whole bunch of stuff you probably didn't want to know -- but probably need to know.

From the super-basic (and sometimes boring) information about the parts of the body and the reproductive system, through often uncomfortable topics of masturbation, sexual identification, birth control and protection from sexually transmitted infections, and right into the nitty-gritty of dating and relationships, this book offers a non-intimidating look at all aspects of sex and sexuality.  Stressing the importance of protection and communication, the information provided is geared towards helping teens make educated decisions.  This is not a book that "encourages" teens to have sex, rather it points out that teens should feel strongly that they can make decisions based on what is truly comfortable and right for them -- and that what is comfortable and right could change depending on time, situation, or individual.  There is an important balance of humor and seriousness in the way this material is presented that makes it extraordinarily approachable to teens (and, in my humble opinion, it's great for adults, too).

Recommended to all teens thinking about sex (yes, all of you) -- those who are doing it, not doing it, comfortable talking to adults about it, making jokes with their friends about it, or have no idea what the heck sex really involves.  Obviously, this book is about sex, so the effectiveness of the material depends on maturity level and willingness to really learn about the topic.  Since the idea of sex -- what's acceptable, what's appropriate, and how it's thought about and talked about -- keeps changing with the times and new generations, this book is a great guide for parents, too, in talking to their teens.

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

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