Read The V-Word: True Stories About First-Time Sex by Amber J. Keyser Molly Bloom Sidney Joaquin-Vetromile Alex Meeks Carrie Mesrobian Sarah Mirk Sara Ryan Erica Lorraine Scheidt Online


HAVING SEX FOR THE FIRST TIME IS A BIG UNKNOWN. LOTS OF PEOPLE WILL TELL YOU WHAT TO DO, BUT IS ANYONE TELLING YOU WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE?The V-Word pulls back the sheets on sex. Queer and straight. Relished and regretted. Funny and exhilarating. The seventeen women in this book (including Christa Desir, Justina Ireland, Sara Ryan, Carrie Mesrobian, Erica Lorraine Scheidt,HAVING SEX FOR THE FIRST TIME IS A BIG UNKNOWN. LOTS OF PEOPLE WILL TELL YOU WHAT TO DO, BUT IS ANYONE TELLING YOU WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE?The V-Word pulls back the sheets on sex. Queer and straight. Relished and regretted. Funny and exhilarating. The seventeen women in this book (including Christa Desir, Justina Ireland, Sara Ryan, Carrie Mesrobian, Erica Lorraine Scheidt, and Jamia Wilson) write about first-time sex—hot, meaningful, cringe-worthy, gross, forgettable, magnificent, empowering, and transformative.Whether you’re diving in or whether you’re waiting, we hope these stories will help you chart your own course....

Title : The V-Word: True Stories About First-Time Sex
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781582705
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 392 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The V-Word: True Stories About First-Time Sex Reviews

  • Melanie
    2019-05-30 17:40

    ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.This was such a wonderful book that I wish every young girl could read; especially those who are contemplating having sex for the first time. This book tells the story of seventeen different women, and how each of them lost their virginities. And the spectrum of the narratives in this book is phenomenal. I think every woman could connect to at least one of these very different women's experiences. “Virginity isn’t a possession locked behind a chastity belt or spread wide on silken sheets. It’s not a ripe cherry waiting to be plucked, popped, or eaten. Virginity is a state of being. Being a virgin means standing on one side of an experience, not yet having walked through the door. Crossing the threshold is far more about gaining something than about losing it.”My favorite aspect of this book is that it actually deals with how we, as a society, handle women's virginities. This book sets a perfect tone on how it feels to grow up as a girl, with this "gift" that you can only give away once. Some hold on to it for far too long, in fear of losing it to the "wrong person" (this was me, 100%). Then some are so eager to get it done and over with, so they don't have this looming dark cloud following them. Some are so indifferent, and realize that the title "virgin" means nothing. This book is filled with these very vast perspectives. Maybe if I had a book like this as a teen, I wouldn't have had to carry all the anxiety that I did, because at the end of the day being a virgin, or not being a virgin, doesn't make us any different. Society fills young people's minds with what losing your virginity should be like, but these essays show you what losing your virginity is actually like. This book gives so many informed answers to the reader, but it also gives a lot of website links and phone numbers to help young girls make their own choices that are healthy, safe and right for their wants/needs. “And along the way women have discovered that there is a V-word far more powerful than virginity—VOICE.”I also loved the Q&A after the seventeen essays in this book. Kelly Jensen's answers are so amazing, and I aspire to be more like her. She is so strong, and such an amazing voice for every young woman out there. I can't recommend this book enough, just for the Q&A session at the end alone. I truly do believe with all my heart that this is a book all young girls would benefit from reading, because this book explores what schools and other outside sources are not going to teach you. Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Youtube | Steam | Twitch

  • Kelly
    2019-05-20 12:57

    I have an incredibly personal essay in this anthology, as well as an additional piece about female sexuality in YA literature (and beyond). ____________________Obviously I'm biased in writing about this title, but I've finally had the chance to sit down and read it cover to cover and it's outstanding. If you're looking for the kind of honest book to hand to a teen girl about sexuality, virginity, and the social/political/psychological elements wrapped up in each, this is your winner. The essays are honest, with sexual experiences across the gender and sexual spectrum, and the resource guide is chock full of great additional reading for further edification. An important and worthwhile book that explores sexuality with the sort of lens that doesn't happen in school or in those private places outside of a classroom between teens. This covers it all, and it's not at all a call to partaking or not partaking, but rather, it's a book about making informed choices that align with your desires and needs.

