A guide for adolescent readers explores the intricacies of sex and romance.
Alexander’s (Creating Your Life, 2018, etc.) compact manual acknowledges at the outset that there’s often a problem with the way young people are instructed about the two subjects that excite their curiosity the most: sex and love. As the author points out, they are often given stern warnings and vague generalizations but nothing specific or helpful. His book attempts to rectify this problem, laying out clearly worded basics on everything from sex to dating to marriage to the fundamental differences—biological, mental, and emotional—between boys and girls. At every stage of the guide, Alexander takes a step back in order to look at the big picture of what he’s discussing, and, as in his other books, he then shapes the outlines of that picture with the Socratic method of asking a series of clarifying questions. Under the heading of maintaining healthy communications in marriages and long-term relationships, for example, readers are asked, “Do you actively listen to your beloved? Do you maintain eye contact and respond thoughtfully? Do you and your beloved engage in regular activities together? Do you share pleasures?” At the heart of Alexander’s comments about sex is his insistence that it is an intoxicant, something that can impair judgment as certainly and negatively as alcohol. His call to action is the same here as in his other manuals: “Are you ready to do the hard work of transforming yourself into a different kind of person?” The advice in these pages is generally keen and perceptive, although there are odd lapses, particularly in the chapter “What Girls Should Know About Boys,” which delivers a long string of oddly ad hominem generalizations about boys—that they have little problem forgetting about girls immediately after sex; that they don’t perceive indirect communication; etc. Parents of boys will likely find these kinds of assertions confusing. But the bulk of the guide’s advice is invaluable, particularly for young readers in search of clear answers.
A direct and no-nonsense manual to help young people navigate the world of intimacy.