Book Review: The V-Word

The V-Word: True Stories about First-Time Sex by Amber J. Keyser
Release Date: February 2nd 2016 
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Beyond Words
Pages: 208 

Losing it. Popping your cherry. Handing in your V-card.

First time sex is a big unknown. Will it be candlelight and rose petals or quick and uncomfortable? Is it about love or about lust? Deciding to have sex for the first time is a choice that’s often fraught with anxiety and joy. But do you have anyone telling you what sex is really like? Losing it. Popping your cherry. Handing in your V-card.

In The V-Word seventeen writers (including Christa Desir, Justina Ireland, Sara Ryan, Carrie Mesrobian, Erica Lorraine Scheidt, and Jamia Wilson) pull back the sheets and tell all, covering everything from straight sex to queer sex, diving-in versus waiting, and even the exhilaration and disappointment that blankets it all. Some of their experiences happened too soon, some at just the right time, but all paint a broad picture of what first-time sex is really like. Losing it. Popping your cherry. Handing in your V-card.

Funny, hot, meaningful, cringe-worthy, gross, forgettable, magnificent, empowering, and transformative, the stories in The V-Word are never preachy, but provide a map for teens to chart their own course through the steamy waters of sex. With The V-Word girls can finally take control, learn what’s on the horizon, and eliminate the fear and mystery surrounding this important milestone. Losing it. Popping your cherry. Handing in your V-card.

Overall, this is a great collection of short stories about first times. The stories run the gamut from super awkward to not-so-bad first experiences. None of them were exactly awesome first experiences, but several came out pretty good. I like the open honesty that all the women shared. Most didn’t pull punches, which was refreshing to see. After all, the biggest problem with sex is that we don’t talk about it openly enough, but we treat it as if it’s something that should be swept under a rug. Our teens need this open honesty to see that they’re not alone and that it’s okay to talk about how they’re feeling.

I truly appreciate that Keyser made sure there were essays from all parts of life, especially when it came to be sexual orientation and identity. I loved that there were stories from lesbian, bisexual, and even a transgendered woman. Not only that, there were varying walks of life. There were people who were religious, who had been sexually abused, who waited for marriage, and who fell into it all by accident. It was also nice to see a range of ages, the youngest being 13 and the oldest at 23.

The best part is that Keyser spends 20 pages or so breaking issues down and giving more resources for teen to follow-up with. She covers topics like knowing your body, masturbation, sexual assault, age of consent, and talking to parents. It’s like a quick mini road map that teens can use to guide them to valid resources both in print and online.

Final Verdict: A solid collection of stories about first experiences that should be put into teen hands. This is easily one I’ll put on my library shelves.

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