  • Ben Babcock
    2019-06-03 19:53

    Back in Grade 4, a small group of peers asked me if I was a virgin.Not knowing what a virgin was, I said no. Well, that certainly got them laughing. And I got very upset.This incident has stuck in my memory (which is otherwise very much a sieve through which most details inevitably fall) for a few reasons. Firstly, it was one of the few times I ever felt bullied in school, despite being very nerdy and introverted and unapologetically individualist in my outward behaviour. And I don’t even really think of it as bullying, as I’m sure the people responsible didn’t—they probably thought they were just having a laugh at my expense. I don’t think they expected me to react the way I did. Of course, they got in trouble. One of them gave me a Pokémon card in reparation (and it was Item Finder, so I really knew he was sorry).But I digress. That’s my first memory of the concept of virginity having an impact on my life. In the next couple of years, we would start sex ed, Judy Blume books would materialize on our desks, the boys and girls would go to separate classrooms, and my classmates would start to pair off. (Uh, to be clear, that last part wasn’t school-mandated. That was a kid thing, not a sex ed thing. We’re better off than the States when it comes to sex ed, but we’re not quite Monty Python and the Meaning of Life here.)I didn’t pair off, and I still haven’t. I made a few half-hearted stabs at it in high school, but I wasn’t all that dedicated. Relationships and sex seemed to be things that happened to my peers, and I was just away the day these things got handed out. But that has never bothered me. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything—and to be honest, I occasionally have a hard time believing other people actually engage in sex. You seriously do that? It just seems so messy, and there are so many … fluids. But, sure. I guess if you don’t have any good books to read you have to do something with your time.Anyway, The V-Word is of interest to me for a few reasons. Firstly, as I mentioned, this is something outside my realm of personal experience. Because of the importance that sex holds in our society, however, I still find it very fascinating. It’s why I’m enjoying the Banging Book Club so much, and why I seek out non-club reads, like this book, about sex. I don’t see what the big deal is myself, but reading about why others consider it such a big deal helps a little bit. Secondly, I’m a teacher. I don’t actually teach sex ed, and I don’t even teach high school students at the moment—but I care a lot about what we teach our students about sex. I am pleased with the revised health curriculum that Ontario is rolling out. And so I approached The V-Word with the eyes of an educator, wondering if this was something teenagers might find useful—and I would like to think the answer is “yes”.There is such a wonderful plethora of experiences served up here. This is obviously a book that was not spontaneously created, nor even curated: it was lovingly constructed. Amber J. Keyser, whose own first time is the first of many first times related here, has gone out of her way to include diverse voices from all sorts of women, cis and trans, of varying sexualities and races and religions. I laughed out loud at some of these stories, because they attest to how sex can be funny, or awkward, or how the relationships that surround them can take unexpected turns. Some of these stories were sweet, others more bittersweet. As Keyser’s interjections between each story reinforce, The V-Word is also unabashedly a message book. I don’t see how it could be otherwise. There are so many good quotations in here, so many good ways of summing up its message, but for convenience I’ll grab Kelly Jensen’s pronouncement near the end of the book: “There’s not one single right way to have a sex life.”I’ve been very lucky. I have friends of many genders and sexualities who have talked to me about their sex lives, about first times, about what they like and don’t like and who or what turns them on. I value these conversations, not just because they signify the close friendships I have, but because they are windows into other people’s selves. We are so isolated from one another. It is so difficult to figure out what someone else is truly thinking or feeling at any given time. I get that, for some people, sex provides a level of connection and dialogue that talking doesn’t. But I have been lucky to have these conversations, and I know that many people grow up with parents who are too nervous to talk about sex, schools who cannot or will not educate them properly, and a big scary Internet full of porn and really bad sex advice.This book gives good sex advice, not in the sense of how (or even when) to “do it” but in the sense of reassuring people that they are not somehow freakish or abnormal. Exploring your sexuality when you’re eleven? Normal! Not exploring your sexuality until you’re twenty-five? Normal! Having sexual desire but choosing to wait until marriage? Normal! Sometimes we confuse sex positivity with promiscuity and the idea that you’re only liberated if you’re actively going out and having lots of sex. I like that The V-Word’s sex positivity is much more inclusive than that, both in how people timed their first times as well as the actions that qualify for a “first time”.Following the stories, the book includes end matter with resources for teens and parents. This is brilliant. Why don’t more books do this? I can totally imagine a questioning teen reading the book and, having finished the last story think, “OK, but what can I read or watch now to learn more?” Keyser has you covered. The end matter is, much like the rest of the content, brief but full of compassion. This is a book that wants you to do you (until you decided to do other people, I guess)—and it’s all about how you can do that safely and healthily.And that’s really what it comes down to, if I can step on a soapbox for a moment. I get really angry when people justify censorship and weak-to-no sex ed “for the children” (much in the same way people will justify anti-abortion laws “for women’s health”). If we really want our children to be safe, to be healthy, to be happy and grow up into full members of our society, then we need to equip them with knowledge. We need to tell them that there is nothing shameful in asking questions, in learning about sex, and in making informed decisions. The V-Word does that, and it’s totally a message I can get behind.Now, I don’t want to get all “but what about the men”, but I would really be interested in a companion book with men’s stories about their first times. I totally get why this is a book centred on women. Virginity and “the first time” have always been particularly germane to women’s sexual expression, and indeed one might say that the entire Western idea of femininity is grounded within demarcations of virginity. So it is understandable and completely valid that The V-Word should give voices to women. But boys need books too. Boys need male voices telling them about the importance of consent, of communication, of comfort with yourself and your partner(s). The V-Word is an excellent foray into a more compassionate sex ed than what you see in most American classrooms; I cannot wait to discover similar books out there.Short but sweet (insert sex joke here), The V-Word is an intense but wonderful collection of experiences. It is successful in its goals, and I can only hope that many teens (and even adults) read this book and take something positive away from it. For those who are just beginning to explore their sexuality, it is not a manual, but it is a reassuring signpost along the way. For those who, like me, have decided to opt-out (at least for now), it still provides insight into a critical part of our society.

