Author Guest Post

The V-Word Series: You are Brave. You are Worthy. You are Good.

March 3, 2016
The Riveted Team
YA Fiction Is Our Addiction

The V-Word is an honest and poignant collection of essays from seventeen women about losing their virginity in their teens.  Five of the contributing authors had a little more to say beyond what they’ve included in the book and we’ll be sharing their guest posts every Thursday throughout March. This post is the first of five and comes to us from author Amber J. Keyser who both edited and contributed to The V-Word.

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The V-Word begins with this dedication—“For all the young women crossing the threshold: You are brave. You are worthy. You are good.”

And this, more than anything, is what I want young women to take from The V-Word.

You are brave.

Because being in a woman’s body requires bravery. Too many people want to tell us what to do and how to do it. It takes courage to find your own path, to say no or to say yes, and to be the hero of your own story.

You are worthy.

Because each and everyone of us deserves to be loved and respected. You are not a throw-away. You are not here for someone else’s pleasure. You are essential. Your story matters.

You are good.

Because it’s okay to be horny. It’s okay to get hot. Some people might throw labels your way—slut, prude, bad girl. But shake that off. Sexuality is part of being human, shame should not be.

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In The V-Word, seventeen women, including me, write about our first sexual experiences. Every story is true. Each is different. Taken together, they reveal so many possibilities—queer and straight, relished and regretted, fun and forgettable.

We worked hard during the writing process to capture the explicit physicality of our experiences. For many of us, there was a temptation to gloss over the actual sex, but through the back and forth process of editing the book, we pushed ourselves to explain in precise detail, as Karen Jensen wrote, “Exactly how you could insert Tab A into Slot B.”

We also tried to capture the meaning of our experiences at the time and now at the distance of some years. Sometimes, this was straightforward like in Sidney Joaquin-Vetromile’s story: “It was the first time I had ever made someone moan. I felt capable, powerful.” Other writers struggled through draft after draft, trying to make sense of what had happened to them.

For me, as the editor of the collection, each and every one of these conversations was a gift. This book was born out of a desire to create a space where girls and women could talk about openly and honestly about sex. The women who contributed their stories began the dialogue. Where it goes from here is up to you!

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Amber J. Keyser did not anticipate writing a book about sex for young adults. In fact, she’s always been closemouthed about her own sexual history, but through her work on The V-Word, she came to believe that engaging in honest conversations about sex with young people is her responsibility as a parent and as a woman. Everyone deserves a deeply pleasurable and wholly chosen sex life. That doesn’t happen by accident. Amber’s other work includes numerous nonfiction titles and the young adult novel The Way Back from Broken (Carolrhoda Lab, 2015). She can be reached by email at Information about upcoming appearances can be found on her website at

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Read an Excerpt from The V-Word:

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