Planned Parenthood has “Tool Kits” for talking to kids of all ages.
Talk to Me First. Deborah Roffman's book is for anyone who wants to be an "askable parent."
Beyond Birds & Bees: Bringing Home a New Message to Our Kids About Sex, Love, and Equality, A thoughtful, funny, lovely inquiry into how normalizing discussions of human sexuality with kids of all ages leads to their better health and success as well as creating a foundation for gender equality.
For parents and teachers of kids 0-12:
From Diapers to Dating, by Debra Haffner. Haffner is a Unitarian Universalist minister and former head of the Sexual Information and Education Council of the U.S. Her book, organized from birth through age 12, is both practical and comforting.
For parents and teachers of teens:
Shafia Zaloom’s book Sex Teens & Everything in Between is the essential read for parents of teens of any gender (and for the kids themselves)
Everyone, parents, teens, educators, doctors needs to read Heather Corinna’s essay, “An Immodest Proposal” IMMEDIATELY. NOW! DON’T WAIT!
For Goodness Sex by Al Vernacchio, who coined the pizza metaphor! Vernacchio's book is inclusive and progressive, promoting healthy sexuality, values, and body image in young people.
"The Talk: How Adults Can Promote Young People's Healthy Relationships and Prevent Misogyny and Harassment."
A MUST READ report on teenagers from Making Caring Common, a project of the Harvard School of Education, with great data--and great solutions. You can access a free webinar on “The Talk” here (Also check out their video series on “Teens and Ethical Romantic Relationships”)
Parents of boys will want to read Challenging Casanova which debunks the myth of the sex-crazed teen boy.
10 Tips on Talking About Healthy Relationships with Teens from Futures Without Violence
Break the Cycle’s resources for parents and educators on dating violence and healthy relationships. Breaking Up is Hard to Do How to help your child engage in best break-up practices (Tip: don't do it via text)
Here's another list of recommendations from Ronnie's Awesome List.
FOR CHILDREN AND PRE-TEENS
Any of the books by Robie Harris: It's Not the Stork (ages preschool-3rd grade); It's So Amazing (kindergarten-4th grade) and It's Perfectly Normal (1st grade and up). Harris' books are fabulous resources for the basics about reproduction, healthy relationships, sexuality, anatomy etc. They are the books to have on hand before your child asks, "Where did I come from?"
AMAZE.org takes the "awkward" out of sex ed for the puberty set. Real info in fun, animated videos that give all the answers they actually want to know about sex, body relationships and even porn.
What's Happening to My Body (which has girl and the boy versions--get them both, regardless of your child's gender!) by Lynda Madaras is an excellent resources for kids on all the changes they are going through emotionally and physically at puberty. You can get them both for your child to give him/her insight into what's going on with the other sex--and how much is similar between them.
Dating Smarts: What Every Teen Needs To Know To Date, Relate Or Wait is a primer on dating, relationships and sex, including real-world tips and support.
FOR HIGH SCHOOL & COLLEGE STUDENTS
S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties by Heather Corinna. If you're going to get your teen (male or female) one book on sex this is it. It is the Our Bodies, Ourselves for a new generation.
American Hookup by Lisa Wade. Best book ever on hookup culture--and how it might become more benevolent.
We often say that party hook-up culture is dominated by the white and affluent. But what does it mean for students of color and those who are less affluent? They are the ones, this important book argues, left Paying for the Party .
In Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters-and How to Get it a sex therapist reveals the politics of the “orgasm gap” and offers concrete advice on how women and girls can feel entitled to pleasure and develop their sexual communication skills.
For specifics on navigating sex and relationships as a guy (in addition to the resources above for all teens) Check out Dating and Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Teen Boy .
Also check out Respect, straight talk from a Swedish (male) sex educator for guys. I mean, the dude is Swedish, that automatically makes him an expert on ethical, joyful sexuality, right?
To counter the porn habit, Emily Nagoski (see below) also suggests feminist-inflected romance novels (here’s a list to start with). I know. Sounds weird. But the romance genre isn’t what it used to be, and the sex scenes are both satisfyingly explicit and emphasize mutual pleasure.
“She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman” is a men’s guide to female pleasure great for both the young and the not-so-young. A fantastic reality check to the porn perspective. Guys, every partner you ever have will thank you for reading this book.
Heather Corinna (author of S.E.X., above) is the producer of the equally excellent resource, the web site Scarleteen. Progressive, accurate and friendly sex education and information for teens and young adults!
sexetc.org, Sex education by teens, for teens. Info on birth control, condoms, HIV/AIDS & STDs, pregnancy and more. Sex, Etc. is published by Answer.
In Six Minute Sex Ed (which has multiple episodes) Kim Cavill explains it all for you.