  • Jim
    2019-05-30 12:52

    Okay guys, I inadvertently took a hit for the team on this one. I had recently read a book written by Molly Bloom and, wanting to read more, I noticed that a Molly Bloom had contributed an essay to this compilation. Apparently we were dealing with a different Molly Bloom. Anyway, this is a compilation of essays contributed by women (or guys who think that they're women) in which the writer relates the manner in which she lost her virginity. There is nothing to titillate here; most couplings were ill-advised and awkward affairs. The book is at least easy to read, having been written at the YA level. The essays are followed by what seems like sound advice for young women considering sexual activity for the first time, although I personally would shy away from any endeavour that required the use of a condom, latex gloves and a dental dam! There is nothing in here by men or for fact, one contributor stipulates on her GR status that she only reads books written by women or men of colour....that speaks volumes right there.

  • Jordan
    2019-06-17 16:54

    When I received an advance copy of this, I thought I'd keep it in my classroom. I was deluded into thinking the right student would find this book, at the right time, and start a dialogue about sex-related decisions and experiences that would prove fundamental to her development. What happened was a teenage boy found it in the middle of Speech class and wouldn't stop hee-ing and haw-ing over the word, "clit." I get it. For teens, sex is new, it's taboo, and it involves nudity. HILARIOUS. But it also involves emotions, and pressure, and insecurity. The laughter is just as much about the discomfort as it is about the nudity. That's where this book is golden. When I decided to preview it, post-teenager-gigglefest, I found tremendous power in hearing from grown-ass women having grown-ass experiences in their teens, some of which they weren't entirely ready for. It presented the same honesty as The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to their Younger Selves, which is so often lacking from our conversations with teens, especially about sex. I was also pleased by the range of perspectives: heterosexual, of course, but also bisexual, transgender, and queer and questioning. Not a full spectrum, true, but definitely more hearty than a traditional textbook would allow. Moreover, the book transitions smoothly from narrative to nonfiction, and presents a wealth of information, books, websites, blogs, and other resources to help teens and their parents to have responsible, sex-positive conversations. It's everything you should have gotten in high school health class, and much, much more. So, take that, giggling teenage boys! This book isn't necessarily for you, but the conversations it starts concern you and your future. #respect

  • Tina ( As Told By Tina )
    2019-06-12 15:41

    Disclosure: I received a copy from the author/publisher, in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my review in any shape or form. What I loved most about The V-Word was the different perspectives of sex. You had the special first times, you had the decent first times, you had the crappy first times and the included both straight and queer sex. It gave the reader a chance to find a story that they could relate to. One where they could really understand and connect with the person who was writing the essay. Many parents may think this book is preaching to teenagers to go out and have sex but it is not. There is absolutely no preaching to have sex, it is simply sharing stories of first times and sources where to find more information about sex if they chose to have it. I could relate to some of the stories and I think that’s one of the things I loved the most about the book. I could have easily shared part of my story in the middle of the essays because some of them carried a part of me in them. Is this a book I would recommend? Yes. Where was this book when I was younger? I especially recommend it if you are thinking about having sex and can’t find someone older to trust with your questions or concerns. Please don’t forget your voice is the most important V-word of all.

