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Get “Laid”

Posted by inkpop on October 15, 2009

Book paints realistic portrait of young sex lives

My mom delivered the “sex talk”—complete with anatomical diagrams—when I was 10 years old. As a shy kid, I was mortified with embarrassment.LaidCover

A couple of years later, my middle-school health teacher kicked the sex-ed mortification up a notch by showing my class an STDs-awareness video with close-ups of genitals contaminated with chlamydia, herpes, and syphilis. Needless to say, Miss M succeeded in her mission to delete the fun factor of sex.

Enter Laid: Young People’s Experiences with Sex in an Easy-Access Culture, a collection of positive and very real essays about teen trials and tribulations with hormones and emotions. Representing a growing movement in progressive sexual education, Laid aims to arm readers “with the information, hindsight, and confidence to pursue an amazing sex life.”

Laid’s 40-plus writers, who range in age from 18 to 25, contribute reflective essays, poetry, and letters that range the gamut of teen experiences: first loves, messy makeout sessions, unhealthy hookups, budding relationships, and unwanted pregnancy.

“The basement smelled like sex—that thick, musty scent that sits in the air and clings to everything it touches,” writes editor Shannon Boodram, a young journalist whose credits include working with sex educator Sue Johanson. And so launches Laid’s myriad tones: candid, steamy, scary, and sometimes funny.Boodram_Shannon

In “Wonder Woman,” a 16-year-old Amethyst embarks on a virginity-losing adventure to an older guy—and nearly gets caught in the act. In “Checkmate,” Adam Smith makes a split-second decision to have unprotected sex, and gets HPV in the process. The chapter called “When No! Loses All Meaning” takes on the hard-hitting topic of rape, and the final chapter, “Save Your Cherry … Or Banana” closes out the book with thoughts on abstinence.

Not all of Laid’s contributions are grade-A literary quality, but that’s not the goal. The 300-page book does, however, succeed in what it set out to accomplish—an honest depiction of the good and bad sides of sex, without finger-waving, preaching, or guilt trips.

If only I’d had this resource as a teenager, I could have saved myself dozens of quirky questions and murky misconceptions about the pleasures and downfalls of one life’s most multifaceted natural functions.

inkpop Forums Question: Do you have an open dialog about sex with a partner, friends, and family?

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