Check out Lindsey Doe’s Sexplanations videos—for teens and adults.
Confi Another fantastic resource!
Juicebox Sex ed. There's an app for that.
Go Ask Alice, Alice is not one person, but a team of Columbia University health care specialists along with a staff of researchers and writers.
Emily Nagoski's TED talks, "Unlocking the Door to Your Own Sexual Well-Being," and “The Truth About Unwanted Arousal” as well as her blog, "The Dirty Normal," and her amazing, MUST, MUST READ book Come As You Are.
OMGYes is a subscription-based service on the science of female pleasure. You are supposed to be over 18 to watch its videos, which are explicit, but not pornographic, and in which real women discuss and demonstrate techniques that enhance pleasure and orgasm. SO MUCH BETTER than letting your teen learn from watching porn on the internet, isn't it?
The Halls A video series about 3 young men and their struggles sifting through relationships, trauma, masculinity and their own identities.
This is a great clip about sexual racism: the gendered reasons that African American women and Asian men are marginalized as romantic and sexual partners.
This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids is exactly what it sounds like. Plus, author Kristin Russo is co-host with singer-songwriter Jenny Owen Youngs of the best podcast ever: Buffering the Vampire Slayer!
Here's another great primer on raising gay and bisexual teens from Seattle Children's Hopsital Research Foundation
Raising the Gender Creative Child, by Diane Eherensaft. Nurturing and supporting children whose identity is not defined by their birth certificates.
The Family Acceptance Project is especially geared towards those whose religious beliefs or cultural heritage feels in
conflict with their child's sexuality. The common ground? All parents want to decrease risk, increase support and ensure our children's well-being.
A Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson is exactly what it title says it is: plus it's in comic book form.
GLSEN offers an array of LGBTQ+ inclusive curricula for educators
***Please don’t forget: all the info on consent and dating violence applies to LGBTQ+ kids as well—in fact rates of dating violence among such teens are higher than among their cis/hetero peers!
For Young People:
LOTS of Resources from Advocates for Youth
Trevor Space is a safe, online community for young people 13-24.
Girl Sex 101 is a wonderful, positive, comprehensive guide for girls who have same sex partners. And those who have other sex partners as well. And, heck, everyone else, too!
CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN COMMuniTIES
Sex, God & the Conservative Church: Erasing Shame from Sexual Intimacy is great for clinicians treating struggling clients as well as those within Conservative Church communities seeking a positive relationship to sexuality while retaining their faith.
General Reading AND resources on Boys AND MASCULINITY:
Decoding Boys A guide to supporting your son through puberty and beyond from pediatrician Cara Natterson
A Better Man The actor, comedian and writer Michael Ian Black writes from the heart about raising good guys. If this book doesn’t make you cry, nothing will.
How to Raise a Boy a guide to raising young men of character who are nurturing, emotionally resilient and empathic
Masterminds & Wingmen a groundbreaking book on understanding boys by the author of Queen Bees and Wannabes. Also check out her book on this for boys themselves, The Guide: Managing Douchebags, Recruiting Wingmen and Attracting Who You Want
Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys A classic. For good reason
Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood Again, a classic. An absolute classic.
Guyland What I like about Guyland is that it’s about older dudes, really just after college, and shows how all of that gradual masculine conditioning has stunted their essential emotional growth.
The Crisis of Connection This book is about boys’ friendships—how they make them, how they long for them, how to preserve them.
Plan International, which works on issues around healthy masculinity, offers this tip sheet for parents for raising sons to embrace healthy, positive masculinity.
Meanwhile, if you are struggling to explain male privilege: Every Day Feminism to the rescue!
For a more comprehensive, yet still easily digestible, discussion of masculinity take a peek at Is Masculinity Toxic.
And, of course Tony Porter’s riveting TED Talk, “A Call to Men”
If your son is considering going Greek, you (and he) must read Caitlin Flanagan’s article, “The Dark Power of Fraternities.”
If your son is an athlete, I strongly encourage you to bring Coaching Boys Into Men to the athletic program in your community and his school. Coaches: you can make a huge difference!
A conversation guide to talking to your child about sexual assault and consent from Confi.
Cartoon: “No ‘I’ in Sex” Great cartoon on masculinity and consent. Especially good for boys!
This comic strip is great, too: "What If We Treated All Consent Like Society Treats Sexual Consent?" (for curse word-free version click here)
As always, Scarleteen is here for you with this long but crucial explanation for teens.
Planned Parenthood does great videos (see below) but also has this clear and concise web page on consent.
Videos for teens:
Why consent is like a cup of tea? (this is best for younger kids) . Or maybe you like ping pong better.
Planned Parenthood has put out a great series of free videos on consent including:
1. "How do you know if someone wants to have sex with you?"
