Back in the day, when I was doing volunteer work for the Center for Sex Ed, I put together weekly news roundups for their blog. And while there was sometimes good news — a piece of progressive legislation pushed through, at long last — more often, it was rage-inducing. Stories of rights being stripped away. Stories of sex ed curricula being made even more restrictive. Stories … [Read more...] about Full Disclosure: Sex Ed in the News | Sept. 2020
"So what's going on with your vagina?" is a question my 6-year-old daughter casually asked recently as she strolled into my home office. I did a double-take, but it was quick. After all, I write about sex for a living and, well, sometimes, vaginas just … come up. "Oh, nothing. My vagina is fine," I said, just as casually. "OK," she said and wandered off. I am … [Read more...] about Most Sex Ed Stresses Abstinence. Here’s How Parents Can Fill in the Gaps.
To me, sexuality educators are superheroes. The work they do is so essential. I find it so important, in fact, that I've sometimes thought of becoming a certified sexuality educator myself. I'm better in writing, though, and the thought of getting up in front of a classroom full of students is terrifying. Still, the journalism I do around sex ed advocacy doesn't feel like … [Read more...] about Sex Educator Spotlight: Nadine Thornhill
A billion years ago (8 years? more?), I began to write my reported memoir on female sexuality and rape culture. At the time, the book focused on how I had become a sex writer in order to fix what I saw as my own brokenness and sexual dysfunction. A few years after that, however, I became pregnant with my daughter. Suddenly, I was no longer writing about this private pain of … [Read more...] about Why Comprehensive Sex Ed Is the Hill This Mom Will Die On
When Rhonda Johnson was growing up, her mom didn’t talk to her about sex, and the education offered in her Boston school emphasized abstinence. Rhonda, now a 46-year-old mother of three, finds that not much has changed. As a result of her frustration around school-based sexuality education, she took an active role in educating her 22-year-old daughter Mariah and her other … [Read more...] about Why Parents Fear ‘The Talk’ and What Kids Want Out of It
This past April, the North Carolina Values Coalition organized a Sex Ed Sit-Out in order to fight what they called “radical, graphic, tax-payer funded, gender-bending sex education.” Protests occurred across the U.S., and also in England, Canada, and Australia. Along with the sit-out, the organization circulated a petition that garnered nearly 60,000 signatures, speaking out … [Read more...] about The Moral Panic Behind Sex Ed
Sex educator Al Vernacchio strides into the room wearing a superhero outfit: A blue top with "POW" emblazoned across the chest in a bright yellow starburst. Shiny gold arm sleeves. A blue mask over his glasses. His cape billows behind him. Read this entire article over at the Washington Post. … [Read more...] about 10 Things Parents Should Do to Prepare Their Daughters for Puberty
Two teens sidle up to each other on stage, pretend-sipping from empty Solo cups. It is soon established that the pair—Diana and Paul—are at a graduation party. They begin to reminisce about the last time they saw each other, and then quickly shift to the process of gauging each other's interest in possibly hooking up. "So, do you have a boyfriend?" Paul asks Diana. Read this … [Read more...] about Why We Need to Trust Teens to Teach Each Other Sex Ed
Late last year, California became the first state to require affirmative-consent education — education about consent that teaches “yes means yes” versus “no means no” — for public high schools that require a health class before graduation. Advocates applauded the move as a huge step in the right direction. Such education, they hoped, would help reduce the prevalence of sexual … [Read more...] about When Should Kids Start Learning About Sex and Consent?
Is it reasonable to take middle-schoolers to a sex toy shop? Is it harmful to start teaching your toddler the word "vulva" before she can remember her sister's name? Is it good to expect teenagers to be celibate and teach them abstinence exclusively? Will it scare elementary-age children to know about fluid gender identity? Is it OK that, as the Guttmacher Institute noted, only … [Read more...] about What You Should Teach Your Baby About S-E-X