The ‘S’ Word

The S Word

According to the author of this book, boys (pubescent ones, presumably) think about sex all the time, whether they are awake or asleep. I can’t remember if I, when I was growing hairs in new places, thought about sex all the time, but I do remember very well not knowing much about sex.

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While everyone around me seemed to be completely experienced in all things carnal (they probably weren’t but they seemed like they were to me), what I knew about sex sent as far as knowing that it was between a man and a woman (at least in my world) and that the penis and the vagina had to meet half way. I knew it was pleasurable because people in love scenes on TV always seemed to be happy.

In our first year of senior school (what is now Year 7), one day all the boys had to play outside while all the girls went inside for a talk. They came out all sheepish and sworn to secrecy while we asked them what it had been about. We had an idea it was something to do with sex and we felt left out, as though only the female was allowed to be the keeper of the secret.

Millions of boys, probably even today, harbour a secret fear of sex, knowing they have to do it and that they want to do it. Even if they do it they are probably unsure of how to do it properly, or safely.

James Roy’s book, sub-titled A Boy’s Guide To Sex, Puberty and Growing Up, is a no-nonsense approach to countering that problem. Some parents won’t want their kids reading books that talk so openly and use words like “wanking” instead of the more polite “playing with yourself”, but it is talking to boys in a non-patronising way to get them to read it. A lot of the book is written in the style of emails back and forth between two characters. The book looks at masturbation, safe sex, what intercourse actually is, birth control and pornography and what actually counts as pornography. Strong stuff, but then if boys think about sex all the time there’s no point beating about the bush. Pardon the pun.

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