WHAT ARE YOU USING? by Andrea Balis


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A serious, down-to-business guide for teenagers who don't want to wade through love, marriage, VD, homosexuality, and other topics usually included in teenage sex guides. (They will, however, be subjected to the usual peer-group discussions at the end of every chapter: ""It's pretty amazing, all those hormones"" . . . ""I used to think condoms were creepy, but reading about them makes me feel different"". . . ""It's a turn-on, talking like this."") Balis makes clear at the beginning that ""If you are going to have sex, you have to think about birth control""--though many teenagers, whether ""puritanical"" (embarrassed to talk about it) or ""romantic"" (afraid to spoil the ""mystery"") are irresponsible in this regard. Reminding readers that they don't have to stick with one method forever, she emphasizes that ""you"" must decide what form to use; but she is not above pointing out that nonmechanical forms (withdrawal and rhythm) are unreliable despite recent improvements on the latter, or that automatic methods (the Pill and IUDs) can have serious side effects and disadvantages. Balis takes care to stipulate what each method and product can and can't do, how each is to be used, when one type or brand is more reliable, and when the instructions on packages are insufficient. Abortions at various stages are also discussed, ""not as a form of birth control but as a backup if your method fails."" A word about where to go for prescription contraceptives would have been helpful--Planned Parenthood is not mentioned, though many teens can't or won't consult their family doctors. What is here, though, can form the basis for informed, responsible decisions.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Dial