  • Jessica Woodbury
    2019-06-16 18:00

    If you have a daughter or a niece or a friend that you want to have a really deep sex talk with, you know that talk probably won't go as smoothly as you hope. There's so much you want to tell them, but sometimes you're not the best person to say what they need to hear. This book is perfect to give to young women on the verge of love, romance, and sex. It has several honest stories about girls losing their virginity, from the planned and romantic first time with a long-time partner, to the haphazard and unexpected, with plenty that goes beyond typical heterosexual expectations. I wish I'd read this book as a teenager or an early 20-something. It'd still be a great choice for college-aged girls or girls who have already lost their virginity, since there is much to learn here about loving yourself, body image, trust, comfort, and much more. The end also has a long list of resources and references that will surely be invaluable.(Full disclosure: I know two of the contributors to this book.)

  • Amy!
    2019-06-12 19:58

    As the librarian who purchased this book for the library, I really appreciate that they put the most salacious quotes on the back. :-/My actual review: Generally, I think this is probably a great resource for young women thinking about having sex for the first time. I'm sure this is definitely something I would have appreciated having when I was 17 and thinking about losing my virginity (instead, I had Stranger in a Strange Land). I like that all the stories covered a really wide range of experiences, from lgbtq people to sex after sexual assault to doing it fairly young or waiting until they're older. I only recognized a couple of the authors who contributed stories, and after looking at all their Goodreads profiles, it appears that most of them are white, which ... more diversity there probably would have been a good thing. I also like that the last quarter or so of the book was full of further resources for readers: a quick rundown of having safer (and better!) sex, with additional resources to read/view included, as well as an interview with a teen librarian who suggested lots of good fiction titles with different depictions of sex, plus a one page "Reassurance for Parents" and resources for them about talking about sex with their daughters. There's lots of good here in this book. HOWEVER. The one story that explicitly deals with a bisexual woman's sexual experiences was INFURIATING. First, I do appreciate that she talks about the need she has to continually reaffirm her bisexuality as an adult in a heterosexual marriage, so it's great that she, first thing, hit on the idea that you don't stop being bi when you're in a relationship. UNFORTUNATELY, she talks about her first straight sex, and then goes on to talk about how she as a young adult thought she was bi, but she had never had gay sex so she didn't feel comfortable calling herself that, but then she DID have gay sex, so it's totally okay! She's definitely bi! Without once mentioning the fact that you can be bisexual without ever having sex with people of different genders. If a young woman questioning her sexuality read this, she wouldn't know that your sexual preferences are based on who you're attracted to NOT who you fuck. And it's just really REALLY frustrating that a book that is supposed to be inclusive and informative would contribute to bi-erasure. All I am asking for here is for that woman to use one of her THIRTY TWO fucking footnotes to say "hey, this is my experience having sex with people of both genders, but, girl, you're still bi even if you only ever have sex with dudes." Or SOMETHING. This was a glaring, unfortunate omission in an otherwise pretty great resource for young women.

  • Jamie Canaves
    2019-06-11 12:48

    While I like anthologies for me I usually love a couple essays/stories, like a few, and skip a few. Just seems to happen when there is a mix of writing/authors. In this case ALL the stories were really strong ranging from 3 stars to 5 stars and I didn't feel the urge to skip any of the stories. The best part of this anthology is how different all the voices are, the stories. We are brought up with such a weight attached to virginity, to this idea of it being lost/taken one day and that being a monumental thing. The stories of these women and their first sexual experiences were all so different--marginalized groups were represented by far more than just one story--that regardless of whether you're reading this for information as someone looking to hand in your V-card or as someone who long ago got that card stamped it is a reminder of how different women are. We all come from different places, our brains are all filled with different thoughts, emotions, wants, ideas and as much as society might tell us what virginity means it is completely different to each individual. There were hilarious stories, a bit sad stories, honest stories--it read like a great group of friends each telling their first time story. And for those looking for actual information the book ends with resources.

