Alumna publishes book about sex at Kent State

unintentionally celibate

unintentionally celibate

Felicia Guadagni

Whether it’s over lunch with the girls or flexing muscles with your bros, countless stories of sexual endeavors (or lack thereof) are told in one way or another. One Kent State graduate chose to tell hers by writing them down in a book, titled “Unintentionally Celibate,” with many of its stories having taken place on Kent State’s campus.

In her debut comedic book, Olive Persimmon humorously downplays the notion that everyone is having sex all the time.

“The book is about all the fabulous sex I’m not having,” Persimmon said.

The Stow native, who now resides in New York City, graduated from Kent State in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Her editorial beginnings started when she shared a story with her co-workers about a date gone awry that involved her choking on a hotdog. Finding the story hilarious, her co-workers urged her to write it down. This served as the catalyst to Persimmon’s book, “Unintentionally Celibate.”

But writing a book revolving around sex is different than writing a story about choking on a hotdog while on a first date, Persimmon said, as she had many reservations about it.

“At every point in the process, I was terrified that my family or old professors would not be happy with what I was writing or not respect me,” Persimmon said. “It is really easy to not care about what people you don’t care about think, but you care a lot about the opinions of people you do care about.”

However, Persimmon gained her mother’s pride and approval, and her outlook on writing the book changed.

“I figured out there was so much power in speaking your truth,” Persimmon said. “Everyone has a thought about sex; they just don’t talk about it. Owning what happens to you and writing about it takes away the shame and embarrassment.”

Persimmon said that it took her a while to get to the point in which she could write about her own sex life without any reservations, which is the reason that the book was such a long work in progress.

“It is empowering once you get to that point, though,” Persimmon said. “It just took me a really long time to get to that point.”

Persimmon said she, essentially, leads a sort-of double life, “wearing suits during the day and writing books at night.”

The name, “Olive Persimmon,” is actually her pen name, which gives her the ability to balance work as a communication consultant and as an author of a book about sex. Persimmon said she hasn’t mastered the ability to balance her two personas perfectly, but she does it because she feels the need to speak her truth.

“In one life, I wear my suit and am very professional and work with my clients,” Persimmon said. “At night, I write my book about sex. But it happened naturally when I was at Kent. It was my nerd persona and was just great fun for me and my friends to joke around with.”

“Unintentionally Celibate” has received 4.71 out of 5 stars on Goodreads and 5 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, yet Persimmon said she tries not to check the reviews too often.

“It feels amazing to know it’s doing well because I put a lot of love and energy into it. The validation is nice, but you can’t be obsessive about it and check it every day and fall apart if people don’t like it,” Persimmon said. “One thing I learned at the end of writing the book is that you can’t create content for the validation of others.”

From her book, Persimmon said she hopes readers will understand the importance of speaking your own personal truth and not being embarrassed or ashamed of their true selves.

“My platform in life is to own things and laugh about them,” Persimmon said. “I hope it makes people know they’re not alone in their weirdness.”

Contact Felicia Guadagni at [email protected].