Honest Advice About Sex From the Hip Mom You Always Wanted
By Jaclyn Friedman
Seal Press, $17.00, 341 pages
What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety is part workbook, part instruction manual. Divided into eleven chapters, each section meant to be read week-by-week, the book features interesting writing exercises and personal stories of women interviewed by Jaclyn Friedman. The book is geared toward young women in their teens and early twenties (that the title is a line from a Spice Girls song should tell you what to expect here), but older readers will find Friedman’s wit, nurturing tone, and direct approach comforting. Her wisdom and acceptance of female sexuality is like having a hip aunt or grandma on hand to give advice. Friedman even divulges some information about her own sexuality, which creates credibility among her readers. The book is thorough and inclusive of different experiences and identities. While the exercises may not interest readers, they are not integral to benefiting from the best of what the book has to offer: honest, and yes, shame-free advice on how to normalize and navigate the complex arena of sexual desire and activity.
Reviewed by Giovanna Marcus