  • Aj Sterkel
    2019-06-05 13:57

    Have you ever fallen down an Internet rabbit hole? Like, you start researching one topic, and then suddenly you’re reading about something completely different, and then you find yourself buying a book about virginity for teenage girls?Yeah. That’s what happened to me. I started out looking for lists of 2016 books that had been challenged in schools. After much clicking, scrolling, and getting distracted by Twitter, I came across The V-Word. The synopsis got my attention. When 11-year-old-me took sex-ed. classes, the teachers basically told us “Babies and diseases occur when Tab A is inserted into Slot B.” That was it. Very scientific. No discussion of emotions or relationships. No discussion of LGBTQIA issues. No discussion of rape. Not nearly enough information to satisfy our curiosity. (Funny story: I first saw the word “masturbation” in a Stephen King book when I was a young teenager. I had no idea what it meant, so I looked it up in the dictionary. It’s probably not ideal for kids to be learning about the human body from Stephen King.)Anyway, The V-Word sets out to give girls all the information they don’t get from school. The essays in this book are no-frills, honest, and straightforward. Sex isn’t masked by beautiful writing. The writers describe exactly what happened during their first sexual encounter. The book isn’t unnecessarily graphic, but it definitely doesn’t hide anything. In addition to essays, the book has information for parents and additional resources for teens. (Including recommendations for YA books that have accurate portrayals of sex.) I love the diversity of perspectives in this collection. You get to hear from doctors and sex experts as well as straight women, lesbian women, bisexual women, and trans women. They talk about different ways to have sex and how porn and YA novels are unrealistic. They show that emotions are complicated and relationships often don’t work out. The first person you have sex with may not be your “true love.” There is a lot of discussion about consent and using your words. This book is all about giving teens realistic expectations.“Two people can choose to have sex for no other reason than that it feels good. It doesn’t have to be the next step in a committed relationship. It doesn’t have to be about love. But if you tell me that it means nothing, I’ll lift an eyebrow in disbelief.” – The V-Word: True Stories of First-Time SexMy biggest issue with this collection is that there’s no asexual representation. There also isn’t much representation from disabled people. Ace and disabled girls have thoughts about sex, too! I think their perspectives would have added a lot to this book.The V-Word contains tons of no-nonsense info about sex, but parents should probably read it before handing it over to their teens. Some kids may feel overwhelmed by it. There is a lot of information packed into this tiny book.

  • Cyra Schaefer
    2019-06-07 16:56

    Publisher: Beyond WordsPublication Date: February 2nd, 2016Rating: 4 StarsSource: ARC from the publisherAdd it on Goodreads!Summary (from Goodreads):HAVING SEX FOR THE FIRST TIME IS A BIG UNKNOWN. LOTS OF PEOPLE WILL TELL YOU WHAT TO DO, BUT IS ANYONE TELLING YOU WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE?The V-Word pulls back the sheets on sex. Queer and straight. Relished and regretted. Funny and exhilarating. The seventeen women in this book (including Christa Desir, Justina Ireland, Sara Ryan, Carrie Mesrobian, Erica Lorraine Scheidt, and Jamia Wilson) write about first-time sex—hot, meaningful, cringe-worthy, gross, forgettable, magnificent, empowering, and transformative.Whether you’re diving in or whether you’re waiting, we hope these stories will help you chart your own course.I received this from Simon Pulse/Beyond Words for a blog tour that I did a couple weeks ago.If you never got the sex talk and you want it or you have to give the sex talk and don't know where to start, seriously, just pick up this book.This book is made up of a story section and a resource section.All the stories in this book are about a different woman's first time. There's a little bit of everything in this book. Straight. Lesbian. Transgender. Awesome first times. Horrible first times. First times that aren't technically first times. First times just to cash in the V-card.I found mostly all of the stories in this book to be interesting. All of these first times are so different and all of the writing is so different and unique. I think that these stories would all be valuable to someone trying to decide if they're ready to get it on. Out of the seventeen different stories in this book, there was only one of them that I skipped over because I didn't care for the writing. I thought it was kind of boring.The second section of this book is resources. The resources section is GREAT! It has sections on knowing your body, knowing what turns you on, knowing what you're up against, knowing about being safe, knowing how to talk about it, and knowing when you're ready. There's a great Q&A. There's a list of website resources. And finally, there's a section of reassurances and resources for parents. There is a LOT of good information in this book for people who aren't sure if they're ready to take this step!Overall, I would highly recommend this book! If you're a girl thinking about having sex for the first time or if you're a parent with a daughter and you need to have the talk, this would be good. For instance, my parents got divorced when I was little and I lived with my dad from the age of 8 until I moved out at like 22. How awkward of a conversation would that be to have with your dad? I think this would be a great book for a situation like that!

