Title: Sexplained one – sex and Your Health
Author: Helen J Knox
Publisher: KNOX Publishing
Reviewer: Sue Southworth, research nurse, Ophthalmology
What was it like?
The book contains short pieces of information about various aspects of sexual health and disease. There appears to be a focus on disease, with a number of colour plates illustrating various skin, genital and oral conditions. It covers almost all subjects scantily. A link to further information on some of these subjects would have been useful.
Each small section of the book has a response from the author to a (presumably fictional) letter. These are interesting and perhaps include information that would be difficult to place elsewhere.
What were the highlights?
The short pieces of information do mean than it is accessible. However the Sexplained Column Topic Guide didn’t make clear to what each topic referred and the layout and contents list were slightly confusing.
Strengths & weaknesses:
There appeared to be an overarching prurience/ moral overtone to the book, especially in the first few pages. There are no sources cited to substantiate claims such as “many men get HIV from unprotected one night stands”, in the book. However, this would perhaps be misplaced in this book.
Who should read it?
The back of the book suggests that this is for parents. The book provides an insight into issues of gender, sex and sexuality: I failed to find this in the book.
I certainly didn’t feel that I was the target audience (never having called periods “the curse” seemed to sideline me) nor was I convinced by the claims for teenagers and parents finding much to enlighten them. There is shock value in the book and there may, indeed be an audience for this.
I would imagine there are clearer guides written for health professional and so I am not convinced by them as a target audience either.
Overall, I found the book confusing and difficult to navigate. Some of the language and analogies used were disturbing and to my mind served to reinforce the moral overtones I felt in large sections of the book.