Updated: Oct 23
(Suggested) interest age: 13-18
(suggested) reading age: 13+
Themes: #guide #fact #sex #healthandwellbeing #teen
Age restriction: 14+ (according to publisher)
The official, no-nonsense sex syllabus and guide to life you always wanted. From the Netflix sensation SEX EDUCATION, with a foreword from the show's creator, Laurie Nunn. Perfect for introducing the new Welsh Curriculum topics in Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) and ideal for secondary school children, young adults and parents!
With the very last series of Sex Education just released on Netflix this month, this feels like the perfect opportunity to discuss the Secs ac ati (Sex and stuff) guide. It only took us a few days to watch the entire season, and now that it’s all over, we don’t know what to do!
In her foreword to the volume, Laurie Nunn - the programme's creator - states that the book is a safe space for all the young people, especially those who had boring or poor Sex Education lessons at school.
I may not be the exact target audience for this one, being now in my thirties and having just become a first-time mum, but I feel strongly about the sex education lessons I received at school- they certainly left a lot of room for improvement! So when I saw this book, I was intrigued to say the least.
A book like this would have been great when I was a teenager, and I think it will be a great asset for anyone, especially young people who are trying to learn more about relationships, sexuality, the body, mental health, STI’s, safe sex and much more.
Firstly, I have to say I'm pleased to see that so many modern sex and relationship related topics are being discussed here. Okay, so there’s a lot of information here, but the book is well laid out, full of colour, illustrations and references to the characters from the tv show. It is therefore, very easy on the eyes and overall, an easy read. This is because it has been written in clear, modern, informal Welsh and has managed to avoid using too many difficult, unfamiliar Welsh words.
Let’s be clear here, there are very few Welsh books out there that discuss sex in such a casual, natural manner. Welsh is after all, ‘iaith y nefoedd’ [the language of heaven], but it’s sadly not a language that I felt I could easily use to talk about sex and such things. Some Welsh words and the translations of some terms can sound clumsy, awkward and unnatural. I’m just thinking back to those old science textbooks from school! By choosing the translator/adapter carefully, they’ve managed to avoid some cringey and outdated terms. Llio Maddocks is no stranger to talking publicly about sex, and she was the perfect person to adapt this to the Welsh language. She’s done a cracking job to be fair!
Back when I was in school, the sex ed lessons weren’t great tbh. I’ve got a vague recollection of a teacher demonstrating how to put a condom on using a banana. I can’t say I remember much more than that. There simply weren’t enough resources for us at the time and the information we received was pretty thin on the ground. Where were the conversations about gender, identity, self-image, consent, healthy relationships and things like that? Whilst there's always room for improvement even today, I'm glad to see that things are different now. Young people are more willing to discuss gender issues openly, and they seem to be more informed about sex overall. Even the Welsh Government has recently stepped up and reformed the sex education curriculum, so that it now includes a lot more info about healthy relationships.
Another topic I'm pleased to see featured in the guide is sexting and sex in the online world. It’s extremely important that young people know how to stay safe online and know that it is now illegal to share any sexual photos of someone without their consent.
If you're fans of Sex Education (which has been an incredibly popular series), and are aged 14-18, I think you'll appreciate this book, which keeps the light and funny vibe of the tv show whilst tackling the topics that young people are too embarrassed to talk to their parents about!
My only concern is that when books are linked with a TV series, there's a tendency for things to move on quickly. I wonder if young people will still be talking about Sex Education in 5-10 years’ time? Who knows? Ties to popular TV series do help 'shift' book products I’m sure, but my concern is that it can make a book seem out of date quicker than others. I’m guessing the book was 'written between the first and second seasons, which means that many of the new characters are missing. This does not, however, detract too much from what is otherwise a superbly informative read. It really would be a shame if the book wasn't widely purchased, because it's really worth reading. Grab a copy- you’ll definitely learn something new!