  • Heather
    2019-05-24 15:42

    Standard disclaimers about Advance Reader Copies, honest reviews, etc. apply.The whole time I was reading this book, I was thinking how wonderful it's going to be for all the teens who pick it up and read it. How they're going to learn so much. How it's going to make them feel less alone. How it takes something that teens and adults are afraid to talk with each other about and provides a bridge to say, "hey, we've been there too, and here's what I wish I had known."And then I was wonderful for me, too. For all the same reasons, AND because I was so happy that this resource exists for teens today. It was also, frankly, really awkward for me to read at times, but that discomfort is part of the appeal. I had to really look at why I was uncomfortable and acknowledge that I'm not perfect as a nonjudgemental human being.The essays and stories are beautifully written, utterly frank, and deliberately positive. Although sexual violence is addressed, the editors and authors made a deliberate decision that violence doesn't fit their criteria for these stories. Awkwardness? Ignorance? Bad sex? Sure. All of those! But not things that are outside what should be expected in a sexual experience.AND this book gave me an awesome idea for passive programing for teens. Put this book, along with others like it (Sex is a Funny Word would be a good one) in an out-of-the-way place with signage encouraging teens to take them out and promising that their library checkouts are confidential. Instead of a traditional check-out system, put the barcode on an index card inside the book so the teens don't have to march over to circ holding it. Provide cloth or paper book coverings and let the teens know that if they don't want to take the book out they're welcome to read it in the library and use a cover for their own privacy. Many MANY of the stories in this book mention sneaking romance novels out of the library or away from friends/relatives. How much better would teens feel about "sanctioned" sneaking?

  • Diversireads
    2019-06-10 14:33

    I didn’t personally looooove the anthology, but this is an important resource for young adults who are just beginning to discover their own sexualities. The collection features a diverse range of first sexual experiences while deconstructing what “virginity” entails and why it’s such an arbitrary and incomplete way to gauge sex and sexuality. Puberty is such a time of turmoil and confusion––not only are you trying to figure out who you are, but you face incredible pressure from society and from your peers, and your hormones aren’t helping, and I think it’s so, so valuable to know that you are not alone. That you are not the only person to have gone through this. That there is nothing wrong with you.The collection could at times be unnecessarily pedantic in a way that I think I would have definitely felt unappealing as a teenager who thought she knew everything, but I don’t really think it’s either a big deal or an icebreaker, since the entire point of the collection was to teach girls about sex in a way that goes beyond the cis & hetero birds-and-bees spiel you got in school. It’s thoughtful and personal and it’s so great in that it normalises female desire.Of course, as is the case with all collections there were some hits and there were some misses, but that’s kind of unavoidable. I didn’t love all of it, I didn’t love the interludes (which I felt where the most pedantic bits), but I do love the fact of its existence, and I love how diverse it is.

  • Alina Borger
    2019-06-05 13:35

    The concept of this book drew me in, as well as some of the big names. I'm glad to have read it, I imagine it will be a useful resource for girls, and the stories were compelling. Jamia Wilson, Justina Ireland, Chelsey Clammer, Alex Meeks, and Carrie Mesrobian all had standout stories. At the same time, some of the writing itself was a little lackluster--either the tone got a little preachy and I lost the thread of story, or the writer was more interested in telling about the experience than in letting the scene roll. LOSING IT, a similar anthology, offers much crisper narrative writing than some of these stories--but much less focused on girls. And reality. So there is that.

  • Gabie (OwlEyesReviews)
    2019-05-25 12:30

    My sister gave this to me yesterday for Christmas and I started reading it about 10 minutes later. I've always had a secret (not so secret if you know me) dream of one day becoming a sexologist. This book will definitely be added to my growing sexology library. I really loved being able to read about the construct of virginity and how it has impacted many different people. I loved this book!

