Author’s Note

My mom was always open with me about sex. When I was eleven years old, she sat me down on my bed and said, “You can ask me anything you want about sex. Anything!” Before that moment, I had accidentally seen a book of sex positions, looked up orgasm in the dictionary, and read a book rife with incest by V.C. Andrews. I felt pretty educated. But, there was something I still wanted to know. So I asked my mom, “How often do you and Daddy have sex?” My mom took a deep breath, “That, I can’t tell you. That’s personal.”  

I grew up on City Island in the Bronx, New York. When my best friend and I were sixteen, we snuck into Manhattan to go dancing at clubs using fake IDs. Once, I met an older college guy and he drove to our house to visit me. He wasn’t allowed in my bedroom, so we took a walk. I don’t want to tell you what happened when we went into the schoolyard. But, I do want to write about it anonymously in this book. And I also want to write about my first time, an STI scare, and how much fun I once had in the back of a taxi. 

The summer before I started high school, the book, Our Bodies, Ourselves, moved from my older sister’s shelf to mine. It was full of real people’s stories about first times, masturbation, and self-esteem. I cherished it—so much so that I also bought teen magazines just to read the sections where readers wrote in their most embarrassing moments: A period stain in math class, farting on a date, a French kiss gone wrong. These made me feel less alone. 

For many years, I imagined making an entire book of stories like those—frank, real, warm, personal stories about sex, bodies, sexuality, and so much more. But I sat on the book proposal for a long time because I was scared. I didn’t know if I could be the editor of a book about sex, especially when I was no expert. I didn’t know if I would be able to convince enough people to share their experiences. And, I didn’t know if a publisher would believe in the concept. But, I started pitching it to friends and colleagues at social gatherings. “Oh! I’ve got a story for your book!” many of them would say. People were eager to be a part of it. They told me stories that were funny, sad, scary and surprising. They told me tales about sex work, fetishes, abusive relationships, threesomes, their pregnancy, and visiting sex clubs. Sometimes I asked them if I could record their accounts and we’d move to the back of the bar where it was quieter. I would turn on my phone’s voice memo. Once I collected enough stories, I knew there was no turning back.

I’m so happy to be sharing this project with you. I can’t wait to hear your stories.