Judging by the cover, how sex works is that you’re a grease monkey teenager and you try to give your sleeveless turtleneck-wearing girlfriend a shoulder massage but she’s all like, “Chill. Let’s hold hands.” That is EXACTLY what sex is like for a teenager: no sex. And that’s OK because you are 14 and maybe you shouldn’t be having sex right about now. So far this book nails it. Plus 1
The subtitle of this book is, “A clear, comprehensive guide for teenagers to emotional, physical, and sexual maturity.” This is inherently a false premise. There is no sexual maturity for a teenager because a teenager is a teenager. To wit, I am 37 years old and I think a book called “How Sex Works” is hilarious enough to spend inordinate amounts of time writing about it for a blog. You can imagine how many penises teenage me would have drawn all over this thing. Minus 1
This book was written by Elizabeth Fenwick (vagina parts) and Richard Walker (penis parts). I bet they’re having sex. Plus 1
Granted, I don’t know a lot about sex—my daughters are adopted—but I’m pretty sure that is not how sex works. That is riding a bike. UNSAFELY I might add. No helmets, and I have no idea what that other boy is sitting on. Wait … that’s a girl? I don’t know. Freakin' 90s, man. Minus 1
Then again, I suppose it’s possible the bike ride has nothing to do with sex, and Liz and Dick are just easing us into this discussion via adolescent stock photos. That’s cool I guess. Plus 1
Speaking of photos, now seems as good a time as any to mention that I will not be analyzing this book by its actual words, which potentially make sense and are based on some scientific and emotional studies. That is no fun and I don’t think sex-crazed teenagers read anyway. We're going only by pictures. Sorry/not sorry.
Top left: Pretty sure that is the most 90s hair/sideburns combination I have ever seen in a teenage sex book. Plus 1 It also appears the Heimlich maneuver worked. GOOD JOB, JOEL. Plus 1 Unfortunately, I cannot tell where the pattern on her skirt and the one on his terrible shirt begins and ends, and it’s disorienting. Minus 1 Top right: “We’re going to use your otherwise innocuous headshot for a sex book to insinuate you’re happy with your sex life.” “OK.” Minus 1 Bottom: “Mom, have you seen my pressed purple button-down? I wanted to go lie in a wheat field and read a sex book I mean ‘Catcher in the Rye’ cause I’ll be in the rye, get it?” “DAMMIT CALVIN I TOLD YOU TO IRON YOUR OWN CLOTHES I’M NOT YOUR MAID.” Plus 1
Until next time.
And stay safe out there. Wear a helmet.