  • Alexandra
    2019-05-29 19:30

    For the full version of this review as well as other reviews and features, go to SleepsOnTables.*I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*I want to start this review off by saying that I am not the biggest contemporary fan, lately I’ve found myself bored with them and reaching for the fantasies. However, there’s one aspect to contemporaries that I am a sucker for and that is the real life and real issues brand of contemporary novels. These novels can best be described using authors like Jay Asher, Ellen Hopkins and Christa Desir. These books involve the real difficult parts of life that people seem to want to push under the rug. That’s why I was immediately interested in The V-Word, because of the attention it calls to something that’s generally hushed up. Even better about The V-Word is that it’s not a fiction book about real life but it’s a nonfiction book featuring real stories from real people about their experiences with this topic.Sex and virginity is such a loaded topic when it comes to young adults. Often times in high school if you’re a girl and you have sex, you’re automatically considered a slut. However at the same time you could be a girl and not have sex and you’d be labeled a prude. Now if it’s a guy who’s having sex, he’d probably be congratulated and a guy who’s not having sex might be the butt of all the jokes. The V-Word brings to attention the different situations that every person goes through when they have their first sexual experience. It shows you the good, the bad, the sad, the happy, and the unexpected.The V-Word is very important because of it’s focus on showing that there really is no normal to this sort of thing. As teenagers we grow up seeing movies and TV shows where the first time is romantic and sweet and perfect, just how we imagined and this becomes something that can be harmful to our psyche. We go into things expecting this grand thing but something else entirely happens and we’re uncomfortable and don’t know what to do. Some of the stories in The V-Word tell how the unexpected things happened and how you can deal with them.Another great part about The V-Word is that it shows us the different types of sexual experiences between different types of people. These stories are all very LGBTQ friendly with multiple authors sharing their personal experiences that are way outside of the norm that’s often presented to teenagers through either media or education. No one really teaches about gay sex or trans sex and so the stories in The V-Word that deal with this are ground-breaking in informing young people who identify with these categories how varied their experiences can be as well.The V-Word is very empowering. It teaches that the word virgin isn’t as important as the word voice. Once you find your voice, you can determine how and if you want your experience to happen. If you find your voice and don’t let the word virgin control you, you can find what you want and do what you want not just as it pertains to this experience, but also as it pertains to any and every other life experience.Each and every short story in The V-Word will mean something to you in one way or another. You will find yourself identifying with different things and different people. You might even find yourself relating to something that you didn’t expect. The knowledge that The V-Word bestows upon its readers is priceless. I think that this is a book that all teenagers should read. It can teach so many lessons to so many people and it can even just open a teen’s eyes if their education is lacking. This is an important experience and even though it doesn’t have to rule your life, it should still be given a semblance of significance because it has multiple potential negative outcomes if it’s not taken seriously.Review in Review:I really liked The V-Word. It’s a book that I think teenagers should read. Too often young people get a grand idea built up in their head about how something is supposed to turn out, but when reality hits and it happens, they’re not sure what to do. This book shows the vast variety of possible situations out there and it teaches how to be ready and different ways to handle it using real life experiences.

  • Cynthia (Bingeing On Books)
    2019-05-26 11:41

    This book should be read by EVERY SINGLE teenage girl. I really wish this book had been published back when I was going through the hell that was my teenage years. Sex is treated like this dirty thing that everyone does, but nobody talks about. And the way it's talked about around girls is problematic: if she has a lot of sex (or worse yet, actually enjoys it), then she's a slut and if she wants to save herself for marriage, she's a prude. People don't want to acknowledge that young girls have sexual feelings. They have all these hormones and no one to talk to about any of it. Some girls think that once they lose their virginity, something will change. This book talks about every single type of sexual experience and it does so with humor and compassion and unwavering honesty. There are stories about first loves in high school and college and stories where the girl just wanted to get it over with, stories where the woman waited until marriage, there are stories where the girl loved her first time and stories where the girl didn't enjoy it. There are straight girls and lesbians and transgendered people represented here; there are even a couple of stories of sexual abuse survivors having their first consensual sexual experience. There is so much here for EVERYONE. This book talks a lot about first times and what counts and what doesn't. The underlying message in this book is that regardless of when your first time is or who it is with, YOU are in charge of making that decision, no one else. I highly recommend this book.

  • Nicole
    2019-06-12 12:34

    This title really caught my eye. In the media, we are constantly shown sex as perfect or nerve wrecking as a first time but rarely do people talk about what really happens in real life. It isn't like the books, tv shows or movies say. I was excited to see the range of stories that were in this book. To be honest, I have not read about LGBTQ sex scenes, it was new to me and I like that this book embraces all sexualities even if I am not 100% comfortable reading it. I also found it helpful that along with the stories, there was an additional section with information and recommendations on getting educated on the intricacies of feelings, your body and sex. The interview was also eye opening and honest because I found what was said is true in today's context. Many young adults get misconceptions on sex and sexuality because of the media we are exposed to. It is so rare to see a book like this that lets the reader know that sex and feelings are messy, it's imperfect and it does not have to be shameful. The stories had such a wide range of emotions and characters, it was easy to relate with their feelings. The only one I did not like was "Open Bisexual" by Sara Ryan because of the way the story was formatted. There were too many foot notes, it made the text really confusing.

