Lists of Memoirs: Transition from Sexuality to Committed Relationships

by Jerry Waxler

Author of Memoir Revolution: Write Your Story, Change the World and How to Become a Heroic Writer

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
One of the great, original Coming of Age memoirs, in which an Irish boy must figure out every aspect of life on his own, including sexuality.

New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker
A powerful look at a young Mormon woman’s journey from religiously mandated abstinence toward a view of sexuality that works for her.
Link to article

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
At the start of her launching memoir, the young woman is in an unsatisfying relationship with men and drugs, and during her hike she has a one night stand with a guy. At the end of the memoir, she hints that she is ready to look for one guy with whom she can settle down.

The Orchard by Theresa Weir
Her sexual attraction to a man leads to an impulsive marriage. She jump started her life from a sexually liberated one without stable relationships to an instantly committed marriage. Through the book, this old fashioned commitment leads to a stable, serious adulthood.

Booked, Literature in the Soul of Me by Karen Swallow Prior
She uses religion to structure her approach to sexuality, maintaining a commitment to abstinence before marriage, and great sex afterward.
Article: http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/sexual-coming-of-age-in-memoirs/

Naked: Stripped by a Man and by Hurricane Katrina by Julie Freed
She has had lots of sexual experience, just not intercourse. Her premarital virginity offers a fascinating variation to the often religiously mandated abstinence.

Cuba Adios by Lorenzo Martinez
A memoir about one of the orphans created in the great Pedro Pan exodus from Cuba, in addition to finding himself alone, in a new country, he must decipher his sexuality, gradually, through fits and starts, confused not only by the usual challenges but also trying to figure out which gender.

Name All the Animals by Allison Smith
Growing up in a Midwestern town, she tries to come to terms with her brother’s tragic death. Unsettled and struggling to be normal, her sexual experiment turns toward another girl.

Japan Took the JAP Out Me by Lisa Fineberg
When single, she spent all her energy primping and partying. In the memoir, she has left all that behind, moving to Japan with her new husband and making the transition to a young married woman.

Growing up at Grossinger’s by Tania Grossinger
A young woman growing up at her family’s hotel finds her first relationship in forbidden sex with a member of the band. A youthful, committed, clandestine affair that ushered her into a sexual phase of her life.

Unquenchable Thirst by Mary Johnson
By joining Mother Theresa’s religious order, the author bypasses sexuality altogether and marries God.

Love Sick by Sue William Silverman
Sue William Silverman takes promiscuity to an extreme, focusing her memoir Love Sick on the journey through sexual addiction. In her youth, sex was stripped bare of any meaningful emotional interaction. More than just about sex and launching, this is a study in the mental health issues of sexual addiction.

Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back by Frank Schaeffer
He grew up in a Christian commune in Switzerland, and as a young man, trying to grow up, he naturally tried to woo the attractive young apostles who had come there to love God. When he got one of them pregnant, though it changed his life, and he shifted from being a carefree kid to a worldwide fury, helping to focus the political agenda to childbirth. The story intertwines Coming of Age, sex, and politics in a fascinating stew, and adds subtle, insightful perspectives to the endless debate.

Five Men Who Broke My Heart by Susan Shapiro
In an unusual tale of serial monogamy, a New York City girl searching for a perfect mate takes advantage of her husband’s absence to research a story about her former boy friends. The road from child to adult in her case was replete with infatuation, intense sexual commitment, breaking up and doing it again, showing that even after you are in a relationship, your search for authentic completeness might not come to a satisfying conclusion.

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