2. “When Someone Isn’t Quite Sure If They Want To Have Sex”
3. “When Someone Doesn’t Want To Have Sex”
4. “When Someone Definitely Wants To Have Sex”
I also love the F*ck yes video series. It’s R-rated—or maybe a hard PG-13, you judge—which is great because if there was every a tutorial on sexy consent, this is it.
10 Things to End Rape Culture
Chanel Miller’s book, Know My Name is devastating, important and a must-read for adults and teens of any gender. Minimally, though, everyone should hear her read her victim impact statement. You will never be the same.
Another life-changer that all teens should read: this letter published in the Harvard Crimson by the women who were targeted in the sexual “scouting report” circulated among the men’s soccer team.
And for what has been called a “master class on apology” have your kids listen to this episode of This American Life about Dan Harmon, creator of Rick & Morty and Community, who sexually harassed Megan Ganz, a female colleague and attempted to destroy her career.
Six Short Films on Sexual Harassment (by David Schwimmer)
Stop Sexual Assault in Schools has a great tool kit and other educational/activist resources, including videos on such things as bystander intervention.
For educators, Who Are You? sells a tool kit on sexual assault prevention and ethical decision-makers. There is also some free content that parents and students can access.
Love is Respect and Break the Cycle offer great resources on dating abuse among high school and college students
Stop Street Harassment provides ideas for community action and education around catcalling.
University of New Hampshire has a fantastic curriculum called “Bringing in the Bystander” that promotes pro-active peer behavior.
Impact Justice, a national resource center advancing new ideas for justice reform, offers this outstanding tool kit for those who want to know more about RJ
The Little Book of Restorative Justice is a great place to start in thinking about an RJ program in high school or college.
SELF-OBJECTIFICATION, BODY IMAGE, MEDIA LITERACY
Great videos for teens:
TEDx Video: An Epidemic of Beauty Sickness
Rachel Bloom: “Put Yourself First in a Sexy Way" (PG-13)
Rachel Bloom: “The Sexy Getting Ready Song” (PG-13)
Dove “Evolution” video
For Boys: “Wet Dreams and False Images” trailer
One of my favorite books ever that takes the long view of girls and body image in America for interested adults and older teens is Joan Jacobs Brumberg's, The Body Project.
CLOTHING & DRESS CODES:
Heather Corinna at Scarleteen, as usual, has your back. Here’s a great essay for your teen (or pre-teen) to read.
Hot Girls Wanted (Age 18+) is a much-needed reality check on the "amateur porn industry."
The New York Times Magazine did a major cover story on kids and porn.
The website Make Love Not Porn offers a great guide on Porn World vs Real World sex. Super useful for parents and teachers. A way to talk about porn without, you know, looking at porn (though please know that the site itself is an adult content site). Founder Cindy Gallup gives a great TED Talk on how pornography is distorting how young men think about sex.
7 Tips for Talking to Kids About Porn from Common Sense Media
"How to Have the Porn Talk" from Culture Reframed
This is a useful article from the New York Times about age-appropriate way to talk to your kids.
This Daily Show skit is raunchy and perhaps does not question actual porn as much as it might but it does point out the racism in porn, which is something that teens neither think about nor will find acceptable. Probably older high school and/or college age
SEX ED CURRICULA:
You may be wondering what "comprehensive sexuality education" from a rights-based perspective means, or what it entails. Well, The Guttmacher Institute's got you covered with its fantastic, 9-page, PDF handout!
Population Council's It's All One, a free, human-rights based curriculum for high school students.
Our Whole Lives from the Unitarian/Universalist church, offers curricula for ages 5-68 (and training for leaders). It is available low-cost from the church web site.
Advocates for Youth’s Rights. Respect. Responsibility is excellent and available free in English and Spanish)
Our Whole Lives, a sexuality education curriculum by The Unitarian Universalist Association is the gold standard, and available to all, with or without the optional religious supplement, at a nominal fee.
How Do You Tell if Someone Wants to Have Sex With You? This curriculum is free and includes some terrific videos.
Who Are You? A free toolkit that uses group exercises and a short film to help young people, 15+ about the prevention of sexual violence and ethical decision making.
For more IDEAS, CHECK out This list of resources from the Center for Sex Education
FABULOUS SPEAKERS FOR YOUR SCHOOL OR COMMUNITY GROUP:
Charis Denison, featured in the final chapter of Girls & Sex, is a national consultant with decades of classroom experience working with teenagers. She is available to consult with schools, community groups and private individuals/groups.
Shafia Zaloom is another educator with decades of classroom experience. She currently teaches part time at Urban High School in San Francisco is particularly effective on consent curricula and porn education
Deborah Roffman is great on talking to adults about how to be an “askable parent.”