  • Samantha
    2019-06-10 18:31

    Excellent reference for teens! A handful of writers share their personal stories and though graphic language is sometimes used, each tale is used to illustrate a larger message relating to knowledge and consent. None of the stories read as erotic, more factual and emotion-based.The extensive back matter is invaluable. Websites, further reading in the form of books, articles, even youtube videos are included as well as bios about each of the authors appearing in the book, and a thoughtful interview between the editor and one of the authors that speaks to the mostly negative message teen girls are given about sex as well as info about sex ed programs across the U.S.This book is so important! It's a great book for parents and educators to read before approaching The Talk and it is a fantastic book for teen girls that will arm them with the knowledge they need to make good decisions and stay safe in regards to their sex lives.Highly recommended for parents, teachers, and girls 12 and up.

  • Ashley
    2019-06-13 19:58

    ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.This is a book I wish I had had as a teenager, but I'm so happy it exists now for the new generation. I was very pleased in the range of personal stories told in this anthology. From girls who had their first sexual experience at the age of thirteen to women who had theirs in their twenties. There were stories from queer women (including a transwoman), and women of color. I think the only perspective I felt was missed was from somebody who identified on the asexual spectrum.The resources in the back of the book were great. I especially enjoyed the interview with Kelly Jensen where she recommends great YA feminist books.My only real complaints about this book are 1) I wish it was longer, and 2) I thought the small written sections between each story were a tad cheesy at some points.

  • Chelsey
    2019-06-19 14:43

    What is sex really like? This is a question that plagues most people who have not (yet) had their own sexual experiences. Amber Keyser has thus compiled 17 real stories of people's first times.What's great about this is how real each of these mini-memoirs are and how many different lifestyles are represented: lesbian, straight, queer, and transsexual stories are all included. The authors don't hold back on details, and they aren't shy about their experiences, good, bad, or indifferent. A slight downside is that the book is really only for girls - none of the stories are about male-identifying authors, and it would've been nice to hear from that perspective, as well. Comprehensive resources are included at the end of book.

  • Riina Y.T.
    2019-05-20 18:59

    I highly recommend this book! It's just... one of a kind. Beautifully written, simple yet touching. Loved all the stories, some more I admit and others less. But they all spoke volumes!!! Fantastic work.Some stories were quite funny while others felt really sad somehow. Everyone's first time, or even first few times, are so completely different. I loved seeing other people's experiences and I hope they'll help readers who struggle one way or another. I'm glad there is a book out there like this; thank you.Thank you also for giving me the chance to read it in advance.Much appreciated.

  • Brandi Rae
    2019-06-15 11:43

    This was a really positive look at what it means to have sex for the first time. The stories aren't sugar-coated recollections or horror story cautionary tales; they show a range of diversity, that sex isn't a bad or abnormal thing, and that no one's experiences are ever the same...that only you can know what is right for you (and even then it's okay to question it).I really loved the Beyond the Stories Resource section written by sex educators who work with teens, and the interview with Kelly Jensen where she gives social context food for thought and related books on topics.

  • Jennifer
    2019-05-20 13:53

    This is an important book for girls and women. The V-Word empowers girls to use their own voices to say what they want. The messages about sexuality through media are confusing, so this book offers honest voices about bodies, about sexuality, and about experiences. Bravo to these brave women who have spoken up about such intimate moments in their lives.

  • Lisa
    2019-05-29 14:53

    This book should be required reading for both girls and boys as they enter adolescence. I'd give it to kids as young as 11 or 12, depending on the kid. Parents may not feel that their kids are ready for it, but kids are always ready before their parents are. And the whole point of this book is for readers to be more in the know *before* they are faced with their own "first time."

  • Alanna
    2019-06-06 15:48

    I wish I had this book when I was a teen. It covers a variety of sexual experiences, orientations, and genders. The most important message is empowering young women to unapologetically take control of their sexuality.

  • Emily
    2019-06-04 19:39

    Grades 8 up. This collection of short essays by women focus on the loss of virginity, but also the defining of virginity. An absolute must-read for teens entering sexual maturity, boys and girls alike.

  • Erin
    2019-06-06 12:32

    I picked this up because I'm always interested thoughts on virginity. This was an interesting read. I'm happy they included a story of someone who waited until marriage. Most of the stories were engaging, a few were less so.

  • John
    2019-06-11 16:38

    Excellent book for teens. It aims to empower teens to be knowledgeable, safe, and to enjoy themselves. The book shares a variety of experiences that break down misconceptions and myths many readers may have about sex.

  • Sarah Rosenberger
    2019-05-28 12:36

    A quick, easy read that really embraces the diversity of what losing ones virginity means to different women. The essays showing that first time sex doesn't necessarily mean heterosexual penetration would likely be especially powerful for queer youth and/or victims of sexual assault.