A counsellor of teens for nearly thirty years based in Colorado, USA, Elizabeth Clark was driven to create this book for parents – so that they had something they could pass on to their teen and (ideally) have a tool for initiating discussions on sensitive topics. In her research with teens and their world, she became even more aware of how things have changed for teens in the last ten years. Internet access to porn with its emotional disconnection in sexual encounters and distorted depictions of sexuality has lead to a whole range of disturbing consequences. In this important book, Elizabeth has devised a unique and very effective approach that speaks frankly to the younger reader without condescension or judgement. She has created a nineteen-year-old girl as the book’s narrator. She warns and educates in a style teens will read far more readily than conventional, nonfiction self-help books. In this way,her narrator discusses privately and openly what she has learnt about attraction, feeling sexual, setting limits, abusive situations, respecting yourself and much more.
Elizabeth writes:‘Surveys of teens say they wish their parents would talk to them more about sex. Really. With all their access to everything sexual, why would they care what you had to say? Because most of the stuff they are hearing from movies and TV and porn are fantasies being sold to them as truths. And when they try and emulate these fantasies in real life, they are terribly disappointed and often injured by the experience. Most of them cannot put words to this. Most of them believe this is as good as it gets. Most of them silently think something is wrong with them because they are terrified or simply not enjoying it. I have known many barely eighteen-year-old girls who apathetically say they are finished with sexuality.’
Elizabeth encourages parents to read the book. ‘You can use the information to start discussions. You can also give the book to your teen when you feel they are ready.’ She says that they actually want to talk to us but find it hard. The answer, she has found, is to begin with small steps. First of all you need to create an opening. Ask them, as casually as you can, ‘So, what is going on in your love life?’ Love is a more respectful term to use than ‘sex life’.’
Elizabeth Clark will be conducting print and radio interviews online and via email concerning young people and the Internet.
Foreword by Steve Biddulph
Love, Sex and No Regrets
For some time I have been documenting girls experiences with porn-saturated boys. Girls relate cold, soul-less hook-ups which leave them feeling hurt and used, of sexual bullying and harassment, of not knowing how to say ‘no’, of putting up with sex acts they don’t welcome or enjoy, of feeling like sexual service stations for boys, of emotional disconnection in scenarios where intimacy, tenderness and authentic human connection play no part. ReadingLove, Sex, No Regrets,it seemed the author had spoken to the same girls.
Elizabeth Clarke describes fast, unpleasant, unsatisfying, disconnected sex which offers nothing ‘artful, masterful or even sweet and tender.’ Elizabeth describes sex as ‘a huge part of our spiritual world, our desire for connection, our search for meaning and purpose.’
This long overdue and refreshingly real book will help girls fight back against pornography’s indoctrination, to recognize that bad sexual experiences injure their bodies and minds, to stand up for themselves, to avoid boys who are cruel sexually and socially, and to be empowered and self-caring enough to put their minds, bodies and spirits above impersonal, detached and meaningless sexual transactions. In short to see that sex is, in Elizabeth’s words,too intimate to compromise.
- Melinda Tankard Reist, author, speaker, advocate for women and girls, co-founder Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation. [too much info but if relevant anywhere – 2 of my five books are Getting Real: Challenging the sexualisation of girls and Big Porn Inc: Exposing the harms of the global pornography industry, both Spinifex Press].
‘Elizabeth Clark is the very best sex educator in the world. Her writing on this subject knows no peer. She is especially interested in what parents can do during the sexual awakening years of their children.’– Steve Biddulph
‘This is the book I wish I had when I was a teen. Entertaining, honest, informative and empowering, [it] demystifies love, sex and everything in between.’
– Daria Snadowsky, author of Anatomy of a Boyfriend