cover image Girl Boner: The Good Girl’s Guide to Sexual Empowerment

Girl Boner: The Good Girl’s Guide to Sexual Empowerment

August McLaughlin. Amberjack, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-944995-71-3

McLaughlin carefully homes in on the myriad ways that mental and physical health connect with sexuality in this uplifting and refreshingly inclusive guide to women’s sexual health based on a podcast of the same name. Combining sex advice with health information, McLaughlin addresses sex work, body image, sexually transmitted diseases, along with topics like masturbation and sex positions, while using language (“person with a vulva” and “person with a penis”) to ensure inclusion of trans and gender-nonbinary people throughout. In a chapter detailing her own personal recovery from anorexia, the author interrogates how lack of sexual empowerment can contribute to body image issues and a damaged sense of self. This message is reinforced later in a profile of the Olympic runner and former escort Suzy Favor Hamilton, who notes that cultivating sex positivity was a crucial part of her recovery from postpartum depression. McLaughlin balances these heavier chapters with lighter fare, including a coloring page, word search, prompts for further reflection, and plenty of illustrations. Equally fun, risqué, and informative, this is a welcome addition to sexual health literature. (Aug.)