Study Guide

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things Sex

By Carolyn Mackler

Sex

Froggy Welsh the Fourth is trying to get up my shirt. (1.1)

What a way for a book to begin, right? One of the big questions of Virginia's life—and thus the book—is whether or not Froggy will ever get there. (Spoiler: he does.)

Froggy has spent the past several minutes fumbling around my shoulder blades. I don't have the guts to inform him that this particular bra unhooks in the front. (1.31)

Why wouldn't Virginia have the guts? Why does she sacrifice her own pleasure to protect Froggy from embarrassment?

"I think she left Byron up to Dad. Can't you picture it?" Anaïs lowered her voice and scratched her chin mannishly. "You need sex ed, son? Here's a pack of condoms. Go out and get some." (2.18)

Double standard much? Not that this excuses what Byron did to Annie, but sex ed for boys sometimes skips over treating girls like people.

She explained that, contrary to everything you see in movies, losing your virginity is sloppy and painful and about as fun as getting your toe amputated, so it should definitely happen with someone you care about. (2.23)

Anaïs is telling it like it is, but the important part is the caring, not the pain.

Go further than skinny girls. Find ways to alert him to this, such as slutty comments peppered into the conversation. If you can't sell him on your body, you'd better overcompensate with sexual perks. (3.11)

This is part of Virginia's "Fat Girl Code of Conduct," and in case you were wondering, it's totally not true.

Byron takes a deep breath. "The theme is 'the more you bare, the less the fare.' The cover charge is ten bucks, but there's a sliding scale depending on how much skin you reveal." (7.69)

Byron doesn't realize that what he's saying to Virginia is a more powerful form of sex education than any book her mom could ever give her.

The kissing was intense from the start. Our lips were open. Our tongues took turns exploring the insides of each other's mouths. (8.14)

Before she learns about Byron, Virginia is enjoying sex as mutually fun exploration. It's only when she learns it can also be forceful that it starts to seem sinister.

The next thing she knew, Byron was rolling on a condom. She said no, but he was already inside of her. She told him to stop, but his eyes were closed as he pumped into a body that didn't feel like hers anymore. (15.53)

Dissociation, or leaving your body, is one way a rape victim can survive being raped; once the act is over, though, the body begins to remember.

The idea of any guy, even Froggy, coming near me makes my skin crawl. It reminds me too much of my brother and that girl. (16.24)

Sometimes the victim isn't the only person whose head is messed up by a rape.