Title: Sex Ed: An Inclusive Teenage Guide to Sex and Relationships
Author: The School of Sexuality Education
Illustrator: Evie Karkera
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Teen/young adult non-fiction
Book format: Paperback
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Descripttion:  Everything you need to know abouse sex and relationships in the 21st century, with words from an award-winning team.
Find out about: concent, the body, what is sex?  sexual health, online life, relationships, reproductive health, gender & sexuality, body image.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is an interesting and detailed guide to everything about sexuality and sexual health. ‘Sex Ed’ is called an inclusive guide because it tackles all of the different aspects of sex and relationships that teenagers might be wondering about, while also being inclusive with all genders, races, etc.

Sex Ed book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

 

The book is filled with several chapters on different things, such as Consent, Gender and Identity, Relationships, The Body, Sexual and reproductive health, etc. I like how the first chapter is about consent, something which, although should be obvious, isn’t always easy for people to grasp and I like how the book explains exactly what consent is and in what situations it’s considered that someone has given consent versus not. The book then goes on to talk about gender, sexuality and identity which is something that I know I never learned at school or from any literature when I was younger. After that there is a chapter about the body including how it changes through puberty.

As well as talking about these aspects of understanding ourselves the book then does go on to talk about sex and does get quite detailed in its descriptions and illustrations of all the sexual body parts and what sex is in general. I’ve read some books and magazines aimed at teenagers before, that try to explain sex, but this book goes into much better explanations and details than a lot of what I’ve read in the past. It does mention different types of sex (yes I’m going to mention them) including piv, oral and anal, but these are described in a way that doesn’t make them sound bad or shameful, though if you’re not comfortable with these subjects then reading them first time might be a bit of a shock. The book though, explains sex in a good and positive way, encouraging teens to ask questions if they need to and to not be ashamed or embarrassed about not knowing something. It also encourages teens to only do what they feel happy with, and the chapter on consent is one that is mentioned again the more you read on.

After explaining what sex is, there is a chapter on reproductive health which includes information on different forms of contraceptives to avoid pregnancy and more on sexual health too, which is about how to avoid getting any STIs. I do like the way in which this book approaches these subjects, in clear and easy to understand ways although I’m not sure why there is so much detail on fertility and the ways in which you can get pregnant (in vitro, etc). This book does go into quite some detail on certain aspects of sex, however there are moments in the book where certain chapters like the ones on consent or relationships that try to explain something so much that they give some slightly unrealistic scenarios of the way teens might approach each other about sex, with examples of conversations that felt almost too obvious or simple. Some teens, depending on their age, might feel that these moments are a bit too obvious, and depending on the teens and their parents some readers might also not find it so easy to read certain parts of this book too, such as a chapter that explains what pornography is.

There is a chapter later about online aspects of relationships which include issues that teens might face like the prospect of sending nude pictures online. I particularly liked this chapter as teens can feel a real pressure when it comes to activities online which can have unfortunate and long-term consequences. At the end of the book there is a glossary of terms and words used in the book as well notes to parents and teachers. There are good illustrations throughout the book, these are made to look fun, even though they are sometimes showing some detailed anatomy of certain parts of the human body, but these fun and simple, black white and grey illustrations are good as they do help teens to understand their and other peoples bodies better.

Overall this is a good book for any teens who are curious or worried about their bodies and sexuality and for anyone to look at to understand more. I do think that some parents (and maybe some teens) might find some parts of the book more difficult to read (I know the young me might have been a little overwhelmed with it), especially if they feel less comfortable talking about sex, but this book does a good job of explaining certain aspects and did feel like the sex education lesson that most teens (and me at that age) missed out on when at school. The language used in the book is inclusive, which one Amazon reviewer seems to be upset about, as there is no longer the term ‘women’ or ‘men’ mentioned but rather a ‘person with a womb’, for example (which you might not be so used to reading if you grew up with the other gender terms used).

For those reading this on Amazon UK, the reviewer in question also suggested that this book centres on one sided pleasure of the person with a male organ but this isn’t true and I don’t think they took the time to read this book properly as that chapter focuses on all forms of pleasure on all sides. Yes this book talks both about the basic biological side of sex and about pleasure too, which might be a bit too much of an explanation for some people who aren’t comfortable with some of the words used and the detailed discussions on sex (I think the very young teen me would have felt a little uncomfortable at first), but that doesn’t mean the book ‘excludes women’ or is a bad read and the image the reviewer used of the book shows only one type of sex that’s explained (PIV – please look it up if you don’t know what it is), when there are several mentioned, thus their picture doesn’t reflect the whole book.

Sex Ed book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

 

As I’ve said, this is a good book about this topic and worth a read if it’s something that you or a teen might be interested in reading. There are some helpful organisations mentioned at the back of the book, as well as fun small illustrations throughout too, helping to break down the text into more fun and easier to read chunks. I’m not sure if this book is for everyone. It does go into some detail about sex, and all aspects of it including toys and porn, and I’m not sure that some more conservative  people might find it less comfortable reading than others (occassionally some parts did feel like over-sharing), but as a guide to explaining everything and in a positive way, this is a good read, and one which I’m sure many teens will appreciate, especially if there’s no one that they feel comfortable talking to about this topic.


What do you think of this book?  Did you have a good experience of sex education at school?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