The birds, the bees and the forthright parent

From what I heard not too long ago from my kids about sex education at their schools, children in the Portland area are getting abbreviated, inadequate information about sex in these classes. Studies show that kids are probably also getting plenty of information from Internet porn. Neither of these options are very good.

I want them to know things that are never talked about in sex ed class-- that sex is supposed to feel good for girls, too. That pornography almost always presents an insanely stylized, but also unimaginative version of sex, and that real sex won’t and shouldn’t look like that. There’s a whole host of conversations to have about our culture’s weird over-sexualization of girls. And what if our kids are different from the norm? Representation matters for young people who are LGBT or gender-nonconforming, for young people with disabilities or bodies of different shapes and sizes.

Clearly, we need to talk to our kids about sex, even though it is perhaps not their favorite subject for a chat with parents. For the questions they would never ask you, there’s a great sex-positive website called scarleteen you can point them to. And, of course, library books can help, too, so I created this list of really good books for kids of all ages.


Your blog post -- especially the part that sex is also supposed to be fun for girls, but for so many other reasons, too-- immediately brought to mind this book: The book is aimed at parents -- or interested adults. I saw the author, Peggy Orenstein, interviewed at a recent live taping of a Live Wire show, and she brought difficult but pressing issues into the light. She has a contemporary feminist, heart-felt, empowering viewpoint. I also recommend listening to her interview on the LiveWire website -- or podcast.

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