If we’re completely honest with ourselves, health classes in the United States are a mess. There are no set requirements for curriculum at the federal or state level, which leads to wild variations in the health education kids receive—while students in New York State may be watching graphic slideshows on STDs, students in Indiana may be watching videos with strong “abstinence only” messages. The lack of continuity in information being provided to American kids is alarming, and it can lead to serious issues in their adult lives.
Enter Hannah Witton, British YouTuber and sex educator. Her debut book, “Doing It! Let’s Talk About Sex”, is a comprehensive guide to sex, relationships, and a number of other topics in between.
And it is precisely the sort of book adolescent Americans ought to be reading.
Engaging, sensitive, and thoughtful, Witton’s book addresses not only the ins and outs of sex, its benefits, and its risks, but also focuses in on more specific topics of significant modern importance, like consent (and, along with it, rape and abusive relationships), explanations of different identities in the LGBTQ+ community and personal narratives from some of its members, and the concept of body image within our heavily digitized-publicized-criticized world. In the new American edition of the book, Witton incorporates statistics specific to the United States in order to provide her readers across the pond with a more personally relevant reading experience.
“Doing It!” allows for readers to learn about a wide variety of subjects in a non-judgmental, pro-fact manner, thus enabling them to make their own informed decisions when it comes to how they conduct themselves within their own lives and in their interactions with others. Rather than being at the mercy of their school districts, young American readers in particular will gain enough of an overview of the subjects that may not be covered in their health classes to approach their real-life encounters with more openmindedness and with greater empathy.
This book could not have made its way to the United States at a better time. While many are enjoying more freedom in the way they lead their lives than ever before, we are also in the middle of an era of great national uncertainty, fear, anger, and misunderstanding. Although Witton is not an American, the publication of “Doing It!” was timely for readers in both her country and ours. Her charm and natural tendency toward kindness is palpable throughout the work, and it is an attitude that deserves recognition– to have that sort of voice be a source of guidance for adolescents in this day and age is invaluable.
Overall, I give “Doing It!” by Hannah Witton 4.5/5 stars.