The V-Word: True Stories About First-Time Sex by Amber J. Keyser

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.

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