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This little book published in
Canada is aimed at young people contemplating the start of their sexual lives.†
It is nicely designed, with drawings and some diagrams, and it has a relaxed
yet serious tone.† It includes some quotations from teenagers relating their
experiences or questions concerning sex, and Kim Martyn provides information
and advice in straightforward terms.† The eight chapters divide up the issues,
starting with deciding whether to have sex, then moving on dealing with sexual
harassment, assault and rape, how to make the first experience a good one,
avoiding pregnancy and STDs, frequent questions about sex, and talking with
parents and adults about sexuality.
Martyn does a good job of setting
out the facts, avoiding a judgmental style, yet also setting out her opinions
clearly.† She has been a sexual health educator for twenty years, so she has a
good deal of experience in providing advice to young people, and her advice
seems good.† For example, in making the decision whether to have sex, she
suggests teenagers should be at least sixteen years old, girls should know
risks of cervical cancer, the couple has done lots of making out already and
has talked about sex and protection, guys should have practiced putting on a
condom, they should feel very comfortable with each other, they don't have to
be drunk to do it, and each person feels that it is really his or her choice.†
Similarly, when discussing using protection, Martyn sets out all the main
options with their pros and cons, and ranks them in terms of their risks of
efficacy.† In her discussion of the "pulling out" method, she does
not just rule out it, but she does point out that its effectiveness in real
life is "crappy."† So without being heavy handed, she makes it clear
that she would not recommend withdrawal as a method of contraception.
The book contains little discussion
of gay, lesbian and bisexual issues, although much of the content would apply
to any couple.† Some parents may find that the book is not judgmental enough,
and would want a book that takes a stronger stand against sexual
experimentation in younger teens.† Parents are in a difficult position these
days, because pornography and misleading representations of sexuality are more
freely available through the Internet now than they ever have been, and most
adults remember how reluctant we were as teens to talk openly about sex with
our parents.† With parents working long hours and many single-parent families,
young people often have a great deal of freedom in how they spend their time.†
So it may be helpful to give young teenagers this book to help them make wise
decisions on their own.
© 2006 Christian
Perring. All rights reserved.
Christian Perring, Ph.D., is
Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island, and editor
of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on philosophical
issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.
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